Is your old knife dull and in need of replacement? Maybe you are looking for your first bushcraft knife. Whatever your situation, you know having the best bushcraft knife is extremely helpful outdoors as they are sharp, light and can be used on many objects.
A bushcraft knife is the smallest and most portable cutting tool. It is very convenient to bring into the wilderness. It can be used for protection, for the building of a temporary shelter and for the preparation of animals for food as well as for making makeshift tools. A good bushcraft knife has multiple functions. Arming yourself with information about bushcraft knives will help you in choosing the right multifunctional knife.
With that, we are going to dive into some information about bushcraft knives, what you should look for, and then give you some reviews of such knives that are on the market and considered some of the best out there. Are you ready to shop for a new knife for your next outdoor adventure? Let’s go!
|Product Name||Weight||Blade Length||Material||Specific Features||Price|
|Spyderco G-10||7.75 oz||4 inches||Steel||Thumb hole, 0.14 inch thickness||Check price on Amazon|
|Morakniv Tactical||5.75 oz||4.3 inches||Carbon steel||0.12 inch thickness, DLC coating||Check price on Amazon|
|Helle Temagami||3 oz||3.5 inches||Stainless steel||Curly Birch handle, 0.11 inch thickness||Check price on Amazon|
|F1 Survival||6 oz||3.8 inches||Laminated steel||Thermorun handle, 0.15 inch thickness||Check price on Amazon|
|Esee -3 G10||7.4 oz||4.5 inches||Carbon steel||G10 handle, 9 inches overall||Check price on Amazon|
|Ka-Bar Becker BK2||16 oz||5.25 inches||Carbon steel||Ultramid handle, 0.25 inch thick||Check price on Amazon|
|Condor Bushlore||7 oz||4.3 inches||Carbon steel||Convex grind, micarta handle||Check price on Amazon|
|Benchmade Bushcrafter||0.7 oz||4.4 inches||Stainless steel||Reliable, G10 handle||Check price on Amazon|
Things to Consider Before Buying
Below, you are going to learn about the parts of the knife, the materials used to make them and some important terms you should know about before you go shopping. Now, let’s learn about bushcraft knives before we review them!
Parts of a Knife
Being able to identify the parts of a knife can aid you in your search for one. Bushcraft knives are composed of two main parts: the blade and the handle. Blades are mostly made of steel. The cutting edge of the blade is known as the bevel. Opposite the bevel is the spine of the knife.
How far the knife is buried in the handle is referred to as the tang. The handle is the part of the knife you grip or hold in your hand. The choil is the small flat piece of blade where it meets the handle. The butt end of the knife is referred to simply as the butt or the pommel.
As the name suggests, stainless steel is an alloy that is durable and resistant to rust. This resistance was achieved by the addition of chromium to the steel alloy. Although the presence of chromium decreases the chances of corrosion of the knife blade, it also decreases the strength of the knife. Stainless steel blades are soft and quick to dull.
Stainless steel knives are ideal for use in areas with high humidity or areas near the beach. Their resistance to rust makes them last longer in these regions. Proper care and maintenance should still be observed because prolong exposure to water could still corrode the blade.
This is the most commonly used alloy in making knives. Compared to stainless steel, carbon steel is easier to process and is more readily available. Carbon steel knives are strong and they do not dull quickly, they can also be sharpened to your liking.
They double as a flint in case one is not around. One drawback is that it is very prone to rusting. Proper maintenance such as the application of oil must be conducted daily when exposure to humidity is unavoidable.
Steel laminates are a combination of stainless steel and carbon steel wherein carbon steel is sandwiched between two layers of stainless steel. This steel is more expensive compared to either the carbon or stainless steel. However, laminated steel employs the strength and resiliency of carbon steel and the rust resistant qualities of stainless steel for a high-performing blade.
The strength of knife blades can be measured by using the Rockwell hardness scale. The Rockwell scale designates the letter C as its unit for testing the quality of the knives. The higher the RC scale, the harder is the knife.
