Saturday, March 25, 2017

Check out our list of bushcraft knives

What is the best survival knife?

I’m of the opinion that a knife is the most important tool for wilderness survival and long-term self reliance situations.  Seeing as how I rate a knife so highly I’m often asked “what makes a good survival knife?”.  So here are the three main things I look for in a survival knife:

  1. Full tang – the first and most important criteria is that it has a full tang, meaning the knife consists of a solid piece of steel that runs from the tip of the blade all the way through to the butt of the handle.  A full tang increased the knives strength and durability when used for heavy tasks such as batoning.  Folding knives and hollow handled knives are not particularly good survival knives.
  2. Carbon steel – the next criteria I look for is a blade made of high quality carbon steel.  The most popular kinds of carbon steel include 1075, 1095, O1 Tool and CPM-3V which are all great steels that have been tested and proven by many of the world’s best survival and bushcraft instructors.  The downside to carbon steel is that, unlike stainless steel, it rusts quickly when not properly oiled and maintained.  However, when it comes to ease of sharpening, edge retention and overall performance carbon steel outperforms stainless by a mile.  In addition to performance, striking a high carbon steel blade with a hard rock such as flint, chert or quartz will produce sparks capable of creating fire, something stainless is incapable of.
  3. No serrations – despite the “tacticool” look of many partially serrated knives the practicality of such features pretty much stop there.  In my opinion the only thing that a serrated knife performs better at is cutting rope or metal, two tasks that are rarely of high importance or occurrence.  Serrations are very difficult to sharpen, often needing a specific tool to do it correctly.  They also tend to increase the fragility of a blade.  In my opinion, short of severe urban survival scenarios (like cutting yourself out of a downed helicopter) it is best to stick to a fixed blade knife with a plain edge.

Grinds

Full Flat Grind

The full flat grind is simply a blade, triangular in shape that begins wide at the spine and gradually narrows until it reaches a point, or the cutting edge.

Full flat grind knives are excellent slicers making them popular for cooking, skinning and prepping food.  If you’re an avid hunter or plan to bug out to a location where there is plenty of wild game I would consider a knife with a full flat grind.

The downside to this type of grind is they are harder to sharpen then a Scandinavian and aren’t as proficient at processing firewood, in particular, batoning.

Scandinavian Grind

A Scandinavian grind maintains its width from the spine, until approximately two thirds of the way down where it narrows, creating a wedge shape that excels at woodworking tasks, especially batoning.  In addition to performing well for woodworking and carving tasks a Scandinavian grind tends to be easier to sharpen due to the ease of finding the correct angle.

The downside to Scandinavian grinds is that it does not slice as cleanly, and therefore, does not perform well when processing food or skinning game.

ESEE-6

The ESEE-6 is similar to the ESEE-5 but with a few small differences.  The first of which is the length of the blade.  Coming in at 6.5″ (cutting edge is 5.75″) the ESEE-6 is longer than the ESEE-5.  This often gives the impression that the ESEE-6 is the bigger, heavier duty knife which is a little misleading.  Despite being longer the 1095 Carbon Steel blade is only .188″ thick compared to the .250″ thickness of the ESEE-5, making the overall weight 11.8 oz, more than 4 oz lighter than the ESEE-5.

Other than the blade size and the resulting weight, there isn’t much of a difference between the 5 and the 6. While it’s mostly a personal choice to what sort of weight and length you prefer I think the biggest difference in these two knives is their intended uses.

The ESEE-5 is a more traditional survival knife that can stand up to anything due to its thicker blade.  The ESEE-6 on the other hand was designed more specifically as a bushcraft tool that is lighter to carry and has a more maneuverable blade capable of delicate tasks.

Buy Now!

ESEE-6

Overall Length: 11.75″

Blade Length: 6.5″

Blade Thickness: .188″

Blade Material: 1095 Carbon Steel

Handle Material: Grey Micarta

Sheath Material: Black Molded Polymer

Weight: 11.8 oz

Buy Now!

ESEE-5

Think of the ESEE-5 as the improved version of the Becker BK-2.  Just like the BK-2 the ESEE-5 has a ¼ inch thick blade that feels ridiculously sturdy to hold.  Weighing in at 16 oz this knife is built to process firewood and can chop down trees and split kindling in its sleep.

