11 Best Budget Bushcraft Knives – Practical 2024 Guide

Last update:
We are reader supported! We participate in affiliate programs and we may be compensated (at no cost to you) when you use our links and make a purchase.

We researched and reviewed over 25 bushcraft knives and found the Condor Bushlore Camp Knife to be the best budget bushcraft knife.

This knife meets all of our criteria that are usually only found in more expensive bushcraft knives. It has a spear point, full tang, Scandi grind, a high-carbon steel blade with a hardwood handle, and a nice leather sheath.

Finding a good budget bushcraft knife can be a challenge, especially one that you can depend on if it is the only tool you have.

Best Budget Bushcraft Knives
Multiple Budget Bushcraft Knives that were tested with a Ferro Rod
Some of my bushcraft knives

I have been using knives for over 35 years for bushcraft, camping, hunting, and all-around work outdoors. I took my experience with these knives along with my team and others in our outdoor community to develop this list. I also looked at user reviews and got feedback from others.

There are a number of features that you need to look for in a good Bushcraft knife. Finding a good knife with a tight budget is especially tricky.

In the reviews and the tips below, I will detail what features your knife needs, ones you can live without, and how to save money.

Keep reading, you will likely be able to buy two knives!


Quick Comparison of our Favorite Budget Bushcraft Knives

BEST OVERALL
Condor Tool & Knife Bushlore Camp Knife

Condor Tool & Knife Bushlore Camp Knife

Full Tang

Leather Sheath

Great Design

Price: $$

BEST FOR HEAVY WORK
Beavercraft BSH1 Bushcraft Knife

Beavercraft BSH1 Bushcraft Knife

Great Blade

Leather Sheath

Durable

Price: $

BEST BACKUP KNIFE
Morakniv Companion HD Knife

Morakniv Companion HD Knife

Low Price

All Weather Handle

Heavy Blade

Price: $

BEST HUNTING KNIFE
BPS Knives HK1S Bushcraft Knife

BPS Knives HK1S Bushcraft Knife

Blade Shape

Very Sharp

Full Tang

Price: $

BEST MADE IN THE USA
Ontario Knife Company 8696 Bushcraft Knife

Ontario Knife Company 8696 Bushcraft Knife

Great Design

Made in USA

Full Tang

Price: $$


Best Budget Bushcraft Knives

Condor Tool & Knife Bushlore Camp Knife – Best Overall

Condor Tool & Knife Bushlore Camp Knife
  • Blade Length: 4 5/16”
  • Blade Type: Spear Point, Scandi Grind, 90-degree spine
  • Blade Material: 1075 High Carbon Steel
  • Blade Thickness: 3mm (approx. 1/8”)
  • Tang: Full
  • Sheath: Leather Included
  • Handle: Hardwood

The Condor Bushlore Camp Knife is our top pick for budget bushcraft knives. It meets all our criteria and outdoes even more expensive bushcraft knives.

Condor Tool & Knife is a German company that has been in business since 1787. They have a factory in El Salvador, which is why they can sell this knife at such a great price. Immediately quality comes into question since it is made in a low-cost country.

We did a lot of research on reviews of this knife, and it appears the consistency of the production of the knife has improved in the last 5 years. My knife is newer and did not have any quality issues out of the box.

I like the leather sheath that comes with the knife. It is custom-made for the knife and holds it strictly by friction. The handle does sit fairly deep in the sheath, so you have to reposition your hand somewhat when you draw it.

The handle is hardwood, so it needs to be treated with boiled linseed oil periodically. The shape of the handle feels good, and I can hold the knife in either direction comfortably. My only gripe is I wish the handle was just a little longer.

The blade holds a decent edge and is easy to sharpen. It is not as good as a 1095 blade, but this is a budget knife. I do need to touch the blade up after every camping trip.

I have used this knife to baton 3” hardwood logs and make feather sticks, along with other general stuff around camp. It is one tough knife and has held up well.

The spine has a sharp, 90-degree grind on it and will throw a huge spark from a Ferro rod. It will also spark when struck with a hard rock, although not as well as a higher carbon blade will.

Recommended For:

The Condor Bushlore Camp Knife is for anyone looking for a good budget bushcraft knife. While not as good as a 1095 blade, this knife has all of the other qualities seen in a more expensive knife at a great price.

PROS

Full Tang

Leather Sheath

Great Design

Easy to Sharpen

CONS

Handle Length


Beavercraft BSH1 Bushcraft Knife – Best for Heavy Work

Beavercraft BSH1 Bushcraft Knife
  • Blade Length: 5” (125mm)
  • Blade Type: Drop Point, Scandi Grind, 90-degree spine
  • Blade Material: 1066 Carbon Steel
  • Blade Thickness: 1/8”
  • Tang: Full
  • Sheath: Leather Included
  • Handle: Hardwood

The Beavercraft BSH1 Bushcraft Knife competes directly with our top pick. It has a slightly longer blade than the Condor, and the handle is curved instead of flat.

