Survival Knife vs Bushcraft Knife – Differences and In-depth Comparison

survival knife vs Bushcraft Knife

A bushcraft knife and a survival knife may sound similar when we talk about their usability and their common purpose of cutting but the difference in both is not only of their style and design but both tools are built with their respective objectives and purposes. The survivalists and the expert knife manufacturers know that the difference in words clearly conveys their different nature and versatility.

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Difference between Survival knife vs Bushcraft Knife 

Survival knife is a multi-purpose gear that ensures your survival in an emergency or unexpected situation whereas bushcraft knives that work in wilderness are considered ideal for the common outdoor activities in general. They are basically designed to learn the skills needed in wilderness. The difference is just minor but one must know the use and applicability of each. Let’s compare survival knives and bushcraft knives, which are often taken to be the two names of a single tool because of their similar features and purposes.

1. Difference of blades:

A bushcraft knife usually has a blade of four inches long. Whereas, in the case of survival knife, variety of blade sizes are available in the market which can be chosen by the users according to their hand size. Also read Best Blade Length Guide that will help you choose which knife suits your needs.

Moreover a full tang blade of a survival knife is the most favorite of survivalists as it guarantees their sound protection. The material of the blade can be the same in both the kinds which is either stainless steel or carbon steel.

2. Difference of handle:

A bushcraft knife has a flat, small handle that is lightweight but less grippy and less comfortable. But a survival knife has a stronger, extremely convenient and grippy handle. Micarta and leather made handles are popular among professional survivalists as they are highly adaptable in different kinds of weather situations.

3. Difference of usability:

Both tools have their own specific use and they can’t replace each other in terms of usability. Survival knives enable the survivalist to meet the unexpected dangers successfully while the bushcraft knives mainly deals with refining the skills that help you to live in wilderness with great comfort and superb ease.

4. Difference of purposes:

Survival knives are designed to perform multipurpose tasks to ensure user survival in a life-threatening situation. It helps the users in multiple ways as a versatile tool meeting all the needs to sustain one’s life. A survival knife is more than a knife as it performs many duties like starting a fire, a compass, a needle, a thread and amazingly becomes a hammer, spear, cutter and a digging tool.

Whereas a bushcraft knife is a small simply designed fixed blade knife having the main purpose to be used in wilderness. It is not for survival but to make things and conditions reasonably comfortable for a long period of time.

5. Difference of functionality:

Though different types of cutting, skinning, dicing can easily be done with both the knives but survival knives are considered more efficient and more competent in the art of batoning and hammering than bushcraft knives. Furthermore, a survival knife works like a machete whenever and wherever it is needed.

The minimum size blade for a survival knife is 7 inches, and the max is 10. The best length is probably 9 inches. This length and weight enable the knife to double as a machete or a hatchet. Shorter and you’ve got a plain old knife. Longer and you’ve got a full-blown machete.

6. Difference in design and style:

Bushcraft knives are curved in shape while the survival knives are straight in shape. This change in shape and design affects their cutting and working styles. A bushcraft knife works on heavy materials with great comfort and survival knives though they can cut the woods but are not good at it as they are not designed in a way to cut the woods. Bushcraft knives are specifically designed to help the bushcrafter to live in the woods for a long time with great ease.

7. Difference of Origin:

The term bushcraft knife was actually introduced in the late ’80s by the Canadian survival expert Mors Kochanski. According to him a bushcraft knife is a tool with which wooden things are built ranging from a simple tool to a protective shelter.

The term “survival knife” was probably started by the former Special Forces trooper. The original survival knife was pretty close to our todays camping knife; heavy, strong, powerful blade, unbreakable, and designed to do various duties at the same time as the situation demands.

8. Difference in nature and situation:

A survival situation needs survival to be properly equipped to save his life. A survival knife is a gear that is meant to enable the user to survive in a hazardous situation wasting no time. The survivalists do not want to face any unexpected event so they prepared themselves mentally and physically for any hazardous moment by keeping a good survival weapon with them.

Whereas a bushcraft knife is intended to enable a bushcrafter to live in bush comfortably as long as he wants to, in this situation, the user is not in a rush and the circumstances are not unwanted. A bushcrafter himself chooses to live in the woods. His purpose of having a bushcraft knife is not to stay alive in the wilderness to get back to the civilization rather he thrives there to exist in the woods to enjoy the nature and peaceful atmosphere.

Also Check: Best Pocket Knives 2022

9. Difference in longevity:

Most of the survival knives are optimal for temporary use though now the companies are offering lifetime guarantee of their offered tools but they don’t work for a long time and prove less durable. On the contrary, a bushcraft gear is built to work pretty fine forever and thus prove long-lasting and durable.

10. Difference of user and his objective:

The selection of a knife is heavily dependent on your skill with a knife. A survivalist is the one whose main goal is to keep himself alive in times of danger. He does not enjoy living in the woods, he is just stuck over there. The survivalist has everything in the backpack that confirms his safety from a survival knife to a first aid kit.

A bushcrafter willingly goes into the woods to live over there. He uses the knife to make his jungle living comfortable and easy. A bushcrafter just goes and explores the wild medicinal herbs grown around him then use them as antiseptic. The goal of a bushcrafter is to enjoy serene nature away from the hectic routine.


In short both the knives are good outdoor weapons, camping gears and wilderness knives. Both can have sharp-edged, saw-like, or non-serrated blade to work on heavy-duty materials. But survival knives are common and famous for their versatility on the other hand bushcraft knives are special and unique and people choose them for their efficient work. So you just need to get one knife that goes with your budget and need. So before going to your next outdoor adventure reading of the differences and similarities between these two kinds of weapons will help you a lot to choose that suits you the best.

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