Pocket knives are some of the most useful tools in a camper's arsenal. A simple cutting blade can be used to prepare food, whittle other tools out of wood, slice ropes and perform many other essential backwoods tasks. Even a small pocket knife is potentially dangerous, however, so it is important to always treat your knife with respect, caution and common sense.
Always take good care of your knife. Not only is a well-maintained knife more useful and easier to use, it is also quite a bit safer. One of the most crucial knife safety practices is to sharpen your pocket knife regularly. A dull knife requires a lot of force to cut through things, which means it is much more likely to slip and cut you or someone else. You should also clean the blade with a cloth before you put it away, and keep it dry at all times. Finally, lubricate your knife hinge with oil, and make sure the hinge is in good working order by gently trying to wiggle the blade. If your knife blade is wobbly, you should either repair or replace it.
A lot of knife handling is common sense, but it is still important to be aware of the knife safely rules. Always cut away from yourself and be sure no one is near enough to be cut accidentally. Never throw your knife unless it is designed for that purpose, and never point it or toss it towards anyone. If your knife falls, move away from it instead of trying to catch it. Whenever you are through using your knife, put it away by either folding it or sheathing it.
Pocket knives are useful and versatile tools, but there are some tasks they simply aren't designed to perform. Never use a knife blade to pry something up. This can cause the blade to snap, sending pieces of sharp metal flying at high speeds. Cutting hard or thick things with your pocket knife is less dangerous, but it can wear out your knife quickly and is slow, frustrating work. If you have to cut through tree branches on your trip, consider bringing a small hatchet or a portable saw with you, in addition to your knife.