Is it a bushcraft knife or is it a survival knife?


Ahhh… the Internet.

I think there’s a gravitation toward the term “bushcraft” because it puts some distance between outdoorsmen and paranoia.  Has it struck anybody else as interesting that the best bushcraft knives happen to be the best survival knives?  Hmmmm…..

Doesn’t matter much to me.  I love the term bushcraft because it seems to have a very minimalistic connotation.  Guys like Ray Mears, Mors Kochanski, and Cody Lundin are big proponents of knowledge first and gear second.  This is slightly different than the so-called survivalist movement where one of the chief principles is that to be “prepared” one needs to stockpile a massive amount of gear, food, and other sundries.

Bushcraft is different  – even if a lot of the skills (and yes, gear) overlap between communities.  

But… getting back to knives.  The best bushcraft knives are perfectly aligned with the best survival knives.  They are the same thing because they are intended for similar purposes which ultimately promote independence, comfort, and mobility.

Just my two cents, but here are some of the best bushcraft/survival knives:

1.  Becker BK2

The BK2 has a religious following for a good reason.  Besides being the #1 selling fixed blade knife of 2013 (and looking strong for 2014), the BK2 boasts 1/4″ steel, full tang construction, and removable scales.  Typically this masterpiece is going to sell for under $70, and if you’ve ever actually held one in your hand, then you can appreciate how inexpensive that is for what you’re getting.


2.  Mora Companion

This is the second most popular fixed blade knife.  Mora has been around since the late 1800’s, and they have definitely perfected their design.  Based on a traditional Finnish puukko design (4″ blade, scandi grind), the Mora Companion series has seen updates over time, but the basics are pretty much intact.  Don’t mess with a good thing.

3.  TOPS Brothers of Bushcraft

These guys from Idaho produce a fantastic product that is sort of the modern take on a traditional design.  They use 1095 high carbon steel, kydex sheaths, and micarta scales.  But this is true performance, and the guys obviously put a lot of thought into the functionality of the knife itself by including a divot for a bow drill and a shambo notch in the glass-breaker pommel.

There are hundreds of “best bushcraft” blah-blah-blah, but ultimately you’ll have to decided what’s best for you and your usage.  Doesn’t really matter if it’s something that you’re never going to use (emergency use only) or if it’s your everyday carry — you’ve got to consider whether you’d bet your life on your knife.

With the three knives I’ve covered here, you can bet your life.  They’re all world class.  You just have to decide what’s best for you.