Who makes the best bushcraft knife? Or better yet, what is the best bushcraft knife? These are the questions we ponder and discuss around the campfire amongst friends. There are nearly endless options in price, construction, and style of bushcraft knives, but most high-quality ones share a few specific characteristics.
It’s also worth noting that a bushcraft knife and survival knife aren’t exactly the same things. A bushcraft knife performs general camp duties, usually isn’t the only cutting tool available and is often called upon to do detailed work to create camp implements. Whereas a survival knife might be the only tool you have, it’s often paired with a compact kit that covers multiple aspects of survival, and it needs to be able to take the abuse that might be required in a real-life or death situation.
We’ve picked a few of our favorite bushcraft knives, and below we’ll break down why we chose them.
Large Pouter by LT Wright Knives
– Picked by Casey Deming –
Based around the traditional French Tradesman knife design, the Large Pouter from LT Wright Knives is a great light-weight option for a full size blade. This knife design comes from their Cookcraft Collection but in my opinion, this is much more than a culinary tool. I chose this knife because of the simple design and full flat grind blade. The overall length is of the sharpened edge is 5″ and thickness is 3/32″ which is perfect for most carving and cutting tasks. I wouldn’t say this would be my go-to blade for serious batoning but it will hold up well to most anything you throw at it. The steel is AEB-L which is a fantastic and affordable super-steel which helps retain a razor sharp edge for longer.
Mora Classic Series by Morakniv
– Picked by Rick Stowe –
The venerable Mora is likely the knife brand most synonymous with bushcraft. Morakniv has been making knives for over 400 years, and for the majority of that time, they’ve looked essentially the same. The Scandinavian grind, red birch handle, and streamlined sheath makes for a no-fuss functional blade for most bushcraft tasks. In recent years Mora has offered compound grinds, new handle materials, and multiple steel choices. Prices range from less than $10 to just over $100, so there’s a Mora for everyone. Regardless of which one you choose, the scandi-grind is great for woodworking, and the grip works with a variety of grip styles.
The Mora Classic Series are timeless. While some have glued tangs, Mora has recently brought back the full rat-tail tangs that are riveted at the pommel. While you probably shouldn’t baton seasoned oak with these, this construction method can handle just about any camp chores. For heavy-duty tasks, it’s best to pair the Mora with an ax or hatchet.
ESEE 3 by ESEE Knives
– Picked by Rick Stowe –
For a tough multi-use knife that’s paired with an unbeatable warranty, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better option than an ESEE 3. While they make plenty of larger blades, for bushcraft, the 3-inch blade is plenty for most carving and camp chores.
The 1095 steel takes a great edge, and it’s easy to maintain in the field. If your bushcraft outing unexpectedly becomes a survival experience, you can count on your ESEE to take a beating. If by chance you destroy it, ESEE’s lifetime repair and replacement warranty has you covered.
If the ESEE 3 isn’t your cup of tea, their Camp Lore line has more “bushcrafty” offerings, including the PR4, JG3, and RB3. These blades were designed by incredibly talented woodsmen who are also Randall’s Adventure Training instructors
The Big Heimo by H. Roselli
– Picked by Jack Rule –
This is a puuko style blade with an unusually large handle is made in Finland by H. Roselli. The blade is a 4” Scandinavian grind with an overall Length of 9.” This knife celebrated the 40th anniversary of H. Roselli hand crafted cutting tools. The ergonomics of the handle are second to none, and are only matched by the edge retention of the blade. H. Roselli is known for using very high carbon steel for his knives and this blade is no exception.
I was a bit hesitant at first about having a blade with such hardness due to having to use a diamond sharpener, but I have found that natural stones work amazingly well. I use a 1000/6000 grit water whetstone for my blade and it brings it to beyond shaving sharp with little effort. I maintain my edge in the field with the Viking whetstone from Wazoo. Puukos are renowned for their fine carving ability and are traditionally known in Scandinavia as a graduation style blade for wood working. Many accidents have happened with puukos due to poor grip control while carving. As a matter of course, these knives have thin handles that provide no protection for a hand slipping over the blade. Heimo designed his 40th anniversary knife unique compared to common puukos, having a handle that enables the user to perform heavy duty tasks safely. I consider this a true Bushcraft knife because of the combination of its blade strength, fine carving ability, and beefy handle that provides grip control even in the hands of the amateur Bushcrafter.
The Farmer Alox by Victorinox
– Picked by Casey Deming –
The Alox Farmer from Victorinox is technically a multitool and not specifically a Bushcraft knife BUT it is most likely the most handy blade I carry with me every time I go to the woods. The Farmer only weighs 3oz and is a whopping 3.7″ which makes it the smallest and lightest knife on our list.
Two of the most useful Bushcraft features on the Farmer would be the saw and awl. The saw is the perfect size for small tasks around camp like making camp hooks, trimming small tree limbs or processing tinder. The awl is the best tool to properly make holes through things like sticks for lashing, canvas tarps for lashing points or divots on a baring block.
Georgia Bushcraft Blog | 2022
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