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What is a Bushcraft Knife? & A Guide to Choosing the Best for Your Needs

Last Updated: June 15th, 2022

A good bushcrafter knows exactly how to work with nature and navigate through the wilderness with so much ease. With such skills, you can also catch fish, hunt and skin game, as well as build shelter. 

But of course, you need to have the right tools to be able to do all these things. And this is where a bushcraft knife steps in as it can perform the job of several tools in one. 

Now, if you’re new to bushcraft, you are probably wondering, what is a bushcraft knife. In this guide, we’re going to discuss everything you need to know about this type of knife. So, keep reading. 

What is a Bushcraft Knife?

Before we explain what exactly is a bushcraft knife, let’s find out what is bushcraft. Well, bushcraft is considered to the practice of using a few basic tools to survive in a natural environment. 

Basically, you will need to have skills like building shelters, carving, starting fires, and even woodworking. Generally, this practice is seen as more of a hobby for outdoor enthusiasts. This means that it is very different from the concept of survival.

So, what exactly is a bushcraft knife? 

One of the essential tools used in bushcraft is a good knife. A good bushcraft knife is designed to replace a lot of heavy and bulky gear. Unlike other knives, bushcraft knives are built to be lightweight and easy to carry. 

Additionally, they are razor-sharp, and comfortable to use, and hold. Also, these types of knives are relatively small in size. Their blades are typically around 5 inches long or shorter while the total length ranges between 8 and 12 inches. 

Because of their compact design, you can sheath and carry your bushcraft knife in a pocket. You can also choose to keep it clipped to your belt. 

What Constitutes a Bushcraft Knife?

Bushcraft knives are generally medium in size and feature a fixed blade. They mostly utilize high-quality stainless steel or carbon materials. 

However, the hallmarks of these knives comprise edges for carving and splitting natural materials, comfortable grips, and sharpened spines. 

On the flip side, though, choosing the best bushcraft is not a straightforward process. This is because there are so many of them on the market in different designs and sizes. So, to help you, we’re going to provide you with tips on how to choose the right bushcraft knife.

Tips on How to Choose the Best Bushcraft Knife

Now that you know what is a bushcraft knife, you’re probably wondering which is the best. The right bushcraft knife for you mainly depends on your priorities and preferences. However, there are some features that they all have in common. So, below are tips to keep in mind when looking for the best knife. 

Blade Design & Size

The blade of a good bushcraft knife should feature a long and flat cutting edge. On top of that, the tip of the blade should be close to the profile center-line of the handle. This design makes the knife very versatile.

Generally, the best blade designs for a bushcraft knife are spear point and drop point. These designs allow you to easily control the blade during detail work. Also, the design ensures maximum durability of the knife.

Type of Material

Bushcraft knives are made from different types of materials. Generally, the type of material a knife is made of usually affects its durability and performance. 

Most bushcraft knives are either made of stainless steel or carbon steel. Of these two, stainless steel tends to lose its edge faster. However, it is highly corrosion-resistant.

Carbon steel knives, on the other hand, are built to stay sharp longer. On the flip side, though, they are prone to rust if not stored properly. The good news is that you can get a carbon steel knife with a corrosion-resistant coating or finish. 


The best bushcraft knife should also come with a comfortable handle. After all, the tool will be spending hours in your hand. 

For this reason, you need to consider the handle design. Besides, the design of the handle will affect the way you use and grip the knife. 

For precise carving, you might want to consider getting a handle with a groove for your finger. The groove could be adjacent to the blade or the bottom side of the handle. 

But generally, the best handle design will depend on what you’re most comfortable with. Therefore, it would be a good idea to try out different designs before settling on one. 

Type of Tang

The tang of the bushcraft knife is simply the unsharpened and unexposed part of the blade. It usually extends down to the handle. 

So, a good knife for bushcrafting should have a full tang. This is because full-tang knives are known to be reliable and tougher. Consequently, this makes them ideal for practicing bushcraft. 

This means that you should not choose a knife with a serrated back or double-sided blade. Although these knives may look cool, they are not ideal for bushcraft

Frequently Asked Questions About Bushcraft Knives

In this section, we’re going to respond to some of the common questions people ask concerning bushcraft knives. Check them out. 

Is a bushcraft knife the same as a survival knife?

The simple answer is no. Bushcraft knives are smaller, measuring around 3-5 inches in length. Survival knives, on the other hand, are usually 6-12 inches in length. 

What constitutes a good bushcraft knife?

A knife that is ideal for bushcraft should be durably made, sturdy, and have a full tang construction. Also, the blade should at least feature a single edge bevel with Scandinavian style. 

What’s the use of a bushcraft knife?

Well, it has many uses, including fire lighting, wood splitting, carving objects, and cutting small trees, and even branches. You can also use it to make feather sticks and split logs.

Do I really need a bushcraft knife?

This type of knife is an absolute necessity for any outdoor enthusiast that enjoys practicing bushcraft. Instead of carrying so many tools for every task you run into, a bushcraft knife is a good alternative. 

Bottom Line

If you are new to bushcraft, knowing what is a bushcraft knife and how to choose the right one is essential. Not only can it help you prepare food but set up your campsite and traps.

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