Are you looking for the best bushcraft knife but can’t decide what to buy? Or perhaps you are not even sure what a bushcraft knife is and want to find out. Well that is what these reviews are for. We have used our years of working and using bushcraft knives to select the best knives for bushcrafting, and we’re presenting them here.
What is a Bushcraft Knife?
A knife is said to be of the bushcraft variety if it is good at carving, cutting ad woodworking, This is not so much as a survival or hunting knife but more like a utility. The majority of bushcraft knives come from Scandinavia but there are now also many others from various countries.
These knives have specially designed blades meant for woodwork and grinding, and they have long handles. The blade is thicker than those on most hunting knives and are full tang for better balance and control.
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A 3 to 5 inch blade is sufficient for most bushcraftng tasks. A very long blade is difficult to carry. Long, large blades are also unnecessary if you’re going to do regular bushcraft work. At 3 to 5 inches, that’s good enough to cut branches and batoning. Keep in mind that these knives are meant to complement axes, not replace them.
The cutting edge should be flat and long. The blade must also be as thick as possible (the thicker the blade, the stronger it is). As for the tip, it has to be sharp, but not too pointy or thin. A sharp tip is nice, but it doesn’t have to be needle-like as durability is more important.
The tip needs to be functional and durable because it’s going to be used in difficult circumstances. As long as the blade is durable, a large underbelly is not necessary. Today you can find a lot of different blade designs, but drop point and spear point are the best.
Also known as the primary bevel, it refers to the blade’s shape over the cutting edge. What the grind does is thin the blade from the spine’s width to the edge. To keep it simple, just look for a versatile and durable bushcraft and the blade grind should be solid. Avoid an overly thin grind because it reduces the blade’s strength.
There are many types of grind, but the best are the convex grind, Scandi grind, chisel grind and flat grind. All of these are good, but make sure you steer clear of the hollow grind as they’re better suited for light work.
The right cutting edge depends on your needs. A steeper angle is required if you want the best edge, but this is going to weaken the edge. If the knife has a large angle, the edge will be stronger. However, cutting will be more difficult.
If you’re going to do a lot of whittling, preparing food and the like, a thin edge is ideal. If your tasks will involve wood splitting and other heavy tasks, a thick cutting edge is preferable.
You also have to consider the sharpness of the blade and how long it’s going to take before sharpening will be required. If you’re only going to use the knife on occasion, sharpening won’t be much of an issue. But if the knife will see a lot of heavy duty use, it may need frequent sharpening.
Some grinds are difficult to sharpen while others are easy. Look for knives that can be sharpened easily at home and while you’re outdoors.
Stainless steel blades should have chromium elements to make it corrosion resistant. There is a tradeoff here, because chromium softens the steel. Look for carbon steels if your main concern is durability. Carbon stainless steel is harder than chromium steel, but they are not corrosion resistant and need proper maintenance.
The handle should be ergonomic and nonslip. As far as materials go it depends on your personal preference. Some prefer leather while others want something with more texture. Whichever you choose, make sure that it is durable and has shock absorption built in. The type of bushcraft you do will determine what handle will work best. Think of what you will do and use that as a guide.
Spyderco is recognized for their quality knives, and this is one of the best they have produced. This fixed blade knife was designed by the great Chris Claycombe for woodworking and as a general all-purpose tool. This is a full tang knife so the blade won’t break off from the handle even when you apply a lot of force.
The blade isn’t just durable but sharp as well. The carbon steel is very sharp as is the edge. Like the other Spyderco knives, this one has thumbhole for greater stability. Features wise, the Spyderco is every inch a quality knife.
The Morakniv Bushcraft Tactical Knife has a 4.3 inch blade and weighs 5.75 ounces, which makes it light enough even for those who like to camp light.
The blade is made from 59-60HRC high carbon steel, making it one of the most durable in its range. As for the blade type, it is flat grind with a clip point, ideal for woodworking and carving.
The Morakniv brand is well known among knife enthusiasts for quality, and this one lives up to the tradition. The steel blade is durable and with a 3.2 mm thickness is suitable for a variety of tasks. You also only have to look at the knife to realize just how sharp it is.
The sharp blade is a good enough reason to buy it, but the knife also has special coating that makes it resistant to rust and corrosion. Sharp and precise, the Morakniv also has a rubber nonslip handle so your hold is always secure.
While the knife is well known for its aesthetic appeal, this is also a serious tool for crafting and woodworking. Both the handle and blade can take a lot of hits, and the stainless steel blade is as sharp as it is balanced.
The F1 knives are built for versatility and strength. A lot of bushcraft knives say that, but this is the one that Swedish Air Force use. While it is designed mainly for woodworking, the F1 is also effective as a survival tool if you’re spending time in the woods.
The F1 is a solid, well-made knife, combining a sharp blade with a powerful grip. The fact that it is used by military air force pilots says a lot about the quality and dependability.
The ESEE 4P-UC-MB weighs only 5.2 ounces. In spite of its lightness, the knife does a great job of carving wood, starting a wood fire and other tasks. The blade is sharp and won’t need any frequent re-sharpening. The handle is comfortable and has an ergonomic design, allowing you to use it repeatedly without strain.
The steel blade is as good as advertised, with durability and balance the biggest draws. But in addition to that, the knife is also easy to maneuver and can be used in tight spots with little difficulty. Safe to use and dependable, this is one of the best that ESEE has available.
The Model 3 is built to such a high standard they’re good enough for law enforcers and the military. The early models were tactical hunting knives, but Esee has changed things up so Model 3 is suitable for bushcraft. The most notable change from the standard hunting knife is the blade’s thickness, which is sufficient for prying things open.
The 1095 carbon steel is sharp and keeps that sharpness even when used repeatedly. There is also a clip sheath included for your convenience. Last but not the least, there is a version with MOLLE attachment so you can hook it up with your other equipment.
One of the things you will immediately notice is the weight. At a full pound, you’re going to feel the Campanion, but this extra weight helps when it comes to performance. You’ll have an easy time kindling, and the blade makes short work of skinning.
The blade also has chrome/vanadium carbides for additional strength and greater resistance to corrosion. If you read the product description you’re going to read that it has a Grivory handle. This is what gives the Campanion strength, plus you get a safety guard for injury protection.
The features don’t end there however. The handle is removable, allowing you to attach the blade to a stick and use it like a spear.
The Benchmade 162 Bushcrafter has a 530V stainless steel blade, just what you need for heavy bushcrafting.
Like any good bushcraft tool, it has a quality blade (plain edge flat grind), and the sharpness is retained even when utilized extensively. The knife itself is well balanced and should hold up well under difficult conditions.
The 162 Bushcrafter is considered as one of the top bushcraft knives, and it’s a well deserved reputation. The handle has titanium tubing, making it lighter than other bushcraft knives. A lot of people have also commended the 162 Bushcrafter for its design, but it’s also a practical tool.
The Bushlore weighs 12.8 ounces and it comes with a leather sheath. A fire starter is included with the product, a nice feature that separates it from the rest of the pack. In terms of performance, the Bushlore is comparable to more expensive knives.
Once you know what a bushcraft knife is, you’ll have a better idea of what to buy and what features to look for. A lot of those new to camping and outdoor adventures just assume that any hunting knife will do, but as we have shown here that’s not the case. Hopefully with these reviews you’ll be a more informed buyer.
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A passionate blogger! Editor at Chooserly, and a regular author at HuffingtonPost, LifeHacker & Forbes!