What is the best knife for bush craft - the one you have with you!
It may be an old adage but it is a good one. Ultimately, most knives will do many useful jobs, but are some better than others - of course they are! It just depends on what you are trying to accomplish. For example, you wouldn't use a small penknife to baton wood. Equally you wouldn't use a machete for fine detailed work (although it is possible). It's always best to use the right knife for the job.
So, with regards to bush craft and choosing a bush craft knife, it is important to think about what type of tasks you may need to complete with the knife. Some typical tasks that you can reasonably expect to achieve with a bush craft knife could be ; carving and shaping wood, cutting cordage, cutting and processing plant stalks, cutting meat, skinning and gutting animals and fish, foraging, hunting and more. For a closer look on how to choose a bush craft knife, please see our blog post here -
So, armed with this knowledge, here is our top 10 list of bush craft knives, in no particular order:
1) Mora Companion - An affordable entry level knife, with large comfortable handles, equally admired by experienced users. The companion is the successor of the Mora Clipper made famous by Ray Mears. It features a Scandinavian grind and is available in either stainless or carbon steel. It is relatively light weight making it very usable over longer periods. This knife is ideal for all manner of bush crafting tasks including light batoning (wood splitting). It is also easy to sharpen and maintain. Cost is around £11.00 making it extremely good value for money. Very little to say about this knife in terms of criticism. Get one, you won't be disappointed!
Available from us here:
2) Condor Bushlore - Essentially, this is a clone of the famous Ray Mear's Woodlore knife. It features a fairly substantial 3mm thick blade with a full tang. The grind is a classic Scandi making it an ideal knife for the woods. Not the prettiest or most interesting of knives but makes for an extremely reliable no fuss companion for the woods. Steel - 1075 High Carbon.
Available from us here:
3) Fallkniven F1 - The official survival knife of the Swedish air force. It has been partially designed as an escape tool to punch through aircraft fuselage, so you know it is tough! The knife features a 5mm thick blade but due to the precise convex grind, it is surprisingly good for wood work, as it tapers down very nicely. The F1 is available in several powdered steel choices including laminated VG10 and 3G. These steel are very high quality and very difficult to work with and this is reflected in the price. This one is a friend for life.
Available in the UK here: Fallkniven F1
5) Opinel No8 Carbon - A true classic design that is reliable, practical and looks great. These French made knives have been around for over 120 years. They are available is many different sizes with a choice of premium stainless or carbon steel. Opinel knives feature a unique locking system which is reliable and safe and which can also be used to keep the blade in the closed position. The classic version features a Beech wood handle but other woods and materials are available. The blades are relatively thin meaning the knives are not suited to heavy duty tasks such as batoning but are excellent for whittling, carving, scoring and more. The spine of the Carbon steel blades also make for great fire steel strikers.
Available here in the UK here:
6) Helle Lapland - A very traditional Norwegian/Swedish style blade, fashioned after the Leuku design. Traditionally, this knife would have been used for game preparation, wood processing and many other camp tasks. The blade is large by most standards and is over 8 inches long, meaning the functionality borders on that of a machete. Few tasks are too much for this knife. The blade is made from cold rolled stainless steel.
8) Spyderco Endura 4 - A rather left field choice for the average bush crafter. The Endura 4 is predominantly considered to be a tactical knife but we would argue that due to the steel used, the overall design and the full flat grind, it's uses reach far further afield. The blade is actually very "slicey" and travels through wood surprisingly easily whilst the back lock system provides a good level of safety.
Details here :Endura
9) Mora Bushcraft - Mora have been making knives for over 125 years, specifically for outdoor tasks. It is no surprise therefore, that we had to include another of their great designs. The Mora Bushcraft features a 3.2mm spine so is more suited to heavier tasks as compared with the Mora Companion (see above). It is equally good at finer, more detailed work. Overall, bearing in mind steel choice, design, handle, aesthetic and functionality, this is probably the best value, true bushcraft knife on the list.
10) The Jacklore Knife - Established in 2012, Sandy has been making and perfecting his "Jacklore" for well over 5 years. It has been specifically designed for the art of bush craft and is an ideal companion for the woods, valleys and moors. Very high attention to detail and craftsmanship throughout. Sandy only turnsout a knife when he completely satisfied with every aspect of the build. He only makes an average of 2-3 knives per week.
Available directly from Sandy here:Jacklore
11) The Ray Mears Woodlore - Generally thought of as the pinnacle of bush craft knives, the Woodlore was designed by Ray Mears and British knife maker Stephen Wade Cox. The Woodlore has now been replaced by the "Ray Mears Bushcraft Knife". The Bushcraft Knife is made from 01 high carbon tool steel and is definitely a tool for life.
Available here:Ray Mears