The art and skill of bushcraft is essentially a means of wilderness survival, and the term was coined after the means of survival in the Australian outback (or “bush country”) where convenience stores are nowhere to be found. Good bushcraft skills mean the difference between life and death, and those skills are hugely enhanced by a good knife, your primary tool. Tasks like whittling fire-starter strips, batoning wood for kindling, trap setting to snag your dinner and crafting a shelter require the use of a bushcraft knife, and not just any old blade will work.

A good bushcraft knife needs to be tough and maneuverable, and possess the ability to hold a sharp edge. Typically, a plain, curved blade edge works best for handling the widest varieties of tasks, along with a drop point and flat grind for strength. It’s all about utility, so anything ornate or remotely fragile will be rendered useless in the field. Remember, we may not have claws, sharp teeth, body fur or armor, but we have wits, and wits are good, especially when paired with the right knife.

Spyderco Bushcraft

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Spyderco is known for their well made and affordable folders used the world over by military, law enforcement and EDC fans. But they also make damned good fixed-blade knives, and the Bushcraft knife is one of them. It was designed by bushcraft expert Chris Claycombe and the bushcraft website BushcraftUK.com, along with Spyderco designers. It’s full tang strong, and the high-carbon steel keeps a razor-sharp edge incredibly well. The signature Spyderco thumbhole gives extra stability during more finessed tasks, like filleting that salmon you just caught with your bare hands.

Blade Length: 4.0 inches
Blade Material: 0-1 Carbon Steel
Blade Type: plain edge, drop point, Scandi grind
Handle Material: G10
Weight: 7.75 ounces

Morakniv Bushcraft

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Morakniv isn’t a bargain-basement knife brand; their affordability is complimented by a resilience that’s inspired a cult following in the knife community. The Bushcraft is one of their most robust knives, with a 3.2mm thick high-carbon steel blade that’s so sharp it will shave arm hairs with ease. A thin, black coating is added for corrosion resistance, and the rubber-coated black handle, though totally unsexy, provides great grip.

Blade Length: 4.3 inches
Blade Material: High Carbon Steel, 59-60HRC
Blade Type: plain edge, clip point, flat grind
Handle Material: plastic
Weight: 5.75 ounces

Helle Temagami

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Did we say a bushcraft knife shouldn’t be pretty? In this case, we’ll make an exception. Designed by none other than Survivorman’s Les Stroud, the Temagami is an absolute stunner that’s still built to take serious punishment. Each knife is hand crafted with a curly birch handle, oiled with linseed. The blade is made with triple-layered stainless steel and complements the handle nicely. And, if you think it might be too nice, just watch an episode of Stroud’s show and you’ll realize this guy wouldn’t create a knife that can’t survive.

Blade Length: 3.5 inches
Blade Material: triple-layered laminated stainless steel
Blade Type: drop point, plain edge, flat grind
Handle Material: curly birch, antler, leather
Weight: 3.0 ounces

Fallkniven F1

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Fallkniven melds modern design, tried-and-true field abilities and bombproof strength better than just about anyone else. The F1 knife happens to be the official survival knife for Swedish Air Force pilots, and it’s a reliable survival tool should their planes go down in remote areas. Laminated VG10 Steel makes up the blade, while ultra-tough black Thermorum provides the foundation of the grippy handle. You might not be a jet pilot, but you can know that when things get bad on your adventure, you’ll have the right tool.

Blade Length: 3.8 inches
Blade Material: laminated VG10 stainless steel
Blade Type: plain edge, drop point, flat grind
Handle Material: Thermorum
Weight: 6 ounces

Fiddleback Forge KE Bushie

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The KE Bushie, designed by Kevin Estella, might seem way too pricey for a knife designed to baton wood with, but there are a few reasons why it costs so much. It has unsurpassed ergonomics for repetitive use with minimal strain, great balance for excellent maneuverability and a strong, razor-sharp O1 steel blade — qualities that combine to make your field work faster and safer, thereby reducing your risk. Oh, and it happens to look fantastic, too.

Blade Length: 3.6 inches
Blade Material: O1 steel
Blade Type: plain edge, drop point, convex grind
Handle Material: Micarta
Weight: 5.2 ounces

Esee Knives Model 3

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Esse interviewed law enforcement and military personnel in order to design the Model 3 — after all, they are the guys who will put their knives through the daily rigors. Originally created as a tactical fixed-blade knife, the design and materials of the Model 3 make it an ideal bushcraft knife. The thick blade is strong enough for prying and hacking, while the 1095 carbon steel from which it’s made will retain a sharp edge, task after life-preserving task. It even comes with a waistband clip sheath and a molded version with MOLLE attachments for securing it to your gear, so your can customize your carry options.

Blade Length: 3.88 inches
Blade Material: 1095 carbon steel
Blade Type: plain edge, drop point, flat grind
Handle Material: Micarta
Weight: 5.0 ounces

Ka-Bar Becker BK2 Campanion

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This is the big boy of the group, weighing in at a full pound. The BK2 Campanion will hack the crap out of kindling and skin game with ease thanks to its 1095 Cro-Van carbon steel, which is infused with chrome/vanadium carbides for added strength and wear resistance. The black Grivory handle has front and rear guards for safety under hard use, and you can even remove the handle scales and use the full-tang blade as a spear attachment.

Blade Length: 5.25 inches
Blade Material: 1095 Cro-Van Steel
Blade Type: plain edge, drop point, flat grind
Handle Material: Grivory
Weight: 16 ounces

Benchmade 162 Bushcrafter

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The 162 Bushcrafter is one of Benchmade’s premium fixed-blade knives, and for good reason. The tough G10 handle uses titanium tubing for lightness, and it’s colored a nice blue hue with red highlights, so it stands out from the crowd. The drop-point blade is made with S30V stainless steel — harder than standard 400 series steel and better at keeping an edge. The 4.43-inch blade is on the larger side, but its light weight keeps it from being unwieldy.

Blade Length: 4.43 inches
Blade Material: S30V stainless steel
Blade Type: plain edge, drop point, flat grind
Handle Material: G10
Weight: 7.72 ounces

Condor Tool & Knife Bushlore

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With the Bushlore, you get a great bushcraft knife for a hair over $50, and it’s a knife that’s worth way more than its price point. It’s made with 1075 high-carbon steel (most often found on pricier blades) — and apart from being insanely strong, the grippy Micarta handle’s gray-and-black marbling gives it an almost collectible look. The sheath is full leather and comes with its own fire starter, making the Bushlore not just a bargain, but a steal.

Blade Length: 4.31 inhces
Blade Material: 1075 high-carbon steel
Blade Type: plain edge, drop point, flat grind
Handle Material: Micarta
Weight: 12.8 ounces