Choosing the Best Bushcraft Knife – 5 Tips for Buying Bushcraft Knives

Your bushcraft knife is one of the most important pieces of bushcraft gear. You cannot bushcraft without a knife. You’ll likely use your knife to start fires, split wood, filet fish, and a variety of other tasks. When you’re buying a bushcraft knife, you want a knife that’s durable, has a strong, sharp blade, and can stand up to the bushcraft tasks you’ll need it for. Here are a few things to look for when shopping for bushcraft knives.

The best bushcraft knife will enable you to complete a variety of activities. An all-purpose knife that can complete both simple and heavy-duty tasks is a good option.

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Choosing the Best Bushcraft Knife - 5 Tips for Buying Bushcraft Knives

1. Durable, Ergonomic Handle

There are a few bushcraft skills – like wood carving – that may require using your bushcraft knife for a long period of time. Choose a knife with an ergonomic handle so it’s more comfortable to use.

In addition, the handle should be made of a strong material that can withstand use and environmental changes. For example, some wood handles might crack with changes in humidity or temperature.

2. Solid Blade (Full-Tang)

When you’re relying on your life, the last thing you want is for your knife blade to break. With a full tang knife, the blade of the knife is one solid piece of metal that runs through the handle. The handle is attached to the outer sides of the blade. This is makes the knife sturdier than if the blade was shorter and glued to the handle, for example.

Gerber StrongArm 420 High Carbon Stainless Steel Fixed Blade Survival Tactical Knife
This Gerber StrongArm 420 Survival Knife is full tang, has a 4.8″ blade, and comes with a sheath.

3. Fixed Blade

A fixed blade knife means the blade is fixed in place and does not fold. Because there isn’t a joint, a fixed blade knife is generally more durable and reliable than a folding survival knife.

That being said, there are some quality bushcraft folding knives and survival pocket knives that are good for smaller tasks or lighter woodwork. Do NOT use a folding knife for batoning or splitting wood.

4. Single-Edged Blade with a Pointed Tip

Look for a bushcraft knife that has a single-edge blade with a pointed tip.
If the spine of the blade is flat, it’ll make it easier to hit the back of the knife for splitting.

A double-edged knife might seem cool, but it could be a hindrance in survival and bushcraft settings. A double-edged blade will cause problems when you’re using your knife for batoning or constructing shelters. Also, finer bushcraft tasks like carving or starting a fire will be easier with a single-edged blade.

With a sharp, pointed tip, your knife offers better self-defense and assists with many other tasks like repairing gear, drilling or notching wood, and food prep.

Choosing the Best Bushcraft Knife - 5 Tips for Buying Bushcraft Knives

5. Bushcraft Knife & Blade Size

Bushcraft knives come in a variety of sizes. A good bushcraft knife size is between 9-11″ in overall length with 4-5″ blade. This size is still large enough to accomplish heavy-duty tasks like chopping and batoning, but still small enough for smaller tasks like carving or setting snares.

Final Thoughts

Along with the features mentioned here, there are also different blade materials, handle materials, colors and styles. The best bushcraft knife for you will be determined by what you’re planning on using the knife for, and what features are most important to you. As this knife will be used to ensure your survival in the wild, it’s important that you take the time to find the best survival knife for you.

Bushcraft Charlie

As an avid outdoor enthusiast, Bushcraft Charlie first developed his wilderness and survival skills in the suburbs of Maryland. After relocating to Montana, he's continued to spend time outdoors - hiking the Rocky Mountains and practicing bushcraft skills like shelter building and fire making.

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