Bushcraft knives are an essential piece of outdoor kit, and because of their small size make the ideal gift to hide down the bottom of a Christmas stocking for the outdoorsman in your life.
Today there are hundreds of name brand bushcraft knives on the market in many different styles with flashy designs, and a good bushcraft knife can be used for all sorts of functions like cutting down branches, making wooden tools, even shaving if you want to keep your face smooth while roughing it outdoors.
The best type of knife you can own is the one you have on you when you need it, and two of the most versatile brands that are available from ProAdventure include the long-standing French produced carbon steel and specialist stainless steel outdoor activity knives from Opinel, and the superb bushcraft knives from Swedish firm Casström.
Opinel has manufactured and marketed a line of wooden-handled knives since 1890 from its headquarters in France, where the family-run company also operates a museum dedicated to its knives, of which they sell about 15 million annually.
Joseph Opinel began making knives in 1890 in Savoie as a simple working man’s knife. It proved popular with the local farmers, herdsmen and winemakers of the area and by 1897 a series of 12 sizes were developed. From 1901–1903, Joseph Opinel built his first factory and produced a machine for the mass production of the wooden handles. By 1909 he had registered his first trademark, choosing the crowned hand as his company logo. A few years’ later Opinel annual sales were in the hundreds of thousands, and by the start of World War II as many as 20 million knives had been sold.
In France, the word ‘Opinel’ has become a term used to refer to any wooden-handled folding knife, not necessarily only those made by the company, much like Hoover is a generic term for vacuum cleaners.
In 1985 the Victoria & Albert Museum in London selected the Opinel knife as part of an exhibit celebrating the “100 most beautiful products in the world”, featuring the Opinel alongside the Porsche 911 sports car and the Rolex watch.
Casström is a family-owned company committed to delivering the best and most inspiring range of products for bushcraft, hunting and other outdoor pursuits.
Founded by David Cassini Bäckström, a third-generation entrepreneur who deals with knives, leather and horns. His grandfather Mauritz Bäckström worked as a salesman and businessman throughout his life and established a shoe and leather goods business; his son Örjan Bäckström continued in the trade and then worked in Real Estate before turning to the hunting and knife industry.
Under David Bäckström, Casström produce their own premium quality range of knives, including collaborations with such well-known and respected names as Lars Fält, Alan Wood and Roger Harrington. With the company roots still firmly planted in Swedish Lapland, they sell predominantly Scandinavian products displaying high levels of innovation and craftsmanship; the range including a wide selection of fixed blade knives, folding knives, axes, leather goods and outdoor accessories. Their carving knives, including the spoon knives, come with a leather sheath.
Casström designs are based on Scandinavian knife traditions but with modifications and modernization inspired by user feedback and tests. Many of their Nordic products are handmade and made of natural materials such as silver birch masur and purehorn. These materials are not mass produced, which adds to their uniqueness.
ProAdventure have a good selection of bushcraft and general purpose knives from Opinel and Casström to cater for almost any eventuality when adventuring outdoors.