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Published Apr. 14, 2021

Heading outdoors — whether for a few hours, a few days, or far longer — requires specialized gear. You need items for both your basic survival and for convenience, from your compass or GPS to fire starter and lanterns, sleeping bags or pads to tents. One small but key item you’ll want to make sure you’re carrying with you is a bushcraft knife. Sleek and nimble in design with straight blades, bushcraft knives can whittle and carve, create kindling for fires, and help you easily tackle everyday tasks while you’re out in nature. 

While bushcraft knives might seem similar (or even identical) to survival knives, they’re almost opposites. Survival knives tend to be larger, with longer blades meant for splitting logs and making significant cuts. Bushcraft knives can be a survival tool, but they’re more finely-tuned for smaller, handheld kinds of cutting tasks. And they come in different sizes, materials, and designs. If you’re searching for just the right bushcraft knife, you’ll want to take a look at our top picks right here.

The Morakniv Bushcraft Carbon Steel Knife is one seriously well-constructed tool. Made to survive all of the challenges and different use cases you’ll come across outdoors, this knife offers the sharpness, durability, and control you need — and more. This 11.8 x 5.6 x 1.4 inch knife features a 4.3-inch blade made out of carbon steel with a sharp V-grind edge. The fixed blade is covered in a layer of sleek anti-corrosive black coating to prevent rust and other damage with wear and weather exposure. To enhance your blade’s functionality, it’s made with a Scandi grind meant to prevent the knife from slipping, increasing its bite even for small tasks.

At the end of the blade is an ergonomic, rubber-gripped handle that includes a Morakniv fire starter that provides up to 7,000 strikes and 3,000 degree sparks; it’ll even help you start a fire when it’s wet. The entire bushcraft knife is backed by a limited lifetime manufacturer’s warranty for an extra layer of reliability. Just keep in mind that the included diamond blade sharpener can do more harm than good; it’s really only for extremely dull or damaged blades.

Whether you’re looking for an affordable first bushcraft knife or want to try out one of these knives before making a significant investment, the Weyland Fixed Blade Bushcraft Knife is a perfect pick. This affordably-priced knife is great for anyone on a budget, and it offers plenty of value for your money. The knife measures 10.75 x 1.75 x 0.75 inches in size, with a full tang blade made out of steel. A tanto point and a serrated edge help you do more with this knife, allowing you to cut, saw, and carve easily. There’s even a gut hook built right into the blade so you can process wild game without switching tools (or carrying additional knives). The compound bevel edge stays decently sharp throughout uses, and the plastic handle offers a solid grip.

But the uses for this bushcraft knife don’t end there. This knife also includes a glass breaker in its handle, which helps you break windows or other glass in an emergency. The slotted fuller also provides you with a handy leverage tool. There are just two drawbacks of this knife: its weak sheath and its potential to dull quickly. You might find that you need to sharpen this knife right after it arrives.

The Tops Brothers of Bushcraft Survival Knife is an investment with its high price tag. However, this knife really delivers when it comes to premium features and materials. Made with impressive details and high-quality materials, this combined bushcraft and survival knife features a 1095 high carbon steel straight back blade with a fine edge. It’s made with a partial coyote tan finish, measures 4 5/8 inches long, and is sharpened with a modified Scandinavian grind. Ideal for carving, skinning, and other common outdoors tasks, the built-in thumb ridge and linen micarta handle make it comfortable to control. Extra details and features, like a finger guard, lanyard hold, and scraper designed for striking Ferro rods, safely give you even more capability in a slim, convenient package.

This bushcraft knife makes for a solid and heavy-duty tool that can handle outdoor cutting tasks big and small. The sheath is one of its biggest drawbacks; made out of Kydex material, it doesn’t offer the best level of quality for the cost of the knife, though the attached belt clip is quite solid.

If you’re looking for a knife you can trust, the Morakniv Bushcraft Knife is a warranty-backed option that’s made with quality and durability at the forefront of its design. This black knife measures 9.25 x 1.18 x 1.57 inches in overall size, and features a carbon steel blade that stretches 4.3 inches with a V-grind edge. This fixed-blade product is seriously sharp, but its thick blade gives you control and stability for tasks intricate and large in scope. The knife’s blade is even coated in a layer of tungsten DLC anti-corrosive material, which protects against and prevents rust. The blade is highly durable and able to withstand stress, even when batoning. At the end of the blade, the ergonomically-shaped handle features a high-friction over-molded rubber grip that prevents slipping and keeps your hand firmly in place even when it’s wet or cold outdoors.