Beavercraft manufactures its knives in Ukraine. I was unsure of the quality since Eastern European countries are lower-cost countries. I can say that my knife is top quality, and most of the reports and reviews that I researched agree.

The blade is 1066 steel and is on the lower end of the high carbon range. However, I found that it still holds an edge well and sharpens easily. It is durable as well, and I can baton with it and do all of the typical tasks around camp.

I particularly like the length of the blade and the grind on this knife. It is a nice flat Scandi grind, and I can get it razor-sharp. The 90-degree spine throws a big spark from a ferro rod as well.

The handle is a hardwood that has a curved shape to it. It feels really nice and balanced and is a good length. However, it is not great for holding in a reverse grip. I can do it, and it is not super uncomfortable, but it’s not as good as a straight handle.

The curved shape of the handle does feel better to me than a straight handle for heavy tasks. If you are really cranking down on a tough piece of wood or butchering a deer, this knife is the one to have.

The leather sheath is nice, and I like that it has two options for hanging on my belt or pack. It has the traditional belt loop right on the back and has a second loop attached to the main loop so that it can be carried in a drop configuration.

Recommended for:

The Beavercraft BSH1 Bushcraft Knife is for anyone looking for a bushcraft knife for heavier tasks. The 5” blade and curved handle make it well-suited for batoning or beaver-cutting smaller trees. If you plan to do any detailed work, another knife will probably be better for you.

PROS

Blade Design

Leather Sheath

Durability

CONS

Best for Heavy Work


Morakniv Companion HD Knife – Best Backup

Morakniv Companion HD Knife
  • Blade Length: 4.1”
  • Blade Type: Drop Point, Scandi Grind
  • Blade Material: Carbon Steel
  • Blade Thickness: 3.2mm (approx. 1/8”)
  • Tang: Partial
  • Sheath: Polymer Included
  • Handle: Rubber/Plastic

The Morakniv Companion HD is a heavy-duty version of the well-known Companion knife which is also on our list.

Morakniv knives, better known as just “Mora”, are made in Sweden and are known for their quality. They have been a popular choice for bushcraft and outdoorsmen for years. The price of their knives is amazing coming from Sweden, a country known for their metal work.

This knife has a thicker blade than the standard Companion knife. This makes it better suited for heavier work with wood and game animals and less for detail work or skinning.

The handle is the standard Mora Rubber and plastic grip. What makes this handle great is you can just forget about it. There is no extra care needed like there is with wood. If you are planning to be around water or get wet a lot, this knife is great.

The sheath is a polymer sheath, and the knife snaps into it. It retains the knife very well and has a drain hole at the bottom so that it doesn’t fill with water. I like that the belt clip on the sheath is not a loop but a clip that I can take on and off without unhooking my belt.

The spine is somewhat 90 degrees, but it does not throw a spark from a ferro rod as well as my other knives. It is not finished and has a small chamfer on the spine that limits it. Mora says that this knife is not “fire steel compatible.” The blade is also not full tang, so not the best for heavy work.

The blade material is somewhat of a mystery. Mora says on their website that their carbon steel blades are hardened and contain 1% carbon. Considering the cost of these knives, I doubt it is true high carbon steel but a variation. Regardless, it is hard to get much of a spark from flint, but it will throw a spark.

Recommended for:

The Morakniv Companion HD is for anyone looking for a Mora-style knife that can handle heavier tasks in wet environments. It also makes a great backup knife or a great option for your bug out bag.

PROS

All-Weather Handle

Heavy Blade

Price

CONS

Partial Tang


BPS Knives HK1S Bushcraft Knife – Best Hunting Knife

BPS Knives HK1S Bushcraft Knife
  • Blade Length: 4.4”
  • Blade Type: Drop Point, Scandi Grind, 90-degree spine
  • Blade Material: 1066 Carbon Steel
  • Blade Thickness: 2.5mm (approx. 3/32”)
  • Tang: Full
  • Sheath: Leather Included
  • Handle: Walnut

The BPS Knives HK1S Bushcraft knife is a great-looking knife, and like Beavercraft, it is manufactured in Ukraine. Overall, the quality is very similar.

The blade is made from 1066 carbon steel, just like the Beavercraft knife on our list. It holds an OK edge and needs to be touched up regularly. The 90-degree spine has a good edge and can throw a nice spark from a ferro rod. The serrations near the handle on the spine look good but don’t really help if you need to use flint to strike the spine to create a spark.

