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camp knife vs survival knife vs hunting knife

Discussion in 'Wilderness & Survival Skills' started by Hoodoo, Aug 17, 2000.

  1. sideways


    Feb 19, 2013
    A camp knife is something you USE for camping. Food prep, fire prep, etc.

    A hunting knife is something you USE for hunting. Skinning, cutting, chopping etc

    A survival knife is something you IMAGINE using for survival tasks and since few people actually do much surviving the manufacturer rarely gets called on it. Fear and the unknown requirements list make it a lucrative market where you can sell a wide variety of knives to people who won't actually use them. OR better still get people chasing that holy grail ONE KNIFE that does it all. Then you can do repeat sales as they dial in the ONE KNIFE. :D
  2. Codger_64

    Codger_64 Moderator Moderator

    Oct 8, 2004
    I actually do have a picture of me butchering the deer with the 1" Imperial knife and it is posted here somewhere. It is certainly nice to have your favorite WTFBBQ knife in hand, but you can do cutting chores with a tiny blade or none at all.
  3. wfsltt


    Apr 27, 2014
    I do field to freezer with a 3" folder from time to time, but mostly I use a 3 1/4" fixed for everything. The only time you really need anything larger is if you are going to process wood with your knife. A longer blade allows you to baton wood with a larger cross section. That said in my 55 years of spending time outdoors I've never had to do that either. We just put the bigger logs on the fire mid-point and let the fire burn them in to smaller logs.
  4. gadgetgeek


    May 19, 2007
    On the theme of having a 15 year old thread, I think its interesting to look back at how I used to view the categories of knives over the past 15 years.

    then: I didn't have a "camp" knife, just whatever knife I had with me, it meant a lot of time cleaning the knife to make sure that it stayed in my sheath, and didn't get misplaced. Now my "camp" knife is anything I can leave on the table preferably sheathed for safety, and does food prep pretty well. At the moment its a Mora2k, because the sheath is roomy enough to be cleaned, so the knife can go back in dirty, without to much worry. Another option would be a Vic paring knife with a clip-on edge guard.

    Back then, a survival knife had to be big, beefy, preferably include a saw back, maybe a serrated section, be mean looking, and ultra everything. Camilus pilots knife to a SOG Seal Team elite (say that 10x fast) or SOG Pentagon elite2. But over time, other knifes started to make more sense, the value of other tools became clear, and now my "survival" If I could only have one knife is my Vic Rucksack. it just comes together for that tool. My view has also shifted well into the "Knife you have on you" camp. so that means finding knives I can carry, knives I can be familiar with, and then preforming the tasks I might need to do with that knife. Be it a Vic farmer, BR Mini-bushcrafter, mora 1, or RC-3. Each is a bit different, and will be useless to me if I don't focus on its strengths, and be mindful of its weaknesses.

    Back when I was a kid there was one hunting knife and one only. A buck 119. all others were some sort of compromise, or gimmick. But I've come to realize that of all the things you can do with a knife, butchering is among the easier. Sure some designs make some parts easier than others, but if its getting meat off bones, or hide off the carcass, a sharp edge will do. Might not be pretty, but it will do. Making feather sticks with cold hands and a two pound blade that is half serrated, forcing you to use edge farther and farther from the fulcrum, well, that gets much more difficult, and could be far more dangerous than it needs to be.

    So I guess over time the lines between have blurred far more, I used to think that a knife was designed for one purpose, now I realize that certain factors of a knife make it better or worse for certain things, but they are not hard and fast rules, and those compromises may not be as big a factor as I once thought. I've also realized that there is no magic in the design. Rather as the skill improves, the knife becomes less a factor in some ways, and yet the skills allow the knife to be more effective than it would be otherwise. I hope that makes sense.
  5. Codger_64

    Codger_64 Moderator Moderator

    Oct 8, 2004
    It does and I don't disagree. In fact I went through this transition many years before the internet. And since BF.com, I have acquired hundreds of knives. I like many of them, some old and some new, but I find myself going back to my pre-internet choices as users. They are familiar and they work.
  6. Shotgun


    Feb 3, 2006
    Nice post.
  7. gadgetgeek


    May 19, 2007
    I think its interesting that this tread started long before I joined up, and pretty much half my lifetime ago. so it was interesting to think back on where I went with knives from 15-30. A lot of the growth came from here, and seeing what other guys could do with a mora, opinel, or stockman. And not to throw crap, but to see that some knives are art pieces, and some are useful. A Ferrari 458 might be an engineering marvel but a 20 year old chevy half ton will help you move. Not that there is anything wrong with either. Also proof that in that time several fads have come and gone, and we are still no closer to defining the three terms. And in all likelihood never will. Bladeforums: Defining Survival Knife since the dawn of the internet!
  8. Velitrius

    Velitrius Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 3, 2000
    Back when I posted in this thread 15 years ago, my Camp, Hunting and Survival knife was one and the same.

