Best Camp Cleavers for Cutting, Chopping, and Cooking


Put one of these hardy camp cleavers to use on your next outdoor adventure. They can handle far more than heavy kitchen duty.

Cleavers are usually associated with kitchen use for heavier chores like mincing meat, splitting lobster tails, and handling bone. But these surprisingly versatile knives can prove even more indispensable in the outdoors when camping, backpacking, hunting, and fishing

The best cleavers are crafted out of high-quality steel and ergonomically designed to reduce hand fatigue. Thicker and heavier than other knives, cleavers are built for more forceful chopping and slicing—as well as tackling tougher materials between meals, like wood, tree branches, or rope. The broad blade is optimal for precision tasks, such as filleting fish or skinning game, while its flat, wide surface makes cutting easier and more efficient. 

Related: 7 Knives Every Home Cook Needs

Adding a good cleaver to your outdoor kit lets you tackle numerous tasks with the same single tool. With lots to choose from, finding the perfect one for your needs can take some searching. We’ve pared it down with these superior seven models tailored for myriad outdoor pursuits. Consider making one of these uniquely versatile blades a must-pack on your next off-the-grid adventure.

Best Cleavers for the Outdoors

1. CRKT Razel

Created in collaboration with renowned Tennessee knife maker, Jon Graham, this fixed-blade knife is a pocket powerhouse built to withstand harsh conditions and heavy use. Its unique, squared-off chisel blade provides multi-tool-like qualities that make it your go-to knife for various cutting, scraping, and slicing tasks.

The blade is made from D2 steel, which is rated high for toughness and hardness, and holds an edge well. A resin-infused fiber handle adds both strength and aesthetics, while the pocket carry sheath allows for quick and convenient deployment. For added convenience, Razel also features a lanyard hole.


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2. ESEE Expat CL1

At first glance, CL1 might pass for a traditional kitchen cleaver, but it’s specifically made to be used and abused in the great outdoors. This stout knife packs a powerful punch with its 1095 high-carbon steel blade, stonewashed black oxide finish, and sturdy G10 handles. Whether you’re chopping through a load of kindling or whipping up a feast at the campsite (or both), CL1 is a must-have from start to finish. Stylish and multi-functional, it’s proudly made in the USA and lives up to its investment. 


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3. SOG Stout SJ

Stout SJ is the brainchild of Danish knife designer Mikkel Willumsen and SOG founder Spencer Frazer. Super sturdy and purposefully small, this folding cleaver features a cryogenically heat-treated D2 tool steel blade with a titanium-nitride coating, a stainless-steel frame encasement, and a grippy G10 handle. An ingeniously designed, two-handed slip joint opening mechanism and sub-3-inch blade means it’s travel-friendly and compliant with most knife laws worldwide.


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4. Gerber Tri-Tip

Far more than a kitchen gadget, this versatile mini cleaver is equipped with a robust blade made for cutting and scraping with ease. Built with stonewash-finished 7Cr17MoV steel that offers excellent corrosion and wear resistance, Tri-Tip has a machined aluminum handle (in black or green) with added texture for grip and security, allowing you to work through slippery situations without a hitch.

Orientation options with the multi-mount sheath include tip-down and scout, or a 90-degree angle on your belt. Bonus: A lanyard hole is integrated into the handle. 


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5. Kershaw Strata

Get ready to slice and dice during your next outdoor adventure with this folding cleaver, which combines a hefty, dynamically designed cleaver blade with a sleek, modern package. Crafted from high-quality D2 tool steel, this knife is meant to handle repeated outdoor tasks without losing its sharp edge.

The balanced folder design uses top-of-the-line KVT ball bearings for smooth opening and closing. A G10 handle ensures a confident grip and the deep-pocket clip makes it easy to carry with you wherever you go. Eye-catching bronze PVD spacers and pivot collar add a touch of style.


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6. Spyderco Roc G-10

Custom knifemaker Serge Panchenko created a unique design that combines an unusual cleaver-style blade with a gracefully curved handle. Spyderco’s robust LinerLock mechanism features a concave lock ramp built atop thick liners for added stability. The knife’s stainless-steel liners are skeletonized to keep weight down and simplify cleaning.

The VG-10 stainless steel blade has a low-profile matte gray finish and a high-performance saber grind edge geometry. A section of textured grooves on the spine gives your thumb plenty of grip when chopping or slicing, while the trademark Round Hole in the blade ensures effortless, one-handed opening with either hand. A reversible deep-pocket wire clip allows for both left- and right-side carry.


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7. White River Knives Camp Cleaver

White River’s Camp Cleaver is the ultimate outdoor multi-tool. An excellent choice for any outdoor kitchen tasks, it’s also a hunter’s best friend, designed for effortless cutting, chopping, and even skinning. The ergonomic handle is clad with Micarta scales and boasts a one-of-a-kind modified cleaver blade made with sturdy CPM S35VN steel. A practical hanging loop and stylish leather sheath work together to keep the blade handy while also safe and secure at your side.


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