Bushcraft is about knowing how to live in the wilderness long-term, which usually requires at least one knife. A bushcraft knife should be suitable for hunting, shelter building, splitting wood, and camping all at once, and it also has to last for a long time.
The KaBar Becker BK16 is the best bushcraft knife for under $100. It’s versatile, incredibly tough, and of great value. However, there are plenty of other bushcraft knives out there that might be better for you depending on what you want to do with your knife.
So, let’s look at our favorite bushcraft knives, all of which cost under $100. First, we’ll tell you why we think they are the best and list all the cons so you can find the right knife for you. Then, we’ll discuss the qualities you need to look for in a bushcraft knife depending on your hand size, needs, and several other factors.
- The 7 Best Bushcraft Knives Under $100
- 1. Best Overall: Ka-Bar BK16 Becker Short Drop Pt
- 2. Best Budget: Morakniv Companion Knife
- 3. Best Precision Blade: Condor Tool & Knife Bushlore
- 4. Best Value Bushcraft Knife: Schrade SCHF36 Frontier
- 5. Best Bushcraft Knife for Survival: Morakniv Bushcraft Survival Knife
- 6. Best Short Blade: Ontario Knife Company 8665 RAT-3 Plain Edge
- 7. Best Finger Grip: BPS Knives HK5
- Best Bushcraft Knives Over $100
- What to Look for in the Best Bushcraft Knife
- The Verdict: What's the Best Bushcraft Knife?
The 7 Best Bushcraft Knives Under $100
Before we jump into the details, here are the blades we selected as the best bushcraft knives under $100:
1. Best Overall: Ka-Bar BK16 Becker Short Drop Pt
This is a heavy-duty knife with a full-tang handle specifically for camping and survival purposes. In my opinion, it’s the perfect knife for most bushcrafters and survivalists.
Built in New York, this bushcraft knife has a nylon sheath that likely won’t last very long. So, you may want to search for another sheath on the aftermarket.
The 1095 cro-van steel blade has a drop point shape with a twenty-degree blade angle, which helps make it versatile and applicable for various purposes. For example, this blade can be used to split wood into smaller pieces for kindling, cleaning game, etc.
The blade is 4 3/8 inches long, with an overall length of 9 1/4 inches.
You may need to sharpen the blade out of the box to offer you the best performance, but as a whole, the KA-BAR Becker BK16 is one of the best and most practical bushcraft knives for the money on the market today.
To learn more about this blade, check out this video from Ethan Becker, the designer of the BK16:
See also: Best KaBar Becker Knives
- Durable 1095 cro-van steel blade
- Drop point blade angle can be used for a variety of purposes
- Designed specifically for camping and survival use
- Very practical size
- Full-tang construction
- The nylon sheath isn’t great
- The blade needs to be sharpened out of the box
2. Best Budget: Morakniv Companion Knife
The Morakniv Companion is a very versatile fixed-blade knife. It has a 12C27 stainless steel 4.1″ blade that will be good for food preparation, cutting kindling, carving, cleaning game, and so on. This dependable knife is one of the most beloved bushcraft blades due to its unbelievably balanced, sturdy design.
This blade is also razor-sharp, very durable, and not prone to rusting. In addition, the grip has a high friction finish and remains firm in your hand even in wet and slippery conditions.
This knife comes with a plastic sheath that matches the color of the grip. Additionally, you can get it in 12 colors, which is always a welcome feature, in our opinion!
One thing to note with this knife is that the blade is a bit thicker than other bushcraft knives at 0.1 inches. So, it won’t be the best blade for precision work.
- Razor-sharp blade
- Corrosion-resistant blade
- High friction
- Very affordable
- Scandi flat grind
- Not the best slicer or precision knife due to a thicker blade
3. Best Precision Blade: Condor Tool & Knife Bushlore
This small, yet stunning blade is one of the best bushcraft knives under $100 if you are interested in making precise cuts.
The blade itself is built out of 1075 high carbon steel with a blasted satin finish to ensure proper corrosion resistance. The fantastic sheath that ships with this knife is also made out of high-quality 100% imported leather, so you will not need to buy a sheath separately.
Note that since this blade consists of 1075 high carbon steel, it is a little bit softer than other bushcraft blades. On the one hand, that means that this knife will be easy to sharpen, but on the other hand, it may require you to sharpen it more often than different kinds of blades.
