A bushcraft knife is probably the single most important tool you could bring with you out into the bush. It can be used for carving a stick or slicing meat for your dinner, a quality bushcraft knife will serve you well.
What makes a Bushcraft knife what it is, and in comparison from an ordinary “knife” is that they are usually shorter, easier to wield, and used more for carving, slicing and dicing rather than any intense vigorous digging or chopping. The idea is that you are going to be using a bushcraft knife for carving wood, gutting a fish, or cutting some cordage and so should look for something with that in mind.
Best Budget Bushcraft Knives
There are many different knives on the market today and choosing the right one is difficult, worry not as we have done the research for you and compiled a list of our top choices for bushcraft knives.
1. Morakniv Bushcraft Carbon Steel Survival Knife
Blade material: Carbon Steel
Blade edge: V-grind
Blade length: 4.3 inches
Item dimensions: 11.8 x 5.6 x 1.4 inches (LxWxH)
Item weight: 0.23 Kilograms
Pros: The greatest advantage of this knife is its Scandi-Grind feature that sets it apart from its competitors and allows you to rely on its ability to seamlessly cut through sticky and grippy objects, Affordability is another great advantage this knife has to offer.
Cons: The blade is sharp, but does require some extra filing to get it up to razor sharp, The knife is lacking in the aesthetics department. It is not the most flashy in its class.
The Morakniv Bushcraft Carbon Steel Survival Knife is a phenomenal piece of kit. This Swedish-crafted masterpiece ticks all the boxes when it comes to a tool that we depend on. The Swedish Co. Moraknive know their knives and this blade is a testament that skill.
The premium Swedish steel is forged with iron to create an incredibly durable carbon steel structure. At ⅛ of an inch, the blade is extremely sharp yet thick enough to withstand batoning and other strenuous applications that require a great deal of strength.
The survival knife has a Scandi-Grind which prevents the blade from slipping as well as reducing the likelihood of the knife getting stuck. This bushcraft knife comes integrated with a sheath that incorporates a diamond sharpener and a belt to help you secure the knife in place.
Don’t worry the team at Morakniv are survival conscious just like you and I, and they are aware of the importance of a firestarter and didn’t forget to build one into the knife either, it’s capable of creating sparks at 3000℃ and is able to yield approximately 4000 strikes. If, however, you don’t like the bulky firestarter case then you can get the knife with a slim case.
Why we like it? Morakniv know what they’re doing, the company has been around since 1891 so you can bet your buck they’ve been around the bush. This knife covers it all, everything you should expect from a bushcraft knife, slim, easy to wield, then blade, perfect height.
2. Schrade SCHF36 Frontier 10.4in Stainless Steel knife
Blade material: High carbon steel
Blade edge: Compound bevel
Item dimensions: 14 x 4 x 3 inches(LxWxH)
Item weight: 0.45 Kilograms
Pros: The greatest advantage of this knife is its polyester sheath, The price point of this knife is also incredibly low, Extremely strong steel that is sure to last you many years
Cons: Although powder coating initially improves the aesthetic appearance, overtime it will eventually begin to peel, The knife does not include a firestarter
Schrade is another company who has been in the game for a seriously long time. Since 1904 the Schrade family has continued to produce highly dependable products. Machetes, axes, spears and knives are some of the steel masterworks that the company specializes in.
The SCHF36 is a great example of the level of reliability and class Schrade are able to provide to the market. The powder-coated stainless steel blade ensures the knife’s incredible longevity by allowing it to resist harsh conditions and excessive use. A TPE grooved handle coupled with a cleverly thought out finger choil allows one to grasp the knife tight improving grip and versatility.
Unlike many other bushcraft knives on the market, the Schrade SCHF35 incorporates the use of a premium stitched polyester composite into their sheath system, manufacturing a lightweight and comfortable solution.
