12 Best Bushcraft Gear: These are the Essentials You Cannot Live Without

While some view bushcrafting as more about survival, it is all about developing a relationship with nature. To live off the land and enjoy all it has to offer, the right tools and gear are essential. Bushcrafting is not for the faint of heart and is certainly not for the ill-prepared.

For those who have never heard of Bushcraft, it includes the skills of fire-building, foraging for edible vegetables and fruits, hunting, wood crafting, twine making, camp crafting, water preparation, and food preparation in the wild.

When it comes to being able to enjoy bushcrafting in the wild, it is important you understand the need for owning the best bushcraft gear. With this guide, you will learn about some of the tools and gear that are considered essential for any bush crafter who wants to challenge themselves to live off the land and not only survive, but thrive.

The Right Bushcraft Gear Is Essential

The wilderness can be unforgiving, especially if a person is not properly prepared. Many people do not understand how truly challenging it can be. Watching survivalist television shows only offers a mere glimpse into the challenges that await you.

Before you set out on your first bushcraft adventure, it would be wise for you to take a survival course. With the skills you learn taking one of these courses, you will be able to survive a night under the stars or even learn to live off the land permanently. In addition to having the right skills, you also need the best bushcraft gear.

To take the guesswork out of the gear you need, we have compiled a list and are offering reviews to help you get started. This list contains the essentials, but you may find you are in need of further gear, depending on what type of bushcraft experience you are looking for.

From the right bushcraft backpack to knives and axes, we have you covered. Without further ado, let’s delve into the deep and prepare you for your first bushcraft experience. With the best gear for bushcraft, you will be able to rest assured you are properly prepared.

Ask any bushcrafter and they will tell you the most important thing when you bushcraft is having the right gear. Here, we will break down each piece of gear and help you understand why it is important. In addition to that information, we will also reveal our favorite product review for each piece of gear.

12 Best Bushcraft Gear

Hatchet/Axe

No matter how strong your knife is, there are going to be some things you simply cannot cut without an axe. If you safely know how to use an axe, it can be extremely helpful for cutting down trees and for building a shelter or a fire.

Some bushcrafters feel taking an axe causes too much weight, but if you are staying a long time or will be in close proximity to your vehicle, (Check out your vehicle needs on off road) it is definitely worth taking. Caution: if you are a beginner, it would be wise to choose a long-handled axe because it will require less swinging strength and is safer than a short-handled axe. The following is our pick for the best bushcraft axe.

OUR TOP PICK

Fiskars 378501-1002 X7 Hatchet

Summary

This is a short axe with a lot of power. Because of its compact size, it is ideal for stowing in your backpack or attaching to your side. If you have space, we highly recommend you taking an axe along.

What we really like about this axe is its delivery. It works much like a metal baseball bat, and if you have ever swung a baseball bat in your life, you will find using this axe to be easy.

This hatchet is designed to grow in power with each swing, cutting deeper each time you take a swing. The blade is constructed to have a low level of friction, so you will not find the head getting stuck in wood with deep cuts. With this hatchet, you will be able to chop wood much faster and with less effort.

PROS

  • Can easily be sharpened with a water stone
  • Made with carbon steel for superior strength
  • The blade is sharp for making clean cuts
  • Low friction means less getting stuck
  • Lightweight for portability
  • Lifetime warranty offered

CONS

  • Cannot handle cutting large trees

Survival Knives

The right bushcraft knife is essential for your trip into the wild, no matter how long you plan to stay. Because of its wide array of uses, many bushcrafters will tell you having the right survival knife is essential. If you cannot take an axe, you better be sure to at least take a knife. Without one of the two, you are going to have a rough time surviving in your wilderness experience.

EDITOR'S CHOICE

KA-BAR Full Size US Marine Corps Fighting Knife, Straight

Summary

You need a survival knife for protection, cleaning fish, cleaning small animals, cutting small branches for fires, creating a fire, and much more. Without the right knife, you could be in danger while bushcrafting.

