Choosing The Best Bushcraft Knife For The Money
Table of Contents
- 1 What Is The “Best Survival Knife For The Money”?
- 2 Tang/Handle Grip Material-(Mandatory Full Tang)
- 3 Straight, Single Edge Blade Style
- 4 Knife Sheaths
- 5 Conclusion
- 6 Recommended Survival Knife Manufacturers
- 7 Bark River Knives
- 8 GERBER
What Is The “Best Survival Knife For The Money”?
So, what exactly is “The Best Survival Knife For The Money”? Unfortunately, this question can’t be answered as one survival knife brand may perfectly work with some and yet that same knife would not be a good fit for another person. For example, you may want your knife to excel at pounding stakes into the ground; yet, another person could care less about a bushcraft knife’s hammering ability.The survival knife is also called a bushcraft knife, hunting and camping knife. However, whatever you call it, the survival knife is one of the most important tools that you could get your hands on in an outdoor survival or emergency situation. This is because you can do pretty much everything that is needed to survive in the wild with the proper bushcraft knife. Be it an outdoors or wildernesses adventure – camping hunting, fishing, or when the SHTF your bushcraft knife can be used for the following:
- Batoning Knife
- Slicer and Cutter
- Splitting Wood
- First Aid Tool
- For Skinning and Dressing Game
- Fire Starter
- Signaling For help
- Building Your Survival Shelter
- Spearing Fish
- Screw Driver
- and More . . .
It should go without saying, that given its usefulness and importance, it is crucial that you get a survival knife that’s dependable, high quality, durable, functional, convenient, and also keeps its edge. To get the ultimate survival knife for you, you’ll need to learn all there’s to know about what to look for in a survival knife, so it doesn’t fail you when you need it most. And this may sound cliche; but, a proper knife can be the difference between life and death. That’s why this article will go over the qualities that you should look for in a survival knife; so, you can make your own educated decision.
The real issue here is that not every knife, steel or otherwise, can perform well in most basic survival or disaster situations. So, you need to do your research and get the knife that is best suited for whatever situation you’re likely to be in.
Here, is an in-depth list of survival knife features to look for when you’re looking to purchase a survival knife:
Tang/Handle Grip Material-(Mandatory Full Tang)
Full Tang Survival Knife
With the full tang, the knife goes from the knife tip to the end of the knife’s handle. In contrast, a partial tang knife’s blade only connects to the top of the knife’s handle. The main problem with a partial tang knife is that the blade will eventually loosen when using your bush knife for heavy-duty tasks, like pounding wood stakes, chopping kindling, etc. Simply put, a full tang knife will be more likely to provide the strength and overall durability that is needed for you to perform the various tasks necessary for a true survival knife.
Perhaps, the most critical factor for the handle or tang for a survival knife is that is that the knife’s handle have a durable, slip-resistant grip. Therefore, you should avoid, solid metal knife handles (without a wrapping) because they can get extremely hot during the summer, bone-chilling cold during the winter months and also tend to be more slippery.
The following below are the more popular choices for a knife handle material, which are the following:
- Kraton-A wrapping that is made of synthetic, rubber. Kraton tends to more easily absorb water and other harmful liquids, which means they can be a chore to clean. And proper maintenance for Kraton is essential as it has tiny holes, and if it is not dried out, the handle will retain water, which will ultimately make the handle brittle and more susceptible to damage. So, Kraton may not be an ideal choice if you are going to using it in a wet environment.
- Micarta-Material composed of treated canvas, fiberglass, linen, and other fabric. It is the brand name for a material, patented around 1910, composed of fiberglass, paper, linen, canvas, carbon fibers or other fabrics. Micarta was designed initially to be used for decorative and insulation. However, aside for knife handles, Micarta is now used for many things like countertops, propellers, automobiles, pistol grips, guitar fingerboards, and even pool cues. It is a labor-intensive process to manufacture Micarta. Therefore, it is among the more expensive handle materials; however, as it is known for its durability, and being lightweight, the extra price paid may be worthwhile.
