Knife

Best Bushcraft Knife

Written by: Dave NartinFebruary 28, 2020Updated: March 20, 2020

Guide Overview

When you’re hiking or camping, you sometimes need to pull out a knife to trim branches, cut ropes, or even skin game.

That’s when having the best all around knife will serve you well. A Bushcraft knife, also referred to as a survival knife, is a great addition to your backpack. 

Bushcraft knives can be used for activities as varied as rope trimming when you’re making camp or cutting tree limbs and wood carving, like when you want to make a firestick for cooking supper or roasting marshmallows. 

The best all-purpose knife can also be used for more hard-core tasks like skinning animals, digging holes, or cleaning fish. The best outdoor knife is durable and reliable, but flexible enough for multiple uses. That means you don’t have to carry a variety of knives or other tools.

How do you know which is the best Bushcraft knife for the money? We have several we like, but first let’s look at considerations in choosing your best camp knife.

Things To Consider

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Blade Type

First, a quality knife will either have a full tang blade or one that’s hidden. A full tang means that the blade runs the entire length and width of the knife, and is visible on the handle frame. A hidden tang runs the full length and width but narrows into the handle so that you can’t see the tang itself. A full tang knife is more reliable than a partial tang knife. 

In the same regard, you also want to opt for a fixed-blade camping knife, which is more reliable than a folding knife. Full-tang and fixed-blade means your knife will be able to handle extreme uses and perform under pressure better than the alternatives, a folding knife or one that has a partial tang.

Then there’s the blade material itself. The best steel for a survival knife is either carbon steel or stainless steel. Carbon steel survival knives are easy to polish and sharpen but can be subject to corrosion. Types of carbon that are good for a Bushcraft knife are A2 or VG-10.

Stainless steel survival knives are sometimes preferred for wet environments, because stainless steel won’t oxidize and corrode as easily as carbon. But they aren’t as strong as carbon. Types of stainless steel that are good for a survival knife include 440C or AUS8.

Finally, the edge of the knife can be serrated or non-serrated. The top bushcraft knives don’t have completely serrated edges, as it limits its uses and is difficult to sharpen. Instead, look for one that has a small portion of serrated edge and the remainder non-serrated, or a fully non-serrated edge. That increases its versatility. If you really need to saw, you might have to add a small saw to your pack.

Blade Design

Bushcraft knife designs tend to be one of three types:

  • Clip point: Looks like the front third of the blade has been “clipped” on top, either in a straight or concave shape.
  • Drop point: The blade slopes from the handle to the tip, with a convex curve.
  • Spear point: As the name suggests, the blade tapers together at the end into a point or spear.

These three designs are intended to allow the tip of the blade to remain close to the center of the blade, and to the end of the hilt, giving you greater control over the knife than you would with a straight-back knife design. 

Blade Size

The best bush knife has a cutting edge of about 4 inches long. If you’ve got large hands, you may want a blade that’s a bit longer, but it isn’t recommended to have a blade longer than 5 inches when choosing a survival knife. The ideal blade length for a Bushcraft knife – different than a large chopping tool, for instance – is anywhere from 3.5 inches to 5 inches. 

Handle

A handle that’s strong and yet easy to hold with some kind of grip is ideal. It should also withstand temperature changes without breaking down or cracking. 

One of the most popular handle materials for survival knives is Micarta, which is a fabric (usually canvas or linen) with resin added. The resin is heated to liquid form and then placed under pressure to make it solid. 

Other choices in material include other fiber-reinforced plastic, textured rubber, stag bone and leather. Your choice may be dictated by your environment. For instance, you may want to avoid leather if you hike and camp in a damp environment.

Carrying the Knife

Your choice of the best wilderness knife may also be dictated by its carrying accessories, particularly If you have a certain way you like to carry your knife.

You might want one with a hole in the handle for a lanyard so you can wear it around your neck. You may want a sheath, and you may want a sheath made of a particular compound, like nylon or plastic. If you use the Molle accessory carrying system, it may be important to you to have a Molle-compatible sheath.

Perhaps you want a clip on the sheath for attaching to your belt or pocket. Some hikers even want a knife ankle holster for carrying on their leg.

Keeping these considerations in mind, let’s get to our bushcraft knife reviews.

Best Bushcraft Knives

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KA-BAR – Becker CampanionKA-BAR - Becker CampanionKA-BAR - Becker CampanionKA-BAR – Becker Campanion

This is a full-tang knife designed for heavy-duty camping chores. Durable and lightweight, the blade is made of 1095 cro-van steel.

Use this knife for a variety of uses, from  skinning game, to splitting kindling, to chopping vegetables. The design is a drop point blade with a 20-degree blade angle.

The handle is made from Grivory, a thermo-plastic that provides a balanced grip. The blade length is 5.5 inches long and the overall knife length is 10.5 inches. Overall weight is 1 pound.