It is a full tang knife with a 90-degree spine, but the blade thickness is a little on the thin side. While not a lot thinner, it is noticeable. The blade is shaped more like a butcher knife which makes it good for skinning and processing game meat.

The walnut handle is straight with a slight curve in the grip area. It seems like this is more for comfort. However, the handle is a little on the short side. I feel that a straight handle would make this knife feel much better. With the shorter length and the curved grip, it doesn’t feel very secure.

The sheath is nice, but I feel that the knife sits a little too deep in it. I almost need a lanyard to pull it out, especially if it is pushed all the way into the sheath. It does have the standard belt loop and the drop loop, so you have multiple ways to carry it.

Recommended for:

The BPS Knives HK1S Bushcraft knife is for someone looking for a lighter-duty knife for skinning game or a backup knife. The shorter handle and blade thickness do not make it a good choice for heavy wood processing.

PROS

Blade Shape

Very Sharp

Full Tang

CONS

Short Handle

Sheath Too Deep


Ontario Knife Company 8696 Bushcraft Knife – Best Made in the USA

Ontario Knife Company 8696 Bushcraft Knife
  • Blade Length: 5”
  • Blade Type: Spear Point, Scandi Grind, 90-degree spine
  • Blade Material: 420 Stainless Steel
  • Blade Thickness: 1/8”
  • Tang: Full
  • Sheath: Black Nylon Included
  • Handle: Laminated Hardwood

The Ontario Knife Company 8696 Bushcraft Knife looks like it would be a great bushcraft knife. The blade is the perfect length, and the spear point and Scandi grind are ideal. It is full tang to boot.

Ontario Knife Company was founded in 1889 in Ney York State and still operates there today. Unfortunately, this is the only made-in-the-USA company on our list. Higher labor costs in the US drive most knives out of the budget range.

The shape of this knife is perfect. From the blade to the handle, it really is everything that I like. It has a simple spear point which is great for general tasks around camp. The Handle is flat and has slightly raised areas on both ends that help to keep my hand from sliding off. It is also a good length and not too short like some of the other knives we have reviewed.

But where this knife is lacking is in the materials. The blade material is 420 stainless steel. 420 stainless is only 0.38% carbon, so it is not high carbon if you refer to our guide below. This is a cheaper steel that will not hold an edge very well and needs to be sharpened often.

Stainless steel will also not throw much of a spark from flint or a hard rock. A negative in a survival situation if you only have your knife.

The handle is laminated hardwood. While I did not see any issues with the handle, I would rather have a solid wood handle. Over time the laminations could come apart, especially if you get it wet.

The sheath is black nylon and made in China. I do not like the sheath at all and would look for a replacement if I planned to keep this knife.

I really wanted to like this knife since it is made in the USA (at least the knife is). If you are dead set on a made-in-the-USA knife, plan to find a better sheath and make sure to keep plenty of fire-starting options with you. The overall shape and feel of this knife are great – just the materials are disappointing.

Recommended for:

The Ontario Knife Company 8696 Bushcraft Knife is for anyone looking for a made-in-the-USA budget bushcraft knife. You will need to find a better sheath and the stainless-steel blade is not ideal.

PROS

Made in USA

Blade Design

Handle Length

CONS

Blade Material

Sheath


Condor Terrasaur Bushcraft Knife

Condor Terrasaur Bushcraft Knife
  • Blade Length: 4.15”
  • Blade Type: Drop Point, Scandi Grind
  • Blade Material: 1095, semi-coated
  • Blade Thickness: 2.5mm (approx. 3/32”)
  • Tang: Full
  • Sheath: Polymer Included
  • Handle: High Impact Polypropylene

The Condor Terrasaur Bushcraft Knife is an interesting knife that appears to be the perfect combination between our top pick and a Mora knife. But it is not.

The blade is a drop-point style made from 1095 steel, which is great. It is also coated just above the grind up to the spine. It is not coated on the spine itself, which is a plus since you can use flint to strike a spark. However, the spine has a slight chamfer and does not throw a very good spark from a ferro rod.

The blade thickness is a little on the thin side, not a huge issue, but thinner than I like for a primary knife.

Personally, I do not care for the handle and the sheath. The over-molded polypropylene handle is just not appealing to me. It also feels a little on the short side. It does have a good texture on it but doesn’t feel as good as a Mora.

The sheath is a polymer with a leather loop on top of it. The knife snaps in behind tabs inside the sheath to hold it in place. Some have reported they are too tight, others too loose. Retention is just unreliable with this design.

The advantage of a polymer sheath is that the knife can sit up higher in it since it doesn’t need friction to hold it. For some reason this knife sits deep in the sheath, making it harder to draw.

