8 Best Kukri Knives

Last Updated November 4, 2023
Top 3 Best Kukri Knives
EGKH British Gurkha Afghan Issue Khukuri
EGKH British Gurkha Afghan Issue Khukuri
  • 11″ blade with a 5″ rosewood handle and full tang design.
  • Hand forged in Nepal by traditional kukri makers.
  • Made from unpolished Nepalese steel with a very sharp edge.
  • Sheath made from buffalo leather backed canvas.
  • Comes with a karda (small utility knife) and a chakmak (blunted steel tool for sharpening).
CRKT KUK Full Tang Kukri
CRKT KUK Full Tang Kukri
  • 10.5-inch blade made of 65 Mn high carbon steel with a black powder finish for rust resistance.
  • Textured grip with rubber handle for enhanced handling and vibration absorption.
  • Retains sharp edge well, even after prolonged use.
Condor Tools & Knives Heavy Duty Kukri Knife
Condor Tools & Knives Heavy Duty Kukri Knife
  • 10-inch blade made of 1075 high carbon steel, perfect for utility and self-defense purposes.
  • Natural hardwood handle for a comfortable grip.
  • Blasted satin finish on the blade for a high polish appearance.
  • Comes with a natural leather sheath featuring a slip-in design with two snaps for secure storage.
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Kukri knife, also known as the khukuri knife, is one of the most famous bladed weapons in the world. The signature tool of the renowned Gurkha regiment of the British Army, it’s been used by the people of Nepal for centuries. There’s a reason for this too: The Kukri is one serious knife. Today we’ll be reviewing some of the best kukri knives available to help you find the perfect one for you.

Best Kukri Knives Reviewed

Finding the best kukri knives wasn’t easy. The category is broad and highly popular, with dozens of different companies producing hundreds of different kukri knives.

We did our best to pick out several great examples of each type, price point, and style of kukri.

EGKH British Gurkha Afghan Issue Khukuri

EGKH British Gurkha Afghan Issue Khukuri
The EGKH kukri knife product picture

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The EGKH British Gurkha Afghan Issue Khukuri is a real deal British army issue kukri knife. It was hand forged in Nepal by master Bishwakarmas, the traditional makers of Nepalese kukri.

It has an 11” blade with a 5” rosewood handle and uses a full tang design. It’s made from unpolished Nepalese steel and has a very sharp edge.

The sheath is made from buffalo leather backed canvas with a pair of ties to secure your kukri inside. As is traditional with Kukri knives it comes with both a karda and a chakmak. These are a small utility knife and a blunted steel tool used for sharpening.

One thing to keep in mind is that this kukri is a handmade product. Every kukri will be slightly different from one another, with small imperfections likely.

If you want the most authentic possible Nepalese khukuri knife and are okay with minor imperfections, the EGKH British Gurkha Afghan Issue Khukuri is the blade for you.

CRKT KUK Full Tang Kukri

CRKT KUK Full Tang Kukri
The CRKT kukri knife product picture

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I am an avid outdoorsman who thrives on hiking, camping, and embracing the wild. My quest for a reliable companion led me to the CRKT KUK Full Tang Kukri, a majestic blend of traditional kukri design with a modern twist by master bladesmith Ryan Johnson of RMJ Tactical. As someone who has always been keen on quality craftsmanship, the 65 Mn high carbon steel with a black powder finish promised durability and resistance against rust and corrosion, which was a selling point.

The moment I held the CRKT KUK, its 10.5-inch blade resonated with the primal wilderness enthusiast in me. With an overall length of just under 16 inches, it felt like an extension of my arm. The full tang design, veering away from the traditional kukri handle, instead offered a pair of highly textured injection molded scales. This deviation, although robbing the kukri of its traditional aesthetic, provided an excellent grip which was crucial during my ventures into the backcountry.

Now, having owned a CRKT Tomahawk for a decade, I had sky-high expectations. The tomahawk never flinched, even in the face of rigorous outdoor tasks. However, the KUK left me with mixed feelings. The asymmetrical grinds on its spine were a letdown, and the blade, although sharp and seemingly strong, didn’t exude the same confidence my tomahawk did when powering through thick underbrush.

I took it for a spin in my backyard wilderness, tackling tall overgrown grass, brush, and menacing thorn bushes. The edge retention was impressive, with no significant deformation, just a minor roll that a quick swipe on a sharpener rectified. Yet, the blade felt somewhat fragile compared to the robustness of other CRKT products I’ve owned.

