Are Camping Knives Legal UK?

Are Camping Knives Legal UK?

13 Jul, 2022

Can I bring knives on camping, hiking and hunting trips?

Is it permissible for me to carry a knife under UK law?

Many outdoor enthusiasts will have such questions. We spend a long time enjoying life when we are outdoors. There are no restaurants or shops so you need to carry tools to help you eat and survive, such as pocket knives.

However, the UK has strict rules about carrying offensive weapons.


Now let's look up the current UK rules for carrying knives:

1. It is illegal to sell any knife to anyone under the age of 18 (cutlery and kitchen knives can be purchased by 16 to 18-year-olds in Scotland)

2. No knives may be carried in public without a valid reason unless the blade of a folding knife is less than 3 inches (7.62cm).

For example, Olight's Parrot Knife complies with this rule, and Swiss Army knives.

It is important to note that a "lock knife" is not a "folding pocket knife" as a lock knife does not have a button, spring or latch for folding. And court cases have ruled that a folding pocket knife "must always be foldable".

3. It is also illegal to carry a knife in a threatening manner, even if it is a legal knife (e.g. Swiss Army knife).


What is a "public place"?

A public place is a place to which anyone can have access. For example, your back garden may or may not be a public place, but it is certain that you will have to pass through a public place to get to your garden every time you go home.


What is a 'good reason' to carry a knife?

If you are charged with carrying a knife illegally, the court will decide whether you have good reason to carry a knife.

If you want to buy a knife for the purpose of removing scales from fish, then you have a good reason to carry a knife. It is also legal to carry a knife if you buy it from a knife shop to go home and do something else on the way (you may be having coffee in a coffee shop etc).

If you still have a knife in your bag until a few days later when you are out and about, then you may be prosecuted.

Another valid reason for carrying a knife can be your job/occupation. If you are a farmer, fisherman, hunter, or scavenger who needs to use a knife in your job, then you can carry a knife when you are working or on your way to work.

Other types of knives that are prohibited

1. Baton

2. Stealth knife

3. Disguised knife

4. Sword

5. zombie knife

There is no complete list of banned items here, you can contact your local police or click here for more information.

Reasonable reasons to carry a camping knife

1. to prepare ingredients

2. to cut ropes

3. to open packages

4. others

For general use, such as removing debris, a small folding knife may useful. This kind of pocket knife is called an EDC, or Every Day Carry, and the EDC is not an offensive weapon. It is just very small and portable. You certainly don't need a 6-inch spring-loaded knife to cut through a roll of bandages.

Good reasons to carry a knife for fishing/hunting

If you are stopped by the police on your way to fishing, the police will check your belongings, such as: fishing rods, reels, and various fishing equipment tools including hooks, lines, and knives. box. In the end they will definitely accept that you have a good reason to carry knives. Because you have shown that you are carrying the knife only as a fishing tool and not for any other purpose.


When fishing, you should keep your knife in a sealed box or bag and only take it out when needed.




You may have a basic understanding of the law after reading the above.

You should know that "I can carry a knife in the following situations":

1. I have a valid reason for using a knife (e.g. I want to go camping, hiking, hunting, fishing, exploring or I want to cut fruit at home) and try not to carry it in other public places.

2. If my occupation is: farmer, fisherman, hunter, scavenger, etc., then my occupation is allowed to have a "good reason" to carry a knife.

3. The folding knife I want to carry must be less than 3 inches.


The above instructions can also be used for bushcraft. If you are a gardener, I believe the above explanation of carrying knives will also be helpful to you. Of course if you need a longer knife, you need to look up the relevant legislation.

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