Best Bushcraft Knife | What Are The Best Bushcraft Knives On A Budget?

Best Bushcraft Knives On A Budget 2017

Have you ever wanted to test your limits? To see how hard it would be to survive in the wilderness? For turning this dream into a reality, you need to have bushcraft skills. And one of the main tools to help you survive is bushcraft knife. If you now ask yourself what is the best bushcraft knife, you are at the right place.

I know that the search for the best knife for bushcraft isn’t easy. This type of knife is used for carving and general woodwork; not only for surviving but enjoying a wilderness using traditional techniques. In this article, I am going to review eight bushcraft knives that can be found on the market and hopefully help you in your selection.

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COMPARISON TABLE

In the following table, I’m going to list all tested knives and briefly summarize what I liked and what I didn’t like about them. Also, I will list the best usage of every knife:

Product Name

Pros

Cons

Verdict

Read Honest Review

Spyderco Bushcraft  G-10

Great quality blade and handle

Heavy and pricey, short blade

Perfect for wilderness chores

Click here

Benchmade 162 Bushcrafter

Strong, large handle, firm in hand

Easily gets dull, weak sheath

Solid all-purpose knife

Click here

Fallkniven F1

Very strong cobalt steel, excellent balance.

Convex edge needs more attention.

Convex edge needs more attention.

Click here

ESEE-5

Very beefy full-tang construction, lifetime warranty.

Very heavy, blade corrosion issues.

Designed specifically as a survival tool.

Click here

Ka-Bar Becker BK2 Campanion

Extremely durable and long blade, reasonably priced.

Wet handle doesn't provide much grip.

Bulky and tough, the best choice of the US Marines.

Click here

Morakniv Bushcraft

Low price, rubber ergonomic grip.

Not full tang, corrosion issues.

Moderate and good looking bushcraft knife.

Click here

Condor Tool and Knife Bushlore

Good balance, hard to damage it, affordable.

The edge is fragile, no drainage hole.

Surprisingly good bushcraft knife for the price.

Click here

Schrade SCHF9

Affordable price, quality materials

Not made of stainless steel.

Great and very affordable all-rounder.

Click here

What makes a knife good for bushcraft?

There are many different knife styles and designs out there. The thing about a knife for bushcraft is it needs to be able to do most things well. You never know what job you will need your knife to perform. Because of this, a proper bushcraft knife has to be very versatile. It also needs to be tough as nails. You don’t want to take a knife that is going to let you down when you need it the most.

There are certain design traits and features that make some knives more suitable for bushcraft than others. I will give you my opinion on what separates a great knife for bushcraft from the rest. Knives are designed for many different tasks, but certain design features lend themselves to bushcraft more than others.

Blade Material

carbon steel bushcraft knives

The blade for a knife that will be used in bushcraft has to be made of steel. It can’t be made of polymer or ceramic. Ceramic is a great blade material for certain applications, but it is much too brittle to suit our purposes. On the other end of the spectrum, polymers are much too soft to provide a durable edge. This leaves steel. There are as many different kinds of steel and blade coatings as there are kinds of knives. Nearly all big knife makers have their own special blend.

They formulate different types of steel based on corrosion resistance, malleability, (its ability to deform without cracking or breaking), and hardness. A knife used for bushcraft needs to be hard enough to keep an edge, but soft enough not to break when hit or used in prying motions.

I also prefer knives that are weather resistant. This either means buying a knife made from stainless steel, or buying a carbon steel blade that has a treatment or coating to prevent corrosion. Hardness is measured on the Rockwell scale. While you don’t need to understand it completely, know that this is the measurement used to rate the hardness of knife blades.

A high quality knife blade will normally have a Rockwell score of between HRC-55 and HRC-66 with 66 being the hardest. An axe by comparison will normally have a hardness of between HRC-45 and HRC-55. My preference is for a hardness rating of between 55 and 60.

Knife Design

How to use a bushcraft knives

This may be somewhat controversial, but I don’t consider folding knives to be true bushcraft gear. I don’t mean to say they don’t have their place, and I know a lot of outdoorsmen who use them, but I don’t trust the joint in a folding knife to hold up under extreme use.

