‘The Best’ Bushcraft Knife

Teak TLIM right sideSo what’s the best bushcraft knife? I don’t know. Frankly, I’m not sure if such a thing exists, since a knife is a very personal item and ‘the best’ will mean very different things to different people.

Some, led by Ray Mears’ preference and design, choose a roughly 10 cm (4″) long spearpoint blade. Others, like myself, prefer a drop point or a simple straight spine like those found in Scandinavian knives.

02 TLIM C440 BT Bushraft spearpoint leuku

But even if we agree to a particular blade shape, there’s still Mora Classic 2the question of blade length, steel type, handle material and so on. And then, despite the endless debate and all the arguments, you may still find that some people are just hopelessly in love with a Mora Classic no matter what you say. And if that’s not enough, there will always be someone claiming they can do pretty much any bushcraft task with just about any knife or even stone tools.

o1 bushlore clone

And they won’t be wrong. They can. In fact, you could as well. But is it gonna be comfortable? Is it gonna be smooth and enjoyable? Those are probably the first questions you have to ask yourself when choosing a bushcraft knife.

 

 

Teak TLIM in sheathBushcraft is not a chore. At least it shouldn’t be in my opinion. We don’t do this because we have to. So why not get yourself something that looks nice, fits your hand and makes you want to carve some wood whenever you pick it up?

Bushcraft is a broad topic. Things such as what you do, where you live and even your physique and personality will determine what knife suits you best. That’s why I simply could not decide on the best bushcraft knife. What I can do, is tell you which knife is the best for me and why. And that’s exactly what I do in the video.

 

The shepherd’s axe and bushcraft by Polish highlanders

Some time ago, I traveled to the Tatra mountains and even climbed one of its highest peaks Rysy, which is also the highest point in Poland.

Simon the HighlanderBut what I really wanted to talk about are things I saw there. Not just up the hills but also in the local museum. So let me explain how all this relates to what we know today as bushcraft.

 

Me in the Museum

 

Ciupagi i kapelusz thumbnailYou see, I come from a country where up until relatively recently, people had to be largely self-sufficient. You can still observe that, especially, in the Polish highlands. The highlanders are renowned for their independence, hardiness and strong attachment to tradition, which by the way is also quite unique. Many of them still dress, sing and dance like their ancestors 200 years ago! Although, now it’s mostly to entertain tourists. They also have their distinct dialect, which to me sounds pretty damn awesome. I guess it’s a bit like the Appalachian American, which I also find very pleasant to listen to, only it doesn’t seem to have any negative connotations in Poland.

Highlanders Clothes  Swinica mountain

So when you go to a museum in the biggest and most famous tourist town in the area – Zakopane –  you quickly realise that self-reliance, survival and bushcraft are not just empty words, fads for crazy people with too much money and too little to worry about or terms reserved for some distant tribes from tropical regions. You learn that this is how people lived less than a human lifetime ago in a large European country.

What did I see? Well, just take a look at this awesome outdoor cooking rig and shepherd’s axes.

Highlander Bushcraft cooking rig

These, by the way, are probably the most underestimated survival tools I know. You take it on a hike as a walking stick but if need be, you can use it to take down a small tree, delimb it, split wood, drive nails or use it as a weapon since it is practically a little pole axe.

Timeline photo z ciupaga  Ciupagi thumbnail

 

Nowadays, the axe has become more of a prop in traditional dances and performances and is most often sold as an unusable souvenir. However, you can still find and buy proper shepherd’s axes, although, I hear that outside of Poland they can be ridiculously expensive. I got my carefully selected axes, with historically accurate ash wood shafts and decorated carbon steel heads for about $15-$20 each, and decided to bring this tool back to live and use it like in the good old times. It worked great.

Me as a highlander  Góralso kompozycjo

Ciupoga z copkom Ciupagi i kapelusz

 

But let’s take a look at some other interesting bushcraft and survival type tools I saw in the museum. Bear in mind, that these are things used on a day-to-day basis just a few decades ago.

axe heads and anti_wolf dog collarDecorated axe heads and an anti-wolf collar for a shepherd’s dog

Highland cleaver  Highlanders knives and pipes
Regional cleavers, typical highland-style knives, pipes and brooches

Highlander hunting equipment  Hunting_trapping
Hunting and trapping equipment including some massive bear trap, and hand-made slingshot/crossbows. Joerg Sprave from the slingshot channel would be proud.

Drill_chisel  Highlander White Room
A pump drill and a ‘spoon-making chisel’, plus an entire ‘white room’. It’s called white because it was the only room without a fireplace. It was to preserve the bright wooden walls and protect them from smoke.

And a little something from the mountains themselves

Bear  Słowacka strona z żółtego szlaku

 

Alpine accentor  chamois

 

My mountain  Cabins in the Mountains

 

nutcracker