We have tested a lot of survival knives and found the following to be our top pick. Let’s break down the basics of this great knife so you can learn more.

If you are looking for a good all-around survival knife, you cannot go wrong with this Ka-Bar. This design of knife is the most famous in the world and for good reason. It offers a super-tough and sharp 7-inch blade. The overall length is 11.875 inches.

PROS

  • The sheath is made from 100% leather
  • The carbon steel blade is soft, yet tough
  • The edge angles are 20-degrees
  • This knife is a staple in the military
  • This knife is meant to last for decades
  • Can cut through just about anything

CONS

  • Cannot fold for easy portability

Folding Handsaw

It is likely you have noticed a theme so far in our top twelve bushcraft gear reviews. Yes, cutting implements are absolutely essential to survival in the wild. Without them, you are a sitting target and will likely not make it past a single night.

You might wonder why you would need a folding saw if you have a survival knife and an axe, and we are here to tell you why. One of the reasons you need a saw for bushcraft is quiet. There are some instances you do not want to advertise your presence, but need to be able to saw small limbs without bringing out the heaviness of an axe. Consider the following, our perfect folding saw pick and one we love to use.

BEST VALUE

Folding Hand Saw Wood Saw Multi -Purpose 8' Triple Cut Carbon Steel Blade - Premium Folding Saw w/Gear Lock for Security - Ergonomic No-Slip Handle - Rugged Strength & Durability for Camping, Hiking

Summary

This saw is an ideal saw for bushcrafting because it offers so many versatile uses. It can cut through wood, bone, and even PVC. Believe me, when I say this, we really put this saw to the test.

I used it for sawing through small logs and branches with ease. I even tried using it on an old bone my dog had found and it made a clean cut with a little effort.

If you are going to take a saw on your bushcraft experience, you are going to need one that folds. Not only do you need a folding saw for portability, but you also need it for safety. It would not be a good idea to carry a saw blade around without some degree of protection.

PROS

  • The sharp blade cuts through bone, PVC, and wood
  • Compact design folds for easy carry
  • Rugged eight-inch blade stays sharp
  • Ergonomic grip is slip-resistant
  • Can be adjusted

CONS

  • Slightly difficult to close at first (Once you learn how it is easy)

Compass

Anyone with any sense of wilderness travel knows you should never leave home without a compass! Your sense of direction can become incredibly skewed, and a trail of bread crumbs simply will not cut it when you need to find your way back to camp.

Safe outdoor travel is built upon a strong foundation of being able to properly use a compass. Using a compass is not difficult, but it does require a bit of a learning curve, especially if you use it in conjunction with a map. Consider our top pick for the best bushcraft compass on the market.

RUNNER UP

DETUCK(TM Pocket Compass Outdoor Compass Antique Hiking Hunting Camping Survival Compass Metal Compass Tool (B-12)

Summary

If you are looking for a superior compass that is expertly crafted and always accurate, this Detuck model is for you.

This compass fits securely inside your pocket so you do not have to waste backpack space or worry about it being too large to carry.

First of all, right out of the box, we loved this compass! The antique brass finish look was charming and is just my style.

After reading the specs on this compass, I was quite impressed that it offered a glowing feature. You will not find many compasses that glow in the dark, and this is ideal if you need to travel terrain at night.

PROS

  • Perfectly accurate (Keep away from electronics and magnets)
  • Beautiful design with a classic antique look
  • Glows in the dark with power from the sun
  • Easily fits in your pocket
  • Easy to use

CONS

  • Does not come with a case

Tarp

There are a lot of things I consider essential when it comes to bushcrafting and tarps are one of them. Tarps can be used in countless ways, and it is important you know some of them for survival. Not only should you purchase at least one tarp, but it is wise if you have a few. The tarps can be easily folded tightly and put inside your backpack.

