I get this sometimes: “I want a no-frills knife to use for bushcraft, and maybe some outdoors activities. And I don’t want to spend a fortune. What’s a good choice?
Well, a couple things here.
I believe you can’t afford to scrimp on your survival knife. (It may end up being the only tool you have in a survival situation.) And I don’t think anyone can afford cheap knives. At some point you’ll have to replace the cheapie with a better blade.
But “inexpensive” means it doesn’t cost a lost. Cheap means shoddy. A cheap knife will let you down when you need it. A quality inexpensive knife may hold up very well, depending on the materials, design and workmanship.
So here’s what to like about the Condor Bushlore:
Size: The Condor has about a four-inch blade, which is just about perfect for a bushcraft knife. It’s big enough to do most outdoor jobs, but small enough to be handy.
Handle: The micarta handle fits my (glove size) large hands very well. It is ergonomically designed so I don’t have any problems using it for a long whittling project. Micarta also seems to get “grippier” when it gets wet, so the combination of the material and design makes a very safe handle.
Steel: The blade is made of 1075 high carbon steel, with a blasted satin finish. A carbon steel blade will rust if you don’t take care of it. The steel will also not hold an edge like some of the more expensive tool steels. On the other hand, it is easy to sharpen.
Point: The drop point is a good choice for a bushcraft knife. The design is great for processing large animals, and useful for other finer knife work.
Full tang: The strongest knife is one that has a tang that goes completely through the handle. The Bushlore has that.
Spine: An often overlooked part of the blade is opposite the edge. The Bushlore spine is ground at 90 degree angles, like an ice skate, so it can be used for scraping a ferrocerium rod to make sparks for firemaking or shredding tinder.
Scandi grind: This grind is relatively abrupt, so the edge is wedge-like. This is a good design for splitting wood, and it is also easy to sharpen.
Leather Sheath: The sturdy sheath appears to be full-grain leather, and it protects the blade very well. Like all leather sheaths, it will take a little breaking in before the knife can be removed easily.
The knife comes with free shipping in the continental United States. Also included is some free credit card-sized firestarter to put in your wallet or survival kit.