Overall though, this knife has very high-quality artistry put into it, and for the money, the Condor Bushlore Camp Knife will be hard to beat.
- High carbon steel blade has a blasted satin finish for superior corrosion resistance
- Easy to sharpen
- Overall high quality workmanship
- Full-tang handle
- Double bevel grind
- The blade is softer and, therefore may need to be sharpened more often
4. Best Value Bushcraft Knife: Schrade SCHF36 Frontier
Schrade ships this bushcraft knife with a ferro rod, lanyard hole, and sharpening stone, making it a genuinely all-in-one survival package for under $100. The grippy handle is a thermoplastic elastomer that offers an excellent grip even in slippery conditions.
The one negative to this knife is that it has a flimsy blade coating that will chip off with extended use. However, the blade will retain an edge, and the stainless steel will still offer suitable corrosion resistance.
- Drop point stainless steel blade
- Explicitly designed for bushcraft use
- Thermoplastic elastomer handle offers you an excellent grip
- Great edge retention
- The black coating is not the highest quality
5. Best Bushcraft Knife for Survival: Morakniv Bushcraft Survival Knife
Morakniv is a popular brand, but they didn’t have a dedicated bushcraft knife in their catalogs for a long time. After plenty of push from their customers, they came out with the Bushcraft Survival knife, a full-tang stainless steel blade built to cut through anything easily.
With a blade length of 4.3 inches, this knife is nice and lightweight but has enough surface area to clean game, cut through wood, prepare food, and almost any other task you’ll need it for.
Since it has a stainless steel blade, you can expect this knife to hold its edge very well. However, the metal’s hardness may make it difficult to sharpen it when the time comes.
This knife, with its hi-visibility orange color, also comes with a fantastic sheath with a fire starter and knife sharpener on it.
To see this knife in action, check out Morakniv’s video about this handy blade:
- 4.3-inch stainless steel blade
- Reliable and holds an edge very well
- Has an ergonomic handle with a great grip
- The sheath includes a fire starter and ultra-convenient knife sharpener
- Hi-visibility orange color so you never lose it
- Can be tricky to sharpen due to the hard steel
- Some people complain that it’s not super sharp out-of-the-box
- Not a full-tang knife
6. Best Short Blade: Ontario Knife Company 8665 RAT-3 Plain Edge
If you are looking for the best traditional bushcraft knife, this is the pick for you! This little beauty has a 1095 black carbon steel blade that offers the perfect balance between hardness and rust resistance.
This resilient knife also has a durable micarta handle. While it may not look as glorious as a bone or wood handle, micarta is one of the best handle materials since it is grippy, rugged, and practically unbreakable.
The RAT-3 has one feature that sets it apart from the other knives on this list: a short, 3.9-inch, full-tang blade. While it may be too short for some people, this blade is perfect for those of us who have slightly smaller-than-average hands.
Still, even if you have larger hands, this little knife offers excellent control over the edge, perfect for precision cuts and cleaning game.
The handle also has a hole at the end for a lanyard, which we always look for in a bushcraft knife. That way, you can keep some cordage on hand all the time while also having more ways to secure your knife.
- Durable, rust-resistant 1095 black carbon steel blade
- Small 3.9-inch blade for great control
- Almost all reviewers rave about how long this blade holds an edge
- Micarta handle
- Small size can be limiting
7. Best Finger Grip: BPS Knives HK5
If you are looking for a classic, beautiful bushcraft knife under $100 with a comfy grip, this might be the best one for you.
Made from 1066 high carbon steel, the BPS Knives HK5 has a 5.1-inch blade, perfect for people with larger hands or big jobs! The blade is 2.7 mm wide, so, despite its high-carbon makeup, it is sturdy and holds an edge well.
Though it has a length of 9.9 inches, this baby only weighs eight ounces, so it won’t weigh you down.
Still, the handle is what really makes this knife shine. It has a finger-gripped, stunning walnut handle. Walnut is an excellent material for knife handles since it is naturally rot-resistant and has high tensile strength.