3. Morakniv Garberg Full Tang Fixed Blade Knife
Blade material: Carbon Steel
Blade edge: Square-edged
Blade length: 4.3 inches
Item dimensions: 9 x 2.2 x 1.6 inches (LxWxH)
Item weight: 0.27 Kilograms
Pros: The greatest advantage of this knife that easily distinguishes it from its competitors is its premium leather sheath, Extremely strong steel that is sure to last you many years
Cons: Most expensive knife we have reviewed, The sheath does not support a firestarter, it is sold separately.
Yep, Morakniv has made it to the list twice. Though it shouldn’t come as any surprise. We like Morakniv and we cant help ourselves we like the Garber Full Tang Fixed Blade. This carbon steel is virtually indestructible which os something you will feel immediately when you pick it up as the blade is thick.
Coming in at a total length 9.0 inches with a blade length of 4.3 inches this knife is quite a substantial piece of kit. The full tang knife also embodies a scandi grind feature which allows it to be sharpened effortlessly, though beware it may be a little blunt straight out of the bag.
The strong carbon spine has been ground to make use of both flints and firestarter rods and also allows you to avoid damaging the sharpness of the blade. The knife comes cocooned inside an elegant black leather sheath which is tough enough to handle wear and tear.
4. Ka-Bar Becker BK2 Companion
Blade material: Carbon steel
Blade edge: Compound level
Blade length: 5.25 inches
Item dimensions: 3.4 x 13.7 x 2.5 (LxWxH)
Item weight: 0.45 Kilograms
Pros: The greatest advantage of this knife is its blade length. The large blade allows the knife to be capable of many heavy duty strenuous tasks that smaller knives might not be able to achieve. Great all-rounder knife, works well for many applications.
Cons: It is quite a heavy piece of kit which could affect agility during application. The price on this knife is also a little closer to the $100 cap of this list. The sheath is a little gimmicky
Ka-Bar Knives Inc is again another remarkable old establishment that has maintained their fair share of the bushcraft knife market for over a century, the truth is these ancient companies have got it down pat, and we have no choice but to recognize their refined crafts.
The Ka-Bar Becker BK2 Campanion is a steelwork masterpiece, an elegant display of the possibilities a bushcraft knife can provide.
This knife boasts an incredibly strong 1095 cro-van steel blade, perfect for splitting, kindling, skinning and chopping your veggies or skinning your game and roasting it on the ole campfire. Due to the extra weight, a drop point 20 degree angle allows the blade to still perform with increased versatility. The knife also includes a glass-filled nylon sheath to keep the blade protected and sharp.
5. MOVA-58 Bushcraft Knife
Blade material: Stainless Steel Molybdenum-Vanadium
Blade length: 3.94 inches
Full knife length: 8.67 inches
Item weight: 0.23 Kilograms
Pros: The greatest advantage of this knife is it’s absolutely stunning mirrored polish blade and exotic wooden handle that is sure to attract some attention, The 100% money back guarantee offer, speaks for itself. This confidence ensures high quality, Molybdenum-Vanadium is an incredibly durable and corrosion resistant steel.
Cons: Although the sheath is incredibly visually pleasing, it suffers with the lack of tech and features that modern sheaths have to offer, Price tag is slightly over budget.
“That’s not a knife… This is a knife!”
This knife just tips over the $100 budget, however, we simply had no choice but to include it. This Spanish handmade beast of a weapon has a Stainless Steel Molybdenum-Vanadium blade that has been laser cut to a length of 4.9 inches.
The knife embodies an impressively high resistant and aesthetically pleasing Makarta handle that fits perfectly to the grip of your palm. You should expect a considerable amount of maneuverability and tactility with the 233 grams weight of the knife, making it a top contender for the portable bushcraft knives on this list.
A genuine leather sheath accompanied with a fire steel perfectly complements the beautiful appearance of the bushcraft knife. The knife also includes a 100% satisfaction guarantee along with a lifetime warranty confidently guaranteeing is incredible quality.
