Going into the woods and bushcraft is getting popular among people, especially among city folk. Having the right kind of bushcraft knife is an essential tool for outdoor adventure activities. Bushcraft knives come in several shapes and sizes. Every outdoor enthusiast can have various requirements for what they’ll do in the backwoods.
Why do you need a Bushcraft knife?
Some adventurers may need a small knife for kindling or chopping saplings, while others may look for a heavier knife to take down bushes, slitting woods, or maintain work trail clearing. A good quality knife will last a lifetime.
A bushcraft knife should be the jack-of-all-trades. It needs to help prepare firewood, build shelter, cut through the foliage, build traps, and even use it as a weapon in case of emergencies. A bushcraft knife does all of these things and much more. So, how is it different from your survival knife or pocket knife?
Bushcraft knife vs. Pocket knife and Survival knife
You will get ample types of different makes and models of bushcraft knives available to choose from. Let’s see what sets each of them apart:
They usually come with fixed blades and are quite significant to fit inside your pocket. Similar to pocket knives, they are reliable and can be used for several everyday chores. Survival Knives are quite multitasking, as they can be used for cutting, chopping, slicing and are tough enough to even crack bones.
They are generally smaller and compact relative to survival knives and bushcraft knives. It usually has a folding mechanism which makes it easier to carry anywhere and whip it out for everyday tasks.
Commonly used for cutting wood, bushcraft knives can make sharp edges to make stakes, feather, and notch wood. They have relatively shorter edges, which gives them better mobility than survival knives. It can be used to build small traps, skin animals, and wood-cutting jobs.
How to choose the best bushcraft knife?
Blade Size: This is the crucial factor while choosing a good bushcraft knife. Pick the longer one; as longer the blade, the better the performance in heavy-duty tasks. But at the cost of manoeuvrability.
Smaller blades are ideal for finer jobs, but they may break in tough situations. Best to choose a blade size between 3 to 6 inches. It will be flexible enough to perform heavy-duty tasks like wood-cutting and small enough to perform refined tasks.
Sharpness: The sharpness of the blade states how it can perform in certain situations. A fine-edge blade is good for skinning the animals and slicing the meat.
A heavy and large-edged bushcraft knife can last longer and handle tough situations, but it will not have the sharpness you expect from a thin blade.
Grind: Blade grind refers to the design of the knife blade on the cutting-edge. Grind depicts how you need to use a particular bushcraft knife.
For skinning and dressing, hollow grinds are best, whereas chisel grinds are best for heavy-duty wood cutting involving batoning, chopping, drilling, and cutting lumber.
High-Carbon: Blades made out of High-carbon steel retain the shine for years but are not rust-resistant. The material is softer and is easier to grind. Oiling the blade regularly can protect from extreme weather conditions from corrosion.
Stainless Steel: Blades crafted from stainless steel need to be sharpened regularly, but they are corrosion and rust-resistant. The material needs relatively less maintenance than high-carbon steel but won’t have sharpness like it.
To get the best bushcraft knife, think, “where am I going to use it, and for what”? A well-maintained knife with high quality can last a lifetime. Consider the factors such as blade size, edge, grind, and material. Whether you are making a shelter in the woods or protecting yourself in the wild and lighting fire, a bushcraft knife is a perfect tool for a backpacker kit.