Are you heading out on a camping trip? Getting out deep into public land or a National Park is a great way to experience nature. The glory of the outdoors contains plenty of beauty, and staring out at a breathtaking landscape might disillusion you about the call of the wild.
The reality is the outdoors are an unforgiving place. If you’re going on a camping trip or a survivalist mission, you need to have some bushcraft skills and the right tools to help you meet the challenges presented by mother nature.
Bushcraft is a term originating out of Australia and South Africa, where the locals refer to public land and the wilderness as “the bush.” Bushcraft describes the skills and tools needed to navigate the tough terrain and conditions.
Bushcraft involves many principles that revolve around surviving and thriving in the wild. Your bushcraft tools can mean the difference between life and death in some situations. Having the right equipment on hand is essential if you want to stand up to the natural world’s demands.
A good knife is possibly the most important bushcraft tool you can own. A full-tang knife with a sharp, durable blade will help you get out of plenty of tricky situations. From scratching a fire-steel to light the campfire, to skinning an animal – a bushcraft knife needs to be at your side day and night.
In this post, we’ll review your options for the best bushcraft knife.
Our Top Picks
- 1 Our Top Picks
- 2 Bushcraft Knife Reviews
- 3 Other Best Selling Options
- 4 Bushcraft Knife Buyer’s Guide
- 5 Bushcraft Knife FAQs
- 6 The Best Bushcraft Knife – The Verdict
If you can’t wait to head out on your camping trip, you probably don’t have the patience to read this entire review. If that’s the case, we picked out our top three models from the knives on display in this article.
We have models to suit different styles and price points, giving you the best options for your new bushcraft knife.
Best Pick: Cold Steel SRK Survival Rescue
- Included components: Knife, Sheath
- Sport type: Fishing
- Care instructions: Hand Wash
Cold Steel makes some of the best knives in the world. This brand produces blades in all kinds of styles and formats, with a powder-coated finish that reduces friction and prevents corrosion. With the Cold Steel SRK, you get a survivalist design with clean edges and a razor-sharp blade with SK-5 or CPM-3V steel for a toughened, durable edge that remains sharp.
Premium Pick: KA-BAR Becker BK2 Companion
- 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.
KA-BAR is another premium knifemaker with a range of top-quality knives. This bushcraft model features a 1095-Cro Van steel design providing a tough, sharp, and durable blade. The drop-point blade is suitable for multi-tasking around the campsite, with a straightforward design for plenty of control over the edge.
Budget Pick: Morakniv Craftline Pro S
- Fixed blade utility knife with stainless steel blade
- Blade Thickness: 0.08 in (0.2 cm), Blade Length: 3.6 in (9.1 cm), Total Length: 8.25 in (20.9 cm), Net Weight: 4.0 oz (115 g)
- Ergonomic handle of TPE rubber provides optimum grip
- Hard plastic Combi-Sheath allows for the connection of a second knife and sheath
- Limited lifetime manufacturer’s warranty.
If you’re a survivalist or camper looking for the most affordable bushcraft knife, we recommend the Morakniv Craftline. This model features design and construction with hardened stainless steel. You get an ergonomic rubberized grip for total control over the knife, even in wet weather.
Bushcraft Knife Reviews
Now that you have an idea of our top models let’s unpack them in detail. We’ll also look at a few other great choices for the best bushcraft knife. Choose the model that meets the demands of your outdoor adventure, and start planning your trip.
Cold Steel SRK Survival Rescue
This Cold Steel model is the top choice for SEAL team operators and BUDs instructors. The knife features a multi-purpose design, allowing for survivalist use and combat. This knife features a full-tang design, with bade options in SK-5 steel, CPM-3V steel, or San Mai steel.
The drop-point design of the blade makes it suitable for hybrid use in bushcraft and fighting. The durable coated finish on the SK-5 steel option provides a friction-free cutting experience and excellent corrosion resistance.