Standard RC scale for knives is between 56 and 64. A knife with a low RC scale is flexible, but dulls easily while a knife with higher RC scale will keep its edge or sharpness longer but it is more prone to breakage.
Handles and their materials should also be looked at when purchasing a knife. The form or the design of a handle plays an important role since it should provide maximum comfort. A good handle should be able to retain a good grip in wet or dry conditions.
Bushcrafting knives should have no upper guard for greater freedom of movement when whittling or carving wood. The handle can be made of two types of materials: natural materials and synthetic materials.
Synthetic Materials – Rubber, nylon, Kraton, Micarta and plastic. The durability of synthetic materials can be attributed to their inability to absorb water or moisture. Synthetic handles do not soften, rot or change shape; however, some of them (nylon and plastic) cannot tolerate heat and would melt when exposed to high temperatures.
Micarta handles are the most durable, they do not absorb moisture and they are heat resistant. Another type of synthetic material is a paracord wrapped around the handle. These are beautiful and they come in different colors and designs, but they are difficult to clean due to their fibrous nature.
Natural Materials – Wood handles are quite famous and are even manufactured in big bulks. Wood handles are quite comfortable and durable. Space for the tang can be carved in the wood and then the pieces are glued together. Other materials such as leather and ivory are stacked together to form a handle. Natural materials require oiling and polishing to prevent warping and to protect against moisture.
The sheath protects the knife and the bearer. Sheaths are also made from a variety of materials. Like handle and blades the sheath that comes with your knife should be suited to the weather and climatic conditions of your location. Staying in a humid area, one must purchase synthetic materials that cannot be permeated by moisture.
The design of a knife’s bevel is called the knife grind. The shape and form of the blade affect its cutting ability. The grind of a knife determines its best use. It can tell so much about a knife. Four types of grinds are used in commonly manufactured knives: convex grind, sabre grinds, scandi grind and hollow grind.
The Convex Grind – This grind has a rounded blade that ends in a very sharp point. This grind has a strong edge because the knife has more metal on its edge. It is more commonly used in axes and tomahawks, than in knives. The convex grind is challenging to sharpen. Sandpaper and mouse pads are used to maintain the curved shape.
The Sabre Grind – This grind has a primary bevel and a secondary bevel that is actually the blade of the knife. The most commonly manufactured knives have this bevel. Sharpening this knife is relatively easy. It is done by holding the knife at an angle similar to the angle of the blade edge as it is pushed against the whetstone. The only challenge when sharpening this knife is finding the right angle to maximize the capacity of the blade.
The Scandi Grind – This one is the easiest to sharpen. It is so called because of its popularity in Scandinavian communities. It is also referred to as the wedge grind because of its unique shape. The knife consists of only one bevel. Sharpening this knife is relatively easy, you just lay it flat against a whetstone.
The Hollow Grind – The least commonly-used grind. The upper portion of the blade is concave, resulting in less metal on the blade. Knives with this grind are very light and thin thus they are also weaker. Sharpening of this knife is similar to sabre.
Blades can be fixed or folded. Fixed blades are best used as bushcraft knives. Unlike folding knives, the fixed blade knives are sturdier and less prone to breakage. Fixed blades can also be used even after the handle has been damaged.
There are two types of knife edges, the straight edge and the serrated edge. Straight edged knives are highly recommended for bushcrafting because they are more accurate when performing tasks and they are easier to sharpen. There are also bushcraft knives that have both the straight edge and the serrated edge.
The tang is the steel portion that is buried inside the handle. The handle is screwed or glued to the tang. The length and the type of the tang determine the durability and strength of the knife. Like grinds, there are also many different types of tangs but 5 of them are commonly used for bushcraft knives: Full Tang, Skeletonised Tang, Partial Tang, Narrow Tang and Stick Tang.
Full tang – This is the most durable type. The width of a full tang knife is similar to that of the blade all throughout the length of the knife. The full tang knife is also heavy as compared knives of the same length but with different tangs.