Unlike the BK-2 however the blade on this beast is made of the same 1095 carbon steel as the ESEE-4 and comes razor sharp straight from the factory.  Like all carbon blades, it is prone to rust if not maintained properly.  So be sure to keep an oiled cloth handy to wipe it down after heavy use.

In addition to the steel, the other advantages that the ESEE-5 has over the BK-2 are the sheath and the grip.  Similar to the 4, the ESEE-5 comes with a taco style Kydex sheath which locks tight and is incredibly sturdy.  It also has rivet holes that allow you to be creative in adding features to it with paracord.  It also shares the same sanded linen micarta handle.  If for any reason you wish to change them, they can be easily removed and using only an Allen key.

While not small and nimble, the ESEE-5 is perfect for anyone looking for a heavy duty survival knife that can handle punishing tasks like chopping or splitting firewood.  When paired with a smaller blade it may be the only two tools you need.

Buy Now!

ESEE-5

Overall Length: 11″

Blade Length: 5.25″

Blade Thickness: .25″

Blade Material: 1095 Carbon Steel

Handle Material: Canvas Micarta

Sheath Material: Kydex with Clip Plate

Weight: 16 oz

Buy Now!

ESEE-4

ESEE’s are used by some of the most avid survivalist and bushcraft enthusiasts today.  They are legendary for their quality but comes with a price as these knives have the highest costs on our list.

The ESEE-4 is the smallest of the 3 knives, coming in with a blade length of 4 inches, the perfect blade size and length to do almost everything well.  While not as good as bigger knives at processing firewood it’s still sturdy enough to do the job while being small enough to handle more delicate tasks like carving snare triggers or skinning game.

Like the ESEE-5 and 6 the blade is made of 1095 carbon steel and can be honed to scary sharpness.  It also holds an edge forever which is great for those not thrilled about constantly sharpening their knife.  The downside to the blade being Carbon Steel however is that it can easily rust if not properly maintained. This means keeping it clean and oiled which can be a bit of a pain while off the beaten path.

The knife comes in a super durable taco-style Kydex sheath that holds the knife nice and secure until you’re ready to use it, and it can be easily customized with some paracord.

Finally we come to the grip (or scales) which are made of Linen Micarta, the cream of the crop when it comes to scales, and it’s super comfortable when held in your hand.

I definitely recommend this knife to anyone looking for a complete camp or EDC style knife.  It’s the absolute perfect size for doing a multitude of tasks and it’s the absolute best option for anyone looking to carry a single blade.  Although, if you have large hands or wear gloves regularly, you may find the handle a tad small.

Buy Now!

ESEE-4

Overall Length: 9″

Blade Length: 4.5″

Blade Thickness: .188″

Blade Material: 1095 Carbon Steel, 440 Stainless Steel

Handle Material: Linen Micarta

Sheath Material: Molded with Clip Plate

Weight: 8 oz

Buy Now!

The Brothers of Bushcraft Fieldcraft

Last is a Scandinavian ground knife that fits all three of my criteria.  The blade is 4 1/2 inches long and made out of high quality, straight edge 1095 carbon steel that will throw a spark if struck with chert, quartz or flint.

The blade is a full tang and 3/16th’s of an inch thick which means you can baton or process firewood without fear.  The knife also comes with a decent kydex sheath and firesteel which is a nice bonus.  The only downside to this knife is that it’s significantly more expensive than something like the Mora Companion, so if budget is an issue you may have to look elsewhere.  However, I strongly believe that your knife is an area where a little extra investment can go a long way.  So if you can spare the $100 and want a knife that can do everything the Fieldcraft might be the right knife for you.

Buy Now!

The Brothers of Bushcraft Fieldcraft

Overall Length: 10″

Blade Length: 4.5″

Blade Thickness: .1875″

Blade Material: 1095 Carbon Steel

Handle Material: Micarta

Sheath Material: Kydex

Weight: 9.6 oz

Buy Now!

Check out our list of bushcraft knives

STAY CONNECTED

307FansLike
30FollowersFollow
347SubscribersSubscribe
-Advertisement-
-Advertisement-