The belt loop is small, and my wider concealed carry belts won’t fit through it. If you have a 2” or larger belt, it will not fit.

This knife is good for all-weather use since it has a semi-coated blade and polymer sheath and handle. But I would pick the Mora Companion HD over this one.

Recommended for:

The Condor Terrasaur Bushcraft Knife is for someone that needs an all-weather knife and doesn’t like or want a Mora. This knife is more expensive than a Mora and does not have any other features to make it worth the extra cost.

PROS

All Weather Design

Blade Material

Full Tang

CONS

Handle Material

Sheath

Spine Chamfer


Morakniv Companion Knife

Morakniv Companion Knife
  • Blade Length: 4.1”
  • Blade Type: Drop Point, Scandi Grind, 90-degree spine
  • Blade Material: High Carbon Steel
  • Blade Thickness: 2mm (approx. 3/32”)
  • Tang: Partial
  • Sheath: Polymer Included
  • Handle: Rubber/Plastic

The Morakniv Companion Knife has been the standard backup knife for bushcrafters for years. And there is a great reason, the price.

The blade is too thin for heavy work, but it is great for processing game and cleaning fish. It keeps a good edge, and the Scandi grind is easy to sharpen.

It is very similar to the Companion HD above. The blade is thinner, and the handle is not quite as long. It is also not full tang, so it is not the best choice for heavy work. Overall, this knife feels smaller than the HD. It definitely lends itself to more detailed work, like cleaning fish.

It is great for all-weather use since the handle and sheath are both polymers. The sheath is the same as I described above for the HD and is one of the best polymer sheaths on this list.

The Companion throws an Ok spark from a ferro rod. The spine is somewhat chamfered, so the spine edges are not that sharp. I can get a bigger spark from some of the other knives on the list. Mora says this knife is not fire-steel compatible, I agree.

The handle is a rubber/polymer combination and feels great. I can control the knife even when my hands are wet.

Overall, you just can’t beat the price of this knife. It is a great backup knife to have for a larger knife. Since the price is so low, you can keep a couple of them lying around.

Recommended for:

The Morakniv Companion Knife is a great backup knife for cleaning game and fish. The price is great, and you can’t beat the value of this knife. Keep one in your kitchen, in your get home bag, and in your bushcraft pack.

PROS

Price

Handle Design

Sheath

CONS

Thin Blade

Partial Tang


Beavercraft BSH2 Bushcraft Knife

Beavercraft BSH2 Bushcraft Knife
  • Blade Length: 4” (100mm)
  • Blade Type: Drop Point, Scandi Grind, 90-degree spine
  • Blade Material: 1066 Carbon Steel
  • Blade Thickness: 1/8”
  • Tang: Full
  • Sheath: Leather Included
  • Handle: Walnut

The Beavercraft BSH2 Bushcraft knife is the little brother to the BSH1 that we reviewed earlier.

This knife has a similar blade shape to the BSH1 but is only 4” long. This is on the shorter end of an ideal range of 4 to 6 inches, in my experience.

I like how sharp this knife is right out of the box, and it holds an edge fairly well. The flat Scandi grind is easy to sharpen.

I like the hardwood handle on this knife better than the BSH1. It is more rounded on the butt and is not as curved. The length is good, and I can hold it in both directions comfortably.

The spine is a sharp 90 degrees, and it throws a good spark from a Ferro rod. It is full tang, so durability is not in question. Since it has a shorter blade, using it to baton firewood is somewhat limited.

The sheath is very nice, just like the BSH1. I like the fact that it has two options for carry, right on the belt and in a drop configuration.

Overall, this is a great knife, just a little on the short side.

Recommended for:

The Beavercraft BSH2 Bushcraft knife is for someone that wants a shorter-bladed bushcraft knife. The sheath is great, and the overall feel of the handle is good as well.

PROS

Sheath

Handle Design

Durability

CONS

Blade Length


Morakniv Bushcraft Black Knife

Morakniv Bushcraft Black Knife
  • Blade Length: 4.3”
  • Blade Type: Drop Point, Scandi Grind, 90-degree spine
  • Blade Material: Carbon Steel, DLC Coated
  • Blade Thickness: 3.2mm (approx. 1/8”)
  • Tang: Partial
  • Sheath: Polymer Included
  • Handle: Rubber/Plastic

The Morakniv Bushcraft Black knife is yet another knife on our list from Mora. They just make a great affordable knife.

This knife is essentially the same as the Companion HD knife, with a few differences.

The blade on this knife is 5mm longer than the Companion HD. That is only about 0.2 inches, a negligible amount really, but it is slightly longer.

