Bushcraft knives are in a league of their own. Unlike most everyday carry knives, they do not care much for concealment as much as sheer strength and dependability. Just so we’re on the same page, bushcraft knives are not the same as Rambo-type knives that looks more like bladed clubs. Bushcraft knives are often fixed blade knives and most have a full tang construction that are built for medium to heavy camping tasks. Most are used for general cutting like ropes and food preparation all the way to heavier tasks like batoning. Bushcrafting is a relatively new practice and there are still those who do not know just exactly what it is. It is simply combining the survival practices of the ancients tribes and more modern military personnel.
For some, bushcraft knives are different from survival knives but by definition, both knives have the same basic application. A survival knife is any knife that you depend on survival situations while a bushcraft knife is one that you use in the wild. And by this definition, bush craft and survival knives are pretty much the same. With that settled, here are the top 5 bushcraft knives available today.
One word that best describes the Fallkniven F1 is tenacious. When you’re out in the wild, you want a knife that will perform not just good, but very well. The simple look of the Fallkniven F1 tends to throw people off making them think that it is nothing but a glorified kitchen knife. But the Fallkniven F1 is more than that, a lot more. In fact, the Fallkniven F1 has been proving people wrong and gaining top marks since 1995. They say imitation is the highest form of flattery and by that respect; the Fallkniven F1 is the best. There are not a lot of knives out there that are copied more than the F1. Recent F1 models uses what is called 3G steel that is relatively easy to sharpen and holds that edge particularly well. This is very important in bushcraft or survival scenarios where the only knife you can depend on must have an edge that does not fail.
The Fallkniven F1 comes with an edge comparable to that of a razor right out of the box. This is particularly unique since a lot of bushcraft knives need some additional sharpening to get to this level right out of the box. This is not a surprise though since the Fallkniven F1 was originally designed as a survival knife issues to the Swedish military personnel. And as such, it was proven its worth. You can depend on the F1 in splitting anything between logs and hair.
Mora knives are known for their toughness and dependability and the Morakniv Bushcraft is definitely no exception. The 4.3 inch long blade is made from Sandvik 12c27 Swedish carbon steel. The 0.12 inch thick blade tapers down to a point at around a quarter inch before the edge. The distinctive tip of the Morakniv Bushcraft also is very strong that makes it easy to use when prying things open. You can open a can of beans with this bad boy without much effort. The back edge of this knife is also specially designed to serve as a fire starter which not a lot of bushcraft knives has. The only knock on Mora and the Morakniv Bushcraft is the fact that it is not a full-tang knife. Bushcraft knives usually have a full tang construction but the Morakniv Bushcraft, despite this slight disadvantage, still manages to outperform most of its full-tang constructed competitors. Now that’s quite something.
The handle of the Morakniv Bushcraft is made from textured rubber which makes it almost impossible to slip in your hands. You can grip this knife with no problem even after gutting a fish or skinning your game. The jimping on top of the handle gives you more control and allows you to exert more effort if necessary. The ergonomics of the handle and quality of the blade makes this knife a prime choice for camping and survival trips all year round. All in all, the Morakniv Bushcraft is a great all-around knife that will perform each and every time.
This knife was originally designed for military and law enforcement use only. It was issued to various military specialty groups and became quite popular.
Even as a highly regarded tactical knife, the ESEE-3MIL-P found its home as a bushcraft knife. Designed by Jeff Randall and Mike Perrin, renowned survivalists, the ESEE 3 is a prime choice for outdoorsmen and survival trainers. ESEE’s no nonsense approach is quite evident in the ESEE 3 from the design of the blade and handle to the kind of material used. No space age materials here. The merits of this knife are not born out of paper stats but actual application. The ESEE 3 is equally at home as a utility knife for hikers, adventurers and even farmers. This shows just how flexible this knife really is.
The blade of the ESEE 3 is made from 1095 high carbon steel which means it could rust if not taken cared of properly. This is a drawback for some but for those who know how to maintain their knives, it’s not really an issue. What you do get from the 1095 though is an incredibly strong blade with an edge that seems to never lose its sharpness. It can stay crazy sharp for a very long time. This full tang knife also has a pummel at the bottom that you can use to crush pretty much anything. The Micarta handle also improves grip and the simple but effective design provides ample control and safety as well. The additional finger grove on the blade can give you more control and power when you need.
Benchmade’s first stab at making a bushcraft knife resulted in the 162 Bushcrafter. It is a full tang 9.20 inch long knife with a 4.43 inch CPM S30V stainless steel blade that weighs around 7.72 ounces. Benchmade designed the 162 Bushcrafter to be a workhorse and indeed it is. The cutting edge of this behemoth extends almost throughout the whole length of the blade with an edge that is, according to Benchmade, significantly stronger than a scandi grind without sacrificing sharpness. The durability and flexibility of CPM S30V is unquestioned which is why it is starting to be used in more and more bushcraft knives. This is also why when Benchmade started to design and conceptualize a bushcraft knife, the CPM S30V is their first choice.
The handle of the 162 Bushcrafter have molded G-10 scales that are held in place through the use of flared titanium tubing. This improves the strength of the handle and stability in use. The 162 Bushcrafter makes use of the tried and tested handle design of finger guards on top and at the botton of the handle and a smooth sloping belly that fits comfortably in the hand. The two large hollow tubes can also be used as lashing points if you need to use it as a spear or even a pruning pole to reach fruits on otherwise unreachable tree branches. Finally, the sharpened spine of the 162 Bushcrafter can be used as a dependable fire starter, indispensable for camping or survival situations.
The Spyderco Bushcraft is a relatively new addition to the Spyderco family. As with a lot of Spyderco knives, the Spyderco Bushcraft is a result of collaborations with well-renowned individuals in the market that they are in to, in this case, that would be Chris Claycombe. Bushcrafting is all about tradition and the Spyderco Bushcraft follows that tradition. As with traditional bushcraft knives, the Spyderco Bushcraft has no hand guards and is designed with nothing in mind except wilderness application. The Spyderco Bushcraft is Spyderco’s first stab at the bushcraft industry and it has indeed made its mark.
For Spyderco Bushcraft, Spyderco went for the dependable drop point design that creates a very strong tip, ideal for puncturing and prying open various things and its full tang construction for added strength. The blade is made of oil quenched O-1 carbon steel which is one, if not the very best high carbon steel you can hope for in a bushcraft knife because it’s both strong and holds an edge particularly well. The high carbon content also makes it easy to throw sparks when struck with a flint on the spine.
The handle has G-10 scales that not only looks great but has a relatively high resistance to temperature and other elements normally encountered in the wild. Although Spyderco is known for their “edgy” designes in their knives that includes particularly deep finger groves, the Spyderco Bushcraft is designed fairly simple and yet effective. This 8.75 inch long and 7.75 ounce bushcrafter is definitely not a pushover and Spyderco has yet again delivered with this masterpiece of a bushcraft tool. And for the collector in you, the Spyderco Bushcraft also bears the signature Spyder Hole.
Now look, these bushcraft knives are meant to be pushed to the limit in the wild and in harsh conditions. We are not talking about that camping trip you and your girlfriend went on to rekindle the relationship and talk about your emotions. The only “camping trip” these knives will be going on will consist of caveman like grunts for communication and a fort built with your bare hands and the bushcraft knife of your choice. All five of these knives will get that type of a job done, it simply comes down to your personal preference.