There are too many things like the pivot pin and locking mechanism that can fail on a folding knife. I would rather have a folder than nothing at all, but if we are going to talk about true bushcraft gear, I think the conversation is limited to full tang, fixed blade knife designs.

Blade Design

This is another point that will have a lot of differing opinions, but I prefer a drop point blade design. This is kind of a compromise as it isn’t the best point design for any specific job, but it performs almost all jobs well. A clip point will give a sharper point for stabbing, but isn’t nearly as strong. The same can be said for a trailing point knife. The drop point can’t compete with it for skinning motions, but it is superior again in point strength.

A tanto blade design is a close second to the drop point, and will perform admirably, but the drop point offers an advantage in skinning motions over the tanto while still providing plenty of tip strength.

I will also add here that blade width is also important. Some cheaper knives may meet the previous criteria, but will feature thinner blades. Most high quality bushcraft knives will have a blade thickness of almost 1/8”. Thinner blades run the risk of braking when being used in prying motions.

Blade Length

For a good, general purpose bushcraft knife, I prefer a blade length of 4”-5”. You can get one bigger, but for me anything bigger is overkill and just harder to carry around. You could also make do with a shorter knife, but you may have to work harder at some jobs with a shorter knife. Keep in mind that if you choose a full tang fixed blade knife like I have suggested, you will have to carry it around in a sheath. The bigger the knife, the more it will get in the way on your belt, or in your pack, or wherever you choose to carry it.

Grind

The grind of a knife refers to the way the blade is sharpened. Believe it or not, the grind of the blade greatly affects the cutting performance of the knife. Another thing to keep in mind is that some grinds are very hard to reproduce during field sharpening.

I prefer a double bevel grind. This edge has one bevel from the cutting edge to a point somewhere near midway up the blade. The edge is then re-beveled to a steeper angle. This produces an edge that is sharp, durable, and efficient. Hollow ground blades are acceptable, but will require more maintenance as the edge isn’t as robust. A convex grind would also be a good choice, but is more difficult to achieve and requires much more practice than a double bevel.

I don’t recommend any other grind patterns for bushcraft purposes. I will also use this space to talk about serration. A serrated blade will make it easier to saw through very tough material.

Many outdoor knives feature blades that are partially serrated. I personally don’t like them compared to smooth edges. They serve a purpose, but I can serve that purpose by using a real saw or a cable saw instead. I don’t think they are very efficient at sawing and would rather keep the ease of sharpening a smooth edge. It takes a separate sharpener to hone a serrated blade and is fairly time consuming to do it correctly.

The Handle

The handle or scales as they are sometimes referred to (there is a difference, but it doesn’t matter here) is a matter of personal choice. I prefer wood grips, but I am somewhat nostalgic and old fashioned.

You could also opt for any number of different polymers and plastics along with natural materials such as leather. Some of the more modern designs don’t really have handles at all; just bare metal or a bare tang wrapped with paracord. I don’t really like the paracord handles. I don’t find them to be comfortable when I do a lot of knife work.

Whatever material you choose it should be comfortable in the hand and not get slippery when it is used in wet conditions. To sum up this post, in my opinion the perfect bushcraft knife is as follows: A fixed blade, full tang knife about 4-5 inches long with a drop point and a double bevel grind that is not serrated. It has a comfortable handle that doesn’t slip when conditions are wet. The blade is steel with a hardness between HRC 55-60 and is around 1/8” thick. The blade is also corrosion resistant.

Product Name

Pros

Cons

Verdict

Read Honest Review

Spyderco Bushcraft  G-10

Great quality blade and handle

Heavy and pricey, short blade

Perfect for wilderness chores

Click here

Benchmade 162 Bushcrafter

Strong, large handle, firm in hand

Easily gets dull, weak sheath

Solid all-purpose knife

Click here

Fallkniven F1

Very strong cobalt steel, excellent balance.

Convex edge needs more attention.

Convex edge needs more attention.

Click here

ESEE-5

Very beefy full-tang construction, lifetime warranty.

