It is not always easy to choose the right type of tool for the required task. Sometimes, when you truly need a wrench, you mistakenly go for pliers, and when you really need a firestarter, you get confused and reach for a Bic lighter. Knives are one example of equipment with significant overlap in terms of types and jobs. A full-length machete or a simple pen knife can both serve a purpose, but you wouldn’t use a machete to open a bag of chips because you wouldn’t use a pen knife to cut down a tree.
If you are an outdoor enthusiast, having the right tools and knives on hand is as essential as having a sleeping bag. Being outdoors means you are miles away from the nearest highway or road, so you can’t risk bringing the wrong type of knife.
So, what do you do? You bring a bushcraft knife on an outdoor excursion, which means having a handy instrument for a variety of purposes. But what exactly is a bushcraft knife, and what purpose does it serve? If you have come looking for answers to these questions, this article will serve you right! Let’s begin.
What is a Bushcraft Knife?
Bushcraft knives are called survival knives since they are meant to tackle a variety of lighter but necessary outdoor activities such as rope trimming, carving firewood, skinning a game, and starting a fire using a Ferro rod. These are minor activities yet necessitate a dependable, tough knife with a fearsome edge that can bear torture and preserve its sharpness. They should be tough, long-lasting, and reliable.
Bushcraft knives are nearly exclusively fixed-blade knives with lengthy flat-edged blades. (short blades limit the thickness of wood you can process with the knife, and serrated edges are ineffective for cutting and chopping activities.) Bushcraft knives usually have a gripping handle, which implies that most are now made of synthetic material; however, some are still made of wood.
What to Look for in a Bushcraft Knife?
Keep the above-mentioned essential characteristics in mind. Some blades are promoted as bushcraft knives despite not meeting all of these criteria. It would be best to evaluate what you intend to use the knife for. For example, if you want a knife to make a fire with a Ferro rod but don’t intend to baton, a smaller, lighter, and easier-to-pack knife will suffice.
Here are some other general points to remember when choosing a bushcraft knife.
Blade Steel Qualities
Steel is not all the same, and enhancing one feature usually comes at the expense of another. Toughness, an indicator of a blade’s ability to survive rapid impacts and forces, is prioritized by most bushcraft knives (think to chop).
Edge retention is typically inversely related to toughness, which is why most bushcraft knife blades employ carbon steel, which is also relatively easy to sharpen in the field. The disadvantage of carbon steel is that it is not as corrosion-resistant as stainless steel. Again, there will always be trade-offs, which all boil down to how you want to utilize the knife.
When deciding on the most fantastic bushcraft knife, the first thing to consider is whether you want a complete tang or a partial tang.
The tang is the metal element that forms the knife handle. A half or partial tang is entirely acceptable in some knives, such as kitchen knives that are subjected to a limited amount of wear.
On the other hand, a full tang knife is always sturdier than a partial tang knife since the metal used to make the tang strengthens the blade. A robust bushcraft knife is excellent; thus, choose full tang wherever possible.
The handle of a knife is an essential aspect of the design and significantly impacts the knife’s usage.
In this situation, you should opt for advanced high-tech materials such as synthetic laminate (G10 or micarta, for instance) or bone or hardwood if not.
These materials are tough, durable, and hefty enough to give the knife substantial heaviness. This implies that your knife is much more balanced, making it easier to wield.
The Purpose of Bushcraft Knives
A bushcraft knife is a multi-purpose tool. While it may be used indoors similarly to any other knife, its actual utility is seen when you’re in the midst of nowhere. A bushcraft knife can help you with four fundamental outdoor survival tasks. Let’s look at what purpose bushcraft knives serve when surviving outdoors.
The first purpose is to chop. While a little hatchet, axe, or perhaps a machete would be best suited for the job, a small bushcraft knife would suffice. All you have to do is grip the handle as far back and securely as possible, then chop like you would a larger knife, hatchet, axe, or machete.
Lighting A Fire
Knives can also be used to start a fire when combined with a ferrocerium or Ferro fire striker steel stick or rod. The friction created by scraping the back of the bushcraft knife on the steel emits sparks. The sparks emitting from the scraping can then ignite tinder or bark scrapings, and the feathered sticks and kindling can grow the fire from there. You’ll need a knife with a ninety-degree spine (preferably not polished or rounded) to throw a good number of sparks.
If you don’t have a fire striker steel, a regular flint stone can ignite sparks by hitting it with the back of the carbon steel knife. This technique is significantly more difficult, but it is advantageous once mastered. High-quality tinder, such as char cloth or dried tinder from a tinder fungus, is required.