6. Holtzman’s Gorilla Survival Knife
Blade material: D2 Steel Blade
Blade edge: Compound bevel
Blade length: 4inches
Full Length: 8.1 inches
Pros: What we love most about this knife is the bonus kit it comes in, that neatly holds all your pieces, Out of all the knives on this list, this one has got the most amount of components, giving you the best bang for your buck, The superior strength of this blade is quite an achievement and really sets this knife apart from some of the others in its class.
Cons:Again a high price tag, what can we say… either we have expensive taste. Or money equates to higher quality. We will let you decide.
This would not be a list of bushcraft knives under $100 without the Holtzman’s Gorilla Survival Knife. The razor-sharp anti-rust 0.136 inches thick blade on this puppy is capable of effortlessly slicing through rope, wood aluminum and plastic like butter. An Anti-slip 1.4” wide G10 knife handle improves grip and gives you a great level of control.
The knife includes a Ferro fling rod and a G-10 flint scraper to assistant you in starting those essential campfires. You can also expect a paracord and Allen wrench to help you adjust the Kydex sheath that is also included. All the bits and pieces are neatly packaged in a premium foam mold case.
Are you are looking for more Survival Knives that come with Firestarters?
7. Condore Tool & Knife Bushlore 4.5 inch
Blade material: HighCarbon steel
Blade finish: Blasted Satin
Blade length: 4 1/4 inches
Item weight: 0.2 Kilograms
Pros: The sheer lightness of this knife has got to be it’s greatest advantage, This knife is also incredibly affordable sitting well below the budget of $100, Absolutely stunning appearance, it’s difficult to actually put the knife to use, instead we just look at it.
Cons:Does not include a firestarter and is quite limited with a lack of features.
The last but most certainly not least knife on our list is of course the renowned Condor Tool & Knife, 4.5 inch Bushlore knife. Carefully crafted in El Salvador out of 1075 high carbon stainless steel and imported Walnut hardwood, this impressive knife boasts both exceptional appearances along with phenomenal strength.
Weighing in at only 0.2 kilograms this is by far the lightest and most versatile knife we have reviewed thus far. Although light, the knife still composes a substantial size with a blade length of 4 ¼ inches and a total length of 9 ¼ it is more than enough surface area to serve all your bushcrafting handiwork needs.
This knife is also accompanied by a beautifully handmade leather sheath with a button strap that locks the knife safely into place.
8. Morakniv Companion Fixed Blade Outdoor Knife
Pros: The blade is made of stainless steel, which is less prone to rust, High-quality plastic handle, Sharp edges make wood carving easier, Affordable price.
Cons: The knife needs proper cleaning and regular maintenance to prevent corrosion, It cannot be used as a self-defense tool.
The Companion Fixed Blade Outdoor Knife by Morakniv is one of a kind. Morakniv is a Swedish brand making high-quality knives trusted by pros all over the world. The company has done a brilliant job making this versatile bushcraft knife.
With a 4.1-inch sharp blade, this knife provides an efficient high edge performance. The blade is made up of stainless steel and stays sharp for a long time.
The handle of the knife is a strong plastic that is curved to help with your grip. The ergonomic handle grip also allows you to stab, slice or use as a button safely. It comes in a standard plastic sheath which is lightweight although it is a bit basic.
The knife is great for carving fresh tinder for fire, chopping off small limbs of trees, and helps in camp food preparations. This small knife is a complete package that delivers even more than it promises.
9. Morakniv Craftline Basic 511 Fixed Blade Utility Knife
Pros: It is easy to re-sharpen the blade, It is lightweight and affordable, The handle is comfortable and provides excellent control, Small enough to fit in your pocket.
Cons: It is prone to corrosion, In some cases, the sheath might not fit perfectly with the knife.
