Now that the weather has turned cold, it’s time to build fires more frequently while out on my weekly excursions into the woods. While I could carry a nice axe into the woods with me, carrying a quality knife that’s capable of throwing sparks and batoning is a preferable choice for me.
My knife of choice to solve this problem is the Condor Bushlore ...in case anyone didn’t see that coming.
After owning the Bushlore for a little over 2 years now I can say it’s one of the best all purpose bushcraft knives in the fifty dollar market. It’s actually pretty amazing what you get from this knife in this price range.
|Condor Bushlore Knife|
Condor Bushlore General Specs
The Condor Bushlore falls into an interesting place in the bushcraft world. It’s larger than a good slicing knife but falls short of a chopper like the Condor Hudson Bay. This comes with the obvious caveat that a knife that tries to do everything won’t do everything well but it will handle most things adequately.
I don’t want to spend a lot of time talking about the specs of this knife but I would like to mention that it hits all the points I look for in a survival / bushcraft knife. This knife comes with a 4 inch blade and ⅛ inch thick spine that makes it great for batoning. Moving through a decent sized log like butter. You can see an example of its batoning capabilities in the video above.
The Bushlore is a full tang knife and is made from 1075 carbon steel. Which according to my research means that it won’t hold an edge as long as 1095 but is easier to sharpen. If I’m wrong in some regard please feel free to correct me below.
In my experience the knife holds an edge well. I haven’t really compared it to any of my 1095 knives such as the Mora Companion but it holds an edge well enough for my use.
Handle and ergonomics
The handle features a decent set of wooden scales that are pretty tight and hold up really well to batonning. After 2 years of beating on the knife and putting it through the ringer I haven’t noticed any looseness or issues. Of course because the knife features wood scales you will need to take care to oil them from time to time.
To properly care for the wooden scales I use linseed oil. I’ve even used bacon grease. I wouldn’t recommend this long term but if it works for cast iron it can work for this. Fill free to grill me in the comments.
The handle on the Bushlore contours really well to my hand with no noticeable hotspots. However, I have larger hands and the large handle works well. But even if you have smaller hands the wooden scales could be sanded down to a more pleasing shape.
Because the Bushlore has a large handle it gives you a lot of flexibility. You can choke up pretty tightly on the blade for intricate carving while also being able to chop or slice with it as well. The handle also features a laynard hole towards the bottom. Personally I have never felt the need to use it. But it's there if you choose to do so.
Does The Condor Bushlore Come With A Sheath?
This $50 dollar knife comes with one of the best leather sheaths I have seen. Even better than my Buck 119 or Mora Garberg. Both of which are far more expensive than the Condor Bushlore.
The fit of the sheath around the knife is snug and won’t come loose even when turned upside down and shaken. A test I do with every knife I buy. The last thing you want is to lose a knife while out on a wilderness trek.
The sheath is made from tough leather and is held together by tight stitching and 2 reinforced rivets. It also features a 2 inch loop that will fit most belts even the tacti-cool ones. One thing I will mention with this knife is the belt carry can be a little awkward given the weight of the handle. But it’s minor and certainly not a deal breaker.
How Does The Condor Bushlore Handle Camp Tasks?
Now that we’ve gotten the basics out of the way, let's talk about how this knife handles various camp tasks. I’ve already mentioned that it make short work of splitting firewood by way of batoning. But splitting firewood isn’t the only camp chore.
If you want to light your firewood with something like a ferro rod the 90 degree spine that comes factory on the knife makes throwing a shower of sparks a relatively simple task. A 90 degree spine while not a requirement of mine for a bushcraft or survival knife is a nice feature from the factory.
I mentioned earlier that this knife is a decent slicer. Using to skin small animals such as squirrel or cleaning a fish is fairly easy. The knife comes decently sharp from the factory, it’s not the sharpest I have ever received but a few passes on a stropping block brings the edge to satisfactorily edge.
As shown in the video making stakes, trigger sets, feather sticks, or a notch for a firebow is a cinch. While the video demonstration was done with green wood, even seasoned wood is easily carved into whatever you need.
Final thoughts and wrap up
I surprisingly find it pretty hard to have anything bad to say about this knife. Condor has really outdone themselves with the Bushlore. Being able to craft such a great knife that price point is pretty much unheard of. The only knife that comes close in the same price range is the Gerber Strongarm and I would consider that more a general purpose workhorse rather than a bushcraft knife.
I tend to switch out knives a good bit but I always find myself coming back to the Bushlore because it is a decent little knife. I think for me the big thing with this knife is the traditional look and feel that it present.s It just feels like a classic woodsman knife.
Overall this knife tries to accomplish a lot and I have to say honestly it does things pretty well. It doesn’t chop as well as a dedicated chopper and it doesn’t slice as well as something like the Buck open season skinner but it does tasks well enough. Even in a survival situation I would take this knife over a lot of other knives.
The bushlore hits pretty much all requirements I have for a bushcraft or survival knife. Full tang, 4+ inch blade, ⅛ inch 90 degree spine, and made from carbon steel.
Are there better knives out there than the Condor Bushlore? Absolutely, but try finding a knife in the price point this knife is in that does everything the Bushlore does. It’s fairly obvious this knife was designed by a true woodsman and I would recommend anyone looking for a decent bushcraft knife that doesn’t want to break the bank consider taking a look at the Condor Bushlore.
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Remember adventure...is waiting.