- Glass Reinforced Nylon or Fiberglass Reinforced Nylon (“GRN,” and “FRN”)– GRN/FRN, like Micarta, is a plastic material that is manufactured using thermoplastic manufacturing methods. GRN and FRN are known for being very cheap, virtually indestructible, and requiring little maintenance. The only minor drawback (and this is really minor) is that GRN and FRN handle tend to look like cheap plastic. Due to its many advantages, GRN/FRN is considered by many to be among the top, no-thrills, handles available.
- Stainless Steel-Stainless steel knife handles are known for being resistant to corrosion, dent, and scratches. Additionally, they’re low priced and readily available. However, stainless steel does have many significant drawbacks. One major drawback is that they’re known for being both slippery and heavy. As a result, you should only buy a survival knife with a stainless steel knife handle if the handle has ridges or plastic or rubber applied to reduce the slipperiness. And, as they are quite heavy, a stainless steel handle is not the right choice for your everyday carry (“EDC”) bushcraft knife. Also, stainless steel (without a wrapping) can get extremely hot during the summer, and bone-chilling cold during the winter months.
- Aluminum-It is a low priced alternative for handles and is known for being hard, lightweight, and corrosion resistant. However, aluminum is also prone to denting and scratching. Additionally, unless extra traction is added to the handle, they can get quite slippery, and during the cold winter months, aluminum will be uncomfortably cold to the touch.
- Miscellaneous-Bone, pearl, leather, and other handle materials are included under the miscellaneous category. If you are a knife collector, the “Miscellaneous” handle material is the best choice. However, in most cases, they are not the best choices for handles as they tend not to be as durable as either synthetic or stainless steel knife handles. These handles are made for collectors. As a result, aesthetics are valued over functionality or durability. Additionally, your survival knife will be used and abused, which means that your handle will eventually be scratched when are chopping wood, or you’re performing other survival related demanding tasks, and your collector quality survival knife will ultimately be ruined.
What You Should Avoid In a Bushcraft Knife
Narrow tangs as they will be less likely to endure the rigors of the majority of survival activities like chopping wood or even pounding its blade to split logs need to be avoided. Also do not purchase hollow, gimmicky, knife handles that hold a mini survival kit, fish hooks,etc., because of hollow handles not being solid, they will likely not be able to perform, sustained, the demanding tasks (wood batoning, firewood cutting, etc.) that are necessary for a real survival knife. Additionally, pass on a survival knife with a compass because the included compass often makes the grip harder to handle, and the tang will likely be less durable.
A Knife’s Blade (Fixed Blade Survival Knives Only)
As the world evolves and new things come into play, so do the style and designs of knives intended for wilderness survival. While there might be folding knives made for survival situations that are emerging in today’s market, a fixed blade survival knife still is the preppers’ preferred knife because of the following:
- Reliability– With a fixed blade knife you don’t have to worry about hinges not working or other mechanical breakdowns.
- Functionality– The fixed blade is stronger, which results in the knife being able to pierce, twist, baton, and pry to your heart’s delight.
So, save your folding knife for your everyday carry knife (”EDC”) and get the fixed blade bushcraft knife.
A rule of thumb for blade size in bush knives is that the blade ought to be large enough to be useful, yet small enough so that it can be easily used. As a result, a longer blade is not necessarily better when it comes to bushcraft knives. For example, Rambo knives, which exceed 11 inches or more are likely to be too unwieldy to be used for tasks requiring precision, like dressing small game. On the other hand, a blade that is too small, is useless in rough tasks like batoning and chopping wood.
So, what is the recommended blade length for a hunting and survival knife? The following guidelines may vary by person, but an ideal blade length for your survival knife is approximately seven (“7”) to ten (“10”) inches, and the knife’s total length should be around ten to 11 inches long. If the blade is any larger at it will be more of a sword, and it will be tough to use as a tool. Likewise, if the blade is smaller the knife’s usefulness will be severely limited.
Knife Blade Thickness
Thicker knife blades are more durable, which means they are better able to withstand the abuse that could occur, in a life or death, survival situation. The optimum knife thickness for a hunting knife is between .17 and .25 inches. A bushcraft blade that is less than .17 inches thick will likely be unable to perform heavy-duty survival chores.