The Morakniv Basic 511 knife with a 3.6-inch fixed blade is a compact and valuable addition to any adventure lover’s knife collection. Manufacturers use the highest quality carbon steel in it, which is a more rigid material than stainless steel.
Although the blade comes pre-sharpened and ready to use, it can be re-sharpened easily and frequently to get better results. Since the edge so sharp, you need to be extra careful wielding it.
It comes with a rubber handle which makes for a comfortable grip. The finger guard on the handle ensures you do not slice your fingers off. With the knife, you also get a plastic sheath that features a quick connection to a second knife. It also serves to hold the blade firmly in its place.
This knife is super lightweight, which is why it is perfect for various tasks during camping. The size is pretty small, so it can easily fit in your pocket as well.
However, not to forget, it is a carbon steel knife that is more prone to rust. So, if you want to prevent corrosion, you will have to take extra care of the blade by keeping it clean at all times. Most professional users suggest that applying patina (putting it in vinegar) helps prevent rust.
Being reasonably priced, this Morakniv product is a steal for your regular bushcraft needs.
10. Gerber StrongArm Fixed Blade Knife with Fine Edge
Pros: Less prone to rust due to 420 HC steel, The multi-mount sheath adds much value to the knife, It is a high-quality knife that is durable, Excellent in terms of form factor and weight.
Cons: The blade is difficult to re-sharpen, The grind is rough and uneven.
The Gerber strongarm fixed blade knife is made in the US. It is a mind-blowing piece that fulfills nearly all of your bushcraft needs. It is a lightweight and well-balanced tool that is relatively comfortable to hold.
The 4.8-inch blade is made with 420 HC steel and a black ceramic coating. The 420 HC steel allows it to be more resistant to rust as compared to other bushcraft knives. Moreover, it has a refined and strong edge that holds its shape for a long time.
The rubber handle has diamond textures all over it that make the grip easier and non-slippery. As a result, you can perform all your tasks comfortably without worrying about losing the knife. The handle also has a decent size that fits nicely in your palm and does not make you feel awkward.
The most important feature of this knife is its multi-mount sheath system that you can do in various ways. You can mount it vertically on the chest, carry it horizontally with the belt along the waistline, or traditionally on the back. The sheath has a versatile design made of hard plastic to hold the knife in its place.
Overall, it is a durable knife and does not come with a huge price tag, making it an even better deal. We highly recommend this functional knife since it is worth keeping around.
11. Benchmade Bushcrafter 162 Fixed Outdoor Knife
Pros: Excellent quality steel blade, The handle has an impressive grip, The knife is highly durable and perfect for long time usage.
Cons: The sheath needs improvement as it gets torn after some time, The sheath sometimes slides up and leaves the knife exposed.
Another addition to the bushcraft knives collection from Benchmade has made the competition even more brutal. This knife has a super-strong blade made of S30V steel that holds the edge for a long time.
The material of the blade is highly durable and does not need too much maintenance. The thick G-10 handle is perfect for grasping the knife securely.
Moreover, the bilateral thumb depression at the front end allows for a firm grip of the knife.
The knife also comes with a beautiful suede leather sheath lined with plastic from the inside to protect the sheath from the blade. There is also a useful metal D-ring with the sheath, which you can use to attach the knife with your belt.
Overall, it is a great knife considering its durability and functionality. You can surely buy it to take it along while camping.
Bushcraft Knives Buyers Guide
Things to consider when buying a bushcraft knife
Bushcraft knives come in countless shapes and sizes. It is important to consider a few things before you head out so that you can make the most of your knife.
Size is likely to be the most important attribute and is usually the thing we look for initially when shopping for a new bushcraft knife. Of course the biggest knife always draws our attention first, although it might not be the most practical in a survival situation that demands speed and efficiency.
We usually recommend a knife with a blade size of anywhere between 3.5” (89mm) – 6” (152mm). The smaller the blade the more agile and efficient you can maneuver with it, making it a portable and tactile solution for all your survival and bushcraft needs.
