Get the Best Bushcraft Knife for Any Budget

Looking for the best bushcraft knife? These tough, reliable blades are a cut above the competition

Over the centuries, knives have been refined. The flaked-stone edge became honed steel; the hide-wrapped handle became micarta scales. The blade shape changed based on the chore, and designers experimented with embellishments and adornments—in many cases turning knives into works of functional art.

At its core though, no matter how beautiful it is, a knife is simply a tool. Nothing more and nothing less. It is there to make work easier, whether you’re prepping food or building a fire. And when it comes to wilderness survival, it may well be the most valuable piece of gear in your kit.

We’ve gathered six of the best survival and bushcraft knives on the market today. Each was chosen based on its overall design, quality of construction and materials, ergonomics, and price. While budgets are relative, we’ve tried to present options from a range of price points, from fairly cheap to somewhat expensive.

1. Morakniv Companion: The Best Bushcraft Knife for the Money

The Morakniv Companion. – $16-$20 Morakniv

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  • Overall length: 8.5 inches
  • Blade length: 4.0 inches
  • Weight (without sheath): 4.1 ounces

Morakniv has a long-standing, and well-deserved, reputation for delivering great quality knives at exceptionally affordable prices. The Companion has found its way into countless survival kits, glove boxes, tool boxes, and more because it just plain works. It is a no-frills knife that will stand up to just about anything.

It is available in carbon steel as well as stainless (shown here). There are a number of colors to choose from, ranging from subdued to bright and eye-catching, making the knife easy to spot if you drop it in the leaves. The handle is formed plastic that has a high-friction pattern, giving you a positive grip in just about any condition.

Many users are shocked to discover just how comfortable the Companion is to use. Unlike the other knives on our list, the Companion is not a full tang model, so it isn’t suitable for prying tasks.

The durable plastic sheath has a drain hole, so it won’t hold moisture against the blade for long periods of time.

2. Condor Knife and Tool Bushcraft Basic: A Simple, No-Frills Survival Knife

The Condor Knife and Tool Bushcraft Basic. – $55 Condor Knife and Tool

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  • Overall length: 9.625 inches
  • Blade length: 5.0 inches
  • Weight (without sheath): 7.1 ounces

This knife comes in two sizes, with the blade running either four inches or five. This is the latter model shown here. True to its name, this is a basic knife, with no bells or whistles. That said, it is sturdy, robust, and dependable.

The Bushcraft Basic has a 1075 carbon steel blade, which holds an edge very well without being a chore to sharpen. A black powder coating helps to reduce oxidation and corrosion. The walnut handle scales are handsome as well as comfortable.

If you’re thinking it looks similar to an old-fashioned butcher knife, you’re not wrong. Sometimes the simplest designs are the best. The Bushcraft Basic comes with a heavy-duty brown leather sheath to round out the package.

Read Next: Bushcraft Knives vs. Survival Knives

3. ESEE 4: The Best Bushcraft Knife for Slicing

The ESEE 4. – $105 ESEE

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  • Overall length: 9.0 inches
  • Blade length: 4.5 inches
  • Weight (without sheath): 8.0 ounces

ESEE makes a lot of different models, and while the ESEE 4 isn’t one of the most popular knives they produce, it is one of the most popular among survivalists. It’s a heavy-duty knife, yet doesn’t feel like a boat anchor strapped to your hip. It excels at slicing as well as more robust tasks.

The drop point blade profile is among the most useful designs out there. The ESEE 4 is available in either 1095 carbon steel or 440C stainless, with a plain or partially serrated edge. The handle is contoured to provide a secure, comfortable grip.

As with some of the other knives on our list, there is a lanyard hole at the butt end of the ESEE 4. Adding a small hank of paracord is always a good idea as it’s an easy way to carry extra cordage. The ESEE 4 comes with a molded plastic sheath with a sturdy belt clip.

4. L.T. Wright GNS: The Best Bushcraft Knife for Those With Larger Hands

The L.T. Wright GNS. – $189 L.T. Wright

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  • Overall length: 9.5 inches
  • Blade length: 4.5 inches
  • Weight (without sheath): 7.0 ounces

L.T. Wright isn’t just one of the most well-respected knife makers in the industry, he’s also a tremendously nice guy. The GNS has been around for a while. It’s very popular in the bushcraft community, and for good reason. The name GNS stands for Go, No Show, meaning this is a knife designed for real-world use and abuse.

This knife is particularly well-suited for those with larger hands, as the handle is a bit thicker than the others on our list. It is available in either saber grind (shown here) or Scandi grind. There are also a number of handle colors to choose from. The knife is incredibly comfortable to use and will quickly become your primary blade.

All of L.T. Wright’s knives are known for are their exact 90-degree spines. They are great for scraping tinder as well as shaving sparks from a ferrocerium rod. Every GNS comes with a high-quality leather sheath.

5. Bark River Knives Fox River EXT-1: A Comfortable Bushcraft Knife No Matter the Task

The Bark River Knives Fox River EXT-1. – $225 Jim Cobb

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  • Overall length: 8.65 inches
  • Blade length: 4.1 inches
  • Weight (without sheath): 5.7 ounces

The original Fox River knife has been a huge seller for Bark River Knives, as is their Gunny model. Jason Thoune, owner of DLT Trading, proposed a new knife that combined some of the best aspects of those two models, marrying the blade style of the Fox River to the Gunny handle profile. The result was a knife that was perfectly sized for most outdoor tasks and that was exceptionally comfortable, even during hard use.

The handle contour provides a self-guard, which many users appreciate as it keeps fingers from sliding up to the blade edge. The blade itself is thin enough to really excel at slicing tasks, such as processing harvested game or food prep, without being too fragile to use for harsher tasks.

As with most models from Bark River Knives, this knife is available in a huge range of handle colors and materials, from the basic black micarta shown here to acrylics, hardwoods, and more. The Fox River EXT-1 comes with a leather sheath in the user’s choice of black or brown.

6. White River Knife & Tool Ursus 45: A Rock-Solid Survival Knife that Can Take a Beating

The White River Knife & Tool Ursus 45 – $250 White River Knife & Tool

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  • Overall length: 9.5 inches
  • Blade length: 4.5 inches
  • Weight (without sheath): 8.3 ounces

White River Knife & Tool is one of the best knife shops in the country. Their line of blades is filled with exceptional quality and durability, and each model is designed for practical use. The Ursus 45 is a workhorse—a knife that will not only handle any chore you throw at it but come back asking for more.

It is available in three different handle colors: black burlap, natural burlap, and black and olive drab micarta. This is one of the larger knives on our list, but even so, it won’t weigh you down. Eminently capable of a wide range of tasks, it will slice and dice as well as chop and pry.

All of White River Knife & Tool knives are packaged in handsome carved wood boxes. The Ursus 45 comes with your choice of either a Kydex or leather sheath, with the latter bringing a small additional charge.