For those of you who have been habitually carrying a knife on their hip or around their neck, you know the importance of having a knife as a tool to assist you in your everyday life. Even individuals who do not often find themselves in the wilderness can benefit from having a knife on their person at all times can come in extremely handy. I have personally used my bushcraft knife many times to cut fruit for my son, open packages, and much more. It’s one of those tools you may have always lived without, but when you carry one on your person you will wonder how you ever survived without one because you’ll always find a use for it.
I wanted to compile a list of the top three knives according to my personal experience, in hopes that this article can assist you in getting your foot in the door to the wonderful world of outdoor self-reliance skills. Keep in mind that if these knifes are purchased through the product links in this article, the Indigenous Sustainability Project gets a small commission of the purchase price.
1. Old Hickory Butcher Knife
Amazon: Old Hickory Butcher Knife
Amazon: Ka-Bar Sheath
This is probably the most bang for your buck when it comes to the top to your bushcraft knife on a budget. This is a 1095 high carbon steel full tang knife with a 90-degree spine. It can do anything from sparking with a striker, scraping a ferrocerium rod, batoning thicker pieces of wood, and much more. If you’re looking for a quality knife that can handle a beating, this is the night for you. I know many people who choose this as their E.D.C. belt knife, myself included. I typically only use this knife for hide processing and food prep. The edge is always kept razor sharp. My “work” knife is typically a secondary belt or neck knife. The knife does not come with the sheath, but the Ka-Bar sheath I linked above works perfectly with the Old Hickory Butcher Knife.
2. Mora Eldris
Amazon: Mora Eldris
This life is the complete opposite of the Old Hickory Butcher Knife. Featuring a full light handle with an extremely small blade, this knife excels at smaller tasks such as detailed carving, and skinning. This is a stainless steel blade so you don’t have to spend as much time maintaining this tool as opposed to a high carbon blade which is more susceptible to rust. If you carry a hatchet, tomahawk, or small axe to do the heavy work, or if you’re not planning to use your knife to baton firewood or do any kind of heavy slicing, this may be the knife for you. Typically a knife like this would be a secondary knife to complement your belt knife. The small scalpel-like blade makes this knife very practical to store in a first-aid kit as well.
3. Mora Companion
Amazon: Mora Companion
This knife has been time tested and approved by the bushcraft community time and time again. The number of purchases and reviews on Amazon.com can testify to this statement. This knife can be ordered in carbon steel or stainless steel. It can be used for light batoning, slicing, and is particularly exceptional in carving. This knife does not come with a 90-degree spine, but this can easily be remedied with a file. This knife is a perfect mix of the sturdiness of the Old Hickory and the Precision carving abilities of the Eldris. With all this quality at such a low price tag, it’s no wonder why the Mora Companion can be spotted on a good majority of people’s belts at any bushcraft or survival skills event. This is the “companion” to my belt knife. I have one in the SUV as well as one as a backup in my pack. I have provided links to both the carbon steel and stainless steel versions of the Mora Companion.