    I tell ya fellas, a man can stack up a TON of knives in 15 years.

    One thing that I like to see is that some items just have staying power. Buck 119s, Leatherman Tools, Moras, SAKs, Opinels...

    It's also interesting to see that through the myriad of supersteels that have arrived, people are still packing good ol' 1095 with confidence.

    The terms, however, are just as pretty-much useless today as they were back then.... and now we add "bushcrafting".
  9. Diecorpse


    May 23, 2015
    This is a very interesting thread. After reading the whole thing, its cool to see how someones opinions have changed or stayed the same over the years. When I first got into knives, it was all about a cheap knife to gut and skin my game. Then it was about what looked cool. Then when nit came time to use them, either they failed miserably or I had to resharpen them every time. Then I started to learn about wilderness survival after watching Dual Survival one day on Discovery. Thats when I really started to learn about knives, heat treat, the different steels, different designs and their purpose. To me, the whole camp knife, survival, hunting labels all these knives are given are mainly gimmicks. I have found that any knife can skin an animal, make fuzz sticks, etc. However the length, design, and blade geometry does play a huge factor and as long as the user has skill using that knife, knows its limitations, along with some patience, can complete most if not all tasks. I dont label my knives as such. I like my big knives for processing wood, chopping, and whatever else sounds fun to do. But I do prefer a stainless steel blade for game processing only because its easy to clean and more corrosion resistant. Over the past few years I like to carry my Coast folding knife thats plain edge and made of 440c. That along with my Tops Intercepter which as of last year was replaced by my Tops Condor Alert. They are just my go-to knives and those are the only two I take when ever I leave the house. Its a combo that works for me. The last deer I processed, my large knife came in handy cutting through the sternum, then my Coast was used to do the rest. Same goes for fire making, use the big knife to process the wood down into smaller pieces and then I use my folder to do fine curls and strike my fire steel with. But as far as knife labels go, I thinknits all gimmicks, just to market certain crowds for more profit.
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2015
  10. Student762


    Mar 7, 2014
    I see a survival knife as a very overbuilt incredibly sturdy blade designed to perform any activity with a certain degree of ability. A jack of all trades that leans towards a Schwarzenegger type of physique. Big, bulky, capably of a fair amount. Things like the Becker Bk2 and Bk3
    Camp knives I see more as a large knife over or around 7"blade length. These are slightly more svelte but designed for strength, more like a rock climber. Plenty strong but more nimble. Maybe not as strong as the over built prybar of the bk 3 but perfectly capable and possibly more realistically useful. (Not knocking the 2 and 3 I love them dearly, just pointing out something) Think along the lines of the Junglas, very capable at battonning but not the same brutality of the 1/4 inch thick Bk2.
    Hunting knives I see as hollow ground or flat ground knives, these are sprinters or gymnasts, fast, nimble and high performance cutting machines. Like a loveless drop point. I wouldn;t batton with one of these things. They're tough but it's all about the edge.
    Sorry that was a cludgy kind of metaphor there but I hope you get what I mean.
  11. Shriket33


    Feb 22, 2015
    I never saw much into carrying a knife for chopping wood. I camp sometimes in very remote country in Alberta in a wall tent with a space heater burning spruce and recently replaced my Coleman naphtha stove with a Coleman propane burning the small bottles. I usually get dropped off for a week with an Argo or Quad with a little trailer for my gear. For firewood I bring along an ax and a hatchet and a small Stihl chainsaw. The Stihl to cut a dead tree and sawing it in sections the ax for splitting and the hatchet for various and sundry rough cutting I do not want to dull my hunting knife on, the back of the hatchet is used as a hammer. I do not feather stick, I spray fly dope on wood, birchbark and lichen and then lighten it. It then burns even when wet
    For eating and cooking in camp, I usually carry a few kitchen knives.
    The Barkriver drop point Hunter or Puukko with an approximate 4 inch blade is what I carry on my belt, for field dressing deer or moose, cutting sausage, bread, peeling fruit etc while out hunting or fine cutting chores in camp. I carry a small loaded strop with me for sharpening touch ups.
    my hunting knife would double as a survival knife if needed to be, In case I get lost. I could build a leanto with it, spruce boughs for a bed and a variety of cutting chores. For firewood we always use dead spruce branches most of it lying around or ready to break of from the tree. Never saw need or desire for batonning a knife as it is called. Birchbark and dry tree lichens to lighten the fire. O well, I just do as the Stoney and Slave Indians do here.
    As you guess I Do not do wood crafting for the sake of it. Camping must be comfortable,efficient and easy for me, so I can after a comfortable nights sleep and a hearty breakfast spend the better part of the day out hunting.
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2015
  12. Rick Marchand

