Small, compact but highly reliable, a knife is probably one of the most important tools that you can carry whenever you are going for a hiking trip. Whether it’s prying open a can of food, splitting bandages, or slicing fruits and vegetables, knives have a wide range of applications. Besides that, they are easy to use, lightweight and comfortable to carry. As long as you choose the right model and design, a pocketknife is something that can serve you in various ways during your outdoor adventures. Here are some of the reasons why you should carry a multi-tool or a knife on your hike.

Slicing and Cutting

This is the most obvious use of a camping knife. And when you are out there in the wilderness, you will come across plenty of scenarios where you will have to cut some items. For instance, you might need to cut strings or cords while setting up your shelter. Also, you will use your knife to slice off plants or leaves out of the way during your hike, especially when you are hiking on less-traveled trails. Furthermore, you can use your pocketknife to pry open items like metallic cans, which might be containing your food. In short, the applications of a pocketknife when hiking are almost infinite, especially when it comes to cutting and slicing items.

Splitting Wood

A campfire has plenty of uses when you are hiking or camping. You can use it to prepare and heat food, keep yourself warm and keep your campsite illuminated. Also, you can use fire as a predator and insect deterrent as well as a beacon, especially if you lost in the wilderness. When setting up a campfire, you will need to prepare tinder or kindling, or even split your firewood, depending on the sizes that you want. And this is where a knife comes in. Most survival knives are equipped with strong and sturdy blades and handles, which means you can use them as a substitute for a hatchet or an axe, if you didn’t carry one.


If you are camping in the backcountry, you may want to dig a fire pit for your campfire. You might also want to dig up edible tubers and roots, in case you’ve run out of food. While it’s not recommended to use an outdoor knife for digging, you may have forgotten to pack a shovel in your backpack, meaning you will have no other option but to use your knife as a digging implement. As long as your knife is made of quality materials, it can serve as an effective tool for digging tasks.

Self Defense

When you are hiking in the wilderness, you might be attacked by both predators and wild animals. You can use your knife to defend yourself against a wide range of attacks, whether they are coming from your fellow humans or from wild animals like bears. However, it’s important to note that you can only use your knife as a weapon if you know how to utilize it. A knife can put you at an advantage against an attack. But if you don’t know how to use it, your assailant might even disarm you and use the same knife to attack you. Therefore, make sure you spend some time learning how to draw and wield your knife. Also, don’t use your knife as a weapon in non-violence situations.

First Aid Tasks

Whether you are out there in the wilderness alone, with your friends or you are camping with your family, you are exposed to all sorts of risks and hazards. For instance, a flying spark can land on the skin, or someone might trip and fall on a stone, leading to injuries. In short, a lot of things go can go wrong. Unfortunately, you might have forgotten to carry your first aid kit, and this is where a knife comes in. As long as you have a pocketknife, a camping knife or a multi-tool with you, then you can always use it to take care of that injury. For instance, you can cauterize the wound using your knife or even cut improvised bandages from pieces of cloth, which you will use to dress that wound. Multi-tools are highly versatile, which means they are applicable in numerous emergencies, especially when you are out there in the wild. What makes them a must-have tool in the wild is how fast they are when it comes to solving issues. You just get out your knife out of your bag or pocket, unfold it and put it to use right away. Whether you are making a bandage from gaze or cutting a seat belt after an accident, a pocket knife is a versatile tool to carry with you during your camping, hiking, backpacking or other outdoor adventures.

Food Preparation

As noted earlier, a camping knife or survival knife will come in handy when it comes to slicing or cutting objects. And this implies that you can also use it for food preparation. While a multi-tool might not have been designed primarily for food preparation, you might find yourself in a situation where you don’t have access to items like a spoon, a fork or even a knife. For instance, you might have been forced to abandon them, as you were running away from an attack. As long as you have a knife with you, you can use it to gather some wild fruits, slice, cut and peel them. Even when you are not in a survival situation, you can still use multi-tool to slice meat or cut up your vegetables, in case you forgot to carry a knife.

Extracting Sap

Whether you are hiking, trekking, or camping, cutting accidents, and other soft tissue, injuries are common when it comes to outdoor adventures. If you forgot to carry your first aid kit, you simply need to extract sap or resin from pines and then use it to seal those wounds. The sap will form a barrier between outside bacteria and the wound, thus helping to prevent infections. Also, pine sap has some anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. Therefore, when you apply it to the wounds, it will not only help to seal them but it will also speed up the healing and recovery. You can also use a sap or tree resin as glue. To tap resin or sap from trees, you will just need to identify the right tree, and then extract the amount that you want using your knife.


Most people usually forget to pack a screwdriver when heading out for a camping trip. However, you never know when you may need one when you are hiking in the wilderness. For instance, you may want to tighten or loosen some of your items like handles of cooking pans and pots. Fortunately, most multi-tools come with a screwdriver, which you can use to adjust your tools or items that require tightening or loosing. In case your multi-tool doesn’t have a screwdriver, you can still use a knife as one. It will still get the job done, as long as it has a sturdy tip.

Closing Remarks

As you can see, a knife is a highly versatile tool that you should never leave behind when you are going for a hiking trip. From food preparation to digging, extracting sap from trees to splitting wood, a knife has numerous uses and applications whenever you are in the great outdoors. In fact, it should be the first item on your packing list every time you are heading outdoors.

About the Author Cindy

Hello, I'm Cindy. I’m a super duper mega hiking enthusiast, with a love for everything that has to do with outdoors, hiking, gear, footwear and more.

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