How To Use A Camping Can Opener

How To Use A Camping Can Opener
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Canned foods are a part of camping and a source of food outdoors. The sealed lids of these cans give you a hard time when you try to open them. For that, you need to include a can opener in your camping gear. However, like your other essentials, the can opener needs to be robust and durable. That is why they come in various sizes, styles, and designs. So, it would be best if you learned how to use a camping can opener. 

Types Of Can Openers

You will find several types of can openers in the market. Each can opener has its pros and cons. So, it would help if you understood which can opener will befit you for camping. 

Regular Can Openers

Regular Can Openers are the traditional can openers with handles and blades only. You have to use them manually to open a can. These can openers are not usually designed for left-handed people. Also, they are not robust or sturdy. You can use them at home, but for camping, you might require a durable can opener.

However, you can find some high-quality regular can openers too. But, they are not mostly safe. If you are taking a separate box for tools, then you can put it in it. Otherwise, the blade can make holes in your backpack. 

Despite the downside, they are handy and useful. These are light in weight and help with many things. So, if you are looking for relaxed camping rather than a survival camping, take it with you.   

Multi-function Tools

Multi-functional tools are quite famous among the campers. You can use them for multiple activities as they come with all advance and necessary tools. Some of the tools included in multi-functional devices are screwdriver, blades, knives, bottle openers, and can openers. 

Multi-tools come in a different style; most of them are foldable. They construct with high-quality material and are quite reliable. You can use them in emergencies and survive through tough times. However, they also come with some limitations.

Foldable multi-tools mostly have a locking mechanism to secure the tools. But, if the locking mechanism fails, the blades and knives can release from the multi-tool. Then, they can cut through your supplies or cause injuries to you. That is why, if you want to bring a multi-tool with you, do check its locking mechanism.

Military Can Openers

Military Can Openers are robust, handy, and part of a survival kit. They have a minimalistic and simple design, and both right-handed and left-handed people can use them. The original model consists of only blades, but now, you can find many variations in its style.

They are straightforward and only work as a can opener. However, you can use military can openers for something else too, where they deem fit. It exists as a blade that comes out from a large tab. You can also use them as screwdrivers, due to their sturdiness. 

They are small and easy to use. You can easily hang these in a keychain by making a hole in can openers. For those campers who love doing survival camping, a military can opener is a great companion. You can secure it to your belt loop or backpack. Moreover, modern models do have some other uses as well.

Swiss Army Knife Can Opener

Swiss Army Knife is one of the popular items to take with you on camping. That is because they are a multi-purpose tool and have many handy tools. Primarily, they are not a can opener, but a can opener is part of these tools. They have a bottle opener and can opener as one of their essential tools.

Swiss Army knives have many useful tools that are perfect for camping. That is why most of the campers make it a part of their camping gear. However, you must know that despite their resourcefulness, they also have some downsides. They are quite expensive as well as heavyweight. Also, due to many tools, some of them might not even function properly. 

Therefore, if you plan to take a Swiss knife with you, check its performance first. 

Steps: How To Use A Camping Can Opener

How to use a camping can opener is easier than you think. Whichever can opener you choose; the necessary steps would remain the same to use it. Follow these steps, and you can be a pro at opening cans.

Step 1

Firstly, you have to grab the can opener from its flat side. Try to avoid holding it from the blade’s side, as it can cut your hand. Also, you have to place your index finger with a technique. Keep your forefinger in a position that fit between the flat side and the back of the blade.

Moreover, you must know that most of the can openers are for right-handed people. So, if you use your left hand, be careful. You can try to open the can with the right hand. But, if you are not comfortable, then avoid using it, or find a can opener for left-handed people. Otherwise, you can cut your hand or fingers with the blade. 

Step 2

The can opener will be in your right hand. Now, you have to hold the can with your left hand. You should keep it tightly, or else you can miss the aim. Any casualty can happen if the grip loosens up on the can. Like, you can injure your hand, or the can might slip and topple over somewhere.

Step 3

Now, place the can opener over the can. You have to put the flat surface and your thumb at the right angle to the rim of the can. That is because you have to point the blade on the inner edge of the can. Hence, set the blade where you want to open the can. The blade should rest on the inner edge of the can.

Step 4

Now, it is time to insert the blade in the can. To insert the blade, turn your right hand (holding the can opener) downward. Turn it the same way as when you start a car and turn the key in the ignition. That way, the blade will go inside the can.

Step 5

Now, you have to open the entire top of the can. For that, keep moving your right hand downward. You have to maintain the pace and keep turning the can opener like a key.

Step 6

So far, you would have made a large enough hole in the can. To open the can further, move your left hand anti-clockwise. So, your right hand can move along and open the sealed edges of the can.

Step 7

Keep repeating the movements; keep turning the hand, and can opener. Do not take away your hands from the can until you cut the top entirely. 

Step 8

Now, you can enjoy your food from the can. Remove the lid carefully due to its serrated edges. Also, empty the can and put the top inside it, and discard it immediately to be safe. Lastly, clean the can opener and then fold it back. Store the can opener at a safe place.

Tips For Using A Camping Can Opener

A can opener has a sharp blade that can cut or cause injuries. You have to use a camping can opener with precaution.

  • Many camping can openers have eyelets in them. You can put a string through it to attach the can opener to your supplies. However, do not forget to fold the blade or sharp side of the can opener. Also, avoid touching the blade for your safety.
  • Once you have opened the can, separate the top with care. The edges of the lid are razor-sharp, and it can cut you.

How To Prevent Can Opener Failures

Sometimes, when you are using a camping can opener, it stops in the middle. That can happen due to the uneven edges of the rim of the can. For that, you should follow these guidelines:

  1. If the can opener stuck somewhere, release your hold.
  2. Then, put the blade against the last cut you made.
  3. Once again, take the same position as before. Keep your hands firm and set them to open the can.
  4. Now, try to start cutting the top again.
  5. Repeat your movements until you reach the area that you got stuck at before.
  6. When you reach the place that caused trouble, try again to cut through it.
  7. If the can opener does not work and the top does not cut, then use another method. Try to use a dinner knife and open it enough to take out the food from the can.
  8. If it happens quite a few times, it would mean that your can opener has a problem. Then, you will have to buy a new can opener.


While camping, you learn many new things and have new experiences. That is the beauty of living in the wild. Opening cans that seemed hard at home becomes a routine during camping. Now, you know how to use a camping can opener, then get one and start opening cans.

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I am Steve Hudson. I write about Fishing, Climbing, Hiking, Backpacking and Camping here at Living Ambition.

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