Discover the best bushcraft knives of 2023, your trusty companions for rugged journeys. Whether you’re an experienced outdoors enthusiast or new to the world of bushcraft, the right knife can make all the difference.
Dive into our selection of carefully chosen blades, each designed to deliver reliability and practicality. These knives are more than tools, they’re essential bushcraft gear for survival and exploration. Find the essence of the best bushcraft knives and equip yourself for whatever challenges nature throws your way.
What Makes a Bushcraft Knife?
A bushcraft knife is defined by its versatility and essential features tailored for survival in the great outdoors. It’s a tool that is crafted for durability. A bushcraft knife will have a strong and reliable blade, often made from high-carbon steel. Giving it the ability to handle a wide range of tasks from cutting to carving. Its design emphasizes practicality, featuring a comfortable grip and ergonomic handle that enable precise control.
Furthermore, a bushcraft knife typically includes several elements. Starting with full tang construction for added strength, a fixed blade for stability, and a versatile edge that balances between slicing and chopping capabilities. These characteristics collectively make a bushcraft knife an indispensable tool for adventures outdoors.
Bushcraft vs Survival Knife
The distinction between a bushcraft knife and a survival knife lies in their intended purposes and design focus. A bushcraft knife is primarily crafted for wilderness exploration, self-sufficiency, and crafting tasks. It typically features a versatile blade. Often around 4 to 6 inches in length, designed for intricate carving, feathering, and woodwork. The emphasis is on fine motor skills and precision. Making it an essential tool for creating shelter, tools, and traps in a bushcraft setting.
On the other hand, a survival knife is engineered to be an all-around tool for extreme scenarios. It tends to have a sturdier construction with a larger, heavier blade. These blades are usually 6 to 8 inches long. The optimal length for chopping, batoning, and general utility tasks.
While it can still handle carving and crafting to a certain extent, its main focus is on heavy-duty activities. These Include processing firewood, building shelters, and self-defense if needed. Survival knives also often include additional features such as serrated edges, pommel tips for breaking glass, and storage compartments for survival gear.
Long story short, a bushcraft knife excels in fine wilderness skills and crafting. While a survival knife prioritizes overall utility and durability in extreme conditions. The choice between the two depends on the specific needs of your outdoor adventures and the tasks you anticipate encountering.
Best Bushcraft Knives of 2023
To curate our rundown of the 7 best bushcraft knives, we embarked on a thorough assessment. Considering a range of crucial elements. These criteria encompassed price point, craftsmanship, functionality, user reviews, and more. After immersing ourselves in research and sifting through online insights.
1. Morakniv Carbon Steel Fixed-Blade
This knife embodies reliability and strength. The Morakniv Carbon Steel Fixed Blade is ready to tackle your outdoor pursuits with unwavering performance. Whether you’re camping, backpacking, fishing, hiking, or simply seeking survival readiness, this versatile tool is your trusted partner on every adventure.
Designed with a 1/8-inch carbon steel blade, this knife is your steadfast ally in conquering any cutting task. The blade’s black DLC coating not only fends off rust, but also ensures minimal reflections. A detail that will keep you discreet in the wilderness.
The ergonomic polymer handle offers an optimal grip, featuring a soft friction grip and a finger guard for safety. Making it perfect for conditions that are less than ideal.
Practicality is at the forefront with the Morakniv Fixed-Blade Knife. Its protective polymer sheath simplifies maintenance, while the belt clip and loop grant easy access at all times. Specifications like a 4.3-inch blade length, 0.126-inch blade thickness, and a total length of 9.1 inches make it a well-balanced companion. Weighing in at just 5.4 ounces, sheathed and ready, this knife seamlessly blends strength with portability.
2. Gerber Gear Strongarm
Coming in a close second is the Gerber Strongarm Tactical Knife. This bushcraft knife is tailored perfectly for bushcrafters of all levels. Crafted with a full-tang 420HC steel blade, this knife is an epitome of strength and durability. Its plain edge design and ceramic blade coating stand as a testament to its readiness for the harshest conditions.
Engineered as a survival companion, the Strongarm boasts a rubberized diamond texture grip, ensuring a firm hold even in challenging environments. Beyond cutting, this knife doubles as a survival tool with its striking pommel that can break through tough surfaces.. The Strongarm offers four mounting pieces and a sheath adaptable for MOLLE, belt, or drop-leg configurations.
At the core of Gerber’s commitment to quality lies the Strongarm Tactical Knife, backed by a limited lifetime warranty, a promise that echoes the brand’s dedication to enduring excellence. For bushcraft devotees seeking a reliable and rugged companion, the Gerber Strongarm stands as a true testament to functionality, resilience, and preparedness.
3. Ka-Bar Becker BK2
It’s impossible to have a list of best bushcraft knives without including the legendary Ka-Bar brand. The Ka-Bar Becker BK2 Campanion Knife stands as a formidable choice. Engineered with an unwavering commitment to practicality, this carbon steel masterpiece takes outdoor utility to new heights. Whether your heart yearns for camping escapades or the challenges of the wild, the BK2 Campanion is ready to be your steadfast partner.
This iconic knife boasts a 5.25-inch blade. Meticulously crafted with a compound bevel edge, enhancing its cutting precision. The non-slip grip ensures steady handling in any conditions, while the unyielding 1095 carbon steel construction embodies durability that withstands the test of time. Designed with unisex-adult adventurers in mind, this Ka-Bar blade showcases the essence of quality craftsmanship, emanating from its origins in the United States.
From the backcountry to the heart of exploration, the Ka-Bar Becker BK2 Campanion Knife proudly carries the legacy of excellence. Promising an enduring journey with every hand-washed stroke.
4. Cold Steel Finn Wolf
As the first non-fixed blade knife on our list, the Folding Bushcraft Knife by Cold Steel emerges as a true gem. Carrying the ethos of adaptability in its design, this folding knife is the perfect balance between portability and functionality. Weighing a mere 3.4 ounces, it epitomizes lightweight convenience without compromising on sturdy performance.
Crafted with precision, the blade showcases a thickness of 3mm and a length of 3-1/2 inches, bearing the mark of Japanese AUS8A Stainless steel, a testament to its durability and corrosion resistance. What sets this folding knife apart is its straight back blade shape, meticulously designed for optimal control and versatile utility. The 4-3/8″ Griv-Ex handle in OD Green not only ensures a secure grip but also embraces the essence of durability and ruggedness, a hallmark of bushcraft tools.
Unfurling to an overall length of 8-3/8 inches, this folding knife boasts the Tri-Ad Lock, signifying steadfast security during usage. Whether you’re carving, feathering, or navigating the wilderness, this Cold Steel creation is engineered to adapt seamlessly to your bushcraft needs. As the perfect fusion of form and function, this folding bushcraft knife is ready to accompany you on every adventure.
5. Fieldcraft Knife by B.O.B
The Fieldcraft Knife, a creation born from the expertise of The Brothers of Bushcraft, embodies the essence of wilderness living skills cultivated across North America. This coalition of skilled individuals is dedicated to sharing their vast knowledge, catering to people of all ages and backgrounds, while drawing experiences from diverse environments like rainforests, deserts, and northern lands.
Measuring a total of 10 inches, with a 4 1/2-inch blade, the Fieldcraft Knife stands as a compact yet remarkably versatile tool. Crafted from 1095 High Carbon steel with a 3/16″ thickness, its modified Scandinavian Grind cutting edge excels in carving, skinning, and woodland tasks. With a rockwell hardness of 56-58, the blade’s enduring sharpness is a testament to its craftsmanship.
The canvas Micarta handle, marked by thoughtful design, offers superior ergonomics and practical features. The bow drill divot ensures efficient fire-starting, while “Thumb Scallops” enhance comfort and control during specialized grips. The exposed pommel, both resilient and functional, incorporates a specially designed scraper for Ferro rod striking. Encased in a durable Kydex sheath with a steel belt clip, this knife ensures safe and secure carry options, even doubling as a minimalist survival kit.
