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5 Best Kephart Knives for Outdoor Survivalists In 2024

Not every knife is beautiful. Some knives are rugged with a strong sense of toughness inside. More often than not, these knives are designed to be practical tools that every outdoorsman wants on their toolbelt.

What Is A Kephart Knife?

For serious outdoor survivalists, few knives can match the utility and power of the Kephart hunting knife. The original Kephart knife design is described as “everything you need, nothing you don’t”.

If you can get your hands on an original Kephart it features a thin walnut handle with an oval cross section that feels comfortable to hold. The blade is five inches long and ⅛ inch thick with a tapered tang. The spear point is also asymmetrical with the cutting edge pitched lower than the belly.

The Origins Of The Kephart Knife

The Origins Of The Kephart Knife
Kephart sits atop the first Mount Kephart.

Photo: George Masa / Kephart Family Collection, GSMA photo

The Kephart Knife was created in the early 1900’s by prominent outdoor writer and woodsman Horace Kephart.

This knife was first described in his book Camping and Woodcraft: A Handbook for Vacation Campers and for Travelers in the Wilderness. This book became an outdoor enthusiast’s bible with readers hungry for Kephart’s practical bushcraft knowledge.

Kephart’s book is still in publication today as it provides solutions to many issues that modern campers and travelers face in the wilderness. The book has also helped maintain the popularity of the Kephart Knife.

Since its creation, outdoorsmen have found the Kephart Knife an essential hunting tool in the wilderness. This knife is an outdoor classic that is popular with both hunters, survivalists, and avid knife collectors.

My Top 3 Kephart Knives

Buying Guide: An Easy Checklist For Finding A Quality Kephart

5 Best Kephart Knife Picks Reviewed

Kephart knives come in various shapes and sizes. Some have a more modern form while others are as close to the original as you can get. No matter the case, it’s easy to find a Kephart that offers you the best value for your hard-earned money.


Take the overall quality of the knife, for example. Those that offer the best value will usually contain signs that show their quality. They may be durable, be made of high-quality materials or they may even just be a display piece worth having in your collection.


A Kephart knife that is made with durable material, for instance, is one that will easily last a long time. It goes without saying that a knife that lasts years is one that provides you with a lot of value for the money you spent.

But the material a knife is made of and the quality it holds is only part of the entire picture.


Just as important is how a knife looks. A Kephart knife may be practical, but if it’s one that you hate using, all that practicality is for naught. Suffice it to say, it’s better to have a knife that you love than it is to have one that only gets the job done that you hate. If you love a certain knife enough, it’s easy to ignore all the problems that it brings.

Top Kephart Knife Picks

1. Ka-Bar Becker

Ka-Bar Becker Kephart Knife

The Ka-Bar Becker doesn’t do much different. It’s a standard Kephart and that’s a good thing. Although the Ka-Bar can serve as a good bush knife, there are other options that serve that purpose better. For a knife collector, however, few knives can come as close to replicating the original Kephart as the Ka-Bar does.

This is a full tang knife that is both durable and well-made. It’s well-balanced with a handle that is thin but comfortable to hold. It comes with a sheath that is of acceptable quality.

Although the price is on the higher side, the Ka-Bar is a well-made knife that makes a great fit for any collector’s home.


  • Blade is full tang
  • Knife is well-balanced and durable
  • Handle is thin and comfortable


  • Included sheath was of poor quality
  • Price is on the high side

$152.97 from Amazon

2. ESEE PR4 With Sheath

ESEE PR4 With Sheath

The ESEE PR4 Fixed Blade is a workhorse. Although it isn’t the most elegant piece, this rugged blade is perfect for anyone who spends any amount of time in the wilderness. The blade itself is made with sturdy and high-quality metal with a full tang. The handle is just as durable.

The PR4 isn’t the most comfortable knife around. The handle is adequate, but there are better knives around for comfort – especially for those with large hands. When it comes to practical use, however, the PR4 is hard to beat.

The design of the blade and the quality of the materials make for a knife that is a great choice for any outdoor survivalist.


  • Blade is sturdy with good durability
  • Sheath is made of high-quality material
  • Small size makes it a great choice for small hands


  • Handle is not the best choice for large hands
  • Handle can be uncomfortable at times
$115.43 from Amazon

3. Condor Tool & Knife

Condor Tool & Knife

The Condor Tool & Knife is a great value for the price. The material of the knife is high-quality. It has a full tang blade that is made with high carbon steel. The handle is wooden and just as durable as the rest of the knife. The knife is both practical and comfortable to use over many hours. In terms of value for the price, the Condor is hard to beat.

Unfortunately, despite these high points, the knife is full of minor issues. The blade had a huge burr on the cutting edge that needed to be removed. With a little DIY, however, these problems where easy to fix.

Overall, the Condor is a great knife for anyone not afraid to get their hands dirty.


  • Blade is made with high carbon steel
  • Wooden handle is comfortable for long use
  • Price is budget-friendly and offers great value


  • Knife requires some work before becoming usable
$62.04 from Amazon

4. Ontario Knife Company

Ontario Knife Company

The Bushcraft by Ontario Knife Company is an excellent blend of practicality and looks. It’s a lightweight knife with a simple design. Both the blade and handle are made with durable high-quality materials.

The handle is comfortable to hold with a minimalist but stylish design. Likewise, the blade is durable without many bells-and-whistles. It’s a small knife that is around 10 inches in length.

In terms of practicality, the simple design gives the bushcraft the ability to be a great choice for wilderness survival. Likewise, the simple design doesn’t take away from the knife’s ability to serve as a display piece.

Overall, the Bushcraft is an excellent choice for any avid knife collector and wilderness expert.


  • Lightweight and small with a simple grip
  • Comes with a high-quality sheath
  • Is both practical and a great display piece


  • Small size isn’t for everybody
$71.21 from Amazon

5. Kephart Blank By Condor Tool & Knife

Kephart Blank By Condor

The Kephart Blank isn’t a traditional knife as it doesn’t have a handle. This knife is a starting template so that you mount your own handle and add your personal touch.

The full tang blade is durable and high-quality. Unlike other knives, the blade is also usable right out of the box once a proper handle is attached.

Price wise, the Kephart Blank is affordable. The price of the handle, however, will depends on the material you select and the amount of work you want to put into the finish.

Overall, the Kephart Blank makes a great choice for anyone looking to bring out their individuality.


  • Usable out of the box
  • Made with quality materials
  • Blade is well-finished and easily holds an edge


  • Not the most durable knife
  • Requires a DIY handle
$28.62 from Amazon

Kephart Knife: A Bushcrafter’s Best Friend

A Kephart knife is a great piece to have in any knife collection. But it’s also a knife that is practical. Take the ESEE PR4 Fixed Blade, for example. The practicality that this knife offers makes it a great choice for any hardcore survivalist.

For a collector trying to find a piece as close to the original Kephart, the KA-BAR Becker Kephart Fixed Blade could easily serve just as well. What it lacks in practicality, it makes up for in looks.

All-in-all, the Kephart is a wonderful blade that is a great choice to have for outdoor survivalists.

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Last update on 2024-04-23 at 12:08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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