    Rick Marchand Donkey on the Edge Moderator

    Jan 6, 2005
    If there is one thing I am sure of, it is that folks have different perceptions of what is required from a knife for any given scenario.

    I would put camp knife and survival knife in the same category. The hunting knife is a specialized tool in my opinion... but others may disagree for very good reasons. I like reading the replies but there are no definitive answers.
  13. upnorth


    Nov 25, 2006
    The fur trade knives up here ranged from what we would call a large folder today, up through 6-9 inch knives. So there was variation even back then. And of course they went nowhere without an axe or hatchet, particularly a hatchet. But those folks lived by their tools, I don't, and an Izula 2 is usually plenty enough for most of my needs, with a hatchet if I feel like lugging it. Ok, I lied. I have knives of all sizes up the ying yang, and Lord knows what I'll be lugging from one day to the next. I also admit a soft spot for my TKC handled ESEE 4.
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2015
  14. leghog


    Aug 10, 2013
    What's the likelihood you'll actually have it on you in the one-in-a-million chance you ever find yourself in a real survival situation? The real survival knife will be the one you have with you should you ever really find yourself in a survival situation. We all need to face the fact that our EDC knife will be our survival knife in the unlikely event of a survival situation. For me that'll be a Victorinox Farmer.
  15. tidefan


    Nov 23, 2004
    Well, I have been a camper and Hunter for 41 years and have had three unintended longer term outings. From 1978 until 1994 my Knife of choice was a case xx 11031sh. One blade, sheepfoot, carbon steel, and walnut handle. That Knife field dressed over 40 deer, and hundreds of squirrel, rabbit, quail, dove, turkey, and sush with no issues. In 94 my family bought me a Dozier Master Hunter that I used until it was lost in a river on O canoe trip. I've never needed a larger Knife, though being a knife fanatic, I have a few. I don't think knives should be kryholed in to categories. Any Knife is a survival Knife, hunting Knife, bushcraft Knife. I was stranded in the deep woods for six days with a broken arm and the only cutting tool I had was an estwing hatchet. It did everything I needed. Sorry for being long winded... Merry Christmas to all the hunters, survivalist, and bushcrafters.....I are all three...
  16. upnorth


    Nov 25, 2006
    Said it all, right on brother.
  17. CryoGuy5272


    Jan 2, 2015
    I too believe camping and survival are interchangeable, with hunters being a bit more of a different thing. But I believe any good survival knife must be able to perform the tasks of a hunting knife as well. So personally I only see a need for a survival knife in my uses. I use a Tops BOB in the woods. And in my less experienced opinion it does many tasks well enough to be a "one knife show" in the woods. I always have a Spyderco folder in my pocket. So should the need arise for very fine tasks my folders can almost always til in for the heavier more cumbersome survival blade
  18. jmh33

    jmh33 Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 16, 2003
    In my eyes.. All are one in the same.. John
  19. unimogbert


    Jul 15, 2015
    My reasons for carrying a Spec Plus Pilot Survival knife when I go backpacking and dayhiking seems to have not come up in discussion.

    Trying to practice good woods hygiene with a silly orange trowel proved to me that digging in rocky soil with a plastic trowel is dumb.
    So an inexpensive piece of steel that I'm willing to let get dinged up on rocks but which can still chop out sticks for splint or crutches and maybe stick in a mountain lion's ribs in a grappling contest has been just the ticket.

    So far over 25 years it has only dug catholes and scraped sparking rods for practice fires. (I carry a small diamond rod to clean up the nicks when needed)
  20. gadgetgeek


    May 19, 2007
    If it works for ya, go for it.

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