Best of all, if you find any issues with your bushcraft knife, it’s backed by a one-year manufacturer’s warranty. Morakniv will replace or repair your knife under warranty to ensure it’s working perfectly in any outdoor conditions. There’s another perk, too: The knife’s blade spine doubles as a fire starter, helping you spark flames in any kind of starter material.

The Schrade Frontier Knife is one do-it-all knife. It’s a perfect example of a blended knife, as it’s one that can be used for bushcraft tasks, survival needs, and so much more outdoors. The entire knife measures 10.4 inches in overall length, making it longer than most common bushcraft models. However, it’s still lightweight at 12.3 ounces. The 1095 high carbon steel blade measures 5 inches long, and it features a drop point shape with a compound bevel cutting edge. It’s even powder-coated for increased durability and rust or corrosion protection to offer you a longer lifespan. When you’re ready to put this knife to use, the black ring-textured thermoplastic handle offers a nice grip. A convenient polyester belt sheath also makes this product easy to attach to your EDC setup.

This knife rounds out its survival capabilities with extra built-in features: a Ferro rod, sharpening stone, and lanyard hole. However, this bushcraft knife isn’t ideal for dressing game, and it’s really not built for the roughest or most rugged outdoor tasks. Keep in mind that it’s a better choice for smaller-scale cutting when you’re packing it in your gear.

If you’re looking for a classically styled and wonderfully sturdy knife, the Condor Tool & Knife Bushlore Camp Knife is a fantastic option. This knife is simple — it features a high carbon steel blade with no special coating, coloring, or designs attached to a sleek, basic wooden handle. But it’s a product that will last you throughout many uses. The knife is slimmed down, with no extras and no hidden features. However, it’s made with classic high-quality materials so you get consistent performance and long-term reliability. Made in El Salvador, this bushcraft knife has a blasted satin blade finish with a straight back shape. The 4 5/16 inch blade is perfectly sized for all of your carving and kindling needs, and it’s particularly great at batoning. The walnut handle and black leather belt sheath round out its style and protection.

Right out of the box, this bushcraft knife is very sharp. The wooden handle feels solid and secure in your hand no matter how you’re wielding it. However, keep in mind that the leather sheath does take time to break in or “warm up” and loosen. It might be a bit of a tight fit over your knife’s blade initially.

The CIMA-1 Full-Tang Hunting Bushcraft Knife is just the right pick if you’re planning to spend most of your time outdoors hunting. This knife offers just the right features you need: 8.46 inches of length with a 3.34 inch blade, 0.177 inches thick, and a steel full-tang design. The exterior of the knife blade is heat-treated, polished, electroplated, and protected against potential corrosion. It offers a long lifespan thanks to these extra layers of protection against wear. The blade is attached to a flax-textured micarta handle, which is resistant to extremely high and low temperatures as well as slipping or loss of grip. You’ll stay safely in control even when working with tough tendons and tricky cutting actions, like feathering and batoning. The knife is rounded out with a protective ABS sheath that offers a built-in belt clip.

Need more from your knife? Then you’ll love how this bushcraft option works with fire starter and Ferro rods. Its blade will easily spark up a fire when you need light or warmth. Just keep in mind that using Ferro rods will strip away all of the different coatings on the blade, so you may need to balance your desire for durability with your need for fire.

No matter what kind of system or gear setup you use when you pack up and head out into the wilderness, the Schrade Full Tang High Carbon Knife will make for a well-fitted companion. This extra-long bushcraft knife comes with a convenient ballistic sheath that’s made for EDC carry, and it can be used with all kinds of rigs, pouches, belts, and more for total versatility. Whether you want to keep it in a pocket or attach it to your straps or belt, it’s all possible. And you’ll love how versatile the knife itself is, too. It measures 12 inches in total length, with a 6.4-inch blade and a weight of 1 pound, 6 ounces. The blade is made out of high carbon stainless steel, with a drop point shape and plain cutting edge. A perfectly straight blade edge and spine make this knife look impressive, and its contoured grip fits nicely in hand. The micarta handle stays secure thanks to a finger choil, grooves, and jimping that all enhance your hold.