The blade is also coated with a DLC coating. This is good for protecting the blade against corrosion, but not good if this is the only thing you have and need to start a fire. You just can’t throw a spark from a piece of flint with a coated knife unless you remove all the coating.

However, the good thing that they changed is the spine. It is ground to 90 degrees without any chamfer. I was able to throw a good spark from a ferro rod with this knife.

The handle has a more pronounced finger groove than the Companion-style handle. I prefer the flatter shape of the Companion handle. The sheath is similar to the Companion polymer sheath.

Both the handle and the sheath are the Mora standard plastic/rubber and perform great in wet weather.

Recommended for:

The Morakniv Bushcraft Black knife is for anyone looking for a wet-weather budget bushcraft knife. The blade coating, handle, and sheath will stand up to being wet longer than a wood handle, uncoated blade, and leather sheath.

PROS

Mora Quality

90 Degree Spine

Sheath

CONS

Coated Blade

Partial Tang


Morakniv Garberg Full Tang Bushcraft Knife

Morakniv Garberg Full Tang Bushcraft Knife
  • Blade Length: 4.3”
  • Blade Type: Drop Point, Scandi Grind, 90-degree spine
  • Blade Material: Carbon Steel, DLC Coated
  • Blade Thickness: 3.2mm (approx. 1/8”)
  • Tang: Full
  • Sheath: Polymer Included (leather available)
  • Handle: Rubber/Plastic (polyamide)

The Morakniv Garberg Full Tang Bushcraft Knife is one of the most expensive knives on our list.

The great thing about this knife is that you not only get Mora quality, but it is also a full tang knife.

The blade is very similar to the Mora bushcraft black blade. It is more of an exaggerated drop point shape but is the same length and thickness. It also has a nice 90-degree spine for striking a ferro rod.

The Handle is quite a bit different from the other Mora knives. It is made from a Polymide polymer and has a flat symmetrical shape to it. This makes it great for holding in either direction or for use in wet weather.

However, the feel of the handle is just not for me. The plastic feels a little too hard, and it just makes me feel like I do not have control of the knife.

The sheath is different from the other Mora knives. The sheath is symmetrical for left-hand users, but the universal mount is just not that great. I worry that it will break at the attachment point since it is two pieces. I prefer the Companion HD sheath that has a clip and not a loop.

Overall, this is a very durable knife – just the feel of it is not appealing.

Recommended for:

The Morakniv Garberg Full Tang Bushcraft Knife is for anyone looking for the most durable Mora knife made. It is full tang and has a strong handle. The way the handle feels is just not for me.

PROS

Full Tang

90 Degree Spine

All Weather

CONS

Handle Material

Sheath


Condor Tool & Knife Bushlore Camp Knife with Micarta Handle

Condor Tool & Knife Bushlore Camp Knife with Micarta Handle
  • Blade Length: 4 5/16”
  • Blade Type: Spear Point, Scandi Grind, 90-degree spine
  • Blade Material: 1075 High Carbon Steel
  • Blade Thickness: 3mm (approx. 1/8”)
  • Tang: Full
  • Sheath: Leather Included
  • Handle: Micarta

The Condor Tool & Knife Bushlore Camp Knife with Micarta Handles is the same knife as our top pick, except it has Micarta Handles. It has all the same great features, including the leather sheath.

Micarta is a laminated composite made from fabrics like cotton, fiberglass, and carbon fiber. These materials are combined with resin under pressure to form a very hard, strong, and weatherproof material. It is used for a wide variety of products, from industrial electrical insulators to knife handles.

After the handle is roughly formed, it must then be shaped and polished to its final form. To make a knife handle, there is quite a bit of labor in this process, resulting in a Micarta-handled knife being more expensive than wood.

Micarta is an excellent choice for a knife handle since it is a stable material and can be formed into any shape. A knife that has a Micarta handle will hold up to being soaked in water, prolonged sun exposure, and high impacts.

This handle makes this knife one of the most durable full-tang knives on our list. It can take a beating from batoning in the driving rain and have no issues. It does have a high-carbon steel blade, so you must still take care of keeping rust from forming, but you don’t have to worry about the handle at all.

This knife is the most expensive on our list, so it did not make the top pick for a budget bushcraft knife simply because of the price. If you have a little more budget, strongly consider this one.

Recommended for:

The Condor Tool & Knife Bushlore Camp Knife with Micarta Handles is for anyone looking for a very durable bushcraft knife. While the price is high for a budget pick, there is a lot of value here, and it is still priced lower than many other bushcraft knives.