You can use a tarp for making a shelter, covering firewood, collecting rainwater, covering crops, hauling loads, camouflaging a vehicle, and much more. To ensure the tarp will be sturdy and durable, it is important to choose one that has been crafted specifically for bushcrafting. Consider our top pick below.

RUNNER UP

Aqua Quest Defender Tarp - 100% Waterproof Heavy Duty Nylon Bushcraft Survival Shelter - 10 x 10 ft Olive Drab

Summary

This tarp is available in three sizes, including 13X10, 10X10, and 10X7. This tarp is the real deal and it is extremely strong and durable. We tested it during a heavy downpour and not even one of us got wet.

I like that this tarp comes with its own sack, so you can fold it up compactly, and it fits perfectly in your backpack.

This tarp features webbing loops around the edges and in the center, to allow for multiple uses, including creating a quick shelter.

This tarp can even be set up in areas that do not have trees. I really appreciated how much quieter this tarp is than some others I’ve owned. Even when the wind begins to blow, it does not cause a lot of noise. This is one of the best rain gear for bushcraft you can own!

PROS

  • Durable, yet lightweight
  • Can be used in many ways
  • Quiet during heavy winds
  • Offers a lifetime warranty
  • Easy to install, even without trees
  • Comes with its own sack for easy storage
  • Able to withstand all types of weather conditions

CONS

  • A bit pricey

Outdoor Stove

You might be thinking carrying a stove with you on a bushcraft adventure is a little much, but you will be amazed at how thankful you are to have it. The right stove will allow you to boil water, cook a meal, and enjoy drinking a warm beverage, like coffee.

RUNNER UP

Bushcraft Essentials Outdoor Stove Bushbox LF

Summary

You cannot just take any old stove with you bushcrafting. You need something that is going to be extremely portable and lightweight. We found the best one after testing many models. Check it out below.

This stainless steel stove is one of the most innovative ones we have ever used. It folds up compactly, and we suggest purchasing the heavy-duty bag for storage. Although it is lightweight, it remains steady and is durable.

It can be used with all types of fuel sources, including gas, propane, and wood. Although the set does not come with a grill plate, you can purchase this at an additional cost. If you prefer an even lighter version, there is the option to purchase a titanium stove.

PROS

  • Easily folds and unfolds for storage and operation
  • Can be used with a variety of different fuel sources
  • Additional accessories can be purchased
  • Lightweight and durable
  • Easy to clean

CONS

  • Does not come with a durable storage bag (Can be purchased separately)

Cooking Post

Another essential you will need for any bushcraft expedition is a pot to cook in. Having access to a cooking pot will allow you to boil water, enjoy hot meals, and have access to warm beverages, like coffee. You need a good cooking pot to work with your foldable stove.

We tested a lot of bushcrafting/camping sets and found one that we feel is superior. This set made it easy for us to cook meals, boil our water, and kept us supplied with coffee.

RUNNER UP

G4Free Outdoor Camping pan Hiking Cookware Backpacking Cooking Picnic Bowl Pot Pan Set 4 Piece Camping Cookware Mess Kit(4 PCS-Green)

Summary

We knew we needed to include information on the best bushcraft cooking set, but I wanted to be sure we reviewed ones that were entirely portable and could offer more than one use. This set seemed to be just what the doctor ordered.

You can cook out of these and eat from them and all the handles fold up for easy storage. This set comes with its own mesh bag to keep everything properly stored.

The handles are made from silicone so they protect against burns while removing them from your stove.

What surprised us the most about this set, is the affordable price. I’ve used much more expensive cooking sets and they did not meet my needs nearly as much as this one. Best of all, all the pieces stack together so they are easy to carry.

PROS

  • The compact design makes them perfect for carrying in a backpack
  • Can be used for cooking and eating
  • Silicone handles prevent burns
  • Includes a storage bag
  • Easy to clean

CONS

  • On the small size

Bushcraft Backpack

Having the right backpack on your bushcraft adventure is an absolute necessity. Unless you have about twenty arms and many pockets, you are going to need something to hold all your gear. A backpack should be next on your list of purchases.

