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The 10 Best Bushcraft Blades of 2020

Don’t go into the woods without one.

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The backcountry is seldom a forgiving place — weather changes in an instant, the terrain offers challenges unheard of in our modern lives. That’s why outdoor enthusiasts know the value of effective gear. A dry sleeping bag on a cold, wet night can mean the difference between waking up refreshed in the morning and… hypothermia.

A good knife can be just as important. Whether you’re cleaning game in the field or cutting wood to build an impromptu shelter, a reliable knife can be the deciding factor that makes your job easier or keeps you alive. When you’re miles from the nearest road, the last thing you want to think about is if your knife is capable of performing its job. When it comes to your blade, you need to trust it’ll get the job done.

Ka-Bar Becker BK2 Companion

Editor’s Choice

This is the big boy of the group, weighing in at a full pound. The BK2 Companion 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

BUY NOW: $78

Morakniv Companion

Best Budget Bushcraft Blade

Don’t let the simple construction of the Morakniv Companion fool you — this is one capable blade that can prep meat for dinner or cut tinder for the campfire. It’s made of Swedish stainless steel for a sharp, durable tool that’ll resist rust in whatever outdoor environment you find yourself in. A TPE rubber handle is soft yet creates a lot of friction for a solid grip. It comes with a polymer sheath featuring a clip that can attach to a pack or belt. Best of all, it’s less than $20.

Blade Length: 4.1 inches
Blade Material: 12C27 stainless steel
Blade Type: drop point, plain edge
Handle Material: rubber
Weight: 4.1 ounces

BUY NOW: $16

Cold Steel SRK SK-5

Best Beginner Blade

Cold Steel offers some of the best knives inspired by tactical uses. The SRK series is often used by Navy SEALS and tactical law enforcement personnel — but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a great first-time knife that anyone can rely on. Its carbon steel construction is tough and reliable, sacrificing neither quality or usability. The handle is robust, sturdy and easy to work with for beginners learning to handle a knife. Plus, at five ounces, it hardly weighs anything, so you can carry it all day and forget it’s there.

Blade Length: 5 inches
Blade Material: carbon steel with black Tuff-Ex finish
Blade Type: plain edge, clip point
Handle Material: Kray-Ex
Weight: 5.1 ounces

BUY NOW: $33

Ontario Knife Company Journeyman

Best Military-Inspired Blade

Reminiscent of a World War II-era pilot’s survival knife, this blade doesn’t just look the part — it does the job. The handle is leather-wrapped to offer superior grip even when your hands are grimy or wet. The blade is shorter and lighter than Ontario Knife Company’s pilot-specific Air Force Survival Knife, making it an easy blade to carry through the bush. It boasts a sheepsfoot blade with a serrated spine that’ll saw through whatever job you throw at it.

Blade Length: 4 inches
Blade Material: 55-57HRC high carbon steel
Blade Type: sheepsfoot, serrated, plain
Handle Material: leather
Weight: 8.9 ounces

BUY NOW: $34

CRKT Parascale

Best Folding Bushcraft Knife

Sometimes, the best blade is a folding one. Expert knife designer TJ Schwarz built a paracord-wrapped folding knife that enhances grip and functions like most folders you’ve come to know. Thanks to the CRKT’s Deadbolt locking mechanism, which employs steel bolts to lock the blade in place and one-button disengagement, the open blade is sturdy enough to take on rigorous bushcrafting tasks. With roughly four feet of paracord attached, it’s a unique tool you can rely on miles from your vehicle.

Blade Length: 3.19 inches
Blade Material: D2 steel
Blade Type: plain edge, drop point
Handle Material: glass-reinforced nylon
Weight: 5 ounces

BUY NOW: $130

Jeo-Tec No 18

Best Wooden Handle

Jeo-Tec produces knives for anglers, hunters and outdoor enthusiasts who need a sharp edge that’ll get the job done. Designers have taken great care to ensure their blades function under rough outdoor conditions, and the No 18 can handle them all. The blade is constructed of razor-sharp Sandvik steel for excellent performance and superior corrosion resistance. But this knife isn’t all about work — with an option for a handle wrapped in Cocobolo wood from Central America, it’s pretty enough for a display case too.

Blade Length: 4.5 inches
Blade Material: Sandvik 12c27 stainless steel
Blade Type: plain edge, drop point
Handle Material: micarta, cocobolo wood
Weight: 14.1 ounces

BUY NOW: $116

Fallkniven A1

Best Craftsmanship Blade

Some of the finest knives in the world come from Sweden, and the A1 is no exception. It surpasses international standards for security capabilities and strength, making it a beast in the backcountry. The full tang, laminated VG-10 steel blade can chop, cut and shave with the best of them. An option for a black coating made from CeraKote, a Teflon and ceramics paint used on military equipment, prevents reflection and corrosion.

Blade Length: 6.3 inches
Blade Material: VG-10 steel
Blade Type: drop point, plain edge
Handle Material: Kraton
Weight: 11.3 ounces

BUY NOW: $190

ESEE-5

Best Tactical Blade

Military SERE instructors designed the ESEE-5 as a downed pilot’s survival knife, so this tool is born to tackle gnarly situations. The ergonomic grip is made of micarta so that it’s durable and feels good in the hand for stabbing, cutting and slashing. The carbon steel blade is coated to prevent rusting, a must when you’re spending weeks  exposed to the elements. In other words, you can rest easy knowing you can rely on this blade when you need it most.

Blade Length: 5.25 inches
Blade Material: 1095 carbon steel
Blade Type: drop point, serrated, plain edge
Handle Material: canvas Micarta
Weight: 16 ounces

BUY NOW: $151

Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate

Best Survival Blade

Gerber partnered with Bear Grylls, one of the most well-known and capable survival experts in the world, to create a knife designed to keep you alive when things go awry in the backcountry. It’s got a full tang, high carbon stainless steel blade for longevity, a half-serrated edge for sawing and a durable rubber handle for a solid grip. Tacked on are several sweet bonus features. A whistle and a fire starter provision are attached to the handle, near a metal cap at the butt end, which allows the knife to be hammered. Plus, the sheath features a diamond stone so you can sharpen your knife if it gets dull after repeated use.

Blade Length: 4.8 inches
Blade Material: high carbon stainless steel
Blade Type: serrated, drop point, plain edge
Handle Material: rubber
Weight: 11.2 ounces

BUY NOW: $47

Buck Knives 119 Special

Best Large Blade

The 119 Special is one behemoth of a knife that is as solid as it looks. It’s constructed of 420HC steel for a long-lasting edge and, at 10.5 inches in total length, can tackle just about any task you come across. But the knife won’t weigh you down — at only 7.5 ounces, it’s an easy carrier, even on your belt. And if the fact that Buck Knives has been constructing quality blades in the United States for more than 100 years doesn’t earn your trust, this bushcraft knife’s lifetime warranty will.

Blade Length: 6 inches
Blade Material: 420HC high carbon steel
Blade Type: trailing point, plain edge
Handle Material: Phenolic
Weight: 7.5 ounces

BUY NOW: $55+

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

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