So you have everything ready for your bush adventure; flashlight, fire starter, blankets, sleeping bags…but not so fast. Do you have a proper bushcraft knife?
Any person who has been in the wild will tell you that without the right knife, things could get pretty thick. Or how would you skin game or harvest wood to build a fire? But a bushcraft knife offers more than just that.
Carving, batoning, and cleaning game are some things a bushcraft knife will help you do with ease. It could help you light a fire too. Brands such as Morakniv excel here. Take the example of the Companion Spark, Bushcraft Black, and Kansbol knives, which come with special 90-degree spines. Just a little scrubbing along a ferro rod and boom! You got fire.
Of course, you could always prefer to carry a box of matches, but don’t cry when it rains.
By the way, did you know that the Greek hero Hercules slew the hydra with a bushcraft knife? Not really, but close. The following is a review of some of the best bushcraft knives you can buy today but first, allow us to give you a few insights on what makes a good bushcraft knife.
What to Look for in a Bushcraft Knife
Unless you are looking for a trophy, you want something that is practical and useful. The following are some things you should look out for when buying a bushcraft knife.
A lot of pressure will be applied to the handle, so you want something firm and resilient. And then, of course, it must fit snuggly in your palm. If it’s blocky or too small, you won’t be too amped to use your knife. Still, a handle with rough edges will give you a dose of blisters after a little use.
The material matters too.
Micarta and stagbone are great choices because they aren’t as heavy as metal handles yet are strong and durable. They also have a good grip and feel. Synthetic handles are also becoming popular due to their durability, although they aren’t as eye-catching.
This is obviously one of the most important elements of a bushcraft knife. While different types of blades will suit different purposes, the ideal blade should be versatile. Therefore go for something hardy because a flimsy blade will warp if you put it to hard labor.
Stainless steel and carbon steel are the commonly used materials. Sorry, no Valyrian steel. Be prepared to deal with code names such as VG-10 or S110V. At the end of the day, carbon steel rusts and stainless steel will not. But then carbon steel will remain sharper for longer.
While some people will associate batoning with survival knives, our take is that a bushcraft knife must be good at batoning. For starters, this is the splitting of wood for fire or shelter.
A batoning knife should obviously be sharp, but that isn’t all; it must be of the right thick as well. Go for something with a thickness of at least 3mm. Also, full tang knives tend to be stronger.
Game forms an important part of the meals when in the bush. Therefore, you need a knife that can cut through tough tissue. It must also be capable of carving large roasts such as poultry. This necessitates a knife that is long and quite sharp.
Best Bushcraft Knives on the Market Today
Whether you are an experienced bush crafter or a novice who just needs a little communing with nature, you must arm yourself with the right bushcraft knife. The following are some knives that you might want to consider.
If you love your knife very sharp, strong, and with a rich heritage, you will fall in love with this gem. The Morakniv brand is built on a history of 400 years of knife making, and every tool they produce is the very definition of excellent workmanship.
Take the example of the Morakniv Carbon Fixed Blade Bushcraft knife, which comes with a 4.3-inch blade crafted from high-grade carbon steel.
With a thickness of 0.125 inches, this blade will take on any challenge you throw its way without giving in. Batoning to build a fire, carving wood for tinder, cutting off small branches…this razor-sharp blade will slice through wood like a hot knife through butter.
Yes, it will require a little more maintenance than stainless steel, but the blade comes with an anti-corrosive coating, so you don’t have to worry about rusting.
It’s not full tang like the Morakniv Garberg, but you can trust that Mora has a reason for that. And did we mention that it has a specially grounded spine so you can easily light a fire with your ferro? This isn’t a fancy knife, but it’s darn good at what it does.
The Schrade SCHF36 does not have a long and decorated history, but it is a beautiful hunk of steel that will gratefully take all of your demands.
Every bushcrafter wants to have a reliable knife without breaking the bank, and we can confidently tell you that this is it. You will love that it can cut through wood and can curve just in case you needed to make a trap or a bowl. And it isn’t too big either for a slicing game.
It comes full tang so you can be sure that it’ll serve you for a long time without snapping and has a blade length of 5 inches, which is longer than most blades you will encounter. And yeah, it comes in 1095 high carbon steel, which remains sharper for longer.
Don’t worry about rust because it has a coating to prevent corrosion, but this does come off. And some users think that it is actually a better knife without the coating anyways.
The handle is solid and will fit nicely in your hand so it won’t tire you quickly. It also comes with a few things, such as a ferro rod and sharpening stone, assuming you think that those things are important.
This isn’t a modern-looking knife, but who cares! With a razor-sharp blade made of 1075 high carbon steel, the Condor could handle almost any task necessary for survival.
While the blade is quite sturdy, this knife is not recommended for heavy tasks such as batoning, but that isn’t to say that you wouldn’t cut through wood with it. And don’t worry about the knife being reflective; the blade comes in a blasted satin finish meaning you won’t scare aware birds or wildlife while working in the woods.