RUNNER UP

TETON Sports Scout 3400 Internal Frame Backpack; High-Performance Backpack for Backpacking, Hiking, Camping; Mecca Orange

Summary

You need a bushcraft backpack to be able to hold all your essential gear in one, easy to carry package. You also need to ensure you choose a durable backpack that is made for bushcrafting and can stand up to the harsh demands of the wilderness.

We researched and tried a lot of backpacks to come up with our top pick below. 

As we have stated, you cannot expect to go bushcrafting with any old gear and be able to survive.

You need a rugged backpack and this is the perfect one, in our opinion. This is a backpack that is made to perform in the wilderness and it contains plenty of space for all your essential gear.

PROS

  • Offers 3400 cubic inches of storage space
  • Adjustable for the perfect level of comfort
  • Contains a sleeping bag compartment
  • Offers a limited lifetime guarantee
  • Lightweight – weighs 4.5 pounds

CONS

  • Water pockets are on the smaller side

Water Filtration Tools

Water and shelter are your number one priorities, and in that order. Without a clean water supply, you will not last long in the wilderness and could potentially put your life in danger. Thankfully, there are devices on the market that help you filter dirty water to make it safe to drink.

RUNNER UP

Sawyer Products SP128 Mini Water Filtration System, Single, Blue

Summary

The biggest problem we have found with some of these devices is they are difficult to use and bulky. After a lot of research and trial and error, we have found what we consider to be the perfect fit for our bushcraft needs.

I was a little worried about the size of this Sawyer mini water filtration system, but I knew I had to try it because it was highly reviewed in all the bushcraft gear reviews I had read.

We thought it might not hold up because of its size, but we were truly wrong.

This filtration system promises to remove 99.99999% of all bacteria such as salmonella, cholera, and even E. coli. It also removes the same percentage of protozoa, like cryptosporidium and giardia. This small filtration system even removes microplastics.

PROS

  • Strong filter promises to filter up to 100,000 gallons
  • Compact design and only weighs two ounces
  • Includes everything you need, even a straw
  • Attaches to standard water bottles
  • Fits in the palm of your hand

CONS

  • Does not filter viruses

Paracord

I cannot sing the praises of paracords enough! If you are survivalist of any type, you must learn the many uses of paracords and why they are so essential for any bushcraft gear list. A paracord can get you out of some tight situations, so it is best to have one in your pocket at all times.

RUNNER UP

MilSpec Paracord Olive Drab Green 55 ft. Hank, Military Survival Braided Parachute 550 Cord. Use with Paracord Tools for Tent Camping, Hiking, Hunting Ropes, Bracelets & Projects. Plus 2 eBooks.

Summary

Paracord is a parachute cord and it is ultra-strong. You can make a fishing line, smaller game traps, make a shelter with branches, or replace your shoelaces. There are tons more options for use, and you would be wise to purchase a few.

In reviewing many types of paracord, we came across the following and really feel it deserves the position of our top pick.

I am always a little hesitant when a product says it is military-grade, but I had heard nothing but good things about Mil-Spec and decided to try it.

As an adventurer and bushcraft lover, I am always looking for the best gear and this paracord is certainly one of the best you can purchase.

This paracord even comes with two eBooks that give you ideas and direction on use. You will learn how to tie twenty of the most useful knots, and I advise you to practice before heading out on your first adventure.

PROS

  • Offers a 600-800-pound break strength
  • Military specification compliant
  • Comes in many different colors
  • Is good for thousands of uses
  • Includes two free eBooks

CONS

  • Not as thick as some cords, but the strength is on point

Fire Starter

If you’ve ever watched any survivalist shows, and we know you have, you will always hear them talking about the importance of getting a fire going as soon as possible. You will need a fire to keep wild animals at bay, to stay warm, and for cooking.