- The blade thickness makes for a very durable, rugged knife
- The blade is a happy medium between drop point and spear point
- Comes with a fantastic leather sheath
- Comes very sharp out of the box
- The carved walnut handle makes for a secure grip and a stunning look
- Razor-sharp Scandinavian grind
- The handle and sheath may be rough at first and need some oiling
Best Bushcraft Knives Over $100
Though not everyone needs to splurge on an ultra-long-lasting bushcraft knife, if you find yourself out in the wilderness a lot or feel limited by your current knife, a higher-price-point option may be in order.
Here are our favorite bushcraft knives that cost more than $100 (but are worth the investment):
1. Best Overall: Ka-Bar Becker Knife BK2 Campanion
This is a heavy-duty knife with a full tang that excels for all sorts of outdoor tasks.
It is very similar to the KA-BAR BK16 Becker Short Drop Point Knife, but this model is just a tad longer. The blade itself is 5 1/2 inches long with an overall length of 10 1/2 inches.
Like the BK16, this knife has a 1095 cro-van steel blade with a drop point shape. However, this one drops at a twenty-degree blade angle, which helps make it versatile and applicable for a variety of purposes, including cleaning game and splitting wood.
Still, this blade has a lousy nylon sheath that you’ll likely want to replace.
- 1095 cro-van steel blade
- Twenty-degree drop point blade angle can be used for a variety of purposes
- Designed specifically for bushcrafting
- Very practical size
- Full tang
- Sheath is flimsy
- You may want to sharpen it once you get it
2. Best Spear Point: L.T. Wright Bushcrafter A2 Scandi Fixed Blade Knife w/Leather Sheath
L.T. Wright knives come at a slightly higher-than-average price, but ultimately, they are heritage tools that remain versatile for the foreseeable future.
The L.T. Wright Bushcrafter is no exception, and with its careful design, it would be tricky to find a more practical knife for outdoor tasks. With its 4 1/8 inch A2 tool steel blade, this rust-resistant, reliable knife can cut through clay soil, bone, tree trunks, and basically anything else you thwack it against.
This knife also comes with a fantastic leather sheath with a belt loop for easy carrying. There’s also a small loop for a rod on it – so convenient!
Ultimately, if it weren’t for the price of this knife, it would take the top of the list. However, since not everyone needs to splurge on a really, really serious bushcrafting knife like this one, it’s not for everyone.
- Super durable A2 tool steel blade
- Comes with an excellent sheath
- Spear tip for puncturing, with a nice, smooth angle for cutting
- Green micarta handle for the ultimate rot resistance and great grip
- Incredible edge retention
- Difficult to sharpen
3. Premium Pick: Benchmade Bushcrafter 162 Bushcraft Knife
The Benchmade Bushcrafter 162 is an American-made knife with a drop-point blade designed specifically for outdoor survival. Shipping with a Kydex sheath that has a belt loop, this knife also comes equipped with a durable G10 handle that offers excellent non-slip qualities even in slippery conditions.
The CPM-S30V steel offers superior corrosion resistance and high-quality edge retention, while the drop point construction of the blade is suitable for both precision use and heavy-duty applications where strength is paramount.
The only real downside to this kind of steel is that it can be difficult to sharpen, although fortunately, it will retain its edge for an extended period of time in comparison to lower quality steels.
This is an expensive knife and requires you to put down a large amount of money in comparison to other bushcraft knives, but it will be well worth it if you desire to own a bushcraft knife that will give you a lifetime of service out in the wilderness.
- Robust Design
- Non-Slip G10 Handle
- Full tang
- Quality sheath with belt loop
- Expensive and not for those on a budget
- Blade can take a long time to get sharp
What to Look for in the Best Bushcraft Knife
Bushcraft is about more than just building a fire and shelter. I can tell you from experience, it’s a way of life where you go out and learn to live in harmony with the wilderness with limited resources at your disposal.
I can also tell you from experience that bushcraft tasks are much easier with a high-quality and versatile knife by your side. Ultimately, when you are out in the wild, you’ll be dealing with life-and-death situations where you’ll need good tools.
However, not all knives are created equally, and not all are suitable for bushcrafting. For example, a hunting knife likely won’t be able to split wood or withstand hammering as well as a bushcraft knife. Everyday knives or foldable pocket blades just can’t often offer the reliability and strength you need.
So, what do you need to look for in a bushcraft knife, and why are these the best bushcraft knives under $100? Let’s find out:
Full Tang All the Way
First and foremost, you need to ensure that your knife has a full tang, meaning that the steel runs through the entire knife and doesn’t stop at the grip.