Straight, Single Edge Blade Style
Choose a straight edge, single edge blade, instead of the serrated edge knife blade for your knife. Straight edge blades are easier to sharpen, and also the straight edge can more easily chop wood than a serrated edged knife. The straight edge also performs numerous tasks that are either very hard or impossible with a double-edged blade.
Sharp Pointed Knife Tip
The sharp, pointed, knife tip is better suited for outdoor survival or disaster preparedness jobs; so, avoid a rounded, hooked or curved blade. With the sharp, pointy, knife top you can do the following easier:
- Pry small or delicate items loose
- Dress small game like fish, squirrel, etc.
- Prepare nuts and other outdoor foods
- Self-defense (a sharp, pointy, knife tip best for self-defense as it allows the user thrust and stab)
- Many other survival and disaster prep jobs . . .
The Best Blade Steel
The blade steel influences a blade’s ease in sharpening, overall toughness, strength, and piercing. Most blades are either made of stainless steel or carbon steel, with stainless steel having a reputation of being resistant to rust. When compared to carbon steel though, stainless steel is more brittle, and it doesn’t hold its edge as well. For sheer toughness, sharpness and edge retention, go for carbon steel. However, carbon steel based knives, need to be regularly maintained for they rusts easily and most carbon steel survival knives are also harder to sharpen. The sharpening problem can be lessened if you purchase costlier and higher-quality carbon steel blades. Even so, it’ll still not cost you, a fortune and a good knife is an essential survival tool that you don’t want to scrimp on.
For a more in-depth review of knife steel click the link below:
Straight, Single Edge Blade Style
You need to choose a straight-edged, single-edged blade for your survival knife. A double-edged knife is primarily made for fighting as they thrust and stab well. Single edge blades though are more versatile as they can perform multiple tasks that are either very hard or impossible with a double-edged blade. As a bonus, straight-edge knife blades are also easier to sharpen than the serrated edged blade.
The Knife Pommel
The pommel is also called the knife butt. A survival knife’s pommel needs to be able to pound tent stakes and perform other heavy duty survival skills, which means the pommel should be flat, which will allow you to better use your bush knife as a makeshift hammer.
The number one consideration for knife sheaths is for a sheath to protects the knife from the elements like rain, snow, and other adverse weather conditions and also shield the knife holder from being accidentally cut. Keeping the above in mind, the following is a list of the most popular knife sheath materials:
Leather Knife Sheath
Leather is a a timeless, good-looking choice for knife sheath material. A knife sheath made of premium leather will be light, durable (when new), and also hold its shape. But, a leather knife sheath does have drawbacks with the most significant one being durability. Leather, when exposed to the sun breaks down quicker than most synthetic materials. Also, leather does not hold up well in wet environments. Also, low quality, damaged or worn leather knife sheathes can be quite dangerous as a large or very sharp bushcraft knife can break the seams of the sheath, which could result in the knife holder being cut.The above problems, associated with leather knife sheaths, can be lessened by purchasing quality leather and apply waterproofer or mink oil on the leather sheath.
Kydex is an artificial, thermoplastic material that noted for extreme durability. A good Kydex knifes sheath will hold up well in various weather conditions and even not break down if it is dunked in salt water. One negative concerning Kydex sheaths is that a knife held in a Kydex sheath can tend to dull more easily if they are consistently removed from the Kydex sheath.
Nylon is cheaper than Kydex or leather. However, it is also less durable, and they also tend to get easily stretched out.
Because of sub-par durability, plastic knife sheaths are not recommended.
Choosing a fixed blade survival knife means can be a bit technical. Nevertheless, while all’s said and done, for a knife to qualify for your outdoor adventures, it must give you comfort and perform the necessary survival, related tasks.
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Recommended Survival Knife Manufacturers
As stated before, choosing the best survival knife depends upon what the individual buyer plans to do with their bushcraft knife. Also, as high-end knives may require more maintenance, a more expensive knife may not be better for you. So, do your research before buying a fixed blade survival knife. However, the knife companies listed below are highly rated and very well may suit your outdoor survival needs.