RUNNER UP

überleben Zünden Fire Starter | 5/16”, 3/8” or 1/2” Thick Bushcraft Fire Steel with Handcrafted Wood Handle | 12,000-20,000 Strikes | Traditional Survival Ferro Rod | Neck Lanyard | Trad 5/16'

Summary

Although you could take matches and a lighter, these can easily fail. Matches can become wet and will no longer work, and lighters may stop working or run out of lighter fluid. For the best results, you need a fire starter.

After trying out a host of fire starters, we came across this überleben and fell in love with it right away. First, I was truly impressed with the craftsmanship of this fire starter.

The handcrafted wood handle is ergonomically designed to fit just right in the palm of your hand.

It includes a neck lanyard, so you never have to worry about losing it.

This fire steel guarantees you to be able to throw a 5,500F shower of sparks under any temperature or weather conditions. I have to say, this fire starter really does the job, and it almost does it effortlessly. This fire starter is available in three different thicknesses and the thickest is good for 20,000 or more strikes.

PROS

  • Handcrafted wooden handle
  • Available in three thickness levels
  • Designed to be easily carried on the neck
  • Works perfectly under any weather conditions
  • Can be used as a hex wrench, bottle opener, and micro ruler

CONS

  • Does not come with a case

Sleeping Bag

Camping under the stars is not nearly as comfortable when you do not have a sleeping bag. No matter how hot it is during the day, you are going to find it chilly at night. Having a sleeping bag also keeps you safe. Ensuring you get a good night’s sleep is a top priority for having the energy for your bushcraft adventures.

RUNNER UP

Sleepingo Double Sleeping Bag for Backpacking, Camping, Or Hiking, Queen Size XL! Cold Weather 2 Person Waterproof Sleeping Bag for Adults Or Teens. Truck, Tent, Or Sleeping Pad, Lightweight

Summary

We have used a lot of sleeping bags over the years and have found one that truly offers the highest level of comfort and protection. Check out our top pick below.

This extra-large queen sleeping bag is ideal if you bushcraft with your special someone. It is made from durable materials, and yet, it feels super-soft against your skin.

There is plenty of room for two people, and sleeping in the same sleeping bag allows you to combine your body heat for added warmth.

This offers you comfort in temperatures down to 32 degrees. Best of all, you can use this sleeping bag as a two-person bag or separate them into two separate sleeping bags. This set comes with two pillows and folds up easily in the included compact bag.

PROS

  • Folds into a compact bag
  • Offers two travel pillows
  • Tough and durable construction
  • Protects in temperatures down to 32 degrees
  • Can be used as a large single or smaller double bags

CONS

  • Not for extreme cold

Best Bushcraft Gear Buying Guide

Frequently Asked Questions

We get a lot of questions from our faithful readers, and as always, we have decided to answer a few so they benefit everyone who comes across this review.

When is the best time of year for bushcraft? 

Depending on who you ask, you are likely to get a lot of varied answers on the best time for bushcrafting. I would advise new bushcrafters to try out an adventure in early fall. Depending on which part of the country you are from, this allows you to avoid the major heat of summer, without the freezing temperatures of winter.

What are the three most important pieces of bushcraft gear?

Firestarter, survival knife, and a water purifier - Do not leave home without these three!

What skills are needed for bushcraft?

We recommend our readers take a bushcraft course prior to going on their first trip into the wild. You will need to learn how to safely forage for food, how to build a fire, how to build a shelter, and how to seek out clean water, among other skills. You can learn all you need to know in a survival bushcraft course.

Conclusions

We have provided you with a lot of helpful information on the best bushcraft gear. With our reviews and in-depth information, you should now be prepared to start making your purchases. We would feel confident in going into a bushcraft adventure with the above gear. Feel free to follow our links to learn more about each product or make your purchase.

As always, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to reach out to us. We love hearing from our readers and enjoy learning tips from you guys as well! Happy Bushcrafting!

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