A good knife can perform a multitude of essential tasks and make your outdoor experience much more enjoyable. Good bushcraft knives can be expensive. Generally speaking though, it’s not something most occasional outdoor excursionists are willing to drop a lot of euros on. It’s often more needed for things like tents, sleeping bags, packs, boots, etc. The latest budget bushcraft/camping knives offering from European budget supermarket chain Lidl may be about to change all that though.
In the video above I review and test these knives in the field. Check it out on youTube here.
What is a bushcraft/camping knife?
Generally speaking a fixed blade knife with a blade length of around 4 inches. This blade length gives the knife a general sort of all-purpose ability to do most tasks. It also provides a good balance between size, weight, and strength.
Folding knives are viable options too. However, some strength will be compromised over a fixed blade alternative.
About the knives
These are two budget bushcraft knives that came into Lidl. Both are fixed blades and stainless steel.
One is a wooden-handled traditionally classic-looking knife. The other is a plastic-handled and more modern-looking knife, much like a Morakniv Companion Spark.
Both have similar blade lengths of around four inches. That’s where the similarities end though with both knives being very different in most other ways.
Both knives cost me €5.99 each. This truly puts them both in the realm of budget bushcraft knives.
Classic style bushcraft knife
As mentioned earlier this is a traditionally classic-looking bushcraft style knife. It has the deepest blade of the two knives and is a bit thicker too.
It’s a full tang knife meaning the metal of the blade runs the full length of the handle. This combined with the blade thickness gives it great strength.
The edge of the blade is sharp but not overly so, not razor-sharp or anywhere near it. Sharp enough though for most cutting and carving tasks.
The spine of the blade has an unpolished 90-degree edge. This makes it very suitable for striking a firesteel off, and also for scraping dry wood for making tinder material.
The knife feels very comfortable and secure in the hand. The wooden handle is held in place with two rivets.
This knife is much heavier than the other one but still a very manageable weight.
Modern style bushcraft knife
A more modern-looking bushcraft-style knife very much along the lines of the Morakniv Companion Spark.
The blade itself is not very deep and much less so than the first knife. It’s also not as thick, and overall way lighter than the other knife.
The sharpness is pretty much identical to the other knife, sharp but not razor sharp. Sharp enough to do what you need it to.
The grip differs from the other knife with a deep recess for the index and middle fingers. The handle has a grippy textured rubber-type material on the underside and extends up the sides.
The recess and textured grip make it feel very secure and safe to hold and cut with.
This knife also has an unpolished 90-degree spine making it suitable for tinder scraping and firesteel striking.
A neat feature of this budget bushcraft knife is the firesteel contained in the handle. It simply pulls out ready to shoot sparks off with the spine of your knife.
The firesteel is effective at producing sparks and should last a long time. It also has a little string attached to help prevent losing it.
Not a full tang knife, probably a partial tang. I make this assumption based on where and how deep the firesteel fits into the handle (as seen below). That means the blade material goes only partially into the handle.
And therein lies the downside of this knife. The strength is compromised due to its partial tang. Things like batoning and high-pressure deep cutting will most likely push this knife well past its limits.
I still like it though and I keep it attached to my backpack as an emergency backup to my primary knife. It would serve well also as a multi-purpose knife for kayak camping.
The sheath for both knives is a pretty basic plastic affair.
The knives are secured in the sheath via a friction fit. There’s no audible click to let you know the knife is secured or anything like that which I kinda don’t like.
It seems to be a case of the further you push the knife into the sheath the more secured it becomes.
One-handed knife draw is perfectly doable for both sheaths with enough room on the sheath to hold the thumb of your drawing hand.
Both sheaths secure to your belt via a pretty standard but dependable belt clip as seen below.
The only major difference between the two is that the traditional-looking knife sheath has a little rubber grommet. This is positioned at the bottom of the belt clip. I imagine it’s to keep the wooden handle out from the hard plastic of the sheath and prevent scraping it.
The clear winner for me is the traditional-looking wooden handled knife. It’s a really strong full tang knife that looks great. That’s normally something you’ll pay quite a bit for. How they can sell it for €6 quite frankly beggars belief.
The other more modern style knife is much flimsier in comparison but it’s still a decent knife for occasional outdoor adventures or as a backup emergency knife. Definitely worth €6 anyway.
Both knives are let down by the sheaths but you can’t have everything. They do the job but they just look terrible.
There is one big catch for both of these budget bushcraft knives though and that’s the availability. It’s a special buy item in Lidl meaning it comes in once a year (twice if you’re lucky) for one or two weeks at a time. Most likely you’ll have already missed the boat.
However, the same special buy items reappear from time to time so you could get lucky. At least now you know they’re worth buying! The next time they’re due in be there that day and don’t miss out!
Share your thoughts
As always, feel free to leave a comment if you have any thoughts, advice, questions, or opinions related to this article.
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