Last updated: August 10, 2021

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You are often outdoors, camping in the forest or looking for the next kick on a survival trip and need a bushcraft knife for that? The all-rounder for the wilderness gives you a wide range of application options and helps you with woodworking, fire making, food preparation and many other tasks that may come your way. If you want to find out more, take a look at our big bushcraft knife test 2021.

In the following, we have summarised some of the most important information for you and compared and evaluated the alternatives that are available when purchasing a bushcraft knife. In addition, you will get a sound background knowledge and important criteria that you should consider when buying. With this, we want to help you with your purchase decision and hope you find the most suitable product for you.




The most important facts

  • Bushcraft knives are a special type of knife and are used for many different purposes in the outdoor sector.
  • Bushcraft knives are very robust and versatile. They are also easy to maintain and safe and practical to carry with a holster.
  • Despite their versatility, bushcraft knives have a different focus and main areas of use according to which the knives are designed. These are woodworking, survival tasks, food preparation and fire making.

The Best Bushcraft Knife: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a Bushcraft Knife

What distinguishes bushcraft knives from other knives?

A bushcraft knife is a very special type of knife and is used for various outdoor purposes.

Bushcraft knives are also often called outdoor or survival knives

Such a knife is one of the most important tools for survival in nature. Bushcraft knives are designed to be versatile and particularly robust.

Furthermore, the knives are easy to maintain and can be transported practically and easily. For this purpose, holders are usually attached to the belt and can thus be carried safely.

What does a Bushcraft knife cost?

Bushcraft knives are available in all price ranges. However, it must be said that the price segment also reflects the product quality. Depending on the intended use and price range, the models and designs of the knives vary.

Price segment Price range in euros
High 200-500
Medium 50-200
Low 10-50

What alternatives are there to bushcraft knives?

Due to the fact that bushcraft knives are a very special type of knife, there are few alternatives. Especially the versatility combined with the enormous robustness of Bushcraft knives is hard to substitute. In addition, the knife must be safe and easy to carry.

Depending on the design and model, a robust folding knife can fulfil these criteria. However, it is questionable whether the versatility of a bushcraft knife can be guaranteed.

Bushcraft Messer-1

As an alternative to conventional bushcraft knives, folding knives are also suitable for outdoor use
(Image source: pixabay.com / LUM3N)

What do I use a bushcraft knife for?

As mentioned before, bushcraft knives are very versatile and have a wide range of uses. With such knives you can work on wood, in the form of carving, cutting and splitting. Furthermore, survival knives are suitable for processing and preparing food.

You can also use bushcraft knives for making fires and for many other outdoor applications.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of bushcraft knives?

Based on the characteristics of Bushcraft knives, there are various advantages and disadvantages for the end user. We have summarised these below:

Advantages
  • Versatile
  • Robust
  • Practical to carry
Disadvantages
  • Not suitable for beginners/experienced
  • Expensive with good quality

What Types of Bushcraft Knives are there and which is the right one for you?

Basically, almost every bushcraft knife can be used for several purposes and is characterised by its versatility. However, there are specific focal points in the construction and composition of a bushcraft knife that specialise the knives for certain purposes.

In the following, we have listed the characteristics of the four main areas of application of a bushcraft knife:

  • Woodworking
  • Survival tasks
  • Food preparation
  • Fire making

What characterises a Bushcraft knife for woodworking?

The use of a bushcraft knife for woodworking is mostly about building shelters and tools. However, setting up traps and carving spoons can also be part of the tasks. To be able to do these things, the handle and the blade of the knife play an important role.

The handle should be ergonomically shaped with many curves so that the bushcraft knife lies well and firmly in the hand. The blade should be strong and robust to meet the requirements. A particularly suitable grind for working with wood is the Scandi grind, which is very robust and can be easily resharpened.

What distinguishes a bushcraft knife for survival tasks?

