I have read that California has some of the strictest weapons laws in the US. What types of knives are allowed when camping, hiking, or hunting? What should someone camping in California know before packing a knife?

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I am not a lawyer, or an expert on California knife laws. This post is based on my understanding of state laws both as written, and as summarized by other sites.

This is the summary website that I used to determine what to carry here in southern California.

http://www.ninehundred.net/~equalccw/knifelaw.html#SECTION TWO

It tries to decrypt the legal speak and identify what is exactly allowed. Based on my understanding, there is no length restrictions on folding knifes, as long as they are not considered to be a gravity knife or switchblade. The key point seems to be that there is no mechanical means of opening the blade, and that the blade has a tendency to stay close when in your pocket.

Knives defined as daggers or dirks, must be open-carried and cannot be concealed but there does not seem to be any state wide law restricting size. Be warned, there are local city ordinances which are more strict than state law, and you should look at laws for the specific areas where you will be going as they will likely supersede whatever the state laws are.

  • Great answer, Timothy. Does this mean that in order for me to carry my 6-inch fixed blade while backpacking, I have to carry it in a visible location? (I can't just throw it in my pack?) Oct 7, 2013 at 16:04
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    I'm not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice, but there is precedent which allows for carrying a fixed blade in a backpack. leagle.com/decision/In%20CACO%2020130417044 "The Legislature did not choose either of these alternatives, and for all of the reasons set forth in this opinion, we conclude that "upon the person" does not include a carried or adjacent container, such as the backpack upon which defendant was leaning." Oct 7, 2013 at 17:52
  • You may not be a lawyer, but you are definitely awesome. Thanks, man. Oct 7, 2013 at 18:18

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