Before we get to bushcraft knives, it’s imperative that we answer the question – what is bushcraft? In essence, Bushcraft is a term that refers to survival skills, wilderness survival in particular (bush relating to the wilderness, craft relating to skills).

Now, even though there are plenty of similarities and differences between bushcraft knives and other knife types (see section below), there are numerous situations in which you’ll virtually need a tool as specific as a bushcraft knife. In our review, we aim to provide you with information regarding how to pick the best bushcraft knife and some of the finest models the market has to offer.

What’s the difference between survival knives, pocket knives, and bushcraft knives?

In essence, these are all knives, so they can be used for cutting, stabbing, peeling, and such. However, there are obvious and not-so-obvious differences between them which call for categorization.

  • Survival knives – usually come outfitted with fixed blades, versatile, ideal for all kinds of cases. Most survival knives come with very specific features, such as window breakers and door openers. Generally, all-around performance is their forte.
  • Pocket knives – sometimes referred to as “folding knives”. Pocket knives are the smallest knife type and are ideal for day to day tasks. Easy to handle, carry, and conceal.
  • Bushcraft knives – primarily considered to be a wood-cutting tool. Great for cutting down notches, feathering detailed points on wood like objects. Plain in design, easy to use.

Bushcraft knife uses

Even though bushcraft knives are intended for cutting, peeling, and detailing wooden objects, they are still knives – they can be used for self-defence, and if the situation allows, even for hunting smaller game.

People use bushcraft knives for skinning and simple survival tasks, such as making fire, sharpening sticks, and such.

Folding or fixed bushcraft knife – which is better?

It falls down to personal preference, but most veteran survival enthusiasts point out that fixed-blade bushcraft knives are better than folding ones. The reason why that is so is quite simple – folding knives tend to be less durable, and even though they’re easier to use and carry, they won’t be able to provide you with enough reliability.

Fixed-blade knives are a bit harder to maintain, but with a proper sheath, you’ll be able to use them for years, if not decades with the smallest amount of effort considering maintenance.

Designs

There are a plethora of designs when we talk about bushcraft knives. There are thick and thin, long and short, folding and fixed, heavy and light knives, and it’s up to you to decide which tasks are you going to tackle with. Generally, thick, medium-length fixed-blade knives are best for bushcraft as they offer a solid compromise between durability and performance at the expense of easiness of use.

Knife tip types

We’re going to talk about ten most famous knife tip types, even though you should be aware that there are probably even more (custom made knives and bleeding-edge tech made a tough job regarding categorization):

  1. Simple blade – straight spine, curving edge, ideal for heavy-duty work and people with beginner sharpening skills.
  2. Trailing point – curved edge and spine, larger belly, improved slicing, ideally used for filleting and fish processing.
  3. Clip point – straight spine (for the most part), a clipped tip section, fine profile, Bowie knives have a clip point, ideal for hunting or fighting.
  4. Drop Point – convex curve to the spine (the blade drops as it reaches the tip), strong and robust, ideal for cutting and piercing, ideal for self-defence and basic survival tasks.
  5. Spearpoint – symmetrically pointed tip, line in the centre of the blade’s axis, double-edged design, considered as a fighting knife and best when used for tactical operations.
  6. Needlepoint – symmetrical blade, exceptionally sharp needle-like tip, Arkansas toothpick is one of the most famous needle-point blades
  7. Spey point – straight-edge, defined curve, robust design, somewhat duller in comparison to other types
  8. Tanto – Chisel-like point, Japanese traditional dagger, angled edge, exceptionally sharp sides.
  9. Sheepsfoot – straight edge, curved tip, ideal for cutting making them some of the best survival knives.
  10. Hawkbill – concave claw-like edge, great for carving or cutting, can be used for self-defence if the wielder knows how to use it properly.

Steel-types

You might find this hard to believe, but there are over a hundred types of steel used in the manufacturing of a knife. Most of them, however, are scattered throughout four main types – Plain carbon steel, alloy steel, tool steel, and stainless steel.

Plain carbon steel

Plain carbon or high-carbon steel is among the most frequently used material when we talk about the manufacturing process of a modern knife. This material was used to build medieval swords and as technology advanced, it’s still very popular.

The best thing about plain carbon steel is that it provides exceptional durability. However, it lacks flexibility and rusts rather too easy.

Alloy steel

Alloy steel is basically carbon steel enriched with chromium in a special process that strengthens the core. It’s superior in terms of durability when compared to carbon steel, and it doesn’t rust as easily.