The SRK from Cold Steel wins our top award for the best overall bushcraft knife. We like the straight-backed handle featuring finger choice and stippling. This knife is easy to grip in wet weather and when wearing gloves.
- Used by the SEAL teams and BUDs instructors
- Full-tang design
- SK-5 steel, CPM-3V steel, or San Mai steel blade options
- Drop-point design
- Stippled handle for easy grip
- Coated blade for friction-free cutting and corrosion-resistance
- 6-inch blade with 4-3/4″ handle
- Nylon and polymer sheath included
KA-BAR Becker BK2 Companion
This bushcraft knife wins our award for the best premium model in this review. You get a 1095 Cro-Van blade for a hardened edge that stays sharp. This knife’s flat-back design adds versatility to the blade, allowing you to use it as a handy tool around the campsite.
The ergonomic handles fit into your hand, providing total control over the blade. The front of the handle features a finger choil for superior control over the knife. The large lanyard loop and drop-point design make this a useful knife for hunting, camping, and survivalist use.
The blade features a flat grind finish, providing a tough and reliable blade that stays sharp. You get a hybrid sheath made from nylon and plastic with this model.
- Flat grind finish
- Full-tang design
- Durable 1095 Cro-Van blade for a hardened edge
- Drop-point design
- 5.25″ blade with 5.25″ handle for a good balance
- Ergonomic Ultramid handle
- Nylon and plastic sheath included
Morakniv Craftline Pro S
This affordable model takes the top spot for the best budget model in this review. The Craftline Pro S offers you a great multi-purpose tool for around the campsite. This model doesn’t have a full-tang design, but it’s a rugged and durable tool designed for industrial use.
That feature makes it an ideal choice for bushcraft. This model comes with a polymer handle that doesn’t conduct the cold. Therefore, it’s a great choice for use in cold-weather conditions. The rubberized, ergonomic handle makes it easy to control the blade, even when wearing gloves.
You get a hardened Sandvik stainless steel blade, and you get a full plastic sheath for your knife. This model is a great choice for any camping or hunting trip.
- Ergonomic rubber handle
- The handle doesn’t conduct the cold
- Hardened Sandvik stainless steel blade for a long-lasting and durable edge
- Blade length 3.6″ total length 8.25″
- Good choice for use around the campsite
- Hard plastic sheath included
KA-BAR Becker Kephart
This KA-BAR model is a close runner up to the Becker model that won the best premium model in this review. This knife also features a full-tang design, with a spear-point tip for a classic look. You get a 5.125″ blade useful for cutting tasks around the campsite and out in the field.
This model features a flat-back design, with a finger choil on the handle for ultimate control when cutting. You get wooden handles for a traditional look, but they might not be the best choice for use in wet weather. This model comes with a durable genuine leather sheath.
- A special edition celebrating Mr. Horace Depart
- Full-tang traditional design
- 1095 Cro-van blade for a tough and durable edge
- 5.125″ blade
- Spear-point blade
- Brown leather sheath included
- Stonewash handles
ESSEE makes some of the best American knives available. This PR4 model is a great choice for your bushcraft knife. The blade and handle both features a rustic and rugged look. The handle has a leather design with notches and knurling for added grip when cutting.
The stonewashed 1095 HC steel blade looks tremendous, providing a weathered look to the knife. This model comes with a full genuine leather sheath. You get a 4-inch blade and 4.75″ handle for complete control over the knife, and a 90-degree spine for striking fire-steels.
- Full-tang traditional design
- Spear-point blade
- Ergonomic handle grip
- Stonewashed 1095 HC steel blade
- 4″ blade and 4.75″ handle
- 90-degree spine for striking a fire-steel
- Leather sheath included
Tops BPB-01 Backpackers Bowie
This bushcraft knife is a good combination of campsite and survivalist use. We think this model is a great choice for hunters and survivalists looking for a multi-purpose tool for use around the campsite and out in the bush.
You get a durable 1095 Cro-Van blade for a rugged and tough edge and a 10.25-inch total length. The knife comes with a full-tang design, an ergonomic handle with finger notches, and a finger choil. This model is a top choice for military and law enforcement officers.
- Full-tang tactical design
- Ergonomic handle
- 1095 Cro-Van blade for a tough, sharp edge
- Trusted by military and law enforcement
- 10.25″ total length
- Manufactured in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, USA
This Morakniv Garberg model is another Scandinavian knife suitable for use in bushcraft. This knife features a full-tang design, with the but of the knife acting as a striker tip for breaking glass.
You get a 9-inch total length, with a 4.3″ blade. The knife features design and construction with a 14C28N Sandvik stainless steel blade, featuring a drop-point design.
This model features a 90-degree spine for striking fire-steels and a 3.2mm blade thickness for rugged use. You get a leather and plastic combination sheath included with this knife.
- Full-tang design
- The Polymide handle doesn’t conduct cold
- 90-degree spine for striking fire-steels
- Drop-point design
- MOLLE mount system
- 14C28N Sandvik stainless steel blade
- A total length of 9.0 inches
- Leather sheath with belt clip included
Condor Tool & Knife Bushlore Camp Knife
The Condor bushcraft knife is a solid choice, featuring design and construction with premium materials. You get a 1075 hardened carbon steel blade, a 4.5-inch blade, and a center point design. The hardwood walnut handle absorbs vibration and gives the knife an authentic look.
The flat-back design of the blade features a full-tang, and there’s a lanyard hole on the hilt. You get a durable leather sheath featuring a belt clip, included with this bushcraft knife.
- Full-tang design
- 1075 hardened carbon steel blade
- Built for reliability and performance
- Hardwood handle
- Blasted satin finish
- Leather sheath included
Schrade SCHF36 Frontier
This Schrader SCH36 bushcraft knife features design and construction with durable 1095 Powder-coated carbon steel. You get a coated blade for friction-free cutting and corrosion resistance.
The textured TPE handle provides you with all the grip you need in wet weather, with ergonomic finger grooves for control over the blade.
The blade has a drop-point design and a finger choil for better control. This model includes a nylon sheath, with fire-steel and Emory board included.
- Ergonomic textured TPE handle
- Drop-point blade design
- The blade features toughened 1095 Powder-coated carbon steel
- Lanyard hole for easy carry
- Finger choil for better control
- Nylon sheath with lanyard included
- Fire-steel included with the sheath
Smith & Wesson SW7
Smith & Wesson make some of the best firearms and knives available, focusing on affordable quality.
This bushcraft knife features an ergonomic handle with finger grooves and a striker tip on the handle’s rear. This model is more tactical than bushcraft, but it’s an affordable design suitable for use around the campsite and out in the field.
The blade features design and construction with 9Cr17MoV high carbon stainless steel for a hardened, durable finish.
- S&W trusted name in firearms and knives
- Ergonomic handle
- Lanyard loop in hilt/ striker tip
- 9Cr17MoV high carbon stainless steel blade
- Blade length of 5.2″
- Drop-point design
- Finger choil for better control
- Plastic sheath included
Other Best Selling Options
- Versatile fixed-blade outdoor knife with a 4.1-inch hardened Sandvik 12C27 stainless steel blade is ideal for carving, food prep, and cutting tinder
- High-quality Swedish steel is razor sharp and exceptionally tough; stainless steel blade stays sharp longer than carbon steel, and is less prone to rust
- Patterned, high-friction grip sits comfortably in the hand, for greater control, safety, and performance, especially in wet and cold conditions
- Blade length: 4.1 inches (104 mm), blade thickness: 0.1 inch (2.5 mm), overall length: 8.6 inches (218 mm), weight w/ sheath: 4.1 oz. (116 g)
- Includes a color-matching plastic sheath with belt clip; manufacturer’s limited lifetime warranty; made in Sweden
- 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.