Just keep in mind that while the knife’s sheath works perfectly with all kinds of EDC setups, you may want to upgrade it over time. The cordura nylon isn’t the most durable and the included cordage isn’t thick at all, so rugged use may quickly wear down these two features.

The BPS Knives Bushcraft Knife is a fantastic option if you’re looking for a tool that offers ergonomic comfort and control for the most intricate kinds of outdoor cutting tasks. This classically styled knife features a walnut wood handle and a carbon steel blade with a drop point shape and V-grind cutting edge. The true Scandinavian grind makes the knife exceptionally sharp before you open the box. The blade is made out of 1066 high carbon steel, which is hardened to hold an edge nicely with use. You’ll easily be able to tackle tasks like batoning wood, cutting kindling, and even more camping or outdoor needs. When you’re finished using your knife, the included genuine leather sheath keeps it well-protected and safe. You can attach the sheath vertically to belts or straps.

This bushcraft knife measures 8.6 inches in overall length, and the blade alone measures 4.4 inches. You’ll be comfortable holding the ergonomically-shaped handle, and it provides control, safety, and consistent performance, too. You may even find you don’t need to sharpen its edge frequently thanks to the heat-treatment manufacturing process.

The Holtzman’s Gorilla Survival Bushcraft Knife packs just about everything you might need from a knife into one slim product. It’s tough, it’s sharp, and it includes a versatile Kydex sheath for protection. You can use it while camping, for some survival needs, and even for hunting. This full-tang fixed blade bushcraft knife features a 1095 high carbon steel blade that measures 4 inches for a total knife length of 8.6 inches. The blade is meant to resist corrosion and rust, though you may need to practice careful maintenance to get the best effects. It can cut through everything like wood, plastic, and even aluminum. A G10 1.4-inch wide handle made out of fiberglass gives you precision control and prevents slipping while you’re working with the knife. When not in use, the knife sheath with Tek Lok and a lanyard hole makes it easy to store safely, securely, and right within your reach.

And the perks don’t end there. This knife also has a built-in flint rod right in the handle, and a G10 scraper that also helps you get a fire started. There’s even an Allen wrench included, just in case you need a little extra in your outdoor toolkit. No matter how or where you’re using this knife, you’ll find plenty of ways to get a lot of value out of it.

Related: 9 of the best survival knives worth carrying

Why should you trust us

I have nearly a year of experience reviewing products for Brookline Media’s websites, including The Drive and Car Bibles. My past reviews include best ATV bags, best solar chargers for backpacking, and best waterproof tents. I’ve also written historical articles for War History Online, how-to articles for WonderHowTo, and the nonfiction book Fidget! for Adams Media.

The most common types of bushcraft knives

Bushcraft knives can be tricky to shop for — mixed in with survival knives, tactical knives, and other outdoor options, these knives come in many different styles and are often designed to tackle a few different purposes. However, a true bushcraft knife is one that can be used as a wood cutting tool. It can make notches, handle feathering, and create points. It’s great for kindling and fine-tuned cutting tasks. 

With great maneuverability, bushcraft knives typically feature a blade between 3 to 6 inches in length. They’re very sharp, with full-tang fixed blades. And, when you’re trying to determine which bushcraft knife is right for you, you’ll want to divvy up your options based on their blades. Bushcraft knives are made with either stainless steel or high carbon blades, and each of these offers different pros and cons.

Stainless steel

A bushcraft knife with a stainless steel blade is one hardy option. Stainless steel is highly durable, and it’s a material that doesn’t rust. While these blades aren’t as sharp as their carbon competitors, they’re low-maintenance and able to easily last you without much care. It’s common for stainless bushcraft blades to come with a satin finish too. There are two kinds of stainless steel common in these blades: 440C stainless and 154CM stainless. The 440C blade is the most affordable option, with solid wear resistance and good strength. On the other hand, 154CM blades are a bit tougher, thanks to their blend of steel and other elements like chromium and carbon.