Tool steel

Tool steel sub-types are famous for holding the edge better. Most survival enthusiasts use knives made of tool steel as they require the least amount of maintenance in order to completely evade rusting.

Stainless steel

Tough, durable, and virtually rust-proof, stainless steel is definitely a material of choice of all veterans when it comes to knives. Stainless steel is incredibly robust, and a knife made of any sub-type of SS will serve you well for years, if not decades.

The Best Bushcraft Knives

CFK Cutlery Company Raptor Tanto Bushcraft Knife

Features and Accessories:

The first bushcraft knife in our review comes from CFK Cutlery company. This particular knife features an 11-inch Tanto blade measuring 3/16 inches of thickness. The handle is approximately 5 inches long, and the knife itself is pretty lightweight, weighing only 11 ounces.

It features custom tool steel construction – even though stainless steel is superior in terms of durability, this choice of material is great for survivalists and campers who are looking for a heavy-duty knife. With stainless bolsters and aluminium pins, you can rest assured that this knife was built to last and that it will withstand heavy abuse before giving in.

Additionally, you’ll get a buffalo leather sheath as a complementary feature – we’ve talked about the importance of sheathes in our buying guide, but in case you’ve skipped it, using a sheath will significantly reduce the amount of effort you need to put in maintenance.

What we liked about this bushcraft knife:

The first thing we liked about this knife was the premium-quality build. Tool steel is usually inferior to stainless steel and some HC steel types, but this time it was the other way around. Namely, the D2 hollow steel used to make this knife is as robust as can be.

Gratis goodies are always welcome, and with this knife, you’ll be getting a bonus sheath and fire-starter rod. Overall, there are plenty of things one could like about CFK Cutlery Company bushcraft knife, and but a few that could be improved.

What we thought could be improved:

Most people would feel reluctant to pay so much for a tool as simple as a knife. This is, perhaps, its only flaw – it belongs to the upper bracket of the moderately expensive price point category, and it’s safe to say that it isn’t cheap.

Price point category and value:

Despite being rather expensive, CFK Cutlery Company bushcraft knife holds a premium value for the money. It performs better than most bushcraft knives and it can be used in any number of situations – suffice to say, it could even substitute for a survival knife if the need arises.

Pros:

  • Incredible value for the money
  • Beautiful, custom made design
  • The outstanding quality of tool steel
  • Complementary fire-starter rod and buffalo leather sheath

Cons:

  • Costs quite a lot

Schrade SCHF9 Fixed Blade Knife

Features and accessories:

Schrade is one of the world-class leaders in the cutlery department, and it’s only fitting that we’ve picked one of their best knives for our bushcraft gear review. Schrade’s SCHF9 knife is 12,1 inch long overall, with the blade being 6,4 inches long and weighing 15,7 ounces (not lightweight, but not heavy either).
It’s made of premium-quality 1095 stainless steel materials with a big textured TPE handle. Other features include the full-tang construction and the lanyard hole. As for the gratis features, you’ll get a ballistic sheath and the removable easy storage pouch completely free of charge.

What we liked about this bushcraft knife:

Generally, most people who know their knives like Schrade, but apart from their sheer name, we really liked this model for its durability (stainless steel construction), reliability, easy maintenance, and exceptional performance. What’s more, it doesn’t cost too much, so if you’re looking to get a good bushcraft knife while saving up some cash along the way, Schrade’s SCHF9 knife is an excellent choice.

What we thought could be improved:

The only thing that could be improved regarding the Schrade’s SCHF9 knife is its weight. Generally, it nearly weighs a pound, and most bushcraft tasks can be executed with smaller, lighter knives. Be it as it may, Schrade’s SCHF9 knife makes up for this little flaw with incredible sharpness and impeccable sturdiness.

Price point category and value:

Schrade’s SCHF9 knife is absolutely great for the buck. It belongs to the medium bracket of the “moderate” price point category, and it’s among the cheapest high-quality bushcraft knives you’ll ever come across.

Pros:

  • Long, heavy-duty knife
  • Outstanding durability
  • Exquisite HCSS 1095 materials
  • TPE handle
  • Gratis belt sheath and removable storage pouch

Cons:

  • Heavy

Schrade SCHF3N Extreme Survival Knife

Features and accessories:

Here’s yet another fine specimen of Shrade’s outstanding craftsmanship – the SCHF3N excels where SCHF9 is lacking. Made of high-carbon SS, this bowie knife with grooved handle slabs both looks and acts the part. It features a lanyard hole and comes with a hefty storage pouch (complementary feature). The blade’s length is 6,4 inches, handle 5,6, and its overall length is 12 inches.