Very heavy, blade corrosion issues.

Designed specifically as a survival tool.

Click here

Ka-Bar Becker BK2 Campanion

Extremely durable and long blade, reasonably priced.

Wet handle doesn't provide much grip.

Bulky and tough, the best choice of the US Marines.

Click here

Morakniv Bushcraft

Low price, rubber ergonomic grip.

Not full tang, corrosion issues.

Moderate and good looking bushcraft knife.

Click here

Condor Tool and Knife Bushlore

Good balance, hard to damage it, affordable.

The edge is fragile, no drainage hole.

Surprisingly good bushcraft knife for the price.

Click here

Schrade SCHF9

Affordable price, quality materials

Not made of stainless steel.

Great and very affordable all-rounder.

Click here

Best Bushcraft Knives Under $250

Spyderco Bushcraft G-10

spyderco-bushcraft-g10-review

Spyderco Bushcraft G-10 PlainEdge Knife with its no hand guard is the ultimate bushcraft knife, standing out from the crowd of the other traditional bushcraft knives on the market.

It’s designed with the strong classic drop point, a Scandinavian grind blade, and 90-degree sharp spine. The blade is made of Q-1 Carbon Steel, a feature only the best bushcraft knives in the world possess. The handles are made by weaving glass fibers and filling them with an epoxy making them weather and temperature resistant and also great looking. It’s packed with a leather sheath with a plastic insert for blade protection.

This could easily be the most comfortable knife I’ve ever tested. It is a bit heavy though, but the ergonomics make up for this. It really delivers scandi-grind toughness, especially paired with Q-1 tool steel and it’s sparking off a ferro rod like a dream. Finish on the knife is also excellent.

The sheath is a little bit untypical, and if you are looking for lightweight – look somewhere else. The price may be a bit in the higher range but considering all its features, the Spyderco Bushcraft G-10 is definitely one of the top rated bushcraft knives with quality materials, especially the blade and the handle, perfect for wilderness chores which Bushcraft is all about.

Things I Liked:

  • Q-1 tool carbon steel
  • Scandinavian grind blade
  • Drop point design
  • G-10 scales handle
  • No hand guard

Things I Didn’t Like:

  • The blade is somewhat short
  • Maybe too heavy for some
  • The price is a bit high
Spyderco Bushcraft G-10 PlainEdge Knife with Leather Sheath
56 Reviews
Spyderco Bushcraft G-10 PlainEdge Knife with Leather Sheath
  • Made using the highest quality materials
  • Tested for quality and durability
  • The most trusted name in you cutlery needs
  • Bushcraft knife designed by tactical bushcraft expert Chris Claycombe, popular bushcraft website BushcraftUK.com, and Spyderco designers
  • Fully-tanged, four-inch blade has no hand guard, and features Scandinavian grind

Benchmade 162 Bushcrafter Knife

Benchmade 162 Bushcrafter Knife

The Bushcrafter is one of Benchmade’s premium knives for a good reason. It is a fixed 4.43-inch blade knife with a sturdy construction, and although it doesn’t have a scandi-grind, Benchmade went with their own patent, and it’s called a “high-ground drop point blade.”

The blade is made of super strong S30V stainless steel, and it is very wieldy and lightweight, even though it is on the larger side. The tough G10 handle is light titanium tubing, standing out from the crowd with its lovely blue hue with reddish highlights. The sheath is a buckskin leather, and although it does ride a little higher than some, it presents the knife better than some low hanging ones.

This knife performed effortlessly, and I used it for several camping and fishing trips. Even though it’s not scandi-grind like most of the other knives, it is premium S30V stainless steel, pressed-in tubular titanium is very resistant to corrosion and made specifically for cutlery purposes.

The material, design, and a full flat grind are on the spot. I didn’t like the sheath though, and replaced it with another one. Mainly it is marketed to the bushcraft community, but on the other hand, it is a solid all-purpose knife, suitable for hunting, survival and utility use.

Things I Liked:

  • Razor sharp blade
  • Easy to strike a ferro rod of the spine
  • Strong, large handle, firm in hand

Things I Didn’t Like:

  • It’s sharp of the box, but easily gets dull
  • The top of the sheath started splitting
  • The sheath is not protected from the blade
Benchmade - Bushcrafter 162, Drop-Point
145 Reviews
Benchmade - Bushcrafter 162, Drop-Point
  • BLADE STYLE: 4.40" (9.58cm) Drop-point style blade, weighing 7.72oz. (218.86g)
  • AMERICAN MADE STEEL: CPM-S30V (58-60 HRC) premium stainless steel with well-rounded characteristics, including excellent corrosion resistance and superb edge qualities. The well-balanced stainless steel makes it one of the best choice for daily tasks.
  • DURABLE MATERIALS: The contoured G10 handle offers exceptional strength to weight, imperviousness to moisture, and is physically stable under a wide range of temperatures. Also, includes belt loop clip.
  • FIXED BLADE WITH SHEATH BONUS: This knife is permanently open and comes with a sheath to protect the edge. The 162(green and red handle) comes with a full-grain leather clip and the 162-1(sand handle) comes with a molded kydex sheath.
  • AMERICAN MANUFACTURING: The Oregon-based Benchmade factory employs modern laser cutters and CNC machining centers that offer control and tolerances found in the aerospace industry. Precision is that of half the width of a human hair.

Best Bushcraft Knives Under $150

Fallkniven F1

fallkniven-f1-review

When survival is on the line, the Fallkniven F1 Knife has not only set a standard but also happens to be the official survival knife for Swedish Airforce staff.

The hard-laminated VG10 stainless steel, forged by the hand of experts in Japan, is what it’s made of, while ultra-strong, yet lightweight black Thermorum is the most vintage solution to the grippy handle, but still on the heavier side overall. Even though over half size of this knife is grip, the Fallkniven F1 has an excellent balance between cutting and control surface.

I qualify myself as an owner of all the big names out there, and I have both Benchmade Bushcrafter and Fallkniven F1, and I have to admit – I’m leaning towards this beauty. With its simple yet firm handle and a convex edge, F1 is easily one of the best knives I’ve ever owned. It comes razor sharp of the box, and it stayed that way for a long time.

It proved to be a great camping, hunting, hiking and all around knife, easy to carry. Robust, light, and easy to carry, F1 is not just a regular bushcraft knife but also a professional survival, even military knife. Purchasing it, you’ll get the best of both worlds, and it’s worth it. It is a classic.

Things I Liked:

  • Built on proven formula and reputation
  • Very strong blade
  • Keeps an edge really well
  • ​Cobalt steel edge
  • Strikes a ferrocerium rod well

Things I Didn’t Like:

  • Relatively heavy
  • Convex edge is hard to maintain with standard whetstones
  • Less suited for deeper cuts

ESEE-5

ESEE 5 Review

Just by the looks of it, ESEE-5 is truly made for heavy-duty purposes in the survival industry, designed specifically as a survival tool for downed aircrew.

It is made of high-carbon 1095 steel hardened to 55-57 Rockwell with a high flat ground, and while it is the best choice for professional cutlery, it will stain and rust if not cared properly. This particular model is ideal for piercing and general safety featuring a full flat grind and a drop point, also toward the end of the blade, there is space near the handle so in case your finger slips you will not cut yourself.

Even if handle breaks, you’ll still be able to use it because it features a full tang, also it could be used for hammering. I have nothing but positive things to say. I put this knife through anything and everything, and it performed very well without having to sharpen the blade.

Bear in mind that the steel blade does need some extra attention, and the knife itself is a little heavier than I thought it was going to be. It took me several days to get used to it, and it’s so heavy I had no problem cutting down smaller trees. However, if the knife somehow ever fails you, ESEE Knives comes with a lifetime warranty.