There is one drawback to choosing a stainless steel bushcraft knife: You’ll have to sharpen your blade often. Stainless tends to dull quickly, and over time it can become increasingly more challenging to achieve a perfectly sharp edge. 

High carbon

Choose a bushcraft knife with a high carbon blade, and you’ll get quite the durable companion. While stainless isn’t prone to rust, high carbon is — but high carbon blades are less likely to dull. You don’t have to worry about frequent sharpening if you’re using your knife often. Additionally, as long as you’re oiling your blade after use, rust shouldn’t be too big of a concern. There’s just one kind of high carbon blade: 1095 high carbon, which is easy to manage and made of steel alloys.

The biggest advantage of a high carbon bushcraft knife is its durability. These blades can really take a beating, and they’ll do so without wearing out. Just keep in mind the fact that you’ll want to take the time to maintain your blade so it doesn’t corrode or become unusable in unexpected ways. 

What to look for when buying a bushcraft knife

What are the most important features in a bushcraft knife? Because these nimble and maneuverable knives are meant to be easy to work with on small or intricate tasks, you’ll want to make sure you choose one that’s great for carving.

To find a bushcraft knife that offers good carving capability, look for knives with blades that are extremely sharp and slightly flexible. You’ll need a little flex to prep kindling, carve out shelter stakes, and feather wood. The blade should be durable enough to retain its sharp edge throughout different kinds of uses, even if you’re working with game. Also keep in mind that you may want to choose a longer blade — one that’s over 4 inches in length — if you’ll be carving through meat fibers frequently.

Next, you’ll want to look at the handle of any bushcraft knife you’re considering. Handles come in all lengths, shapes, and sizes — and materials. You can find plastic, rubber, leather, and even wood handles attached to bushcraft-style blades. While any of these materials can make for a decent handle, it’s important to consider what’s most comfortable for you. Wood is the most traditional material, but it isn’t always the most comfortable to handle. Plastic tends to wear out or break down over time. Rubber handles (or rubber-coated handles) offer firmer and more stable grips. If you’re going to rely on your knife frequently, look for a highly durable material like fiberglass or a tough wood.

Do you need a bushcraft knife?

If you’re assessing your outdoor, survival, or tactical tools, you’re probably wondering why you’d want to add yet another item to your pouches and packs. However, if you’re headed outdoors, you’re going to want to carry a bushcraft knife. While these knives are designed for carving and other nimble tasks, it’s a critical tool when you need to create kindling, make a shelter, or simply want a durable knife that won’t let you down.

Thanks to their compact size, bushcraft knives are incredibly lightweight and easy to carry in a pocket. Their fixed blades make them sturdier and less prone to breakage than your basic folding utility knife. The longer, thicker, and more durable blades give you lasting functionality. You can even achieve better stability and grip with a bushcraft knife over other survival or outdoor-friendly options.

Other benefits of carrying and using a bushcraft knife include:

  • The ability to tackle dozens of different tasks outdoors, from carving and whittling to feathering and kindling-shaping to game and fish preparation.
  • Long-term durability thanks to the solid construction of these fixed-blade knives.
  • Versatility, as a fixed-blade bushcraft knife can tackle larger and smaller jobs without weakness.
  • Simplicity and easy access, with nothing but a sheath in your way when you need your knife with no notice.
  • More than cutting, as many bushcraft knives also include extras like a fire striker or starter built into the handle or sheath.

Pricing ranges for bushcraft knives

  • $40 or Less: If you’re looking for a bushcraft knife on a budget, you can find a decent selection of options priced at $40 or less. These knives may not be the most durable, and they’ll require more maintenance than premium options, but they’re great first choices.
  • $45 to $100: Upgrade to the $45 to $100 price range, and you’ll find you have even more variety to choose from. These bushcraft knives come in nearly every blade type and handle material; some on the higher end may even be handcrafted.
  • $100 or More: For $100 or more, you’ll find the most premium bushcraft knives available. Made with extra features and functionality, these knives typically use high-quality materials to deliver exceptional style or capability. 

How we chose our top picks

In order to choose the best bushcraft knives, we looked at all of the options available at different retailers. We considered the number of customer reviews along with customers’ ratings, assessing how durable, useful, and hardy different knives were in real-world settings with frequent use.

Related: The best EDC knives worth relying on

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