PROS

Micarta Handles

Blade Shape

Sheath

CONS

Price


Tips on Choosing the Best Bushcraft Knife

A good knife is arguably one of the most important tools for a bushcrafter and outdoorsman. Therefore, you should spend a considerable amount of your budget on your Bushcraft knife. Since it is such an important piece of your bushcraft tool kit, I recommend that you have at least two. “Two is one, and one is none,” as the saying goes.

Now I bet you are saying, “I came here looking for a budget bushcraft knife, and now you say I need two?” Not necessarily.

In this guide, we will discuss what to look for in a good budget bushcraft knife and ways that you can maximize your budget.

Budget Bushcraft Knives on a stump with a feather stick
It is always good to have a backup

Bushcraft Knife Uses

Before we look at the criteria for selecting a knife, it is important to understand what a bushcraft knife is mainly used for.

  • Processing Game for Food
  • Creating Fire Materials (Tinder, Kindling, and Fuel)
  • Starting a Fire
  • Creating Shelter (Cutting Saplings, Limbs, Small Trees)
  • Cutting Notches for tools and traps

Note that chopping is not on this list. There is no reason to chop wood with a knife! Use the proper tool (like a camp axe or folding saw), or in an emergency, a baton should be used to cut or split wood.

In order to accomplish all of these tasks, there are specific qualities and criteria that we need to look for.

Custom Bushcraft Knife Diagram of the different pieces and their names
The parts of a bushcraft knife

The Best Bushcraft Knife Criteria

The first thing to keep in mind when looking for the best budget bushcraft knife is the simpler, the better. Really, that is my motto for any type of gear. You don’t need fancy contraptions that are just going to fail.

Some of these tasks could be (and should be under normal conditions) replaced by other tools in your kit (like a folding saw). But, if you lose your pack unexpectedly, your main belt knife should be able to accomplish all of these things in an emergency.

The best knife is a standard-looking knife without a bunch of extras. Serrations, curvy handles, and exotic materials are not needed here. If you see a big Rambo-style knife touted as the perfect survival knife, stay away.

Here are the criteria to look for, and we will detail the specifics of each one.

  • Fixed Blade with Belt Sheath
  • Blade Length of 4 to 6 Inches
  • Full Tang Blade
  • Sharp on One Side (not a Dagger)
  • Drop Point or Spear Point
  • High Carbon Steel Blade with No Coating
  • Sharp 90-degree Blade Spine with No Chamfer
  • Blade Thickness 1/8” – 3/16”

Knife Type

A fixed-blade knife is a must-have. Folding knives certainly have their place and make great backup knives. Considering the tasks we need to accomplish above, they are just not long enough or durable enough.

The hinge is the weak point in any folding knife. Pressure from side loads or using a baton to split wood will almost always separate the blade from the handle. Once the handle is broken, it is not possible to repair it.

Best Budget Bushcraft Knives Sheaths. Leather Sheath and Polymer Sheath
A sheath is essential.

I always keep a Swiss Army knife or Survival Multitool in my pocket for small tasks like cutting a cord or fine carving. However, the majority of tasks around camp are always done with a fixed-blade belt knife.

A good leather or Kydex belt sheath is a must-have for easy access and to protect you and the blade. If an emergency or accident occurs and you are separated from your pack, you want your main knife to stay with you. Never forget this.

Blade Length

The optimal length for a bushcraft knife is between four to six inches. If you find that you need to process firewood, a smaller knife will not be very useful. For carving or other detail work, a knife larger than 6 inches is just too big and awkward and is hard to control.

For splitting wood with the baton method, the maximum diameter of wood you can split should always be one inch less than the length of your knife. This will allow you to strike the top of the blade with the baton if it becomes stuck in the wood. Wedges are also a big help here.

Blade Type

A bushcraft knife should be full tang.

Best Budget Bushcraft Knives Tang Diagram
Knife Tang Types

A full tang knife has a blade and handle that is made from one piece of steel. The blade flattens out and extends to make the center of the handle. The handle has material that is either riveted or screwed to the metal handle.

Full tang knives are the strongest and most robust knife you can buy since it is made from one piece of metal. If you break the handle, you can simply wrap paracord or duct tape around the steel part of the handle and keep using it.

Knives that are not full tang will have a small piece of the blade material extend into the handle. These are called, Partial, Narrow, Stick, or Rat-tail Tangs. These knives will usually have a composite or rubber handle that is over-molded on the piece of metal that extends from the blade. The handle of these knives can easily come off under pressure (like if you have one stuck in a piece of wood).

Once the handle comes off of a partial tang knife, it is useless.

Blade Thickness

The Blade thickness of a bushcraft knife should be between 1/8” and 3/16”. This is a good range between too thick and too thin.

Thinner knives are generally better for processing game and delicate work, like cleaning a small fish. However, with more demanding tasks like processing wood, thinner blades are weaker.