The Condor Walnut possesses a decent hardwood handle that is appropriate even for people who have big hands and also comes with an excellent leather sheath so you can move around with it with ease.
Whether you want to feather wood or fillet some trout, this is the knife for the job.
We would clearly understand if what you are looking for is a masterpiece, especially if you weren’t scared to spend. And who would flinch if they had their hands on a jewel-like the Spyderco Zoomer Fixed Blade Knife.
This knife is as handsome as it is functional. You see, many manufacturers create a good blade but lose enthusiasm when crafting the handle. Not so with the Zoomer.
What would you say about two machined solid G-10 scales? This, coupled with a well thought out ergonomic design, ensures that it will hold up for a long time and will be comfortable to hold.
The blade is a 5.2 inches moran glide with no serrations made from CPM 20CV blade steel with a razor-sharp edge. The point is that you will have a formidable tool in your hands.
It will take hard labor, but some people would be hesitant to go down that road with a pricey knife. The manufacturer will throw in a high-grade leather sheath by the way if that makes a difference.
Buck is a well-known American brand that has been making knives since 1902. With such a rich history, you can be sure that they know a thing or two about knife making.
First, they use 420HC stainless steel on all of their knives. This means that the Buck 0863BRS Selkirk is easy to sharpen and won’t rust.
While a drop point blade is favored for butchering tasks such as carving, cutting, or skinning, this knife comes in just the right thickness to make it a generalist tool.
Think about chopping or kindling so you can light a fire or sawing through fabric to make a bandage or driving small pegs into the ground. And it isn’t too thick either to fillet fish with.
The handle is a well-crafted micarta that promises longevity and such excellent ergonomics that you will find yourself reaching for your knife over and over again for hunt and camp activities.
It might not be as popular as the Buck Knives 104 Compadre Camp Knife, which is made in the USA, but it does hold its own.
The Morakniv Companion Fixed Blade Outdoor knife is a testament that Swedes do know their stuff. It’s true; nothing cuts like a Mora! At 4.1 inches, you wouldn’t call the blade long, but it makes for one versatile knife.
Whether you want to prep tinder, cut small tree limbs, fillet your fish, or a carve a tool, you will find the Morakniv companion knife handy.
A stainless steel razor-sharp blade is no joke, and the companion handles well even in moist conditions. If you have ever worked in the rain with a tool that keeps slipping, you know that it isn’t romantic.
This isn’t that tool.
With the companion, you will be getting an excellent handle that comes with a high friction grip. You will also be receiving a plastic sheath and a belt clip, so you never forget your knife.
This is one of the best and most affordable knives out there.
If there’s a perfect demonstration of Norwegian craftsmanship, it is the Helle Knives. The Helle company has pretty much survived everything; the great depression, the second world war, the cold war, name it.
And it isn’t by luck.
Helle knives are renowned worldwide for their outstanding quality and bare-knuckle practicability.
If you believe that good things come in small packages, you will be at home with the Mandra because it bears a blade that is only 2.7 inches long.
Before you raise your objections, take a moment to understand that we are talking about triple laminated steel, which is very hard to break. It also has a wide belly, which makes it a great slicing tool.
This means that it will be an excellent companion when cleaning game or fish, scrapping up kindling, or doing a dozen other things. The handle will not let you down because it’s made of curly birch and Vulcan fiber.
It is a bit pricier than the Helle Temagami, but this is a knife you can confidently wear around your neck while going on a camping trip.
Wouldn’t you trust a manufacturer that has been producing knives for more than 125 years? I would.
With this, you could easily split kindling, shave feather sticks, carve wood, skin game, or fight off an enemy if it came to that. The handle is as beautiful as they come, but the American Walnut hardwood promises more than mere looks.
You will be treated to a well-balanced feel and many years of service because this kind of hardwood can take a beating.
Ontario Knife Company also manufactures weapons for the military, and they know that you might find yourself wet and cold and without the luxury of a box of matches. So, they made the back of the blade great for ferro rods.
It comes with a nylon sheath, which could have been better, but this is a knife you will cherish for a lifetime.
There you go. Of course, there are lots of other good knives out there, but you might want to start with these reviewed here. While we cannot vouch for every piece that will be shipped, we trust in these brands and can recommend them with confidence.
If what you want is a topnotch knife that is a cut above the rest, don’t hesitate to order the Spyderco Zoomer Bushcraft Knife. You have to look hard to find a knife that has a better handle, and its blade is just right for almost any task.
But maybe it’s not a workhorse like the Schrade SCHF36, which will take whatever you throw its way head-on. Its blade is almost as long as that of the zoomer, and you can get it at a fraction of the cost. Perhaps you don’t have to pay top dollar for a good knife.