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Is There A BEST CAMPING KNIFE?: Ignoring the Hype To Find REAL Camping Knives.



There is cause for celebration today in that if you read this post and take the info to heart the best camping knife on earth will already be headed your way.



You’re here so I’m guessing you’re into adventure riding...


...dual sport riding or good old fashioned motorcycle camping. So you’ll understand it when I say that camping knives are a lot like motorcycles in that…well… there is no best camping knife or best motorcycle. There are good ones and crappy ones but no BEST.

That was the bad news.

The good news is that there IS a best one… for you.

And also a best one for me. All we gotta do to figure out which one is which is get busy identifying what we plan to do with the knife and then filter that through some simple research like what we are sharing here. You’ll be shocked at how quickly that funnel flows to THE best camping knife for EXACTLY you and PRECISELY your needs.





Let’s get to your knife…

FIRST AND FOREMOST… it’s the steel that makes a knife. Sounds silly to have to say that but in today’s slight of hand advertising world we are directed to place value on other factors such as catchy industry buzz words, appealing sleek or rugged stylings, super nifty sheaths or even brand names that were once great but have sold off or out. It truly is all a ruse to get our minds off of the steel. Don’t get me wrong… other factors of course matter… but without decent steel they don’t.

SECOND… Knowing the steels will point to good knife makers— and vice versa of course, it will flush out the bad knife makers . I don’t know that ‘bad knife makers’ is a fair way to put it though because it implies that they are …knife makers— which, they really aren’t at the heart of the matter. They are money makers who deal in knives. Knife makers make knives and get money for it. There’s a HUGE difference in those two camps. Back on point to YOUR forthcoming camping knife…knowing what you are looking for narrows the search DRAMATICALLY. It puts the process in the funnel.



We evaluated ALL the common knife making steel types from premium to lower grade classes.


Here we have selected one from each level that we feel best serves the rigors of specifically adventure riding and motorcycle camping. Find your budget range among them, pick your steel… and ….viola YOU are ready to meet your perfect camping knife.




Note that these selections aren’t meant to degrade the other steels in their class. Most of these wins required photo finish replays in fact. The steel types represented in this report at each grade are good steel. As I mentioned earlier, our winning picks factored the primary traits of… edge retention, resistance to corrosion and ease of sharpening as they apply to motorcycle camping only.




From least to best commonly recognized knife steels...


LOWER MID-GRADE KNIFE STEEL



420HC

EDGE RETENTION 3 | CORROSION RESISTANCE 8 | EASE OF SHARPENING 9

Steel Type: Stainless Steel

Originating Country: USA

Originating Manufacturer: Latrobe Specialty Metals Distribution

Other Upper Mid-Grade Examples: 1095, 440A


Particular Characteristics...

Common 420 Stainless Steel while extremely rust resistant has a very low carbon content which makes it very soft, not hold an edge and be prone to chipping. 420HC steel ( HC= High Carbon ) has a greater carbon base and is mixed to a harder finish than 420 stainless steels. Given the correct process of hardening, it can reach an HRC* (Rockwell Hardness Scale) value of 56-59 which is extremely hardy for a true stainless steel.


Buck Knives 679 BuckLight MAX



Style: Fixed

Weight : 5.5oz.

Length: 8.75”

Made In: USA


$26



Kershaw Scallion




Style: Folding

Weight : 6.4oz.

Length Open: 5.9”

Length Closed: 3.5”

Made In: USA


$44







UPPER MID-GRADE KNIFE STEEL

14C28N

EDGE RETENTION 4 | CORROSION RESISTANCE 6 | EASE OF SHARPENING 6

Steel Type:  Stainless Chromium Steel  Originating Country: Sweden Originating Manufacturer: Sandvik

Other Upper Mid-Grade Examples: AUS-8, 440C

Particular Characteristics Of 14C28N Steel...

14c28n is a stainless steel high in Chromium for great corrosion resistance. In most steels, carbon is used to increase hardness but 14C28N uses nitrogen. This allows for higher hardness and better edge retention without compromising toughness and corrosion resistance.

Joker Survival Knife BS9 Avispa



Style: Fixed Weight : 4.6oz. Total length: 6.3” Made In: Spain


$57


Kershaw Skyline


Style: Folding Weight : 2.5oz. Length Open: 7.4” Length Closed: 4.25” Made In: USA

$43





HIGH GRADE KNIFE STEEL



VG-10

EDGE RETENTION 6 | CORROSION RESISTANCE 7 | EASE OF SHARPENING 6

Steel Type:  High Carbon Stainless Steel 

Originating Country: Japan

Originating Manufacturer: Takefu Special Steel Co. Ltd

Other Upper Mid-Grade Examples: ATS-34, D2

Particular Characteristics Of VG-10 Steel...

VG-10 is a wonderfully well rounded stainless steel with a very high carbon content containing 1% Carbon, 15% Chromium, 1% Molybdenum, 0.2% Vanadium, 1.5% Cobalt, and 0.5% Manganese. It is a cutlery grade stainless steel originally aimed at Japanese chefs, but found its way into sports cutlery as well. Spyderco has produced some of it’s most popular models from VG-10 and Fallkniven uses it as well. The name stands for V Gold 10.