- BUILT FOR THE TRAIL: Robust, rugged style meets unmatched function, no matter the application; A robust survival tool that's as versatile as it is tough.
- AMERICAN MADE CPM-S30V STEEL: For first-rate edge retention and corrosion resistance; Precision drop-point construction for strength and versatility.
- ULTRA DURABLE G10 HANDLE: Features a resin-soaked fiberglass body that's impervious to moisture and stable across fast-changing climates.
- FIXED BLADE CONSTRUCTION: Provides enhanced stability when in use; Leather sheath with belt loop and D-ring for easy access.
- A MODERN BUSHCRAFT KNIFE: Built for the toughest jobs where superior versatility is required, the Bushcrafter 162 is a true workhorse; Add it to your gear collection, survival kit, tackle box, and more.
- Fixed-blade knife with a razor sharp 1/8 inch (3.2 mm) thick carbon steel blade with tungsten DLC anti-corrosive black coating
- Blade length: 4.3 inches (109 mm); Blade thickness: 0.125 inch (3.2 mm); Total length: 9.1 inches (232 mm); Weight w/sheath: 5.7 oz. (162 g)
- Spine of the blade is ground especially for use with a fire starter (not included)
- Ergonomic handle with high-friction rubber grip gives the feeling of control, making work easier, as if the knife were an extension of your hand
- Black plastic sheath with belt loop keeps knife securely at your side; 1-year manufacturer's warranty
- The small full tang outdoor knife fixed blade with sheath is the best kind of fixed blade knife for survival camping or bushcraft gears and perfectly suitable for drilling cutting piercing batoning and other bushcraft tasks
- Full tang knife with leather sheath has a belt loop for vertical carrying and perfect as everyday carrying (EDC) knife. The handmade leather case crafted from the highest quality premium genuine leather
- The bush knife blade has true scandi grind and made of durable high carbon steel and hardened to 56-57 HRC and has a razor sharp edge blade out of the box. The survival carbon steel knife can be used with a firesteel
- The handle of camping knife made of walnut wood and covered with natural linseed oil. The handle fastened via 2 steel bolts and can be easily disassembled for the customization
- The compact full-tang survival knife with 3.7inch drop point blade and 7.9inch total size has easy and quick access in the leather cover and is perfect for carrying in the backpack, bag, and survival kit
Bushcraft Knife Buyer’s Guide
Picking out a bushcraft knife is a challenging process. For most knife enthusiasts, it’s like being a kid in a candy store. There are so many options, and you only get one final choice.
After reading through your top models’ reviews, you’re likely trying to figure out which knife is the best choice for your camping, hunting, or survivalist needs. In this section, we’ll look at all the factors behind choosing the right bushcraft knife for your needs.
What Do I Look for In a Bushcraft Knife?
Bushcraft is a semi-survivalist specialty, and you’ll need a rugged and durable knife that stands up to the toughest cutting tasks. From splitting branches for firewood to skinning a buck, there are thousand-and-one tasks for your knife around the campsite and out in the field.
So, how do you know what to look for in a good bushcraft knife? All the models in this review come with the highest levels of design and top-quality materials. However, you need to understand the features of your knife before picking out your top choice.
This section will break down everything you need to know about your new knife.
A “full-tang” design describes the handle and the blade made from the same material, in one consistent piece. A full-tang blade provides the best durability in a bushcraft knife. You never have to worry about the handle breaking away from the blade when cutting with a full-tang.
The solid design of the handle and blade means that your knife is virtually unbreakable. Even if the handle cracks or breaks, it won’t affect the integrity of the blade. Full tang designs are the preferred choice for bushcraft and survivalist blades.
The type of steel used in the manufacturing process is avital consideration when picking out your bushcraft knife. It would help if you had a steel with a hardened finish, providing a durable edge for your blade. The harder the edge, the more the knife retains its sharpness.