What we liked about this bushcraft knife:

Sharp, easy to use, decently light, long, and durable – these would be the words that would best describe how we felt about Schrade’s SCHF3N. Apart from being very sturdy and simple to use, we liked the price of SCHF3N – it’s a relatively cheap bushcraft knife which boasts a high level of versatility, so it could be used for tactical, bushcraft, and survival situations.

What we thought could be improved:

The only thing that’s not as good as the rest about Schrade’s SCHF3N is the retention of the edge. Namely, the stainless steel used to make this knife dulls a bit faster than expected, so you should either make sure to maintain it properly every day, or settle for a semi-sharp knife.

Price point category and value:

Schrade’s SCHF3N belongs to the same price point category as SCHF9 (medium bracket of the “moderate” price point category), and it packs a huge value for the buck.

Pros:

  • Superb value
  • Durable and easy to use
  • Top-shelf features
  • Long and decently light

Cons:

  • Dulls rather quickly if not properly maintained

Cima Fixed Blade Survival Knife

Features and accessories:

Cima’s fixed blade knife is basically a short, versatile bushcraft knife. It features an exquisite anti-slip handle and a standard blade tip. It’s made of AUS-8 stainless steel which is complemented by heat & cold treatment tech for outstanding crack and corrosion resistance.

What we liked about this bushcraft knife:

Don’t be fooled by its small appearance – Cima’s fixed blade knife is, by far, the most durable bushcraft knife in our review. It can withstand virtually every kind of force and live to remain useful to you. Atop of that, it’s also one of the cheapest knives we’ve come across.

What we thought could be improved:

It’s small, so it’s not exactly suitable for heavy-duty tasks. Apart from that, this is a perfect, nearly flawless knife.

Price point category and value:

Cima’s fixed blade knife belongs to the upper bracket of the “affordable” price point category – it’s a bargain, so it deserves consideration, to say the very least.

Pros:

  • Very cheap
  • One of the most durable bushcraft knives ever made
  • Excellent performance
  • AUS-8 steel build

Cons:

  • Not suitable for heavy-duty tasks

CDS Survival Bushcraft survival knife

Features and accessories:

Here we have something different that from what we’ve seen so far – CDC Survival bushcraft knife is a small, valuable tool that is as versatile as can be. As the brand states, it was specifically designed to accommodate the needs of hunters, campers, wildlife veterans and enthusiasts.

It features a handle made of Cocobolo wood, the blade is 3,9 inches long and 0,2 inches thick – notice that this knife isn’t meant for heavy duty due to its thinness, although you will be able to tackle down most wildlife survival tasks without any significant problems.

What’s interesting about this knife is the fact that the blade was cut by a laser – it sports stainless steel molybdenium vanadium S8 materials which boasts incredible sturdiness and robustness. On top of that, the brand pitched in a quality multi-position sheath as a complementary feature, with the addition of the firesteel.

What we liked about this bushcraft knife:

This is one of the smallest fixed blade knives you’ll come across – it’s as easy to conceal it as it’s easy to use it. On top of that, the thin blade is easier to handle for light and medium-duty work. Now, the thing we liked the best about this knife is that it was made by some of the finest stainless steel material types – the MOVA S8.

What we thought could be improved:

We found two things we didn’t like in particular about this bushcraft knife – its thickness and its price. Firstly, a small, thin knife should be used by experienced wildlife survival experts, as it can break more easily when compared to thick, heavy-duty knives. As for the price, suffice to say that this knife costs an arm and a leg.

Price point category and value:

CDS Survival’ Bushcraft hunting knife is one of the most expensive bushcraft knives in our review. It falls into the medium bracket of the “expensive” price point category, but it holds quite a value for the buck due to its exceptional versatility and superb outward appearance.

Pros:

  • Made of finest steel materials
  • Cocobolo wood handle
  • Stainless steel S8 build
  • Complementary sheath and firesteel
  • Ideal for light and medium-duty bushcraft

Cons:

  • Exceptionally pricey

Conclusion

Finding the best bushcraft knife takes time and the know-how. Hopefully, you’ll have the latter by reading our buying guide in the sections above, and if you’re still uncertain about how to pick the best knife for the buck, feel free to browse through our top picks. We wish you all the luck in finding the best bushcraft knife!

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