Endorsed by renowned survival experts and having endured rigorous testing, the Fieldcraft Knife shines as a steadfast companion for wilderness adventures, from intricate carving to demanding chopping tasks.
6. BS1FT Compact Camping Knife
The BS1FT Compact Camping Knife is the most affordable bushcraft knife to grace our list. Its Scandi grind blade is forged from durable high carbon steel 1066, hardened to 56-57 HRC, and arrives razor sharp out of the box. Immediately ready for drilling, cutting, and piercing tasks.
Safety and convenience are paramount, as this knife features a secure leather sheath with a belt loop for vertical carrying, suitable for everyday carrying (EDC). The compact design boasts a 3.7-inch drop point blade and an overall length of 7.9 inches, making it easy to carry in a backpack, bag, or survival kit. With dimensions that perfectly balance functionality and portability, it weighs just 80 grams (2.8 oz.) and 100 grams (3.5 oz.) with the sheath.
The BS1FT Compact Camping Knife is not only a practical tool but also an excellent gift choice for fishing, hunting, and camping enthusiasts. Its quality craftsmanship, sharp blade, and affordable price make it an essential companion for those who love spending time outdoors.
7. BeaverCraft Bushcraft Knife
Rounding out our list is the BeaverCraft Bushcraft Knife. An exceptional tool tailored for outdoor enthusiasts seeking crafted quality. Designed with meticulous attention to detail, this knife boasts a formidable blade made from 1066 high-carbon steel. Ensuring unparalleled strength, resilience, and enduring sharpness.
The sleek black oxide coating not only adds a touch of elegance but also shields the blade from rust and corrosion, prolonging its lifespan and effectiveness in various conditions.
What sets this campcraft knife apart is its hollow grind. Combined with the compact design, it creates effortless cutting and performance. The full-tang construction guarantees remarkable strength, balance, and stability. Making it an indispensable tool for a range of outdoor tasks.
Whether you’re hiking, camping, or exploring the wilderness, the included genuine leather sheath with a suspension system ensures secure and convenient carrying of this EDC fixed blade knife. The snap closure provides quick access to the knife whenever needed.
One standout feature is the striking backside, allowing you to effortlessly create sparks by striking a flint rod. This added capability transforms this lightweight survival knife into an invaluable fire-starting tool, enhancing your preparedness during outdoor excursions.
How to Choose a Bushcraft Knife
Choosing the right bushcraft knife is a crucial decision for outdoor enthusiasts and survivalists alike. A well-selected knife can become an indispensable tool in the wilderness, aiding in tasks such as shelter building, food preparation, and self-defense. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you choose the perfect bushcraft knife:
Blade material plays a significant role in determining the quality and performance of a bushcraft knife. Different materials offer varying levels of durability, edge retention, ease of sharpening, and corrosion resistance.
When choosing a bushcraft knife, considering the blade material is crucial to ensure the knife can withstand the demands of outdoor use and provide optimal functionality. The top three materials for bushcraft knife blades are:
1. High Carbon Steel (e.g., 1095):
Pros: High carbon steel blades are known for their excellent edge retention and ease of sharpening. They can achieve a razor-sharp edge and maintain it through various tasks.
Cons: They are susceptible to corrosion and require proper care and maintenance to prevent rust.
Best For: Those who prioritize edge performance and are willing to perform routine maintenance to prevent corrosion.
2. Stainless Steel (e.g., 440C, VG-10):
Pros: Stainless steel blades are corrosion-resistant, making them ideal for wet and humid environments. They require less maintenance than high carbon steel blades.
Cons: Stainless steel blades can be more challenging to sharpen compared to high carbon steel blades. They may not hold an edge as long.
Best For: Those who want a low-maintenance option for various outdoor conditions.
3. Tool Steel (e.g., O1, A2):
Pros: Tool steel blades strike a balance between high carbon and stainless steel. They offer good edge retention, durability, and moderate corrosion resistance.
