Mom Goes Camping

Top 10 Outdoor Knives for Under $70

best-outdoor-knives-under-70-dollars

Despite what all those camping gear blogs would have you think, you don’t need a lot of fancy gear to go outdoors and enjoy the world of backpacking and camping.  However, there is some gear that you absolutely must bring along.  

In addition to my tent and sleeping bag (I’m not ready to give up those comforts yet), an outdoor knife is a must-have.

Those who are just getting started with camping can get by with a cheap pocket knife from Wal-Mart (please don’t buy crap at Wal-Mart though.  Go to army surplus or a local outdoor shop instead!).

But those who are more serious about camping will want a better outdoors knife.  Here are just some of the things that I’ve used my knife for while camping and backpacking:

  • Making a featherstick for lighting a fire in wet conditions
  • Shaving branches to create dry kindling
  • Batoning wood
  • Digging a hole for going to the bathroom (a knife works surprisingly better than a trowel and means one less thing to carry)
  • Cleaning the dirt out from under my fingernails
  • Cutting my dinner

The best outdoor knives (also called bushcraft knives or survival knives) are made from high-carbon steel, are lightweight yet very strong, have a full tang, and usually have blades around 4 to 7 inches in length.

They also cost upwards of $300.  As much as I love camping, I’m not ready to give that much money for an outdoors knife!  So, here are some knives which are also great for the outdoors but aren’t going to break the bank.  Every single one of these outdoor knives costs under $70.

 

1. KA-BAR Dozier Folding Knife – $22

KA-BAR dozier outdoor knife

I figured that I’d start with the cheapest of the cheap outdoor knives.  KA-BAR has a pretty good reputation for making quality bushcraft knives.  For this price, you aren’t going to find anything tougher.

Features:

  • Folding
  • 3” blade length; 7.25” open
  • AUS 8A Stainless Steel
  • Zytel handle
  • 2.4 ounces
  • Buy Here

 

2. Condor Bushlore Knife – $39

Condor Bushlore outdoor knife

At 9 5/16 inches, this knife is a bit of a beast.  It is also a quiet heavy for long-distance backpacking.  However, for campers who want to be able to do tasks like splitting wood, the Condor Bushlore knife is a good, cheap choice.

Features:

  • Fixed
  • Full tang
  • 4 5/16” blade length; 9 5/16” overall length
  • 1075 high carbon steel
  • Hardwood handle
  • 12 ounces
  • Buy Here

 

3. Ontario RAT-3 Knife – $66

Ontario RAT-3 outdoor knife

A lot of people mistakenly believe that bigger = better with knives.  In most cases, you probably don’t want a Rambo-style blade! They are unwieldy and too heavy for backpacking.  This outdoors knife by Ontario is probably the best option for most people.  It is fixed-blade, which inherently makes it stronger.  Because it is shorter and lighter than most of its fixed-blade cousins, you get a nice mix of strength and practicality.

Features:

  • Fixed
  • Full tang
  • 3.75” blade length; 7 7/8” overall length
  • 1095 Carbon Steel
  • Micarta handle
  • 5.2 ounces
  • Buy Here

 

4. Morakniv Bushcraft Tactical – $42

Markniv Bushcraft Tactical knife

When it comes to budget knives, Morakniv has an almost cult-like following.  They deserve their following though because, for the price, they do deliver in quality.  But, as with all cheap things, you’ll get what you pay for.  So avoid the ultra cheap Markniv knives (some cost just $10) and pay a bit more.  The Bushcraft Tactical costs about $42 and will last you through many outdoor adventures.

Features:

  • Fixed
  • Partial tang
  • 4.3” blade; 9.1 overall length
  • 59-60HR high-carbon steel
  • Rubber handle
  • 6.3 ounces
  • Buy Here

 

5. Sog Seal Pup – $34

Sog Seal Pup outdoor knife

The serrated blade on this cheap outdoors knife comes in handy when you want to cut through rope, plants, or even your food. Just be warned that serrated blades are harder to sharpen, so it might not be the right choice for those who are forgetful about sharpening.

Features:

  • Fixed
  • Full tang
  • 4.75” blade; 9” overall length
  • AUS-8 stainless steel
  • Nylon handle
  • 5.4 ounces
  • Buy Here

 

6. Kershaw 1898 LoneRock Folder – $24

Kershaw 1898 LoneRock folding outdoor knife

This is another ultra-cheap yet good-quality folding outdoors knife.  The only major downside is that it doesn’t have a clip on it, though it does come with a sheath.

Features:

  • Folding
  • 3.5” blade; 4 3/4” closed
  • 8Cr13MoV steel with titanium carbo-nitride coating
  • 5.5 ounces
  • Buy Here

 

7. Tops Tibo Neck Knife – $50

Top Tibo outdoor knife

This outdoors knife is different from the others because it is a neck knife.  Now, there is a lot of controversy about whether neck knives are practical.  It mostly comes down to whether you like to wear a knife around your waist or not – pretty good for those who hike in spandex. 😉

Features:

  • Fixed
  • Skeleton tang
  • 2.75” blade; 6.5” overall length
  • 1095 carbon steel
  • 1.9 ounces
  • Buy Here

 

8. Camillus BushCrafter – $68

Camillus bushcrafter outdoor knife

This is the most expensive outdoors knife on this list, but the Camillus is still very cheap for a quality bushcraft knife.  The contoured handle is very comfortable so this is a great knife for people who like to do tasks like carving and whittling outdoors.

Features:

  • Fixed
  • Full tang
  • 4” blade; 8.5” overall length
  • 1095 high carbon steel
  • 6.3 ounces
  • Buy Here

 

9. Cold Steel Lite Clip Point – $30

Cold Steel Pro Lite Clip point knife

Most of the knives on this list are drop-point blades.  The drop-point blade is considered the best all-around blade style because of its strength and precision. By contrast, the Cold Steel Lite is a clip point blade.  It isn’t as strong as a drop point, but it is better suited for more detailed tasks like skinning or deep puncturing.

Features:

  • Folding
  • 3.5” blade; 8” open
  • 4116 German stainless steel
  • 3.2 ounces
  • Buy Here

 

10. Spyderco Delica – $56

Spyderco Delica knife

This is a blade that ultra-lightweight backpackers will love. Its skeletonized internal liners means it weighs even less but maintains its strength.

Features:

  • Folding
  • 2 7/8” blade; 7 1/8” open
  • VG-10 steel
  • 2.5 ounces
  • Buy Here

What’s your favorite knife?  Was it worth the cost? 🙂

Image credit: “Pup_003” (CC BY 2.0) by SOGKnives

About the author /


Diane Vukovic is an avid traveler, outdoor enthusiast, beetle lover, sometimes sculptress, couchsurfer, and loves finding ways to explain complex topics to her 6-year old daughter. Follow MomGoesCamping on Facebook and Twitter @MomGoesCamping to stay in touch!

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