Using an Outdoor Knife in the Kitchen

I have a reputation for being fascinated by knives. A few days ago, I noticed that Canadian Tire had a large fixed blade outdoor knife on sale for $10. The friend who was with me at the time enquired if I was going to use it in the kitchen. The question was facetious, but I also have a reputation for being rather literal-minded. It occurred to me that if you're out camping ("you," not "I," I don't do the camping thing), there's a good possibility that this would be the only knife you'd have with you so you actually would use it for cutting food.

Two blended photos of a standard kitchen knife and a largish outdoor knife

My preferred kitchen knife - which I also bought at Canadian Tire for $7 (although more than 25 years ago) - is the one with the white handle above. No chef would accept it, but I've found it to be sturdy, reliable, and comfortable - so much so that it's remained my default knife in the kitchen as long as I've owned it. The slightly larger knife is the new outdoor knife.


  • it's damn heavy. The kitchen knife above weighs 55g, but the outdoor knife weighs 343g - six times as much as the kitchen knife, although the blades are nearly identical in length
  • the blade is very thick: 4.2mm compared to 1.2mm for the kitchen knife
  • the tip is much more curved than a standard kitchen knife. Better for butchering animals, worse for chopping vegetables
  • the blade was dull as dishwater
  • which led to the next observation: I didn't have much luck putting a good edge on the thing, although I did make it better than when it came out of the factory
  • it's impossible to slice things thinly with this: this is partly a function of the poor edge on the knife, but also because of the thickness of the blade
  • the black coating on the blade is quite rough. I don't know why it's there: possibly for theoretical stealth when you're assassinating someone in the middle of night (light won't glint off the blade), more likely to either protect the blade from rust or just to look cool ... but the roughness meant that almost nothing stuck to it, whereas that's a perpetual problem with the kitchen knife
  • I have no idea if that coating is food-safe
  • on an outdoor knife, a big sturdy handle is necessary: for control, for prying stuff, whatever you're forced to use the knife for in the woods. A kitchen knife doesn't need that size of a handle, but it wasn't a significant hindrance either

The conclusion is - not surprisingly - that both knives are designed for a specific job, and neither is particularly good at filling the other's role. But it was fun trying.