Bushcraft Knives

Of all the equipment that is available for the bushcrafter, the knife is probably the most important and discussed part.
The problem is that it is something very personal ( taste ) and very dependent on what you want to do with it.
And there is much more than I can write about here, such as steel types, the angle or grind (convex, scandi …) that determine whether the knife is easy to sharpen, what is best used for…, and everyone has an opinion about it.
One good advice: whatever someone recommends, never buy a knife more expensive than, let’s say € 50 if you have just started bushcrafting.
Only after having been on bushcraft several times can you begin to determine what you find important and which type of knife suits you best.
I myself, after using countless knives for a few years now, have come to a conclusion, especially because some knives have been used over and over and others have not or no longer.
In any case, there is no knife that is suitable for all tasks and circumstances.
That being said, I believe that you need a minimum of 2 – better 3 or sometimes 4 knives.

The starter knife:
I would recommend buying a smaller – read thinner – and lighter knife,
something like a Morakniv Companion eather in carbon or stainless steel, or Hultafors OK1 – OK4 – price range all below € 25.
What I am looking for in a starter knife is the following:
suitable for small carving, tinder making, feathersticks, food processing, rope cutting, easy to store away, light – it can even be a pocket knife.
Fire making you say ? no, a good fire steel always has a good scraper, so you don’t have to do that with this knife.
I myself use a stainless pocket knife from the brand Solognac ( Decathlon ) actually I have two, one small : the Axis75 and one large : the Axis85,
all two together cost less than € 25.

Decathlon Solognac Axis 75

Use this knife until you automatically reach the next step.

The second knife will be the “real” bushcraft knife.
You want a robust outdoor knife that will not easily break, so it is very tough.
It must also be easy to sharpen in the field, and preferably remain somewhat sharp.
These knives are often made of 1095 carbon steel or tool steel.
Rust resistance is less important, so count on it that you will have to maintain the blade properly.
The knife must be suitable for woodworking, battoning, splitting wood, preparing kindling wood, making a fire.
It must be full tang (blade and handle in one continuous piece of steel)
and in my opinion at least 3 mm thick, better 4 mm or even thicker.

Top-class knives can be found at the following brands: Fällkniven, Tops knives, Enzo, Esee, Casström, and many others.
But also count on solid prices, a knife from these brands will soon be between € 200 and € 500, and even more.
One of the knives that I have and sometimes use, is the TBS Boar Bushcraft Knife,
DC4 sharpener & Firesteel included, handle in Curly Birch and a leather multi carry sheath, costs around € 190 all in, a very beautiful knife.
But I soon came to the conclusion that I thought it was a shame to hit this knife desperately with a stick or to scrape it along a flint.
€ 190 is already quite a bit of money, and it is also a very nice knife – it’s almost a shame to use it.
So in the meantime it has become more of a show knife instead of a bushcraft knife.

TBS Boar Bushcraft Knife

So, are there no good cheaper bushcraft knives?
Certainly, the knives that I really use in the outdoor are from Schrade Knives,
Schrade is an American brand that already existed before 1900,
a lot has changed since then,
and the company has also been taken over by another American company Tailor Brands LLC,
Many will frown when they hear that they are made in China,
but these knives are actually of very good quality, and at a quarter of the price.

The first Schrade knife that I purchased was the Schrade SCHF36 Frontier Survival Knife – €45 – Schrade schf36 presentation video below

Schrade SCHF36 Frontier Survival Knife

Full Tang
Ferro Rod included
Sharpening Stone included
Nylon Belt Sheath with Storage Pouch included
Blade Length: 5.05″ (12.83 cm)
Overall Length: 10.41″ (26.44 cm)
Blade Thickness: 1/4″ (6mm)
Blade Material: Powder Coated 1095 High Carbon Steel
Handle Material: Textured Black TPE Overlay
Weight: 12.3 oz. (363 gr)

Although this is the ultimate bushcraft knife, for me the shape was not 100%,
and the length could be just a little longer.
So I bought the Schrade SCHF38 Frontier Survival Knife – €50 – Schrade schf38 presentation video below
It is somewhat more tactical and pointed in shape, which appeals to me more,
but is above all almost 2 cm longer than the schf36,
which gives just a bit more reach when splitting wood.

Schrade SCHF38 Frontier Survival Knife

Full Tang
Ferro Rod included
Sharpening Stone included
Nylon Belt Sheath with Storage Pouch included
Blade Length: 5.77″ (14.65 cm)
Overall Length: 11.15″ (28.32 cm)
Blade Thickness: 1/4″ (6mm)
Blade Material: Powder Coated 1095 High Carbon Steel
Handle Material: Textured Black TPE Overlay
Weight: 14.1 oz.(394 gr)

If you look at the specifications of the schf38, with a blade length of almost 15 cm,
thickness of just over 6 mm and almost 400 g,
then you know that this is not a knife that you use to cut your vegetables with (not to speak of the dirty coating)
no, you have your starter knife for that.
This knife is a builder, a destroyer, a heavy duty workhorse.
This knife allows you to make your own camp out of tree trunks,
and also allows you to make tinder and kindling wood, and start a fire. I have split tree trunks where you would normally use an ax, and beat it with a thick wooden baton like my life depended on it. It feels indestructible, and even if it would break ( what I cannot imagine ), I lose € 45 – better than € 200
This is the knife that I would like to have with me in a survival situation,
so it is certainly suitable for bushcraft.

Finally, there are many other good and cheap bushcraft knives,
such as the Real Steel Bushcraft II and III for just over € 50,
or the Boker Magnum, Steel Will Druid, Condor Bushcraft …
But as already said at the beginning, taste and what you will use it for.

Knife Collection I
Knife Collection II
Splitting wood with the Timber Rattler Western Outlaw Bowie – big and heavy ( 42cm long, 4mm thick, 865gr.) but I would not reccomend this knife for Bushcraft.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *