In a hurry? Our top pick for the best bushcraft knife under $100 is the Morakniv Bushcraft Carbon Steel Survival Knife.
No matter what you’re trying to accomplish, a fixed blade knife is a necessary addition to any survivalist’s toolbelt. But quality blades are often expensive, and sometimes you just can’t afford to fork over a few hundred dollars to make one your own.
Fortunately, you don’t have to break the bank in order to get yourself a quality blade. In fact, you may find that the best bushcraft knife is under $100, which is why we’ve made a list of our favorite, affordable options below.
In this article, we’ll be reviewing the following best bushcraft knives under $100:
- Morakniv Bushcraft Carbon Steel Survival Knife – Best Overall
- Holtzman Gorilla Survival Knife
- Off Grid Knives Bushcraft Knife
- BigCat Bushcraft Knife – Best Damascus Blade
- StatGear Fixed Blade Survival Knife – Cheapest Bushcraft Knife
- Morakniv Garberg Fixed Blade
- Gerber Strong Arm Fixed Blade Knife
What is a Bushcraft Knife?
It’s a great question, as I’m sure many of you are wondering how a bushcraft knife differs from a regular knife. To put it in perspective, there are hunting knives, butterfly knives, spring assisted knives, manual folding knives…and so on until you get to the most basic pocket knives. So, what is it about a bushcraft knife specifically that makes it stand out from the crowd? And why would you want to use it over one of its siblings?
Qualities to Remember
First things first, you’re going to hear a lot of different opinions on what makes a great bush knife. We all have our preferences, but at the end of the day, there are just some things that will stay the same no matter who you ask. A bush knife is primarily going to be used on wood, so you’ll need a strong, fixed blade that lands somewhere between 3 to 6 inches long. It should be thick and sturdy, with a full tang to provide even more security and strength to the blade. Aside from that, though, here are a few points to remember:
Out of all the gear in your arsenal, your knife is going to be your very best friend. It’s your all in one, multipurpose tool, helping you to make traps, prepare firewood, make a shelter, clear your way through dense foliage, defend yourself, clean your food source, and so much more. Naturally, you’d like for it to last a long time, right? At the very least, having it break or become severely damaged while you’re roughing it would be a nightmare, if you don’t have a spare. Chips, nicks, bends, and other issues are the last thing you’re going to want to deal with, so when you’re looking for the best bushcraft knife under $100, durability is incredibly important.
Likewise, a dull knife never did anyone any good – aside from helping them spread butter on a piece of toast. But you have loftier goals for your blade, beyond simply making breakfast, which is why a cutting edge should be mandatory on your list of requirements.
Obviously, it’s hard to say how sharp your knife is going to be when you receive it, unless you purchase one directly from the store. That’s why I’d suggest investing in a good knife sharpener as well, so you can always keep your edge ready for anything.
Your initial impression might be to think that a bigger knife is a better knife. Indeed, when you’re glancing through a display case of knives, it’s hard not to be attracted to the ones with a bigger blade. However, when it comes to bushcraft, this line of thinking can cause you trouble down the road.
Bushcraft values speed and efficiency, and larger knives are often bulky and cumbersome to use. For maximum versatility, I’d suggest going with a knife that has a blade between 3.5 inches and 6 inches. This range will give you the best agility and precision, allowing you to accomplish your tasks for the day. In the event that you do need something bigger, that’s okay too – I would suggest you bring a smaller blade of the size I just mentioned, as well as a machete for bigger jobs.
Next to size, the shape of your knife is one of the most important things to consider. Most likely, you’re going to want a drop point knife – a blade featuring a spine that dips from the handle to the point. Not only are they visually appealing, but they’re also one of the most versatile blade shapes that you can find. The tip works well for detail works, while the belly is suitable for more survival related tasks, such as chopping wood or preparing food. Most often, they have a good amount of edge, too, which is ideal for tasks that require slicing.
Personally, I’m a fan of the more basic knife handles and grips. And really, you don’t need anything fancier than that, especially when it comes to various edges, notches, and ridges. At the end of the day, you just need to find something that’s comfortable for you to hold, and will allow you to keep a firm grasp on it as you swing and chop. As long as it feels good to you, that’s what really counts.
Best Bushcraft Knife Reviews
It’s impossible to talk about bushcraft knives without mentioning Morakniv. Literally translated as “Mora Knife,” Morakniv is a company that was founded in Sweeden over a hundred years ago, eventually dominating the market with their high quality blades. Their carbon steel survival knife lives up to the reputation they’ve built over a dozen decades in the business.
By nature, carbon steel is a little more delicate than stainless steel, requiring added care to ensure it doesn’t rust. However, this knife is coated with a black anti-corrosive, so it’s not as difficult to take care of as some of its brethren. The 4.3 inch blade is what I would consider to be a perfect length, and it’s narrow enough to easily be used for precision work.
The sheath is plastic, and comes with its own sharpener, so you can keep your knife in tip top condition at all times. It also has its own fire starter as well, making it a great option if you didn’t want to carry any additional gear to help you make a fire.
|Sharp, durable edge||Carbon steel requires more care|
|Grippy rubber handle|
|Built in fire starter|
|Built in knife sharpener|
This survival knife by Holtzman Gorilla is much more than a simple blade – it comes with a full kit that includes a sheath, fire starter, paracord, and Allen wrench to secure these items to the sheath. The knife is razor sharp, easily cutting through wood and other tougher materials. Out of all the bushcraft knives mentioned in this review, this one is certainly on the heavier end, which is actually something I appreciate. The weight works with me when I’m slicing and chopping, carving through things a lot easier than a lighter blade.
At 4 inches long, the blade length falls right in my sweet spot too. The carbon steel is coated in a black, anti-corrosive to keep it in optimal shape for a longer period of time, though that’s still no excuse to treat it poorly. With a little love, this knife will last you for many years to come, even after putting it through the works. In addition, the fiberglass handle is shaped to fit your hand nicely, and gives the entire knife a good balance. Despite the fact that it’s on the heavier side, it’s easy to use, and has the agility of a lighter knife, simply because of how well the weight is distributed.
|Strong blade||Carbon steel requires more care|
|Comfortable fiberglass handle||One of the heavier blades in this review (could be a pro, depending on your needs and preferences)|
|Comes with fire starter|
If you’re looking for a solid knife that can handle abuse, Off Grid Knives might have made the tool for you. While it might not be “bomb proof” per se, the blade is tough enough to withstand a hefty amount of chopping and slicing without losing its edge.
The handle is ergonomically shaped with a finger guard to prevent accidents. Personally, I’m not a fan of ridges on the handle (I prefer the smooth grips due to comfort reasons), but I know many of you don’t mind this design. I do like the Kydex sheath with the belt clip attachment, as I find that many sheathes are more for cosmetic appearances than practical purposes. However, my biggest complaint is that it’s a little off balance. The handle is heavier than it should be, making it a tad awkward to use for certain tasks. Aside from that, though, there’s little to complain about.
|Durable edge||Handle is a little too heavy, making it slightly off balance|
|Sheath with belt clip|
|Would make a good martial knife|
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I want my bushcraft knife to be more than functional. I want it to have a bit of flare and style built into it as well. And what better way to accomplish this than by grabbing yourself a handcrafted, Damascus steel blade?
Over the years, I’ve found myself becoming something of a knife collector, and I’ve got a soft spot for Damascus. Pair it with a beautiful walnut handle, and I may just put it in a frame and hang it on my wall, instead of use it in the wild! Don’t let its stunning appearance fool you, though – when it comes to performance, you’ll find this knife isn’t just for show. Solid and sharp, the edge can take a beating without any issues, and the sheath is just as high of quality as the knife itself. On the off chance that you do encounter a problem with the product, the vendor is great at replacing any damaged items, should the need arise.
|Thick edge||Despite being advertised as such, it’s not a full tang|
|Beautiful, comfortable handle|
|Comes well packaged and oiled|
|Nice weight and balance|
Simple but effective, StatGear’s knife design is perfect for adventurers on a budget. Made from stainless steel, the 4 inch blade was created for all purpose use, especially when it comes to tasks like prepping food and cutting wood. With a wide blade and thick spine, this knife is almost perfectly balanced, making it incredibly easy to wield. I’ve rarely come across a grip that feels so good in my hand, too, which makes the knife even more fun to use. Overall, when it comes to versatility and agility, you’d never expect it to be as cheap as it is.
Aside from the blade itself, the sheath also comes decked out with useful knickknacks. For starters, you’ll find a cord cutter at the bottom on the sheath, though I would say it’s more for show than any practical purpose. What I really love is the built in fire starter and knife sharpener, despite the latter being a little uncomfortable to grip when you’re holding the sheath. I’m not too fond of the belt clip, and the fact there really isn’t any better way to attach the knife to yourself, but that can easily be fixed with a little DIY work at home.
|Thick, sturdy blade||Belt clip is small and disappointing|
|Soft and tacky rubber handle|
|Comes with fire starter, cord cutter, and knife sharpener|
|Perfect for both chopping and detail work|
I tried really hard, but I couldn’t resist the urge to toss in another blade by Morakniv. After all, it’s a great brand, and this carbon steel, full tang knife was too irresistible to pass up.
The blade is 4.3 inches and well balanced. Even though it’s too delicate to be considered a chopper, you don’t need to be too concerned about damaging the edge. Incredibly strong and resilient, it’s perfect for just about every bushcraft task you can think of – though ultimately, I would say it specializes in those jobs that require more precision. Take the sharp tip, narrow blade, and rubberized grip, for example. It would be a lot easier to take care of a nasty field dressing using these components than something bulkier with G-10 scales in the handle. The Scandi grind also makes it incredibly strong, perfect for wood carving and animal processing, though it’s less ideal for things like whittling and food prep.
What I love the most about Morakniv’s knives, the Garberg especially, is that they’re very unassuming. You could easily mistake it for a kitchen knife, until you actually pick one up and realize that a regular kitchen knife might as well be a butter knife in comparison. It might not come super sharp right out of the box, but carbon steel sharpens up really quickly, so that’s not too big of a concern for me.
|Strong, carbon steel blade||Often doesn’t come very sharp, though it can be easily sharpened at home|
|Comfortable rubber handle|
|Scandi grind makes it perfect for most bushcraft tasks|
|Easy to use|
Gerber is a well known knife brand that’s been in the game for many decades, primarily serving the military. Based on the history of the brand, and the design of the Strong Arm knife itself, one might suggest that this is more of a combat weapon than a tool for bushcraft. I would argue that it works wonderfully in both capacities.
Its simple design is a little deceiving at first. You might almost believe it’s not a full tang blade on first inspection, only to realize that the telltale signs are simply hidden underneath the rubber handle. The grip isn’t the best for wood processing, but it still provides a comfortable place to hold the knife for a variety of tasks. Likewise, the spine of the blade tapers to a point (perfect for stabbing), but that’s not the most ideal design for chores like chopping up firewood.
I do like the sheath, though, despite the fact that it’s made from fairly cheap material. The best part about it is how versatile it is, capable of hanging either vertically, horizontally, or inverted. Even when shaken, the knife won’t come loose, making it the perfect option when you can’t afford to be gentle but don’t want to risk losing it either.
|Made from a durable, hard steel||Not the best option for wood processing|
|Rubber handle works great when wet|
|Tip is great for stabbing|
Knives can get really expensive really fast. Before you know it, you might find yourself forking over the entirety of your last paycheck just to get a decent blade for your next outing into the wild. It doesn’t have to be this way, though – in fact, you might find that the best bushcraft knife is actually under $100!
That was what we thought when we came across the Morakniv carbon steel survival knife. Durable and sharp, the blade is perfect for just about any bushcraft related task that you throw at it. And when it does start to dull over time, the sheath even comes with a built-in sharpener. Not the mention the included fire starter as well. Overall, it’s hard to find a better all-in-one blade for such a reasonable price.