Skeletonised tang – This type is a little bit like the full tang, but some portions found beneath the handle have been cut to produce a much lighter knife.
Partial tang – This tang is used in commonly-produced bushcraft knives. They can be depended upon for most bushcraft works.
Narrowing tang – This tang is named so because it slowly narrows or decreases in size as it approaches the butt of the knife.
Stick tang – This tang is a thinner piece of steel, it is uniform in size and reaches the butt of the handle.
Best Products on Today’s Market
Choosing a bushcraft knife becomes difficult because of the almost limitless choices available. Here are some options for you to choose from.
Price: Approx. $210
Weight: 7.75 oz
Dimensions: 12.8 x 3.8 x 2 inches
Specific features: 8.75 inches overall, G10 handle, 0.14 inches thick
Best use: Slicing, chopping, whittling
Description: High functionality and amazing strength is the cornerstone of Spyderco knives. The blade is made of high carbon steel thus it can keep its razor sharp edge. Equipped with a thumb hole, the Spyderco Bushcraft Knife is very comfortable to grip.
This knife has a full tang construction, thus it can take a beating in the field. It has been tested on tough jobs like whittling and splitting woods. The Spyderco bushcraft knife is easy to sharpen. Its great versatility makes it ideal to bring for camping, hunting and bushcraft.
The blade is of a Scandinavian grind and has a high carbon edge retention. With a comfortable handle, this knife is easy to use and appears like a traditional bushcraft knife would. The 4 inch blade is razor sharp, so it can cut through any game or help you slice anything you need while in the wilderness hunting, camping, or roughing it.
- Comfortable grip
- Includes leather sheath
- Made of high quality materials
- Can get scratched
- Uneven grind
- Quite pricey
Related: To learn all you need to know about bushcraft knives, you can read Bushcraft 101: A Field Guide to the Art of Wilderness Survival. This is a New York Times bestseller that gives you many survival skills in the wilderness.
Price: Approx. $40
Weight: 5.75 oz
Dimensions: 2 x 2 x 10 inches
Specific features: Made of high carbon steel, 4.3 inch blade length, 0.12 inches thick
Best use: Slicing, game processing
Description: The Morakniv Bushcraft Carbon Knife is one of the most robust knives. It has a thick carbon blade that has been treated with tungsten DLC coating that protects against rust and corrosion.
Made from high carbon steel, the knife sharpens easily and is very tough. Scandi grind allows the knife to bite into the surface without getting stuck. High friction rubber grip gives a feeling of control in both wet and dry instances.
This comes with a plastic sheath and a belt loop. Like all Mora knives, the bushcraft carbon knife is durable and stable. The tip can double as a drill or a can opener.
This knife comes with a plastic sheath for easy storage and it has a belt loop so that you can keep it right at your hip. With a Limited Lifetime Warranty, you can expect a high quality product.
Made in Sweden, this knife has a higher edge angle so you don’t have to worry about being gentle with it. This knife can withstand some rough treatment.
- Easy to clean and store
- Made with thick carbon
- Razor sharp, easy to carve with
- Sheath is plastic
- Can corrode over time if not cleaned properly
- Not sharp enough for some users
Related: While outdoors, you may need a way to start a fire. The Light My Fire Fire Starter and Whistle is a fire starter that comes with an emergency whistle for under $15. It will last up to 12,000 strikes and can be used as an emergency flare.
Price: Approx. $180
Weight: 3 oz
Dimensions: 2.9 x 2.9 x 10.8 inches
Specific features: Curly birch handle, 0.11 inch thickness, 8 inches long overall
Best use: Hunting, camping
Description: The Helle Temagami Knife has been crafted and hand honed for incredible sharpness and durability. The knife has a sleek design. Its blade is made of three layer stainless steel laminates for strength and toughness.
