What NOT to Do With Your Camping Knife

A Family PastimeIf you are an avid collector of knives, then you probably value the condition of your collection – even your utility camping knives. A quality camping knife, however, can quickly deteriorate if used improperly. The most important thing to remember about preserving the condition of your knives is to use them only for their intended purpose.

In order to keep your camping knives in top shape, here’s a look at what NOT to do with them:


We all have a tendency to throw things from time to time. The allure of throwing a knife is obvious; there’s a rush of satisfaction when you neatly send a knife hurtling through the air to stick into a tree or fence with a solid thunk. Sometimes, sitting around the campsite, it’s hard to resist playing an impromptu game of darts with your hunting knife.

Not only is this an obviously dangerous activity, however – or at least prone to accidents – but it will also quickly damage your knife. If the tip of your camping knife blade hits rock or any other hard surface, it can be easily weakened, bent or broken. Just like a fine Porsche, a high-quality stainless steel camping knife can damage easily if handled incorrectly.


Your camping knives are not meant to act as hardware tools. If you try to pry something open with your camping knife, not only do you run the risk of backfire – and having a knife flying towards you – but you will almost always damage your knife. Not only does this often void the warranty, but you probably won’t get much useful prying action done, either. A knife is made for slashing and cutting; prying requires thick, solid objects that do not bend much, such as a crowbar. If you care about the condition of your camping knives, don’t try it. End of story.


In some cases, a small pocket knife can work wonders for screwing or unscrewing, especially if you’re in a hurry. But the twisting motion required when you treat your camping knife like a screw driver will make the tip of your knife dull; plus it will strip the screw notch itself, leaving you in a situation in which the screw can become stuck, and you’ll regret trying it in the first place.


We all love the book Hatchet by Gary Paulson, a great tale of outdoor survival using a trusty hatchet. However, imitating scenes from this film with your camping knife is not recommended. Using your camping knife like a hatchet, or to climb or hold onto something for support, will damage the blade and weaken the hilt. Even hacking motions are discouraged, because most camping knives are not made for chopping.

Improper sharpening

Not only are there many different ways to sharpen a knife, some methods going back thousands of years, but there are many different kinds of object that can be used as sharpeners. While it is probably true there is not one perfect method of sharpening, it is still a good idea to critique your current approach and make sure it is the best way to sharpen your knives. You can easily damage a blade if you are sharpening it incorrectly.

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