There’s no such thing as the perfect bushcraft knife. Even getting two bushcrafters to agree on what even constitutes a knife made for bushcraft vs. one made for survival, or one made for tactical purposes, or one made for camping isn’t possible. The blade that might save one person in the wilderness will be entirely different depending on what they’re doing, how they prefer to work, and what environment they’re in. As to a short answer for what is the ideal bushcraft knife: It’s the knife you’d pick if it was going to be your only tool.
When you’re going to be leaning on a little blade to feed you, help you build shelter, fashion weapons, assist you in medical procedures, and damn near anything else, it should be impossible to break; or as near as you can get. This usually means picking a fixed blade knife that can’t break in the middle the way a folding knife might. It means being easy to carry, slow to rust, big enough for leverage, small enough for comfort and concealment. Think like this: It’s the end of the world and you can have only a knife to keep you alive. When our sexy existence are on the line, here’s the 14 best bushcraft knives we’d have on our hip.
Mora has a bushcrafting knife, appropriately named “Bushcraft” but that isn’t the blade we think you should get. Moras are excellent blades that belie their low price tag, but we think the Companion is a better choice, as it is meant to be a secondary blade. Pair it with anything on this list and you’ll have the ultimate savage and smooth setup.
Condor is generally mentioned along with Mora, Ontario, and ESEE the moment Bushcraft knives get brought up. The reason is that Condor has been in the bushcraft business since before they knew that’s what their camp knives were best for. A homespun spear and slice piece that’s like a whole kitchen set from home, any outdoorsy types will find a purpose for the Bushlore.
Ontario has a respectable set of bushcrafting knives, with their Rat assemblage looking better every year. For knives built to bushcraft, the Blackbird had a little more facility, offering a strong balance of dense workmanship and enough agility to cut and carve. Get the bird or the rat, get them both if you can’t choose. They’re nearly failure free.
Which Trapper model you get depends largely on what you prefer, and what Enzo happens to have on hand. We head for the ELMAX flat grind when it’s available, but anything in their line can offer you indomitable quality, a lot of options, and a wide strike zone when it comes to price.
When it comes to bushcraft or survival knives, ESEE is the name to know. If the 6 doesn’t strike a chord in your heart, try hopping around through their numerated lineup until something hits. Maybe a smaller 3, a street-fighting 5, or something with a serration is more your style. There’s no reason to pick just one.
A hunting blade intended to either skin the hide off a bear, or help you battle him into submission, it works as artfully on cutting through twine and shaving off wood as it does at breaking down carcasses, cutting off pelts, and hewing through sinew. More aggressive than the average bushcraft knife, it can be a little much for ordinary camping.
Masters of the tactical, technical knife build, the F1 is a frill-free experience that is made to Swedish military standards. It’s made to keep you alive when pitted against the most dire conditions on the planet. The full tang blade is VG10 Steel set into a Thermorum handle that won’t slip when slick with sweat, or blood.
Hand-crafted from birch, oiled with linseed, and made so that each layered blade is a match for its handle, the expense is daunting, but every knife is more than capable of standing up to severe punishment. The Temagami truly work better than they look, and look at those lines.
Designed lovingly by Bark River’s owner, knife maestro Mike Stewart, gripping the Aurora from any angle, at any time, for any purpose makes it feel like a piece of you coming home. The cylindrical handle works with hands of any size, providing a secure station for holding through craft or survival work.
Spyderco lives largely on their reputation as making some of the most deadly, dangerous, quick-strike knives in the world. Rarely does the brand drop the big flicker holes and slick ball bearing systems, but when it does, it does it with grace. As exceptional a fixed-blade bushcraft knife as you can find, it’s hard to think of this G-10 darling coming from a folding knife maker.
Tops Tahoma Field Knife
Usually you don’t want a bushcraft knife to be too big, since the goal is generally to help you perform crafting survival work, which is often more delicate. On the other hand, maybe you want to craft a battering ram, or have a delicate Mora for your fine work, and need a 14″ monster to hack through brush. Here you go, hero.
A tough little belt knife that uses a speared end for working the edge and tip, the construction is deceptively delicate, an underestimation that will quickly fade into delight at the unbreakable deftness with which this knife tackles all tasks.
An ugly website made by a master when it comes to making steel swoop into harmony, the Saker is a thinner option that follows the Asian build of bushcraft. More time and energy is given toward making the blade artful and clever than simply strong. It doesn’t lack for might, nor does it lead with it.