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Modern bushcraft knives are more popular than ever as more people take to the woods to learn how to live off the land in the wilderness. A quality knife built for bushcraft must be strong, sharp, and most importantly, comfortable to use for extended periods. Most outdoor retailers today have sections overflowing with solid options for wood splitting, chopping, and carving. The only hard part is deciding what will work best for the type of bushcraft you’re hoping to practice.

But that’s where we’re here to help. We’ve tested a lot of knives from various brands over the last few months, putting them through the paces. Subsequently, we’ve figured out which ones are tough enough to handle a survival scenario, and which ones are not. With that in mind, these our picks for the best bushcraft knives being manufactured today.

How We Picked the Best Bushcraft Knives

We tested these knives with a variety of bushcraft tasks including pruning, carving, fire starting, wood batoning and more. I also gave the edges a real retention test with highly abrasive cardboard. This material dulls a knife blade faster than just about anything else, allowing us to quickly judge the edge retention capabilities.

In picking the knives for this test, we tried to pick a variety of sizes, styles, and more importantly, price points. That’s by design. It would be easy for me to fill this list exclusively with $300-$500 bushcraft knives. There are a few like that on this list, but I also know that’s simply not in everyone’s budget, especially in today’s economy or for those who are just starting out learning bushcraft and survival skills. Everyone has to start somewhere, and we want to provide a little something for everyone here.

We considered the following factors when making our final decision:

  • Steel Type: What is the quality of the steel? How well does it hold an edge? Does it have the toughness for heavier bushcraft tasks?
  • Handle: How ergonomic is the handle? Is it easy to grip in wet or cold conditions?
  • Best Use: Is this a heavy-duty blade good for batoning wood? Is it better suited for food prep?
  • Value: Does the steel type, construction, and sheath match the price?

Best Bushcraft Knives: Reviews and Recommendations

Best Overall: Tops Fieldcraft Bob Hunter

Best Overall


  • Blade Material: 154cm stainless steel
  • Handle: G10
  • Blade Length: 4.75”
  • Overall Length: 10”


  • Unbelievable balance
  • Great grind
  • Perfectly sized


  • Handle may be a little slick

The Tops Fieldcrafter strikes that perfect balance between functionality, looks, and price point, making it an easy selection for our best overall. This knife immediately felt like a natural extension of my hands from the moment I picked it up. I’ve seen complaints from some people who thought the G10 handle was a little slick, but this felt just right in my hands.

While I’ve had the privilege to test some seriously nice knives working for F&S, I’ve never handled one quite like this. The heft and balance of this blade is as close to perfect as I’ve found. And the stainless steel edge was perfectly honed straight out of the box. This knife sliced everything I tasked it with rather effortlessly, including a very clean split in a wood batoning test.

A silver, red, and black Tops Fieldcrafter fixed blade knife sitting on a split log on a grassy lawn.
I wouldn’t do it all the time, but the Fieldcrafter will split wood if called upon for the task. Travis Smola

The price is also rather surprising. It starts at $155 depending on the retailer. That’s an awesome price, especially for a knife that’s made right here in the U.S.A. I generally expect something of this quality made here to cost a lot more, especially when it holds an edge as well as this one did during testing. Tops put an incredible grind on this knife that holds up.

While it’s primarily designed as a bushcraft or survival knife, I could see endless possibilities for this one. It would be a dynamite hunting knife. It should also excel well for ranch hands or anyone who works outside all day. This knife is also our choice for the best Scandi grind.

Most Versatile: Benchmade Bushcrafter

Most Versatile


  • Blade Material: CPM-S30V stainless steel
  • Handle: G10
  • Blade Length: 4.40”
  • Overall Length: 9.15”


  • Excellent construction
  • Great feel
  • Good edge retention


  • Price

The Bushcrafter continues to be one of my favorite knives I’ve used. The beefy, full tang design is constructed of CPM-S30V steel that’s extremely rugged. This knife makes it a cinch to split logs via the batoning method, even with the flat grind on the blade. The overall heft of the knife just helps to drive it hope with little friction after striking the top with another log. This knife has some serious backbone for chopping and slicing. I was able to put a ton of leverage on it without worry of it breaking. I think you would really need to abuse it to break it.

The blue G10 handle and silver blade of the Benchmade Bushcrafter knife above a gray log.
The Bushcrafter’s blade can withstand a ton of abuse for heavy jobs. Travis Smola

My testing with cardboard wore the edge down on this blade faster than wood, so I feel confident saying it’s up for most bushcraft tasks, including fire-starting. Benchmade doesn’t include a ferro rod, but I found it sparks one nicely. The $270-$300 price tag is a big pill to swallow, but the cost of admission is immediately worth it once you’ve held this one in hand just once.

