The term “Camp Knife” makes me think of the French Canadian Voyageurs and Coureur des bois (Runner of the woods) during the fur trade era. These rugged individuals used their Hudson Bay Camp Knives to carve out an existence in the wilderness. Like the men, their knives had to be tough because their survival could depend on it.
Measuring 16 inches overall, the recurved blade of the Kershaw Camp 10 is 10 inches in length. Made from 1065 carbon steel, the 0.20 thick blade is powder coated to help prevent corrosion. The 6 inch rubber over-molded handle is secured to the full tang by two hex screws. Usable handle length measures 4.5 inches between the front guard and rear pommel hook. The ergonomic palm swells and checkered rubber handle insure you’ll keep your grip. For added protection from slippage, there are lanyard holes both front and back. The sheath for the Kershaw Camp 10 is made from molded plastic, and offers multiple carry options. The upper web strap has a loop for belt carry, and hangs low on the belt. Swapping out the upper web strap for the lower one will bring it higher on the belt. The two horizontal Velcro web straps fit through molle webbing or pack straps for a variety of mounting options on your gear. Lastly you have multiple eyelets around the sheath just the right size for lashing with paracord. The Kershaw Camp 10 is retained in the sheath by a nylon snap strap that goes around the handle and over the guard. At the tip of the sheath is a small hole for drainage just in case. The sheath does rattle if shaken hard. I attribute this to designing the sheath so a recurved blade is easy to access and resheath. Regardless, I applaud Kershaw in providing a sheath that is more than just something to put the knife in. Weight of the Kershaw Camp 10 is 1 lb, 2.4 oz., with the sheath it is 1 lb, 9.6 oz.
Since large camp knives see a lot of use chopping wood, I decided that would be a good way to test the Kershaw Camp 10. Coincidentally, my wife has been asking me to get rid of a dead Leyland cypress in our back yard. So out the back door I went to kill two birds with one stone/knife.
Out of the box the Kershaw Camp 10 would cleanly slice paper so I felt no need to touch up the edge. As the Leyland cypress was a good size, my plan was to de-limb it to get easier access to the thicker trunk. Attaching a forward lanyard, and donning my work glove, I got to work. The Kershaw Camp 10 sliced through limbs 1 inch thick and under effortlessly. Chopping off the outer limbs also gave me time to familiarize myself with how the Kershaw Camp 10 handled. Newton’s 2nd Law basically states that Force is equal to Mass times Acceleration, or Force = (Mass)(Acceleration). I found that letting the weight of the Kershaw Camp 10 driven by my swing, worked far better than just trying to hammer through on arm strength alone. A flick of the wrist combined with the rear hook of the handle helped add some more “Oomph” to my swings. By the time I was chopping the thicker trunk limbs my cuts were more efficient with less effort expended. I’d also found that the sweet spot for chopping was right where the inner curve transitions to the outer belly of the blade. Falling into a steady rhythm, I soon chopped off all the thicker inner limbs. The remaining stump was left to be dug out another day. Not once during the whole time I was chopping was I in fear of losing my grip, even with gloves on. After cleaning it up, I inspected the edge of the Kershaw Camp 10 and found not one ding, chip, or rolled edge. Consider me impressed after the tree beating I’d given it. Testing the edge I found it was still pretty sharp, though the cuts on paper were a little ragged. The only thing I noticed was some wear on the powder coating along the edge.
The wilderness area our Boy Scout Troop has been using to work on merit badges lacks a regular source of water. It’s never been an issue as we just make sure to bring plenty of water. Still, the potential of a problem has always nagged at me. When I mentioned my concern to a fellow Scout leader, he told me that there are small ponds of rainwater run-off scattered throughout the hills. That was all the excuse I needed to get out of the house and go exploring. So I loaded up the daypack, strapped the Kershaw Camp 10 to it, and enlisted the help of my youngest son in my search.
Upon our arrival the first thing I did was let the boy chop something so he could get it out of his system. Looking like a Hobbit with a sword, he rained blow after blow on a small tree. Once it fell, I showed him how you could construct a shelter using a fallen tree. I then showed him how you could baton with a large knife on a small stump. The Kershaw Camp 10 proved very capable at batoning, even with the goofy 1-handed way I have to do it. Throwing on our packs, the boy and I set out on our search for rainwater ponds. Around 1 mile from our camp I spotted a clump of green up a draw in the hillside. Working our way uphill, we soon found ourselves standing next to a 10 foot wide pond of water about 1 foot deep. Since the view was nice, we decided to take a break and have a snack. Pulling out the Kershaw Camp 10 I began to clear out some of the surrounding brush. I was soon reminded why you should always check the full path along your swing. As I was bringing down the Kershaw Camp 10, I snarled my hand in some briars overhead. I was rewarded for my lack of attention with some nice cuts and scratches on my hand and along my forearm. Grabbing the first aid kit out of my pack, I cleaned the cuts and bandaged the worst of them. After a brief break, we packed up our stuff and continued our hike through the hills. Later at our camp I used the Kershaw Camp 10 to cut up some paracord so I could set-up my hammock for a nice nap.
The following week found me driving towards the Chestnut Mountain Proving Grounds for Practice What You Preach XII. Setting up in the rain and mud, I used the Kershaw Camp 10 to clear brush and briars from my campsite. I then headed over to the Woods Monkey Compound to find out the upcoming activities being held. I was happy to hear that there was going to be a chopping contest for knives on the last day there. Until then though, the Kershaw Camp 10 was put to work around the camp. Leaving a new knife in your woodpile is always a good way to get someone to help chop your firewood. Everyone that gave it a go had good things to say about the Kershaw Camp 10. I did find that if I left the Kershaw Camp 10 out overnight the edge would develop some surface rust. The rust was easily removed within a few sessions of chopping, or if wiped down with some form of lubricant. The day of the chopping contest I touched up the edge of the Kershaw Camp 10 the best I could using a small Spyderco ceramic stone. Rules of the contest were fairly simple: Using a blade 10 inches or under, participants had 1 minute to chop as deep as they could in a fallen pine log. Receiving some last minute instruction from fellow Woods Monkey Spen Stelzer (“Be the knife…”), I set off to do battle. Well I’d love to tell you some kind of Cinderella story of how I won, but I’d be lying. That said, the blame is all mine and no fault of the Kershaw Camp 10. A few of my strikes went too wide and missed the mark, costing me time. I did manage to cut 3 3/16th of an inch into the log which put me in third place. Not bad, and not too far behind the 1st place finisher who chopped 3 ¾” of an inch into the log.
As a camp knife, the Kershaw Camp 10 performed solidly. The added heft made it excel in wood splitting and chopping, without having to worry about babying it. The included sheath is excellent and well thought out. The price is amazing for the value you get. Both knifeworks.com and bladehq.com sell the Kershaw Camp 10 for under $40. In my opinion, the Kershaw Camp 10 more than lives up to its name.