Yes I know, I sound like a broken record, but... It always cracks me up when guys show up to camp with their thick strong tactical knives. I know they'll be asking to borrow my knife soon enough. They always come.
For civilian camping, most knife use is spent on food prep. After that, cutting moleskin and bandages, miscellaneous cordage and the like, whittling walking sticks and hot dog sticks, etc.
My favorite camp knife is the A.G. Russell Deerhunter. It's got a whisper-thin ATS-34 drop-point blade, fully flat ground to provide a knife that's scary sharp. It cuts much better than most everything else out there. Great ergonomic handle. PERFECT sheath for camping. The zytel sheath works one-handed, and attaches via a swivel clip. I can clip the knife to my belt loop, then my pack, then a nearby tree, etc., all without taking off my belt.
The blade holds up well to the above type cutting I mentioned, plus game dressing, which is 95% of my cutting needs in camp. The blade is stainless, a compromise I know, but other people always end up borrowing my knives, and the stainless doesn't rust apart when someone accidently leaves it in the lemon-juice tin, or wet on the ground, etc. I sometimes sound pre-occupied with other people in my party borrowing or using my knives, but there's good reason for that -- people are borrowing my knife all the time. If you're not running into the same thing, you gotta wonder why! Everyone has knives, but they still come to me to borrow mine.
For chopping & splitting, I'll bring a 12" machete (which replaced my small hatchet). Machetes aren't the best splitters in the world, but here where I camp, there's very little need for that anyway, and gathering your own wood is prohibited in many places anyway. The machete is nexpensive, and easily handles the "big-knife" jobs.
Deerhunter for "small-knife jobs. Machete for "big-knife" jobs. Next trip, I'll be taking my Rinaldi TKK to see if it can replace the Deerhunter; it's been working well in the kitchen so far.
[This message has been edited by Joe Talmadge (edited 11-01-98).]