Comes with a hard plastic sheath that has a bonus safety feature. To remove the knife from the sheath, apply pressure to a spot on the sheath. This releases the knife. That means the knife stays secure, locked in place in the sheath and doesn’t slide out and cut you.

Pros:

  • Full tang knife.
  • Sheath has a safety feature keeping the knife locked in place.

Cons:

  • Grivory may not be your preferred handle substance.
  • Full tang knife.
  • Sheath has a safety feature keeping the knife locked in place.
  • Grivory may not be your preferred handle substance.
ESEE – 5P Fixed Blade KnifeESEE - 5P Fixed Blade KnifeESEE - 5P Fixed Blade KnifeESEE – 5P Fixed Blade Knife

This knife fits the bill in fulfilling the categories for the best all around knife. It has a fixed blade that’s made of 1095 carbon steel with a textured powder coat.

The blade is 5.25 inches in length and the full knife length is 11 inches, making it among the longest for a Bushcraft knife. It has a small serrated section on the top of the blade that could also serve as a thumb grip.

The handle is made of a canvas Micarta and it comes with a black Kydex sheath with a clip plate.

Pros:

  • Checks all the categories for an ideal Bushcraft knife.
  • Comes with a sheath and the handle has a hole for a lanyard.

Cons:

  • Only color choice is olive green.
  • Checks all the categories for an ideal Bushcraft knife.
  • Comes with a sheath and the handle has a hole for a lanyard.
  • Only color choice is olive green.
Fallkniven – F1Fallkniven - F1Fallkniven - F1Fallkniven – F1

This knife is made of VG-190 stainless steel with a drop point blade. The blade is 3 ¾ inches long and the knife itself has a full length of 8 1/4 inches.

The handle is made of Thermorun elastomer with a black checked finish to add grip. The visible tang end assures you it’s a full tang blade. 

Handle has a lanyard hole for carrying, and it comes with a Black Zytel sheath.

Pros:

  • Grippy handle helps you hold it even in wet conditions.
  • Stainless steel blade is also good for wet environments.

Cons:

  • Stainless steel isn’t as strong as carbon.
  • Grippy handle helps you hold it even in wet conditions.
  • Stainless steel blade is also good for wet environments.
  • Stainless steel isn’t as strong as carbon.
Condor – Bushslore Survival KnifeCondor - Bushslore Survival KnifeCondor - Bushslore Survival KnifeCondor – Bushslore Survival Knife

This knife has a blade made from 1075 high carbon steel, with a blasted satin finish. The blade measures 4.3 inches with an overall knife length of 9.3 inches. It weighs under a pound.

The handle is hardwood and it comes with a leather sheath that has a belt clip.

Pros:

  • Handle has the classic look and feel of hardwood.
  • Made of quality carbon steel.

Cons:

  • Wood and leather may not be ideal for your hiking and camping conditions.
  • Handle has the classic look and feel of hardwood.
  • Made of quality carbon steel.
  • Wood and leather may not be ideal for your hiking and camping conditions.
Ontario – Black Bird SK-5 KnifeOntario - Black Bird SK-5 KnifeOntario - Black Bird SK-5 KnifeOntario – Black Bird SK-5 Knife

This fixed blade knife is made of 154CM stainless steel with a blade length of 5 inches. The entire knife length is 10 inches and it weighs 8 ounces.

The knife has a Micarta handle and comes with a nylon sheath with a belt loop that’s compatible with a Molle system (the accessory carrying system).

Pros:

  • Simple yet functional design.
  • Molle-compatible sheath.

Cons:

  • Stainless steel isn’t the first choice for everyone.
  • Simple yet functional design.
  • Molle-compatible sheath.
  • Stainless steel isn’t the first choice for everyone.
Benchmade 62 Bushcrafter KnifeBenchmade 62 Bushcrafter KnifeBenchmade 62 Bushcrafter KnifeBenchmade 62 Bushcrafter Knife

Whether you plan to go on an adventure or find yourself stuck in survival mode, the Benchmade 162 Bushcrafter Knife is a reliable go-to equipment. For one, it’s made up of S30V stainless steel blade with a hardness that runs 58-60 HRC. This accounts for the knife’s corrosion-, wear-, and erosion-resistant qualities.

Harder than chromium carbides, the knife’s blade has a solid and special kind of integrity to it. It can baton through half a dozen logs and still maintain enough sharpness for a shave. It can hold this excellent edge even in different weather conditions. At 7.72 ounces and a blade length of 4.43 inches, the Bushcrafter creates the perfect balance between strength and weight, making it the ideal camping tool.

With G10 polymer handle scales, the knife offers amazing dimensional stability. It’s lightweight, mechanical, and comes in a green color. Moreover, it doesn’t swell or shrink when exposed to high or low temperatures. Its contoured and hand-blended handle grips well and is supported by pressed titanium tubing that holds the vulcanized spacer in place.

