What Are Bushcraft Tools?
At its most basic level bushcraft is the art of going out into the woods and surviving with nothing more than the clothes on your back and an edged tool. Nearly every skill and most bushcraft projects use a bushcraft tool to make your labor easier.
A fixed blade knife is the most common bushcraft tool. Finding the best bushcraft knife for your kit will make many camp tasks easier and faster.
Bushcraft knives are best suited for light and medium duty tasks:
Batoning branches smaller than your wrist
Carving or whittling wood
Making snares and traps
One of the most popular and recommended knives is the MORAKNIV which is manufactured in Sweden.
Morakniv Companion Heavy Duty
PRICE – under $20
The king of basic knives. Far better performance than expected out of such a low price point. These knives have been used by cost conscious hunters and campers for many years.
High Carbon Steel
You will definitely want a Ferro Rod.
Ferrocerium rods are a favorite fire starter among many outdoor and survival enthusiasts. Ferrocerium is a man-made metallic material that produces sparks in excess of 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit when it’s scraped with a rough surface or a sharp edge.
I ordered TWO of the 6″ long 1/2″ thick rods for under $20 when I got my Mora.
Functionally a machete is a hybrid between a large knife and small axe. It can be used for many of the tasks I mentioned above.
It is an excellent choice for SOUTHEASTERN areas where you do not have to carry a heavy axe to process large amounts of firewood.
The long, heavy blade of a machete is best used for medium to heavy cutting jobs:
Batoning large branches
The saw is a more specialized bushcraft tool as it is only used for cutting branches. It is however highly efficient at this task. This advantage should be considered if you are planning on working on any bushcraft projects that will require you to cut lots of wood such as building a:
Camp table or chair
I use a small folding or “pruning” saw.
I started with a saw from Harbor Freight…. 8-inch-folding-saw and it served me well for a while and did not break the bank to buy it. But it gave up on me after about 10 trips to the woods.
Axe or Hatchet
A small axe is a highly versatile bushcraft tool. Generally the design of a bushcraft axe makes it best suited for heavier duty tasks:
Butchering large game
Hammering stakes or posts
Since I carry the Kukri, I opted to carry one of these lightweight “Tomahawks”.
Lastly we have the pack that you carry all your bushcraft tools and other gear in.
Make sure you pick a comfortable bag that matches your body type and that you can comfortably carry. It is also important that your bushcraft backpack is waterproof and has multiple compartments rather than one large sack. This makes it far easier to efficiently organize and then find your gear when you want to use it!
Look for an upcoming article on my preferred pack/s. (you can’t just have one ya know)
Here are SEVERAL examples of styles you might choose from…..
BACKPACKER Pack – The style you might find on the Appalachian or Pacific Coast Trails.
Military Surplus ALICE – there are a LOT of these used in Bushcraft.
One of the most popular versions is a bulletproof “Franken-Ruck” called the HELLCAT (click the link for a tutorial)
The purists lean toward “traditional” canvas packs.
You might understand from this one why I prefer Mil-Surp $40 ALICE gear……
What is the BEST bushcraft tool ???
The basic bushcraft tools mentioned above can be used for nearly every bushcraft project or task. Remember that one of the core ideas of bushcraft is to be adaptable in approaching problems. The best bushcraft tool is really whatever you have with you!
Nearly every bushcraft project can be made easier by using a knife, hatchet, or saw at some point so either choose your favorite or bring more than one.
Think about what you are going to try and accomplish as well as what the trees and other resources are in the area you will be working. Will you be doing lots of heavy chopping? Make sure to bring an axe! Will you be doing detailed carving for snares and traps? Having the best bushcraft knife will be an essential tool.
If you have time to plan your bushcraft project out it never hurts to carry all the items you think you will need. It is better to have a piece of equipment with you than wish you had brought it along!
But whatever you choose, put some thought and planning into your selection of what you carry.
Throwing stuff in a sack “willy-nilly” is never good…….