Described as the beauty and brawn of knives, the Helle Temagami is versatile and can cover almost any task in the wilderness. The handle is curly birch and it has a finger guard that helps prevent accidents. It comes with a pouch sheath to help keep the knife in place when it is not in use.
Great for all kinds of activities, you will love this knife. You can carve, baton, and process game among other things successfully. While it is a little on the pricey side, this knife is durable, strong, and easy to grip.
Overall, this is a nice bushcraft knife that can be used in various situations safely. We would definitely recommend it.
- Finger guard
- Durable and strong
- Comes with sheath made of leather
- Quite expensive
- Can chip
- Can rust
Related: The The Friendly Swede Survival Pod is a pack of accessories that you can use in an emergency situation outdoors. Under $20, this pack consists of paracord, a compass, a whistle, safety pins, emergency blanket and tons more.
Price: Approx. $130
Weight: 6 oz
Dimensions: 2 x 2 x 10 inches
Specific features: Thermorun handle, made of laminated steel, 3.8 inch blade length
Best use: Carving, game processing
Description: The F1 Survival Knife is one of the highly competitive knives being made. Laminated VG10 steel blade gives this knife impeccable strength. The knife has a plain edge, a flat grind, and a drop point and razor sharpness. It is portable, though, and suited to almost any task.
This knife has been tested in the coldest of winter days and the hottest of the summer days and it’s able to withstand the weather. It’s safe, has a nice design and is used by the Swedish Air Force for survival situations. Easy to grip, this knife is simple to use and can be easily put in the leather sheath for later use.
While this knife is a little expensive, this knife is advanced and worth the price as it cuts through game with razor sharpness. You can keep this knife with you for everyday use as its great for many reasons, from trimming to cutting wood for kindling to processing game.
- Comes with leather sheath
- Durable and strong
- Great length with thumb hole
- Quite pricey
- Should be a little bigger
Related: Keep your knife sharp with the Fallkniven Knives Sharpening Stone. It has a leather case to store and is made of diamond and ceramic whetstone, costing under $20.
Price: Approx. $120
Weight: 7.4 oz
Dimensions: 2 x 1 x 9 inches
Specific features: 4.5 inches blade length, 9 inches overall length, G10 handle
Best use: Hunting, game processing, carving
Description: The ESEE 3 G-10 Knife is a military grade knife. The 1095 carbon steel makes the knife rugged and tough. Equipped with a Micarta handle, this knife has become a favorite for bushcraft. All this comes with a sharpened glass breaker pommel and a high-quality sheath.
Made with great quality materials in the USA, this blade contains ridges to get a good cut into whatever you are using it for. Highly reliable, this knife is great for everyday use and will hold up over time. We were surprised at how well made both the knife and sheath are.
On the higher end of the price range, this knife has been field tested to ensure that it’s reliable, cuts well and stays sharp over time. Furthermore, we can freely say that the knife will look like new months after purchasing it. Overall, this is a great knife you should look into if you have the money and want something that will last a long time and holds up in any weather.
- Nice sheath
- Razor sharp
- Holds up over time
- Only comes in black
Related: If you want to clip your knife and sheath onto your, using the ESEE -3 Black Sheath with Clip Plate will help. It’s field tested, reliable and made in the USA.
Price: Approx. $85
Weight: 16 oz
Dimensions: 18 x 5 x 5 inches
Specific features: 0.25 inch thickness, 5.25 inches blade, Ultramid handle
Best use: Processing game, cutting kindling
Description: The Ka-Bar Becker BK2 Companion Knife is a model best suited for the hard-core survivalist. It is considered the heavy weight of the group at one full pound. Made from 1085 carbon steel, the knife is strong and durable.
This full tang, plain edge knife is mounted in a black Grivory handle that provides additional balance. This knife is versatile, it can split wood, skin game, prepare fire logs and even chop some fruits and vegetables.
With a 10.5 inch blade, this knife is long enough to cut deeply into game as you process it. It’s tough and can handle most anything outdoors with ease. Perfect for your next outdoor adventure, this knife has a nice grip, a razor sharp blade and is great for everyday use.
