Bushcraft is about getting into nature, really into it, and figuring out how to work in it, work with it and, ultimately, survive. In order to get the work done, and done well, you need the right tools. One of the main tools a bushcrafter needs is the best bushcraft knife. A bushcraft knife isn’t just your average pocket knife. It, like you, is going to be put to the test against hard labor and the elements and it needs to not only survive but also continue to serve its functions.
In bushcraft, one of the main things your knife will have to endure repeatedly is woodwork. Working with wood to build shelter, traps, and other tools should be easy with the right bushcraft knife and shouldn’t rapidly degrade it, either. In addition to woodwork, the knife will help you in hunting and preparing food and building a fire (a different type of woodwork). You need a sturdy, durable knife that you can work comfortably and efficiently with over extended periods of time.
We’ve combined our years of experience as survivalists and knife-owners to compile a list of what we consider the best bushcraft knives out there. When investing in this type of tool, you ultimately must choose the knife that’s right for you. We hope to offer educated guidance so that you can find not only the tool you like best but also one that will guarantee your survival and success during your bushcrafting endeavors.
Table of Contents
What to Look For in a Bushcraft Knife
There are many things to look for in a quality bushcraft knife, some are majorly agreed upon in the bushcraft community, some come down a little more to personal preference. If you’re serious about bushcraft, however, you do want to be sure your knife has some basic and vital features, otherwise you could fail before you even get started. This is a short list of some of the features we focus on when shopping bush knives. Our reviews will go into more detail about other qualities that can make a good bushcraft knife so that you can make the best decision possible based on general bushcrafting needs and your own personal expectations and preferences.
We mentioned that one of the main things you’ll be using your bushcraft knife for is woodwork of various kinds. Because of this, having the right handle on your knife is of vital importance. The work you do while bushcrafting is prolific and without an ergonomic handle you’ll experience cramping, fatigue and possibly harm yourself after repetitive use. A bushcraft knife shouldn’t be flat or fully straight otherwise it’ll prove uncomfortable and inefficient after extended periods of work. The type of curvature you look for in your bushcraft knife can, again, be a personal preference. We have selected our best bushcraft knives with handle ergonomics in mind.
It is generally agreed in the bushcraft community that the best knife for bushcrafting is a fixed-blade product; we agree. Having a fixed blade is not enough, however; we look for full-tang blades, where the part of the blade that is concealed by the handle encasing is equal in width to the blade itself. Partial-tang blades prove less durable, they can loosen or wear out after repeated use. A full-tang also allows for more leverage, for example when breaking down wood; a partial-tang can and will provide less resistance as well as potentially building, loosening or degrading from the effort. A full-tang blade is sturdier and more long-lasting and we don’t really trust a bushcraft knife without one.
Your bushcraft knife isn’t going to be limited to working with wood, of course; it also needs to be designed for working with food. This means various things. The blade needs to be large enough to defend yourself against predators, hunt and clean different size game, and prepare other foods efficiently. A non-serrated blade is best because it is easiest to clean; you don’t risk food particles getting stuck in hidden grooves, for example. You want a blade that is thin enough to slice vegetables but it can’t be too thin that it can’t withstand the hardcore woodworking you’ll also be doing. You also want to make sure the blade is a good size, long enough to fillet a fish while not being so long that it’s cumbersome to transport.
We’ve researched the bushcraft knives available on the market and compared all their qualities, the ones listed above and others, to determine what we think are the best options available to you. We’re looking for a reliable, durable knife at various price listings because you should be able to bushcraft no matter what your budget!
Bushcraft Knife Reviews
Morakniv Bushcraft Knife
This Swedish blade comes sharp as you need it but the sheath also includes an integrated diamond sharpener so you don’t have to worry about losing that vital sharpness. The blade is thin without being too thin, perfect for precision food-carving as well as hard-core wood-carving. The handle fits in the hand like a dream and makes hours of intense work as comfortable as possible.
This tough, well-designed tool has been thought out in every way. It offers you not only an optimal tool for bushcrafting work it also provides you with bonus features that only serve to increase your chances of survival and success. This is, in our opinion, the best bushcraft knife. Period.
Bushmaster Bushcraft Explorer
Buck Knives Selkirk
Condor Tool & Knife
CELTIBEROCOCO Tactical Knife
Damascus Steel Knife
JEO-TEC Bushcraft Survival Hunting Knife
Best Bushcraft Knife Conclusions
Choosing any knife is ultimately a personal decision. You have to know what type of handle is comfortable in your hand, what type of additional features you may prioritize, and even the aesthetic you most prefer. We’ve done the work of putting all of these bushcraft knives to the test and determined that anyone of them would certainly suffice. We have our favorites of course but that doesn’t mean they have to be your favorite.
The Morakniv Bushcraft Knife is our favorite among the bushcraft knives out there. We love the sleek, modern design of both the knife and its sheath. We love that the sheath comes equipped with both a firestarter and a diamond sharpener, making this the ultimate survival multi-tool. The handle is the most ergonomic we’ve found, while also being strong and durable. The blade is also durable as well as sharp and the perfect thickness for the wide range of tasks required of a bushcrafting knife.
The Bushmaster Bushcraft Explorer offers a different aesthetic to the Morakniv. While most of our team found the handle less ergonomic than the Morakniv, it was ultimately a comfortable tool to use for bushcraft work. It’s a sturdy knife crafted with zebra wood and accompanied by a rustic leather sheath, that offers a fair quickdraw capability and easy transport. This would be an excellent choice for anyone’s bushcrafting work.
Finally, our value pick. The Buck Knives Selkirk is an excellent bushcraft knife for a surprisingly affordable price. This tool also comes with a firestarter and ergonomic leather sheath. The all wood handle is sturdy, with a solid pommel, but with no metal reinforcements it may not last quite as long under the duress of hammering and other such bushcrafting activities. That being said, for the price you’re paying, this would be a great investment as a bushcrafting tool.
At the end of the day, the right knife for you won’t be the right knife for someone else. We’ve gathered our years of knowledge to suggest the best knives we’ve found and give you a sense as to why we chose the ones we did. Our top picks are the bushcrafting knives we would choose for ourselves and our loved ones. Every knife on this list, however, would make an excellent choice.