One of the most important pieces of equipment you should have when you are outdoors, and more especially in the bush environments, is a bushcraft knife. In many cases, as the preference of many, the knife will be small as opposed to a very large knife.
In this article, we are going to compare 5 of the very best small bushcraft knife options and give you a detailed rundown of each of their features. We’ll also point out both the pros and cons of each bushcraft knife to help you make the most informed choice possible.
Best Small Bushcraft Knife Reviews
Morakniv Kansbol Fixed Blade Knife with Sandvik Stainless Steel Blade and MOLLE Multi Mount System, 4.3-Inch
Schrade SCHF36CP Frontier 10.4in High Carbon Steel Full Tang Fixed Blade Knife with 5in Drop Point and TPE Handle for Outdoor Survival, Camping and Bushcraft
Morakniv Kansbol Fixed Blade Knife
This is fixed blade bushcraft knife that has the look of a combat knife about it, and no doubt it will help you come out on top when it is you against the sticks when feathering or carving them.
The one thing you can be sure of when you buy a Morakiniv knife of any type is that is coming from a manufacturer with years of experience in manufacturing high-quality knives. The ‘Kansbol’ fixed blade knife is no exception, and it is bound to be a valuable part of any bushcrafter’s kit.
This more than anything is evidenced in the Sandvik blade, which is made from tough stainless steel, and should prove to be no match for anything you need to cut, strip, carve or slice with it. Obviously being made from stainless steel, the blade will resist corrosion, so it is suitable for use in all weathers.
If you purchase a separate fire starter accessory, the spine of the blade has been ground so it can be used with it to help you light kindling and get your campfire fire started without delay.
The handle offers excellent grip and just like the blade, it will be just as effective in wet conditions, as it will in dry conditions. It has a lanyard hole if you prefer to carry your knife that way, but it has other options for carrying too. One is the MOLLE compatible sheath which allows you to secure the knife to clothing, backpacks and even inside vehicles. If you do not require anything that versatile, then there is the option of a simple plastic sheath.
- Sandvik stainless steel blade
- Ideal for all-weather use
- Excellent grip on handle
- Multi-mount sheath
- Hard plastic handle can be noisy
- Blade dulls quicker than expected
Perkin Handmade Damascus Steel Knife
Although small bushcraft knives are not something you’d normally think of as having ‘character,’ it is hard to deny that this Perkin knife has a unique and quirky design which really appeals.
We are going to be honest, and say that when it comes to small, there can be few knives that are as diminutive and lightweight as this handmade bushcraft knife from Perkins. With an overall length of just 7 inches and a blade that measures 3 inches, this will be ideal for those you hate carrying lots of large apparatus, or for whom space is at a premium.
That being said, a blade does not have to be long to be capable of cutting, slicing or carving, and this knife can do all three of these tasks, and more. It is made from durable Damascus steel, and more importantly, it is a full tang. This not only strengthens the knife but gives it more balance too.
The handle is obviously two-piece and is made from linen Micarta®, which provides an excellent texture not only for comfort but for a good grip as well. Completing the picture is the leather sheath which comes with the knife, and allows you to keep it safe, as well as protecting the blade when it’s not in use.
- Full tang for strength and balance
- Protective leather sheath
- Excellent grip on handle
- Very lightweight
- Maybe too small for larger hands
- Leather rope could be better
Tops Knives Brothers of Bushcraft Knife
If a knife has been designed by and indeed named, after the ‘Brothers of Bushcraft’ then it is a safe bet that it is going to be able to stand up to the rigors and workload a quality bushcraft knife will encounter.
We’ll start with the handle on this small bushcraft knife and highlight that it is made from canvas Micarta® which provides not only an excellent surface for gripping the knife securely, but it’s comfortable too. This is enhanced by the shaping of the handle, which gives it an ergonomic design. including specially shaped thumb scallops
The blade is a tang design, so that is a checkmark in the strength column. Adding to that strength is the fact that the blade is made from 1095 high carbon steel. Obviously, the blade will be sharp and powerful enough for all bushcraft jobs, and this evidenced by the rigorous testing it has been put under by bushcraft experts.
In terms of dimensions, the knife is 10 inches in length overall with the blade length being 4 1/2 inches, and it comes with a black Kydex® sheath, that has a steel belt clip.
- Fully tested by bushcraft experts
- Ergonomic and comfortable handle
- Carbon steel tang blade
- Tough and durable
- Sheath is poorly designed
- Coating on blade comes off easily
Schrade SCHF36 Frontier Fixed Blade Knife
It is not every knife that we review that we can say has won a ‘Knife of the Year’ award, but in the case of this small bushcraft knife from Schrade, that’s exactly what it won in ‘Blade’ magazine.
Being a ‘Knife of the Year, doesn’t mean we’ll judge this bushcraft knife any harder than the others, but our expectations are high, nonetheless. The first impressive feature we noted is the handle. It is very distinctive and has a lot of grip texture on it. Some might say too much as the serrations underneath might not suit everyone. Even so, the grip provided by the handle is very secure, which is what it is supposed to do.
Moving onto the blade, which is a drop point design, and is manufactured from powder coated 1095 high carbon steel. That tells us that this blade is going to be one tough hombre and unlikely to let us down whenever it is being used during any bushcraft activity.
As you’d expect the knife comes with a sheath, which in this case is a polyester belt sheath. Additional accessories include a ferro rod for starting fires, a sharpening stone, and a lanyard which can be used in conjunction with the lanyard hole on the handle.
In terms of dimensions, the blade is 5 inches long, the overall knife is 10 1/2 inches long and weighs in at just over 12 ounces, so it is far from being a lightweight.
- Tough carbon steel blade
- Excellent grip on handle
- Ferro rod for fire lighting
- Sharpening stone and lanyard
- Heavier than many small knives
- Serrations on handle might annoy
Esee Knives 3P Fixed Blade Knife
Our final review looks at another very small bushcraft knife which punches above its weight in terms of what it can be used for during outdoor activities and adventures.
The key to the quality of any knife, and especially a small bushcraft knife, is the blade so let’s look at that first. With this Esee knife, you have a 1095 carbon steel blade that is just over 3 3/4 inches long. That might not be the biggest blade you’ll ever use, but it is sure to be one of the toughest.
One of the most impressive features is the number of ways and of carrying the knife. It comes with a molded sheath, and this means you can either have it clipped inside a waistband, secured to MOLLE gear or simply carried using a lanyard which has been tied through the lanyard hole on the handle.
Speaking of the handle, it is actually removable, given that it is attached to the knife using three Allen screws. The grip it provides is excellent, and no matter how hard you are working with the knife, the handle ensures it stays comfortably secured in your hand throughout.
- Multiple carrying options
- High carbon steel blade
- Excellent handle grip
- Weighs only 5 ounces
- Not suited to big hands
- Grip could be better
Hopefully, our reviews have enabled you to compare some of the top knives available, and maybe even helped make your mind up about which small bushcraft knife you are going to buy.
For our money, we believe that the best small bushcraft knife of the 5 is the Schrade SCHF36 Frontier Fixed Blade Knife, and it is not hard to see why it won a ‘Knife of the Year’ award.
The blade is made from very high-quality steel and keeps its sharpness a lot longer than many other knives. The handle is comfortable, and at the same time provides excellent grip.
Adding to all that is the sheath, the Ferro rod, the lanyard, and the sharpening stone, there is no denying this is the complete package when it comes to small bushcraft knives.