Cons: They may require more effort to sharpen compared to stainless steel blades.
Best For: Individuals seeking a balance between edge retention and corrosion resistance.
Ultimately, the choice of blade material depends on your specific preferences and the conditions you’ll encounter during your bushcraft activities. Some users prioritize edge performance and are willing to put in the effort for maintenance, while others value corrosion resistance and low maintenance. Evaluating the pros and cons of different blade materials will help you select the one that aligns with your needs and preferences for a reliable and functional bushcraft knife.
Different blade designs are optimized for specific tasks and purposes, and choosing the right design can greatly enhance your ability to perform various outdoor tasks effectively. The best blade design for a bushcraft knife is often considered to be the “Drop Point” design.
- Versatility – Blade design determines the tasks a knife excels at. A well-designed blade can handle a range of activities such as carving, cutting, slicing, and even light chopping, making it a versatile tool for bushcraft and survival situations.
- Control – Blade geometry affects how well you can control the knife during intricate tasks. A good design provides optimal balance, allowing for precise cuts and controlled movements.
- Strength – The blade’s shape and thickness impact its strength and ability to withstand stress. The right design can resist breakage during tough tasks.
- Ease of Sharpening – Certain designs are easier to sharpen than others. A well-designed blade can be sharpened quickly and maintain its edge longer.
Blade length is a crucial consideration when selecting a bushcraft knife, as it directly impacts the knife’s versatility and its ability to perform a range of tasks effectively. The length of the blade affects the knife’s performance in various bushcraft activities, from carving and batoning to food preparation and shelter building. Here’s why blade length matters in the context of bushcraft:
- Task Flexibility – A longer blade offers more versatility for tasks that require slicing, chopping, or batoning. It provides a greater cutting surface, making it easier to process wood for fires, construct shelters, and create tools. On the other hand, a shorter blade excels at detailed tasks like carving and fine cutting, providing better control and precision.
- Efficiency and Speed – When working on larger projects, such as shelter construction, a longer blade can help you make quicker and more efficient progress. It requires fewer strokes to accomplish tasks like notching or shaping wood, saving time and energy.
- Safety and Control – Shorter blades offer increased control and are less likely to slip or make unintended cuts. For intricate tasks that require delicate handling, a shorter blade allows for greater precision and reduces the risk of accidents.
- Portability and Comfort – Smaller blades are more compact and easier to carry, making them convenient for everyday use and when you’re on the move. They’re also less likely to get in the way or become a burden during extended periods of use.
Full Tang vs Partial Tang
The distinction between full tang and partial tang knives lies in the construction of the blade and handle, with significant implications for their performance, durability, and suitability for bushcraft activities. Full tang knives feature a blade that extends the entire length of the handle, while partial tang knives have a blade that only extends partway into the handle, often secured with adhesives or fasteners.
In bushcraft, the choice between full tang and partial tang knives is crucial due to the demanding and often rugged nature of outdoor tasks. Full tang knives are favored for their superior strength and resilience. The uninterrupted blade-to-handle construction provides excellent durability, ensuring that the knife can withstand heavy use, batoning, and other robust activities without risk of the blade detaching from the handle. This enhanced structural integrity makes full tang knives more reliable in challenging wilderness conditions.
On the other hand, partial tang knives are generally less robust and are more suitable for lighter tasks. While they might be sufficient for occasional camp tasks, they are less dependable for more demanding bushcraft tasks that involve heavy chopping or splitting wood. Partial tang knives are more prone to breakage, which could prove problematic in critical survival situations.
In the realm of bushcraft, where tools need to perform under tough conditions, full tang knives offer the reliability and sturdiness needed to tackle a wide range of tasks effectively. Choosing a full tang knife ensures that you have a durable and dependable tool that can stand up to the rigors of bushcrafting, providing both safety and confidence in the great outdoors.