Things I Liked:

  • Very beefy boasting a full tang construction
  • Very easy to sharpen 1095 high-carbon steel
  • Beautiful Micarta scales
  • Nice Kydex sheath
  • Lifetime warranty

Things I Didn’t Like:

  • Not the best tool when using a ferro rod
  • It weighs a full pound!
  • 1095 steel needs more care
ESEE 5P Black Tactical Survival Knife w/ Sheath
  • Overall Length: 11.00"
  • Blade Length: 5.25"
  • Handle Material: Micarta
  • Sheath: Kydex
  • Blade Finish: Black

Best Bushcraft Knives Under $100

Ka-Bar Becker BK2

KaBar Becker Companion BK2 REVIEW

Weighing in at a full pound, Ka-Bar Becker BK2 certainly is the big boy of this group making it a favorite choice for the US Marine Corps and many other armies.

Just over 5 inches in blade length and thanks to 1095 Cro-Van carbon steel, infused with chrome/vanadium carbides for strength, it will provide you a great experience with kindling and skin game considering its affordable price. The handle is made of black Grivory with removable front and rear guards for safety under harsh use. To use the full-tang blade as a spear attachment, the handle scales can be removed.

In hand, this thing feels like a monster. It is a thick and robust knife for that price range, very fit and with a fantastic and attractive finish – they did a very nice job designing this knife. It may feel a bit heavier at first than you expected but it’s easy to get used to.

Overall, it is a good example of quality yet reasonably priced and good looking. You can split rocks with the pommel, shop wood with the blade and finely slice a piece of meat and even though it’s a bit on the heavier side, still is not as heavy as a hatchet but does the job almost equally.

Things I Liked:

  • Thick full tang construction
  • Very sturdy handle
  • Extremely durable 1095 cro-van steel
  • Reasonably priced
  • Heavy-duty and versatile
  • Very good looking

Things I Didn’t Like:

  • Zytel handles don’t provide much grip when wet
  • The sheath requires heat molding to operate smoothly
  • The blade needs to be sharpened out of the box
  • The thumb release with the sheath is not adequate
Ka-Bar Becker BK2 Campanion Fixed Blade Knife
  • Full tang heavy duty field knife suited for camping chores.
  • Made in Olean New York, U.S.A
  • Designed by Ethan Becker
  • Manufactured by KA-BAR Knives Inc.
  • Comes with a hard shell black nylon sheath.

Morakniv Bushcraft Carbon Steel Knife

Morakniv Bushcraft Carbon Steel Survival Knife Review

Morakniv Bushcraft is made by the recipe of the current knife company that still make a wide variety of carving, craft, construction and fishing knives in Sweden. It comes with a scandi-grind blade constructed out of Sandvik 12c27, a Swedish steel used in fixed utility blades.

This model, in particular, features a unique thick DLC anti-corrosive coating, and it’s fully coated, even the edge. Unfortunately, it is not full-tang but rather has a hidden tang running down the most of the rubber handle and it could break if you really give it some hard time.

Another mentionable feature is the black rubber handle which is utilitarian, durable and is resistant to water unlike the Micarta, G10 or other popular handle materials. This is a good basic and very versatile knife for some moderate duty in the field.

It looks good and feels great in hand, very sharp out of the box and holds a great edge. However, has no full-tang construction, therefore there is a possibility it could get easily bent after a good beat on, but it’s nothing surprising for its price.

The Mora is nearly impossible to criticize considering its price and for what it’s worth it is very impressive and looks to be an excellent all-around bush knife.

Things I Liked:

  • Low price
  • Thicker blade than other Moras
  • Integrated Diamond Sharpener
  • Rubber ergonomic, non-slip grip
  • High Carbon Steel Blade

Things I Didn’t Like:

  • Corrosion issues
  • Not Full Tang
  • Sharpener too coarse
  • Scandi-grind not precise through long cuts
Sale
Morakniv Bushcraft Carbon Steel Survival Knife with Fire Starter and Sheath, Black
  • Fixed blade knife with 1/8-inch (3.2 mm) thick carbon steel blade with anti-corrosive black coating
  • Blade Thickness: 0.126" (3.2 mm), Blade Length: 4.3" (109 mm), Total Length: 9.1" (232mm), Net Weight: 5.4 oz. (154g)
  • Black plastic sheath with integrated diamond sharpener and Fire Starter; ergonomic handle with high-friction rubber grip
  • Morakniv Fire Starter yields 7,000 strikes and produces 3,000 Degree sparks; works when wet
  • Limited lifetime manufacturer's warranty.