Thicker blades will hold up better if you need to pry something open or baton wood. However, a very thick blade will be difficult to use for game animals or any detail work.

Blade Material

The material of the blade should be some type of high-carbon steel. The type of steel is designated by a number. For plain carbon steel (which is what we want), we want a carbon content that is greater than 0.6%. This corresponds to steel that is in the series of 1063 up to 1099.

We want high-carbon steel so that we can start a fire with our knife and a hard rock if needed. When you strike the spine of the blade with a rock, it will chip off a small piece of steel that is very hot. If you have char cloth or other flammable material in your fire starting kit, it is an easy way to start a fire if you have nothing else.

O1 Tool Steel is also a good choice. It has 0.9% carbon as well as other elements to make it more durable and easier to sharpen. However, it is more expensive since it requires more processing steps.

The main disadvantage of the 10xx steels is that they are susceptible to rust and oxidation. To prevent rust and pitting, the blade should be oiled when not in use. After using your knife, be sure to wipe it down. Cleaning game, excess moisture, and sweat can all accelerate the corrosion process.

I like to use food-grade oil for my knives so that I can also use them to cut food at camp. Check out our accessories below for the oil that I prefer.

Stainless steels are a popular knife material since they are corrosion-resistant. However, stainless steel is harder to sharpen, does not hold an edge as well, and will not spark when struck with a hard rock. For these reasons, it is best to stay away from stainless steel for your main belt knife.

Coated blades are also popular since they prevent corrosion. A solid black blade looks cool but will not throw a spark unless the coating is removed. It is best to stay away from coated knives unless it is your backup or pocketknife.

So, for a budget bushcraft knife, look for non-coated, high-carbon steel somewhere around 1060-1095.

Blade Shape

Knives are made in various shapes and styles. With so many choices, which is better?

For your bushcraft knife, the best shape is the simplest shape. There should be no serrations on the spine, no fancy curves or points. Just a simple knife is best.

Budget Bushcraft Knife Blade Type Diagram
Knife Blade Types

In my experience, I find that a Drop point or Spear point blade is the best. If you are going to be hunting a processing a lot of game, a modified trailing point shape is best. This is the classic butcher knife shape. These are well known as the standard butcher knife and have a bump at the tip of the knife that helps create space between the skin and meat of an animal. Spear point knives are a good compromise all-around knife that can do almost anything.

The spine of the blade, the side of the knife opposite the blade, should have a sharp square shape to it. A 90-degree spine will allow you to use it as a striker for a ferro rod. A rounded or serrated spine will not work as a striker and should be avoided.

Some ferro rods come with little strikers that are more of a gimmick than something useful. You can get a more consistent and much larger spark from a good knife. Never use the blade of your knife to strike a ferro rod. You can damage the blade and the rod.

A 90-degree spine can also be used to descale a fish or to scrape fire tinder from tree bark. It also gives a flat surface to strike with a baton. A serrated shape will damage a wooden baton quickly.

Blade Grind

The blade grind is the shape of the cutting edge of the knife.

Budget Bushcraft Knife Blade Grind Diagram
Knife Blade Grind Types

A flat or Scandi grind is the simplest of these and is the easiest to sharpen. In this case, the blade’s edge is just a flat “V” shape. This grind is good for processing game and general carving and cutting tasks.

A convex grind is more durable than a Scandi grind and is better for heavy tasks like wood processing and batoning. However, sharpening a convex edge is more difficult since it is a complex curve instead of just a flat surface.

Some knives have multiple bevels on them, which combines a small scandi grind at the base of a larger flat or convex grind. These are a good combination of the two grinds. Be sure to pay attention when you are sharpening them to get the edge angle correct.

For your budget bushcraft knife, it is best to stay with a simple Scandi grind.

Handle

Just like most of the other criteria we discussed, the handle of your budget bushcraft knife should be simple. Fancy hand guards, curvy handles, and other things added to the handle are not needed.

The handle should be made from wood or a composite. While I am a fan of wood, it can swell and deteriorate if it is constantly exposed to moisture. I like the feel of a wood handle over a harder material, and it is what I recommend. If you know you will be exposing your knife to water constantly, a Micarta or rubber/polymer handle is best.

A straight handle with no finger cuts or bumps is best. You need to be able to hold your knife in all directions, and any bumps in the handle can dig into your palm or fingers. While these knives may look cool, in my experience, they are not practical.

A lanyard hole in the handle can be a nice feature but is really just a personal preference.


How Many Bushcraft Knives Should I Carry?

Most of the criteria we have listed are based on if you are only counting on one single knife. In almost all cases, it makes sense to have multiple knives for different tasks.