There are four types of steel suitable for use in bushcraft knives.
- 1095 Carbon Steel – These blades feature tempering for a durable and hardened finish.
- 1095 Cro-Van Steel – This combination alloy makes for a toughened edge on any bushcraft knife.
- CPM-3V Steel – Suitable for use in coastal or jungle environments. This steel is corrosion-resistant and tough.
- Sandvik stainless steel – Typically features Scandinavian knives, providing a hard, sharp edge on the blade.
The design of the blade also plays a role in choosing your knife. Typically, center point blades offer the best overall utility around the campsite and while hunting. These blades can do everything from skinning an animal to striking a fire-steel.
Drop-point knives have a more tactical feel to them, but they make a good choice for bushcraft purposes. The drop point provides better penetration, and it’s a better choice for self-defense. However, these knives are suitable for use around the campsite or while hunting.
Blade Shape and Size
The shape and size of the blade make a big difference in its performance. Knives with shorter blades allow you more control and better leverage over the cutting material. A 5.25-inch handle with a 3.6″ to 5″ blade is a great choice for your bushcraft knife.
For bushcraft purposes, we recommend going smaller than larger with your blade. Larger blades give you less control, and that can end up forcing an injury. The shape of the blade makes a difference in the performance of the blade.
Models like the Smith & Wesson SW7 feature complex designs in the blade to enhance the utility for penetration, slicing, and fighting. A multi-purpose blade is a nice addition to your camping gear, but we have to say we prefer a cleaner, traditional design for bushcraft knives.
The thickness of the blade determines the durability and versatility of the knife. Many people focus on the edge of the blade when picking up a knife. Few people think about examining the spine. The spine is another useful part of the knife that’s vital for bushcraft purposes.
You can strike a fire-steel on the spine to start a fire or decide to use it as a hammer-edge when splitting wood. Spine thicknesses typically vary between 0.2 to 0.5mm for bushcraft knives, depending on the blade design.
The knife’s thicker spine adds rigidity to the blade, which is an important feature for bushcraft knives. When you’re splitting wood or skinning a deer, you don’t want any flexion in the blade. Flexion could cause a nasty accident if it slips out of your hands.
The handles of your knife are another vitally important feature. The handle typically screws into the knife’s body with full-tang blades, providing the user with grip. Handles come in a variety of designs, from flat to ergonomic. A flat handle design like you find on the Cold Steel SRK is useful for a general-purpose handle covering bushcraft, survivalist, and combat needs.
Some knives feature ergonomic handles with grooves for your fingers. This design gives you a better grip and control than a flat handle. However, you have less versatility in hand position on the knife, with the grooves locking in your fingers to the set hand position.
When selecting your handle, make sure you look at the grip it offers. A stippled or textured handle provides the best grip, and the knife won’t slip if you’re using it in cold or wet weather. Crip on the handle also helps you keep control over the knife when wearing gloves.
Some models come with brighter colors on the handles, allowing you to see the knife if it’s lying on the floor. Other models feature a classic bushcraft design, featuring wooden handles. Wooden handles typically are flat and have no texture or grip.
These handles work well in dry weather, but they get somewhat slippery in wet conditions. The last thing you want is for the knife to slip and cause an accident. However, wooden handles are attractive, and they provide a traditional finish to the knife.
Some models feature design with plastic handles that don’t conduct the cold. If you’re working in the northern tundra, then this handle design will prevent operator fatigue in your fingers.
The functionality of your bushcraft knife is another critical consideration. How do you intend to use the knife? Do you want a general-purpose model suitable for camping, or are you looking for a dedicated hunting or tactical model?
The functionality of your knife can differ greatly. For example, the Morakniv Craftline Pro S is a great bushcraft tool that has an industrial design. You get a short blade for optimal leverage and a sharpened stainless steel blade for durable use around industrial sites.