You are looking for a blade that is on the thinner side (just not super thick), yet thick enough to withstand the bullshit you’re going to put it through. This means you won’t be using it as a sledgehammer but more as a refined tool. Something that acts as an extension of your hand so that you can move easily.
The two best knife shapes you want to look out for to serve you best in bushcraft situations are spear and drop point bodies. Spear point knives are great for throwing and are highly effective at piercing and stabbing.
The blade’s sharp point provides strength, durability, and long-lasting use. Drop point blades on the other hand incorporate a slope on the spine which allows it to be thicker and thus making it incredibly strong, which makes these more for chopping.
If it’s not steel, it’s not a knife. Steel has proven to be the most effective material used when it comes to bushcraft knives due to its balance of strength to weight ratio. Other trace elements like carbon are forged in conjunction with the steel to further increase resilience and durability.
The two types of steel to look out for are Stainless Steel and Carbon Steel. Stainless steel can take more of a beating, can hold its edge longer but requires a bit more elbow grease to get that edge sharp. Carbon on the other hand, is a bit more delicate and prone to rust, so it takes more looking after.
There really is no right and wrong handle. You likely can feel if something feels right. You are looking for something that is above all else, comfortable. No matter what the material is, it can be anything, however, you are going to want something that you can easily to hold without it slipping out of your hands. What we like are handles that don’t have a lot of notches, grips, or edges which often just get in the way.
Again we are not very fussy when it comes to a sheath. The main idea is that you want something that will protect you and your knife when it is stowed. Whether it is plastic, nylon of leather is up to you. We will say that leather looks more authentic, has a nicer feel the only downside is that it will require more looking out for.
- What is the difference between a bushcraft knife and a survival knife?
Bushcraft knives are a class of survival knives, but they are usually light-duty and smaller in size. People in the woods use them for delicate tasks like lighting the fire, chopping small trees, and wood carving. The length of the blade of a bushcraft knife ranges from 3.5 inches to 6 inches.
On the other hand, survival knives have long and heavy blades that you can use for saving one’s life from human beings, animals, or even zombies. They are used for tasks like chopping, digging, etc. Despite their rugged nature, you can still use survival knives for normal daily activities apart from ‘survival’ tasks.
- Which is better, a folding or fixed bushcraft knife?
Though folding knives are much easier to carry, they are less durable, and the blade may separate from the grip due to rough handling.
On the other hand, fixed knives are a little hard to carry, but they are exceptionally durable. There is no chance that the grip separates itself from the blade.
- How can I save my knife from corrosion?
Having a steel or carbon blade, your knives are genuinely prone to corrosion. Some knives are more prone than others, but it is an inevitable problem.
However, to protect your knife, you should apply oil after every use and put it in the sheath. This is a gold tip, and if you follow it religiously, you will never have to deal with rust on your knife.
Also, remember that your knife should have minimum contact with open-air if it is not in use.
- What should be the length of the bushcraft knife?
The recommended length of the blade of a bushcraft knife is 3.5 to 6 inches. The edge of a bushcraft knife should not exceed 6 inches in length.
Because it is more compact and small-sized, a knife with a blade length that is too lengthy will not be called a bushcraft knife. Furthermore, the blade should be between 4.5 and 5 inches in length.
- How often should I sharpen my knife?
You should try to find a knife that holds its edge for a long time and needs less re-sharpening since the process is often a hassle.
But if you feel your knife needs sharpening, then you can do it as frequently as you like. If you have a good quality bushcraft knife, then sharpening would not harm the tool.
After reviewing all these knives it came clear to us that it was very difficult to structure them in accordance with what we felt like is “the best”. They all possess different features that excel and set them apart in their own way. We hope that this list might provide some technical insight into these knives to better help you determine the best bushcraft knife to add to your arsenal.
For more on knives: Best Folding Survival Knives