In general, a thinner knife is best for cleaning fish or skinning animals. If you plan to fish, a fillet knife is much easier to use to clean a fish. A larger butcher knife is best for processing large game animals.

It is also a good idea to keep a backup fixed-blade knife in your pack. It takes up little room and weighs very little. A thinner knife like the Mora Companion is a great choice.

A pocketknife should be in your pocket every day and should be an automatic part of your EDC. A Multitool or a SAK (Swiss Army Knife) is also a good addition.

If you like to carve and make tools, a second carving knife makes a lot of sense.

So, yes, you should carry multiple knives. It all depends on what you plan to do at camp, your preferences, and your bushcraft skills.

At a minimum, in addition to your belt knife, you should have a pocket knife in your pocket and a backup fixed-blade knife in your pack.


What Makes a Good Budget Bushcraft Knife?

When you purchase a budget bushcraft knife, look for a full tang fixed blade knife with a sheath that has about a 5” blade. It should be simple in shape with a high carbon uncoated steel blade. The spine should be square and have sharp 90-degree edges.

Consider the weather conditions you will be camping in and how much maintenance you would like to put into your knife. Wood handles can’t be exposed to water for long periods, or they will swell. Stainless steel blades are corrosion-resistant but harder to sharpen and will not throw a spark from a flint.

Do you plan to hunt big game or fish at camp? This will be a different knife than one for carving tools.

Taking your preferences, needs, and camp conditions into account will allow you to pick the best knife (or knives) for you. Starting with a good all-around knife like our top pick and then adding to your tool kit as your skills progress is what I recommend.


Bushcraft Knife Vs. Survival Knife

A bushcraft knife can be a good survival knife, but there are some differences. For bushcraft, you are planning your trip for specific tasks and purposes. For survival, it may include tasks that are not in the woods, like prying open doors or working on vehicles.

To prepare for a general survival situation like selecting a knife for a bug out bag, I would recommend something different. The blade should be thicker, and a convex grind for durability. It should also be a little longer, around 6”.

If you are not experienced in bushcraft, it makes no sense to carry a bushcraft knife, especially in an urban survival situation. If it is the only knife you have, it is better than nothing, but to consider them the same thing is inaccurate.

If you plan to bug out in the woods during an emergency, certainly consider one of the knives on our list for your bug out bag. Building a good fire kit along with a survival shelter is essential, and a good bushcraft knife is a big part of that kit.


Bushcraft Knife Accessories

Below are our favorite accessories for our bushcraft knives.

Knife oil is a must, as the blades on our list must be oiled when storing them, or they will rust. Olive oil will do the job, also. Make sure you use food-grade oil so that you will not contaminate the food that you prepare at camp.

The field sharpeners are great to throw in your pack, especially on a longer trip. If you are concerned about weight, go with the Lansky.

The Whetstone set is the best one I could find for a decent price. This set still costs as much or more as some of the knives on our list. A nice set costs two to four times more. If you take care of your blade and touch it up with one of the field sharpeners after each use, it will last a long time.

BEST KNIFE OIL
Premium Knife Blade Oil

Premium Knife Blade Oil

Food Grade

Made in the USA

8 Ounces

BEST FIELD SHARPENER
Work Sharp Field Sharpener

Work Sharp Field Sharpener

2 Diamond Plates

2 Ceramic Rods

Leather Strop

BEST COMPACT SHARPENER
Lansky LCD02 Field Sharpener

Lansky LCD02 Field Sharpener

Retractable

Diamond Rod

Compact

BEST BUDGET WHETSTONES
Amazon Basics Whetstone Set

Amazon Basics Whetstone Set

400/1000/3000/8000 Grit Whetstones

Flattening Stone

Non-Slip Base


How to Sharpen a Bushcraft Knife

Here is a great video of Ray Mears demonstrating how to sharpen your bushcraft knife.


Which Budget Bushcraft Knife is Best for You?

Our top pick, The Condor Bushlore Camp Knife, is the best budget bushcraft knife. The blade design is great for all-around use at camp. If you lose your pack, this knife will serve you well in a survival situation.

We also have some great backup knives on the list that are less than $25. Since they are so cheap, you really can’t afford to not have a good backup in your pack.

Now that you have your knives, make sure to check out our other essential bushcraft tools, like Bushcraft Axes and Bushcraft Saws. Also, check out our Bushcraft guides and gear reviews for more ways you can prepare for your next bushcraft camping trip.

As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.
Photo of author
Jason has an engineering and problem solving background. He is an avid outdoorsman, survivalist, and competitive shooter. He enjoys researching the best and most practical solutions for the problem at hand, studying stoicism, and finding innovative ways to be prepared.