Best Bushcraft Knives Under $50

Condor Tool and Knife Bushlore

Condor Bushlore Fixed Blade Bushcraft Knife Review

The Condor Tool and Knife is not only cheap but surprisingly good bushcraft knife for the money. What makes it different from the other knives is its weight. It comes at 12 ounces and because of that is very easy to handle and makes controlled cuts easier.

The blade is made of 1075 carbon steel; it’s 4.375-inch long, and it’s gently curved which helps in slicing. The blade has blasted satin finish that prevents corrosion. Its sharpness is perfect for trimming, cutting, whittling and sharpening branches.

The tip of the knife is tough and can be used for drilling into wood without any problems. The sheath is made of leather and is very thick. This knife has a surprisingly decent chopping ability considering its size. It is perfectly usable for light and medium chopping and carving chores.

Although the steel looks cheap, it is sharp and can easily be sharpened. The handle is big and made of hardwood. It doesn’t seem to have any hot spots and is contoured very nice so it very comfortable. Overall, it is an excellent survival and the best small bushcraft knife for its price.

Things I Liked:

  • No discomfort or unexpected vibrations while using it
  • Good balance
  • Sharp blade
  • Very light

Things I Didn’t Like:

  • No drainage hole
  • The edge is fragile
  • Uneven grid
Sale
Condor CTK232-4.3HC Walnut Handle Bushlore Knife, Plain
  • The finest quality cutlery and tools
  • Handle: Walnut
  • Blade Finish: Blasted Satin
  • Sheath: Leather

Schrade SCHF9

Schrade SCHF9 Extreme Survival Review

Schrade SCHF9 provided so much power while chopping or cutting that it reminded me on a hatchet.

The blade is 6.4-inch long, and it’s made of 1095 high carbon steel. It runs the entire length of the knife, and it holds on edge well, and it’s tough. The blade is covered with a gray coating which is very durable and prevents the rust. The edge is a thick flat grind and widens before it curves up to the tip.

The handle is made of TPE (material that is a mixture of rubber and plastic), and it has three finger cutouts so it’s very comfortable and shock absorbent. The blade steel is flush with the grip on the end of the handle and could be used for crushing or breaking things.

The sheath looks good and has removable storage pouch. It has a plastic liner for the knife, and it’s secured with an adjustable strap. I consider this one to be the best budget bushcraft knife I’ve tested yet. It is perfect for camping, hunting, backpacking, bushcraft, extreme adventures, safaris, bug-out-bags and emergency kits.

It should be noted that the blade is not made from stainless steel, and it is a bit too heavy, but it has a very good balance and is very comfortable. Great price for a decent all-rounder knife.

Things I Liked:

  • Good quality materials
  • Affordable price
  • Sharp blade
  • Comfortable handle

Things I Didn’t Like:

  • Blade is not made from stainless steel
  • Heavy
  • Uneven grid
Schrade SCHF9 Extreme Survival Full Tang Drop Point Fixed Blade TPE Handle
  • 1095 High Carbon Steel Drop Point Blade
  • Ring Textured TPE Handle Slabs with Lanyard Hole, Ballistic Belt Sheath with Removable Storage Pouch and Lanyard
  • Blade Length: 6.4 inch (16.2 cm) Handle Length: 5.7 inch (14.5 cm)
  • Overall Length: 12.1 inch (30.7 cm) Weight: 1.0 pounds
  • Recreational and professional level use

Conclusion

After my testing, the best bushcraft knife is Fallkniven F1. This knife is not only the best survival bushcraft knife but also a professional military knife used by Swedish Airforce. What makes it different from the other tested knives is an adamant and sharp blade made of stainless steel. Despite the long grip, Fallkniven has a superior balance compared with other tested knives. Its weight also gives this knife an advantage – if you are planning long routes, an extra pound can be hard to carry. On top of this, reasonable price for a knife that provides professional performance makes Fallkniven F1 an absolute winner.

ESEE 5 Review
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