Best For Fire Starting: Morakniv Kansbol

Best For Fire Starting


  • Blade Material: Swedish 12CR27 stainless steel
  • Handle: Polymer
  • Blade Length: 4.29”
  • Overall Length: 9”


  • Extremely affordable
  • Great fire-starting abilities
  • Lightweight


  • Lower quality steel
  • Partial tang not great for heavy jobs

I own a few Morakniv knives, and the brand has always impressed me with its functionality compared to the very low price point. The Kansbol is surprisingly sharp given the lower grade steel used here. This outdoor knife only has a partial tang, so it’s not built for heavier jobs like wood splitting. However, the spine has a great edge that throws off a spark via a ferro rod better than any other knife on this list. So long as you don’t need to split the wood, this is a very reliable firestarter.

The tan and silver Morakniv Kansbol knife above a grey log and grassy lawn.
Note the unique grind on the Kansbol’s blade that’s partially Scandi and partially flat edge. Travis Smola

This knife also has a unique edge that’s something of a hybrid between a Scandi and flat edge grind on different parts of the blade. It’s excellent for carving and feather sticks. But the flat edge makes it versatile enough for food prep, too.

I also just love the texture of the grip on this handle. It’s very easy to grip in cold or wet conditions without slipping. Considering the bargain price, it’s amazing how well balanced and natural in the hand a Morakniv feels. While I like this knife for just about anyone, it’s a great option for teaching kids or teens bushcraft. You won’t need to worry about them destroying a higher end knife, and they can learn basic knife safety and carving skills with a reliable blade.

Best Flat Grind: Ka-Bar EK Commando Short Clip Point

Best Flat Grind


  • Blade Material: 1095 Cro-Van steel
  • Handle: Ultramid
  • Blade Length: 5.062”
  • Overall Length: 9.25”


  • Extremely sharp straight from the box
  • Durable construction
  • Great all-around design


  • Handle might feel short for some users
  • Why are there no scaling upgrades?

While it’s labeled as a “commando” knife, this offering from Ka-Bar feels closer to an all-around knife to me in design. It has a flat grind design that makes it a good option for anyone who wants something that can double for food preparation. I found Ka-Bar’s 1095 Cro-Van steel to be extremely hard during my testing and it held an edge well during cardboard testing. I also used this blade to split a few logs. It did surprisingly well considering this is a flat edge grind.

A close-up of a hand holding a Ka-Bar fixed blade knife above a grassy lawn.
The handle of the Ka-Bar EK Commando feels just a hair short for this type of knife. Travis Smola

One note: I can’t say this would be my first choice for splitting because the handle feels about half an inch too short. It’s a little bit harder for tough leverage work as a result. The scaling isn’t great either, and it would be nice if Ka-Bar or some other company offered an aftermarket upgrade. But for the budget price, this is a solid all-around knife that has a ton of possibilities in a bushcraft or survival setting.

Best Hiking Knife: Uncharted Supply Co Prospector Knife

Best Hiking Knife


  • Blade Material: 420 stainless steel
  • Handle: Paracord
  • Blade Length: 3.5”
  • Overall Length: 7”


  • Very affordable
  • Strong full tang
  • Paracord and ferro rod are a bonus


  • Sheath isn’t anything special

Uncharted Supply Co continues to impress me with the quality of their knives at bargain prices. The Prospector isn’t a traditional bushcraft knife, but it’s a capable little fixed-blade knife that can easily do light bushcraft projects. The spine can easily spark up a fire with a good ferro rod. And the flat edge grind is useful for a whole host of survival situations.

This little wilderness knife can transition quite seamlessly from a wood project to food prep in a snap. The Tanto-style tip is a little unusual for a bushcraft knife. But it does do well for extremely precise cuts on small branches.

The red and black Uncharted Supply Co Prospector knife on a palm to show the size.
The Prospector’s compact profile makes it easy to slip in a pocket or backpack. Travis Smola

The edge on this blade was excellent straight out of the box. Much better than I would have expected for a $19 knife. At that price, it’s an excellent blade for a bugout bag or camping pack. This blade is the ideal size for a backcountry camping trip or through hike or simply as a backup blade. After all, it never hurts to have a second blade, especially in a survival situation.

Best Budget: Reapr Brigade

Best Budget


  • Blade Material: 420 stainless steel
  • Handle: G10
  • Blade Length: 5”
  • Overall Length: 10”


  • Affordable
  • Solid sharpness straight from the package
  • Nice feeling handle


  • Scratches easily
  • Sheath isn’t great

At $35, the Brigade is a solid starting point for an all-around bushcraft knife. It’s a good pick for anyone who wants to do a little bit of woodworking, a little food prep, and whatever other small chores might pop up while camping. This is a knife you will not worry about breaking or losing because it is so cheap to replace. Although the flat grind isn’t the best for splitting wood, I did baton a few logs with it. The Brigade will do the trick if called upon. However, it performed much better in my cardboard slicing and chopping tests. It holds a decent edge even after being worked hard.

