One of the most recurring questions over the years has been how to know what, if any, knife to bring to camp. This is an optional item that is also subject to clear guidelines you find below.

Like other Farm and Wilderness camps, we use knives for many things at Timberlake – not the least of is whittling and carving. If you choose to bring a knife it’s important to have a good one, but please don’t spend a lot of money! In fact, the knife I recommend is one of the cheaper items you bring to camp. Also, if you’re new to knives, please don’t experiment with it! We’ll teach you how to use it safely when you get here.

We have different ages and experience at camp. All campers will take a knife test on the first day of camp. Younger and less experiences campers are directly supervised in whittling and carving by staff that will collect and keep the knives after the activity is finished (this is why it’s important they are clearly labeled). Older and more experienced campers may carry their knives with them and use them when a counselor is present.

Knife Recommendations:

Though others may be more to your liking. The main difference in all of these is  stainless vs.
carbon steel. Carbon is a bit softer, and thus easier to sharpen an d less likely to snap, but stainless isperfectly strong and doesn’t rust, which can be invaluable at camp.


  1. It should be a sheath knife or it MUST have a locking blade if it’s a folding knife.
  2. The blade may not exceed 4″.
  3. The handle should be comfortable and fit well into your hand.
  4. The blade shouldn’t be serrated, unless it’s a multi-blade knife and you have one blade with teeth and one without.
  5. The blade should be straight and sturdy, but not too thick.

The first rule in knife safety is keep them sharp. “If your knife is sharp, it will slide easily through what you are cutting, with little force involved. If the knife is blunt, you have to force it and if you slip there is real danger of cuts.” This is true for camp knives too, so you may want to get ahold of a whetstone (a sharpening stone) to help you keep it sharp is a good idea too. You can get a nice coarse/fine double sided one for less than ten dollars.

Finally, make sure once you have your new knife that you get your name on it somewhere! If you can use engraving tool, write it along the side of the blade, or scratch it into the handle. Whatever you do, make sure it’s clearly yours!

If you’re new to using knives, please don’t experiment until you get to camp and we can teach you all about how to use it safely.

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