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A knife is a universal tool, of endless uses for camping, fishing, foraging, outdoor cooking, do-it-yourself repairs and outdoor life.

While many travellers have reasons to use a knife, many countries and venues regulate carrying of blades.

Types of knives[edit]

  • Multi-tools such as the Swiss Army Knife are useful. However, if you lose your knife, you lose your whole toolbox! Multi-tools are mostly toys, be sure to bring a proper one if you depend on it (such as the real Swiss Army Knife).
  • A survival knife is a simple, sturdy general-purpose knife. Every camper should have one. The ones marketed as survival knives are often not up to the task, with the knife itself clumsy and add-ons that (if needed) should be replaced with proper tools.
  • A pocket knife is a light-weight option.
  • A Stanley knife has a retractable blade.
  • A kitchen knife is useful for self-catering. Typically part of the equipment of a travel trailer.

While travelling in populated areas, the knife is mostly a convenience, allowing you to make slices of your bread etc. But every hunter or fisherman knows the importance of a good knife, and for the wilderness the knife is the one essential tool: with a good knife an expert can make fire, lodging, transport and anything else needed.

Locations famous for knives[edit]

Though knives are made and used all around the world, some places are famous for knife-making.

  • Switzerland, known for the Swiss Army knife, made by Victorinox AG.
  • Japan, which carries on a millennia-long tradition of fine metalworking.
  • Mora (Sweden), known for the Mora knife; a simple general-purpose knife.
  • Finland, from where the Mora knife tradition originated
    • Kauhava, with the Iisakki Järvenpää factory and museum
  • Solingen, Germany has a knife-making tradition dating back centuries and still produces highly regarded (but expensive) knives to this day
  • Sheffield, England's "steel city" makes cutlery and other knives
  • Kinmen (Taiwan), known for its cleavers that were historically made from steel delivered to the island by Chinese artillery fire
  • Taal (Philippines) for flick-open knives, illegal in some countries


In many countries, unauthorized knife-carrying is criminalized. Even in countries where knife-carrying is not a crime, some restaurants and other venues prohibit knives. Venues in high-crime areas, as well as vulnerable institutions (banks, nightclubs, embassies, etc) might require guests to pass through a metal detector.

In some places a pocket knife with a blade shorter than a designated length (the palm of your hand is usually as long as it gets) may be allowed, where other knives are not. There may also be a legal difference between carrying a knife at your belt or packed together with your picnic boxes, or the latter may simply be more easily explained as "rightful carrying".

When flying pack any knives into your check-in baggage as carrying a knife into the cabin is strictly prohibited.

Officially, knives of any kind are prohibited on trains in China, but in practice packing a very small pocket knife for peeling fruit etc usually is not an issue.

Carrying a blade for self-defense is not recommended. Just like other weapons, a knife is more likely to raise the stakes and cause more damage than it prevents.

See also[edit]

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