Fixed vs Folding Knives
The choice between a fixed blade and a folding knife is pivotal when selecting a bushcraft knife. Fixed blades excel in durability, strength, and simplicity due to their full-tang construction, offering superior performance for heavy-duty tasks like wood splitting and shelter building. Their absence of moving parts enhances reliability in rugged environments.
Conversely, folding knives prioritize portability and are versatile for everyday tasks, but may compromise on robustness. For serious bushcraft endeavors demanding dependable cutting, chopping, and carving, a fixed blade proves essential. The decision hinges on the user’s intended usage, with fixed blades prevailing for uncompromised wilderness performance.
Check out our guide for a more in depth look at the benefits and drawbacks of fixed blades versus folding knives.
Handle Material and Design
The choice of handle material and design significantly influences the performance and usability of bushcraft knives. Handle material impacts grip, comfort, durability, and maintenance. Materials like Micarta, G-10, rubber, and high-quality polymers offer secure grips even in wet conditions and resist wear. Proper insulation is essential for extreme temperatures.
Handle design, including ergonomics and shape, ensures comfortable handling during various bushcraft tasks, accommodating different grips and reducing hand fatigue. Additionally, a well-designed handle enhances control and precision for tasks like carving and cutting.
Both factors contribute to a reliable and efficient tool that can withstand the rigors of outdoor environments, providing bushcraft enthusiasts with a comfortable, safe, and effective instrument for wilderness survival and activities.
Higher-priced bushcraft knives often offer superior quality compared to their lower-priced counterparts. These knives are typically crafted from premium materials, including high-quality blade steels and durable handle materials, resulting in better edge retention, corrosion resistance, and overall longevity. The craftsmanship of higher-priced knives is often more refined, with attention to detail in design, ergonomics, and fit and finish.
While higher-priced knives certainly offer enhanced features and performance, it’s worth noting that quality can still be found among affordable options. Many lower-priced bushcraft knives are designed to provide reliable functionality for outdoor enthusiasts on a budget. These knives may not have all the premium bells and whistles, but they can still perform well for basic bushcraft tasks.
Investing in a more expensive bushcraft knife can be a prudent choice for those who anticipate frequent and rigorous use. These knives are built to withstand the challenges of outdoor environments and often come with better warranties and customer support. However, for those who are just getting started or have more occasional needs, a lower-priced knife can still be a valuable tool without breaking the bank. The key is to balance your budget with your intended use and the level of quality you’re seeking in a bushcraft knife.
Remember that the best bushcraft knife varies depending on individual preferences and needs. Prioritize a knife that feels comfortable in your hand and suits your intended outdoor activities. Conduct thorough research, read reviews, and if possible, try out different options to find the bushcraft knife that will be your trusted companion in the great outdoors.
Important Knife Safety Tips
Handling a bushcraft knife requires careful attention to safety. Here are three essential tips to ensure safe knife usage in the wilderness:
- Proper Grip and Posture – Always hold the knife with a firm and secure grip. Use the appropriate grip for the task at hand, whether it’s a standard grip for general cutting or a choke-up grip for finer work. Maintain a stable stance and posture while using the knife to prevent accidental slips or injuries. Keep your fingers away from the blade’s edge and avoid placing any body part in the path of the blade.
- Knife Awareness – Be aware of your surroundings and the knife’s position at all times. Avoid distractions while using the knife and never engage in activities that might compromise your focus. Maintain a safe distance from others while using the knife to prevent accidental contact. When handing off the knife to someone else, always offer it with the handle first, ensuring that the blade is visible and facing away from both you and the recipient.
- Safe Cutting Techniques – Employ proper cutting techniques to minimize the risk of accidents. Cut away from your body, keeping the blade pointed away from you and others. Utilize controlled, deliberate motions and avoid overexerting force, which can lead to loss of control. Use a stable cutting surface and make sure the surface is secure before beginning your cuts. When not in use, store the knife in a sheath or protective cover to prevent unintentional contact and ensure safe transport.
By adhering to these safety tips, you can enjoy the benefits of a bushcraft knife while minimizing the potential for accidents and injuries.