A full tang is so important because it will be far more durable than a non-full tang blade. For any situation where you need to apply leverage, if the force applied to your blade is not distributed down the entire knife, the blade will break.
This means that virtually any kind of knife that has a hollowed-out handle to store survival items, such as the one commonly featured in the Rambo movies, is not suitable for bushcraft use because it simply won’t last as long.
Additionally, a folding knife just won’t cut it for bushcrafting.
All the knives on this list include a full-tang design except for the Morakniv Bushcraft Stainless Steel 4.3-Inch Fixed-Blade Survival Knife. Still, it made the grade because it’s such a well-known and well-loved knife that withstands some serious abuse despite its grip design.
Bigger Is Not Necessarily Better
The next thing you need to look for is blade length. Believe it or not, bigger does not exactly mean better.
In fact, a knife with a massive blade, like you’ve seen in Rambo or Crocodile Dundee, may look cool, but it’s a poor choice for bushcraft use because it will not be useful for finer tasks, such as cleaning small game.
A blade that’s too small will not be useful for more heavy-duty purposes, such as splitting firewood. A golden rule of thumb is for your blade to have a length of between three to six inches; if the blade is any shorter or longer, it won’t be versatile enough.
Another way to gauge how long the blade should be is by your palm size. The blade should cover your palm from your thumb to your pinky finger without hanging over by more than an inch.
Additionally, a heavier knife is usually not the best for bushcrafting. You want to be able to carry your blade wherever you go, ideally in a nice, convenient sheath.
Spear Point or Drop Point
The best bushcraft knife will have a durable blade with either a drop or spear point. These blades will be excellent for everything from gutting and skinning game to carving wood, splitting firewood, digging into the earth, making push cuts, and so on.
The best bushcraft knife blade will be long, flat, and centered to the width of the handle. The top should not be exceedingly narrow, nor should it be blunt. Such a blade will be suitable for both intricate and heavy-duty work.
Not All Steel is Good
You may think that, as long as the manufacturer of your bushcraft knife claims the blade is made out of either stainless steel or carbon steel, it must be good to go, right? Nope.
Countless blade steel options are available today, but not all are suitable. Stainless steel knives, for instance, are rust and corrosion-resistant but also softer due to having high chromium levels.
Carbon blades are essentially the direct opposite: they are incredibly prone to rust and pitting when exposed to moisture, but they also have greater durability and longevity.
I’ve found that the following blade types offer the best combination of durability and corrosion resistance:
- CPM Stainless
- 440c Stainless
- VG10 Stainless
- 1095 Carbon Alloy
- 1085 Carbon Alloy
- A2 Carbon Alloy
- D2 Carbon Alloy
- 5190 Carbon Alloy
Get a Grip
Finally, the type of grip on your knife isn’t just a personal preference. A poor grip can result in a disaster in wet or slippery conditions and can result in serious injury to your hand or fingers if the blade slips from your fingers.
Still, if you don’t like holding onto your knife, you won’t enjoy using it (and you probably won’t use it) for your outdoor tasks.
Easily the most classic option for a bushcraft knife handle is wood. Wood has been used in knives for thousands of years and offers surprisingly decent traction. The only real downside to wood is that it is vulnerable to moisture.
Aside from wood, I also really like G10, rubberized grips, or Micarta. None of these will crack or rot under extreme conditions, and they also offer additional grip in slippery situations.
I would avoid using any knife that uses bone or antler in its grip. Sure, it looks cool, but it’s also going to crack very easily under duress and will also be excessively slippery.
The Verdict: What’s the Best Bushcraft Knife?
Overall, if you’re looking for the highest quality possible bushcraft knife at the best affordable price, we recommend the KA-BAR Becker BK16 knife.
The best bushcraft knife is neither too big nor too small, practical in its applications, and can withstand the elements and duress. Of course, any of the knives we covered will do that, but the KA-BAR Becker BK16 is my choice out of the other best bushcraft knives under $100.
This reliable knife won’t break your bank as it’s just at the price point of $100 dollars, comes from a reputable company, and is designed to last you a lifetime. In addition, it comes with a durable and corrosion-resistant drop point blade for extra versatility and a comfortable grip that will serve you well, even when things get slippery.