As with the bushcraft knife for woodworking, robustness as well as a sharp blade are of central importance in order to do justice to the tasks of survival knives. Here, the knife should have a so-called full-tang blade. This means that the strong blade runs through the entire handle.

Full-tang blades are particularly stable and the knife can also be used as a baton because of this construction.

What distinguishes a bushcraft knife for food preparation?

Bushcraft knives for food preparation and cooking usually have thinner blades. The thinner blade makes it easier to cut vegetables and fruit. However, it is important to pay attention to the length of the blade.

For example, to gut and fillet fish or to process meat, the blade of the bushcraft knife must not be too short. Furthermore, the knife should be easy to clean.

What are the characteristics of a bushcraft knife for making fire?

The use of a bushcraft knife for making fire is a frequently used tool in the outdoor area. A firesteel is usually used in addition to the knife for fire making. For this to be possible, the back of the blade should be sharp so that the fire handle can be used without any problems.

Bushcraft Messer-2

The back of the blade must be well sharpened and stable to be able to make fire.
(Image source: pixabay.com / MikeWildadvenutre)

In addition, as with the other focal points of the four main areas of application of a bushcraft knife, the design and construction of the knife should be very robust.

Buying Criteria: You can compare and evaluate Bushcraft Knives based on these Factors

Material

A bushcraft knife must be made of particularly robust material. In contrast to conventional knives, such as kitchen knives, flexibility is not desired in bushcraft knives. The blade should remain sharp for a long time and be easy to resharpen. It should be noted that wear-resistant blade steel is often difficult to resharpen when on the move.

However, the material to be chosen for the blade should be adapted to the intended use. Handle materials vary between metal, plastic and wooden handles. Care should be taken not to add unnecessary weight to the knife. The handle should not be rough so that no calluses appear on the hands even during longer work.

Bushcraft Messer-3

The blades of bushcraft knives usually run through the entire handle, making them particularly stable.
(Image source: pixabay.com / MikeWildadventure)

Handle

The handle of a knife is particularly important so that the knife fits comfortably in the hand and does not slip off. The handle should be ergonomically shaped and made of a durable material with a good grip.

The handle of a knife is of particular importance for frequent and especially prolonged use.

Blade length

To ensure that the knife is easy to carry and safe to handle, it is important that the blade of the bushcraft knife is not too long. A maximum length of 15 cm is advisable. In return, the blade length should not be less than 9 cm.

It should be noted, however, that the length of blades is limited by law in many countries. Therefore, it is recommended not to exceed a blade length of 12 cm.

Weight

The weight of a Bushcraft knife is crucial for the mobility and handling of the knife. In order to carry the knife safely and without affecting the carrying comfort, the product must not be too heavy. There are special holders for the belt as well as devices for the leg and arm.

Furthermore, the weight plays an important role in handling. The bushcraft knife should lie firmly and securely in the hand and not be too heavy, even for longer work.

Facts worth knowing about Bushcraft Knives

How do I use a Bushcraft knife safely?

Caution is advised while handling a Bushcraft knife. Especially in remote areas like on mountains or in the forest, medical care can be far away. Therefore, some things should be taken into account when using the knife.

Make sure your knife is sharp, blunt blades increase the risk of slipping or working uncontrollably, as a lot of force has to be used unnecessarily. In addition, your surroundings should be safe, do not work with the knife on slopes or areas where you do not have a secure foothold or seat. It is also important to keep your bushcraft knife in its holster when not in use.

For safe use, use the right type of knife for the job.

How do I care for a Bushcraft knife?

Shoe polish is also suitable for the care of leather holsters

The care of the blade depends on whether the steel is stainless or non-rusting. If the blade steel is not free of corrosion, a little oil should be applied at regular intervals. It is important to use an oil that is suitable for food and does not stick to the blade.

In addition, the bushcraft knife should always be well sharpened. Care should also be taken with the holster. Here, the buttons and seams should be checked and the leather can be cared for with leather cream.

Image source: Fourp/ flickr.com

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