The black and tan Reapr Brigade knife on a split log.
I scratched the blade up quite a bit upon using it baton wood. Travis Smola Travis Smola

The dark coating on the blade scratches rather easily. But that’s not a huge downside in my book. This is a working knife, not a show piece. It’s going to get a little dinged up in the process. I also think the handle is solid for this price point. The quality of the blade itself offsets the fact the sheath isn’t great. I wish Reapr had been a thing years ago before I could afford better knives, because their blades are a solid budget option.

What to Consider When Choosing a Bushcraft Knife

Full-tang, fixed blades are the ideal bushcraft knife. For newer bushcraft enthusiasts, the two main concerns are going to be the handle and the steel type. The size is more of a personal preference based on the type of bushcraft you plan to do. Although most experts prefer a knife that’s at least medium size. About four to six inches in length. Anything bigger (think Rambo-sized) starts to become unwieldy for more delicate bushcraft tasks. 


In the bushcraft world, the two types of grinds that are most popular are the Scandinavian and flat grind. This just refers to the type of edge placed on the knife by the manufacturer. Scandi grinds have more of a wedge shape that’s better suited for heavier chopping and woodworking tasks. While I’ve split wood with both types of edges, the Scandi grind is much easier for that type of task.

However, a flat grind is a better all-purpose type of grind. It does a better job for food prep and slicing of things like cardboard and cordage than a Scandi grind. That’s one of the reasons I included more flat grinds than Scandis on this list. I know some bushcraft enthusiasts insist on a Scandi grind, but I’ve found there’s a bit more versatility in a flat grind because it can be used for tasks beyond wood working.

Steel Type

Stainless and high carbon steels are the two most commonly used steels for bushcraft knives. This topic alone can be one of endless debate, and each one has their own pros and cons. Not unlike the ones that rage over camping knives. Stainless steel knives are tough and can hold an edge for a very long time. The downside is that they’re tough to re-sharpen, especially if you’re miles from civilization in the wilderness. Stainless is also just more expensive.

However, high carbon steels are much cheaper, and can easily be re-sharpened in the field. Although it does hold an edge very well. The main downside is that the steel is softer and more brittle. This type of steel doesn’t fare as well for heavy tasks like splitting wood. High carbon isn’t nearly as corrosion resistant as stainless. There’s some give and take either way. Thus, why we believe it’s more of a personal preference than anything else.


Again, handles mainly come down to personal preference, but it’s important to think about the ergonomics when choosing one. Tasks such as splitting wood via the batoning method cause a lot of vibration and shock through the handle. Keeping a firm grip is essential for safety reasons. If the handle is hard with sharp edges or texturing, it becomes more uncomfortable.

I’ve personally used both G10 and Micarta handles that I thought were comfortable. Although I personally prefer a rubber handle with just a little bit of tact. This is mainly because I always seem to have butterfingers, and this type of handle just feels safer. Texturing or stippling on the handle improves the grip greatly.


Q: What is a bushcraft knife?

The term “bushcraft” has become somewhat nebulous in nature and almost completely interchangeable with “survival” in many ways. Most bushcraft enthusiasts agree that a knife specifically for working with wood, that has a 90-degree spine and Scandi grind can be considered a bushcraft knife. Although a full tang fixed blade is preferable, a folder can be used in a pinch for most light bushcraft tasks.

Q: What is a Scandi grind?

A Scandinavian grind is a much larger, flat bevel. It extends from the spine to the edge of the blade. This type of grind is much easier to sharpen than a smaller flat edge grind. It also adds more strength that makes it ideal for woodworking.

Q: What type of knife is best for bushcraft?

A fixed blade knife with a full tang is ideal for most bushcrafting tasks, especially those involving wood. However, a larger folding blade knife will work for many light tasks if called upon. The user just needs to know the limitations of each style of knife.

Best Bushcraft Knives: Final Thoughts

While all the best bushcraft knives on this list are perfectly capable for bushcraft, the Tops Fieldcraft blew me away in terms of looks, durability, and most importantly capability. If you’re ready for a high end bushcraft or survival knife, it’s a great investment that’s certain to last many years of use.

Why Trust Us

For more than 125 years, Field & Stream has been providing readers with honest and authentic coverage of outdoor gear. Our writers and editors eat, sleep, and breathe the outdoors, and that passion comes through in our product reviews. You can count on F&S to keep you up to date on the best new gear. And when we write about a product—whether it’s a bass lure or a backpack—we cover the good and the bad, so you know exactly what to expect before you decide to make a purchase.