Made in New York, this bushcraft knife comes with a nylon sheath that has a hard shell for storing when not in use. We like this knife because its so heavy duty and can be used effortlessly.
- Made in the USA, New York
- Includes nylon sheath
- Heavy duty, for everyday use
- Edges are not ground well
- Too blunt
- Poor handle
Related: If you need a new handle, consider the Ka-Bar Becker Knife Handles which are under $50 and come in a 2 piece set that you put together. They are easy to install and made of Micarta and fit larger knives.
Price: Approx. $50
Weight: 7 oz
Dimensions: 10.5 x 3.5 x 1.8 in
Specific features: Micarta handle, 1/8 inch blade thickness, 9 5/16 inches long
Best use: Hunting in wet weather, wood work
Description: The Condor Bushlore Tool Knife Bushlore Knife is a full tang, 1075 carbon model. Its blade is razor sharp and thick. Equipped with a Micarta handle the knife can be gripped easily even when wet.
The convex grind provides the knife with more edge strength, sharpness retention and cutting efficiency. Blasted satin finish makes the knife more appealing.
You can expect a lot out of this knife as it is incredibly durable, razor sharp and has a blasted satin finish. The sheath is made of all leather, and the knife itself has a walnut handle that is strong and lasts a long time. You’ll also find that this knife isn’t too expensive, but it still has a lot to offer.
Made of the finest materials, this knife gets the job done in terms of outdoor activities. It’s simple to use, simple to store in the sheath and remains sharp for a long time.
- Leather sheath
- Durable and reliable
- Made of high quality materials
- Great for wood carving
- The handle is too long
- Bevel was not sharp
Related: If you find that the knife isn’t going to do a bigger job, then, using the Primos Folding Saw will help get the job done. It has a push button lock, is light and very safe to use.
Price: Approx. $200
Weight: 7.72 oz
Dimensions: 11 x 3 x 2 inches
Specific features: 9.15 inches long, 4.4 inch blade length, G-10 handle
Best use: Tactical, survival, outdoor use
Description: The Benchmade Bushcrafter Knife is a fixed blade knife made of SV30 stainless steel. It is solid, well-balanced and made of premium quality steel.
The durable G10 handle is hand blended and contoured. It comes with a vulcanized spacer held together by titanium tubing. This knife is handy and reliable to bring with you on your adventures!
The knife has a drop point blade, is light in weight and is corrosion resistant. The fixed blade knife comes with a sheath so you won’t have to worry about dulling the edges of the knife. Highly durable, this knife can work in a huge range of temperatures outdoors and is stable.
Moisture resistant, you can use this in the rain with ease. The handle is easy to grip and the knife can cut into anything from wood to game as you process it. In the end, this is a great knife that is definitely worth considering.
- Made in the USA
- Nice grip on the handle
- Comes with kydex sheath
- Sheath is poorly made
- Handle is shaped oddly
Related: Get yourself a sheath dangler so that you can carry the knife around your belt loop. The Yae Sheath Dangler is made of cowhide leather in the USA and costs around $20.
We have reached the end of our article. By now, you should know that a great bushcraft knife should be multifunctional and portable at the same time. In addition to that, it must also be suitable to the weather and climatic conditions of your hiking or camping area.
Determine the specifications that you want in your knife: would you prefer a straight edged knife or a serrated knife? Would a stainless steel knife or a carbon steel knife be more economical? Do you need a portable folding blade or a durable fixed blade?
Once you have identified the characteristics that you desire for your knife, compare prices online. With proper maintenance and correct usage, a simple, cheap knife would last just as long as an expensive one. Have more than one option, and compare your selected pieces, then decide on a knife that best fits the qualities of the perfect bushcraft knife.
If you have any comments or feel we have left anything out, please let us know in the Comments below, and feel free to share this article on social media so that your friends and family can read it and learn something new as well.