Spyderco Moran

Style: Fixed Weight : 3 oz. length: 8.06” Made In: USA

$115



SOG Spec Arc


Style: Folding Weight: 4.4oz. Length Open: 8.8” Length Closed: 4.8” Made In: Japan


$59




LOWER PREMIUM GRADE KNIFE STEEL


CTS-XHP

EDGE RETENTION 8 | CORROSION RESISTANCE 6 | EASE OF SHARPENING 5

Steel Type:  Stainless Tool Steel 

Originating Country: USA

Originating Manufacturer: Carpenter Technology  Corporation

Other Upper Mid-Grade Examples: CPM-S30V, CPM-S35VN, CPM-M4

Particular Characteristics Of CTS-XHP Steel...

CTS-XHP is one of the new ‘super steels’ born of powder metallurgy. It is a high-carbon, high chromium stainless steel with very good stainless properties while also at a very high hardness. CTS XHP alloy posses corrosion resistance equivalent to 440C stainless steel and can attain a maximum hardness of 64 HRC

Spyderco Hundred Pacer


Style: Folding Weight : 5oz. Length Open: 9.2” Length Closed: 5.21” Made In: USA

$208






PREMIUM GRADE KNIFE STEEL


Speaking of photo finishes…THIS was a tough decision to make. So tough that I was 100% committed to each of these steels as the winner at one point or another over the 3 day period I researched and compiled for this post. At length I did choose a winner but it was so close I didn’t have the heart not to include the runners up.


RUNNERS UP TYING FOR FIRST RUNNER UP....



1. CPM-20CV

EDGE RETENTION 9 | CORROSION RESISTANCE 7 | EASE OF SHARPENING 2

Steel Type:  Stainless Tool Steel 

Originating Country: USA

Originating Manufacturer: Crucible Industries


Zero Tolerance Sinkevich

Style: Folding Weight: 6.6oz. Length Open: 7.7” Length Closed: 4.5” Made In: USA




2. M390

EDGE RETENTION 9 | CORROSION RESISTANCE 7 | EASE OF SHARPENING 2

Steel Type:  Stainless Tool Steel 

Originating Country: Austria

Originating Manufacturer: Böhler Edelstahl GmbH & Co KG factory


Summit Knife Half Dome

Style: Folding Weight: 2.47oz. Length Open: 6” Length Closed: 3.6” Made In: Italy


AND THE WINNER



ELMAX

EDGE RETENTION 8 | CORROSION RESISTANCE 5 | EASE OF SHARPENING 3

Steel Type:  Stainless Tool Steel 

Originating Country: Austria

Originating Manufacturer: Böhler Edelstahl GmbH & Co KG factory

Particular Characteristics Of ELMAX Steel...

ELMAX steel is "high chromium-vanadium-molybdenum-alloyed steel," made of 1.7 percent carbon, 18 percent chromium, .3 percent manganese, 1 percent molybdenum, .8 percent silicon, and 3 percent vanadium. This composition allows for the metal to have high wear resistance, high compressive strength, superior corrosion resistance, and very good dimensional stability, or the ability to retain its size and form even after taking abuse. Elmax became very popular in 2009 when it was declared as the "best all-around knife steel" and it has also been called the "super steel”.



EnZo Trapper 115



Style: Fixed Weight: 6.2oz. Length: 8.7” Made In: Finland


$177







Spyderco Lil Lion Spy



Style: Folding Weight: 3.8oz. Length Open: 7.13” Length Closed: 4” Made In: USA / Italy

$325






We hope this helps get you out into the thick of it with the best camping knife for YOU strapped to your side. If you have any specific questions feel free to hit us up anytime.





AND BE SURE TO CHECK OUT OUR OTHER ADVENTURE RIDING AND MOTORCYCLE CAMPING RESEARCH ON TOPICS SUCH AS:







The list goes on and on with over 100 videos and nearly 100 articles on the topics of motorcycle camping, adventure riding and dual sport riding.




As ‘lip-servicy’ as the next statement can be in many applications, I know most of you know that it is truth when I say that Bonnie and I --and the Story Moto ADV family-- are very grateful for all of you— and on so many levels that it kinda gets me a lil …


well …. sometimes I just get a little dust in my eyes…. That’s all. Lol.


Stay Safe Out There. Story Moto Out.





Billy J is co-founder of Story Moto ADV, a dual sport / adventure riding brand with strategic initiatives serving the health of the adventure touring community in order to develop a unified voice for speaking resolution into motorcycle land closures in the U.S. due to overcrowding and other public land use conflicts. He has been a rider for 45 years, an extreme adventurer for 31, and an avid dual sport adventure rider for 20. His first time living on a motorcycle for more than a year was in 1988 and most recently for 16 months living and riding full time with his wife Bonnie J and their kids on a tour that wrapped up in the summer of 2019. The are plugging away at the Story Moto ADV compound for another round set to commence in the Summer of 2020.



CONTACT BILLY J: STORYMOTOADV@GMAIL.COM


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