Carving utensils such as spoons or equipment around the camp is an essential aspect of bushcraft and a great way to develop knife skills. Wood carving is also highly satisfying. While there are designated wood carving blades, a good bushcraft knife combined with the appropriate technique will allow you to produce some amazing objects.
A bushcraft blade, of course, can perform any cutting activity related to food or campground preparation. Bushcraft knives demonstrate that a knife does not have to be large and heavy to be effective. It’s all about the blade as well as the handle design.
The Best Bushcraft Knives of 2023
To save you time, we have compiled a list of the best bushcraft knives of 2023. Let’s go through them one by one.
01 Carbon Steel & Buffalo Horn Handle Bushcraft Knife
At 4.5 inches long, this Bushcraft Knife is designed to be perfect for use outdoors. It features a Buffalo Horn handle, providing the user with a comfortable and secure grip while working with your knife. This bushcraft knife also comes with a 4-inch blade that can cut through branches, twigs, and many other things effortlessly.
Damascus Steel Bushcraft Knife with Burl Wood
The ultimate bushcraft knife. With a long blade and burl wood handle, it will pass through whatever you throw at it. The edge has been designed for heavy use and is made with carbon steel. In addition, it comes with a handmade leather sheath.
Length in total: 11.5 inches
Length of blade: 7.0 inches
Length of burl wood handle: 4.5 inches
Bushcraft Knife with Sheath & Unique Handle
This knife comes with a soft, multi-faceted handle made from a mix of micarta and polyester. Each handle is hand polished and personalized. The knife features a full tang blade of 4 inches with exceptional cutting performance and a unique cast polyester handle that gives this bushcraft knife excellent grip despite having a lightweight construction. It’s a perfect knife for camping or hunting.
Handcrafted 440c Steel Bushcraft Knife With Walnut Wood Handle
This 440c Steel Bushcraft Knife has a walnut wood handle and a 4-inch blade designed to cut through thick tree limbs and vegetation. The blade has a fine edge that is perfect for sawing through rigid materials while being extremely sharp and durable. This tool features a leather sheath for easy carrying and storage.
Perkin Damascus Steel Knife Small Bushcraft Knife
This small bushcraft knife is made from a genuine Damascus steel blade and over hundred and fifty layers of folded and treated carbon steel. It has mosaic pins, and micarta handles with an overall length of 8 inches or 20cm and one-piece construction. This knife is ideal for camping, hunting, and other bushcraft activities, and it comes with a leather sheath and string so you can carry it easily and even hang it around the neck.
Handmade Bushcraft Hunting Knife with Sheath
This handmade hunting knife with sheath is designed and crafted from the finest steel and features an 8.5″ blade that is sharpened to perfection. The blade is durable enough to withstand repeated use, so you can be sure to have it for many years of cutting through the wood or as necessary.
Hunting Bushcraft Knife with Cocobolo Wood Handle
Remember that knives must be sharp and well-built, no matter what kind of hunting trips or camping you want to experience. This hunting knife has a Cocobolo wooden handle, making it durable and smooth. Its blade size is 120*33*3.0mm, which makes it perfect for almost any use that you may have on it. It also comes with a leather sheath to take care of your knife while using it on any outdoor adventure.
PS100 – Fixed Blade Hunting Knife Bushcraft Knife
It is a super sharp full tang knife with a 4″ long Tanto Blade, 10″ overall length, and 4.75″ steel and micarta handle. This fixed-blade knife is perfect for hunting, skinning, field dressing, or anything else you might encounter outdoors.
Damascus Steel Bushcraft Knife – Work of Art by Chris
The Damascus Steel Bushcraft knife is a literal artwork. This knife has a buffalo horn handle that is attached to the blade. A great knife for any outdoor enthusiast, it is made entirely by hand and is heirloom quality for generations to come.
Handmade Damascus Hunting & Bushcraft Knife
The Damascus Hunting and Bushcraft knife features an 8.5-inch blade of 1-piece high carbon steel, a walnut wood & Mosaic Pins handle, and an overall length of 8.5/8 inches. Reminiscent of the great knives you see in classic movies, this knife will give you many years of use.
A knife is one of the essential pieces of equipment you may bring on a journey for wild camping or bushcraft. For bushcraft chores, specialized knives that prioritize coarse work like stripping branches, lighting fires, and chopping logs are crucial.
The greatest Bushcraft knives should ideally be full-tang and frequently features a single grind to provide the toughness needed for difficult outdoor work. The selections listed in this article are all that and more with affordable prices, so you can take your pick without thinking twice.