For easy storage, the product includes a full-grain, brushed buckskin leather sheath that has a retention strap and a flint-rod D-ring loop for easier carry.

Pros:

  • Comes with a convenient leather sheath with loop.
  • Handle is designed to accommodate different grips.
  • Composed of first-class materials.
  • Performs well in different weather conditions.
  • Low maintenance.

Cons:

  • High-end price.
  • Buckskin sheath may be too soft for the blade.
  • Knife sticks high up in the hip.
  • Comes with a convenient leather sheath with loop.
  • Handle is designed to accommodate different grips.
  • Composed of first-class materials.
  • Performs well in different weather conditions.
  • Low maintenance.
  • High-end price.
  • Buckskin sheath may be too soft for the blade.
  • Knife sticks high up in the hip.
Benchmade North Fork KnifeBenchmade North Fork KnifeBenchmade North Fork KnifeBenchmade North Fork Knife

With a premium CPM-S30V stainless steel blade, the Benchmade 15031-2 North Fork Knife spells quality camping tool. Best of all, it is reasonably priced for a grade A knife. With a classic wood handle that is contoured for easier grip, a reversible tip-up pocket clip, and an Axis locking mechanism, this is the most convenient and hassle-free companion for any adventure.

At 3.2 ounces and 2.97 inches, it only takes up a fifth of your jeans pocket, making it an ideal survival knife to carry around. With an ambidextrous dual thumb-stud opener, the knife is productive and efficient. Its modified drop-point blade also provides the knife durability and strength along the spine.

Even with repetitive use against various textures and materials, this Benchmade tool maintains its sharpness and remains scratch-free. Jibbing provides the right amount of grip. While it is meant for hunting, it is also highly functional and effective for everyday carry and outdoor use. It works well under different weather conditions, including rain.

Knife enthusiasts particularly enjoy this item’s durable and beautiful design: dymondwood handle, ambidextrous axis lock, all-steel frame, and light pocket clip. A convenient hunting tool, this knife also comes with a lanyard hole.

Pros:

  • Affordable premium grade knife.
  • Highly durable even under rainy weather.
  • Quality design.
  • Smooth action.
  • Includes a removable and reversible clip.

Cons:

  • Does not feature assisted opening.
  • Jimping is non-functional.
  • Thumb knobs take some time to get used to.
  • Affordable premium grade knife.
  • Highly durable even under rainy weather.
  • Quality design.
  • Smooth action.
  • Includes a removable and reversible clip.
  • Does not feature assisted opening.
  • Jimping is non-functional.
  • Thumb knobs take some time to get used to.

Our Pick

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  • Fulfills all the checkboxes as the ideal Bushcraft knife.
  • Has a fixed blade, making it strong and durable.
  • Made of strong 1095 carbon steel with a textured powder coat. 
  • The blade is the ideal length of 5.25 inches, among the longest for a Bushcraft knife.
  • Includes a small serrated section on the top of the blade for light sawing, or to use as a thumb grip.
  • The handle is made of a canvas Micarta.
  • comes with a black Kydex sheath with a clip plate.
  • Handle has a hole for a lanyard.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How to Sharpen a Bushcraft Knife?

A:

A Bushcraft knife can be sharpened with inexpensive equipment, a combination oil-stone which is a sharpening stone with two different textures.

To start, place the stone on a flat surface with the coarse side facing up, and rub some oil on the surface. Then, place your knife flat on the stone, at the edge of the stone closest to you, with the cutting edge facing away from you. Tilt the knife until the bevel, or curved edge, is flush with the stone.

Push the knife slowly away from you, adding pressure to the cutting edge of the stone. Sharpen every edge of the blade, then do the same with the other side or other bevel. Count your strokes so each side of the knife gets the same number of sharpening strokes.

Turn the stone over, add some oil, and follow the same process on the finer grain of the stone.

If you like, you can finish the sharpening by using a leather belt to “strop” the blade. Attach the belt to a post or tree, and drag the blade of the knife along the underside of the belt, trailing the sharp edge of the knife.

Q: What Makes a Good Bushcraft Knife?

A:

The concept of Bushcraft is to be in the great outdoors with minimal gear, so a good Bushcraft knife will allow you to accomplish several tasks with that single tool, rather than carrying multiple knives and tools. 

For instance, the best bushcraft knife will allow you to prepare food and build a fire to cook it on. It will also cut small pieces of wood and rope, and even dig a hole if necessary.

The key components of a good Bushcraft knife are:

  • A full tang blade.
  • A fixed blade.
  • A quality stainless steel or carbon blade.
  • A durable handle.
  • A carrying sheath.
Dave Nartin
Founder at Mountain Leon
Hi. Im Dave. Mountain Lion is the name of this travel blog. It came from my love for both the English and Spanish language, my favourite animal (Lion), and my favourite activity (mountain climbing). Enjoy!