However, it’s not the best choice for dry, warm environments. Matching your blade and handle to your environmental conditions is a top priority when selecting your knife.
When selecting a knife, most people don’t even think about the sheath. They focus on the blade and the finishes, but they neglect to see if the sheath is suitable for their needs. When selecting your knife sheath, you have four options.
- Nylon – This material is tough, durable, and affordable. It’s the ideal weatherproof choice and offers a lightweight design that’s easy to carry.
- Plastic – Plastic sheaths offer the best protection for your knife. These sheaths often feature a locking design that holds the blade in place. They offer friction-free draws, and the knife won’t damage it when returning it to the sheath.
- Hybrid – These sheaths feature design and construction with nylon and plastic. The belt loop is typically nylon materials, and the blade sheath features a plastic scabbard. Hybrid sheaths offer you the best of both worlds. You get the versatility of nylon, with the rugged durability of plastic.
- Leather – These sheaths come with traditional bushcraft knives. If you’re buying a model with a traditional look, you can expect it to come with a leather sheath. Leather is durable and long-lasting, but it requires some conditioning and maintenance to prevent it cracking.
You won’t have the option of changing sheaths, as most of them come with a custom-fitted design to match your knife’s blade. Choose the model that suits your bushcraft needs.
Work with Your Budget
With so many options in this review, it’s challenging to settle on the right bushcraft knife for your hunting or camping trip. Before you start running through the options in this review, set a budget for your new knife. Most bushcraft knives vary between $30 to $130 in price.
It’s easy to find yourself getting carried away with the models. As a result, you might end up exceeding your budget. The last thing you need with your new bushcraft knife is buyer’s remorse, which will ruin your trip.
Choose a model within your budget, and you’ll have a functional tool that suits use around the campsite and the field. Our review has models at different price points to help you with your purchase decision.
Bushcraft Knife FAQs
The ‘Scandinavian grind’ describes a grinding finish on the blade. The grind starts a quarter of the way up the blade, beveling to the edge, with no secondary blade bevel.
What is a trade knife?
A trade knife is the original tool of trappers and mountain men in the United States and Canada. Back in the pioneers’ times, knives were essential tools, and its legacy lives on today in the design and construction of bushcraft knives available from several manufacturers.
Do bushcraft knives work for EDC?
Bushcraft knives are not a good choice for EDC (Everyday Carry). The bushcraft knife requires sheathing on your belt, and it’s a longer, bulkier design that’s not suitable for carrying around with your car keys and wallet. For EDC, you need a purpose-designed lightweight folding knife or tactical knife.
Where is the best place to buy the best bushcraft knife?
We recommend picking up your bushcraft knife on Amazon. Amazon has fast shipping for Prime members, and you’ll have your knife in time for it to debut on your next camping or hunting trip.
The Best Bushcraft Knife – The Verdict
By now, you should have your eye on a preferred model for your bushcraft needs. However, we understand it’s challenging to select one knife from all the models in this review. IF you have a passion for collecting blades, you probably want to take them all.
If you’re finding it challenging to settle on the right model for your campsite requirements, why not rely on our top picks? The Cold Steel SRK Survival Rescue is the top choice for the best overall bushcraft knife in this review. This model comes with a drop-point blade, and it’s a popular model with the SEAL teams, where instructors use it in BUDs training.
The KA-BAR Becker BK2 Companion is another solid choice for a top-quality bushcraft knife. This model wins our top pick for the best premium bushcraft knife. You get a 10.5-inch total length on the knife, featuring a 5.25″ 12095-Cro Van blade for a durable blade that holds an edge in the most demanding conditions.
The Morakniv Craftline Pro S features a 3.6-inch Sandvik stainless steel blade for a tough, reliable bushcraft tool. This model features a rubberized, ergonomic grip. You get total control over the knife in cold and wet weather, even when wearing gloves. This model comes at an affordable price for imported quality, and it’s a great choice for your campsite tasks.