The rubber handle absorbed the vibrations well, making chopping off firewood or clearing trails less of a hassle. However, the black coating on the blade started showing signs of wear, especially at the chopping areas, which was a tad disappointing.

The sheath, although functional, could use some refinement in the belt attachment area. It felt a little awkward looping my belt through it, almost as if it wasn’t designed with that in mind. Drawing and sheathing with one hand required a bit of a learning curve but with some practice, it became somewhat doable.

I decided to test the KUK on a weekend hiking trip in the Appalachian trails. As the dawn painted the sky with hues of orange and pink, I set forth with the KUK securely strapped to my belt. The first test came sooner than expected when I encountered a thicket of brambles blocking my path. With a firm grip, I swung the KUK and it made clean cuts through the thorny nuisances, clearing my way. The blade, sharp and ready, seemed to crave the wild as much as I did.

As the day wore on, I found a small clearing to set up camp. The KUK was at my side again, helping me gather and chop firewood with relative ease. The comfort of the grip even after hours of use was appreciable. However, the real test came when a sudden downpour hit. The rain was relentless, yet the KUK’s grip remained steadfast, not once slipping from my hand. The black coating, though, began showing more signs of wear as I worked through the wet wood and foliage.

The personal connection I developed with the KUK through this expedition was unexpected. Despite its minor flaws, it felt like a reliable companion against the unpredictable wild. Each swing through the dense brush resonated with the spirit of adventure that courses through my veins, making the wilderness feel a bit more like home.

In conclusion, the CRKT KUK is a commendable blend of tradition and modern functionality. While it might not replace my tomahawk for the heavy-duty tasks, it’s a worthy addition to my outdoor gear collection, especially for moderate usage. The price point is reasonable, and I find its performance satisfactory, although there’s room for improvement in blade construction and sheath design. The adventurous spirit in me appreciates the reliability it offers in the wild, and I’d be keen to see how it holds up over time.

Pros:

  • Material Quality: Made from 65 Mn high carbon steel with a black powder finish providing rust and corrosion resistance.
  • Grip: Highly textured injection molded scales offer an excellent grip, further enhanced by the rubber handle which is great even with gloves.
  • Edge Retention: Holds its edge well even after extended use, showing minimal deformation.
  • Vibration Absorption: The handle design significantly reduces vibration, making it comfortable for extended use.
  • Reasonable Price: Offers good value for the price, especially for outdoor enthusiasts.
  • Weight and Balance: The KUK has a good weight and balance which aids in easier handling during chopping or clearing tasks.

Cons:

  • Blade Construction: Asymmetrical grinds on the spine and a somewhat fragile feel compared to other CRKT products.
  • Coating Wear: The black coating tends to wear off with use, especially in the chopping areas.
  • Sheath Design: Functional but could use refinement in the belt attachment area; one-hand drawing and sheathing requires a bit of practice.
  • Traditional Aesthetic: The modern handle design takes away from the traditional look of a kukri.
  • Confidence in Use: Doesn’t instill the same confidence as some other CRKT products when it comes to tackling heavy-duty tasks.

Condor Tools & Knives Heavy Duty Kukri Knife

Condor Tools & Knives Heavy Duty Kukri Knife
The Condor Tools kukri knife product picture

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The Condor Tools & Knives Heavy Duty Kukri Knife is an overbuilt tool designed for serious use. It’s made from 1075 high carbon steel and has a gorgeous natural hardwood handle.

This Condor knife has a 10 in blade, perfect for utility work or as a self-defense tool. The blade has a blasted satin finish for a high polish.

It comes with a natural leather sheath that uses a slip in design with two snaps. This gives you a very secure hold.

The Condor Tools & Knives Heavy Duty Kukri is a rugged and dependable kukri knife. It’s definitely on the high side pricewise, but makes up for it with it’s excellent build quality.

Fox Cutlery Tactical Trakker Kukri

Fox Cutlery Tactical Trakker Kukri
The Fox Cutlery kukri knife product picture

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The Fox Cutlery Tactical Trakker Kukri is a modified kukri knife optimized for self-defense. It has a 9.25 in blade made from N690Co stainless steel with a powder coated finish.

This gives it excellent corrosion resistance and the ability to take a very sharp edge. The overall length is just over 14 in. It uses a full tang design with FORPRENE composite handles.

These give you an excellent grip even in wet conditions. The blade comes quite sharp and has a nonstandard profile for a kukri knife, without the classic notch. It comes standard with a 1000D black nylon sheath.

The Fox Cutlery Tactical Trakker Kukri is a very nice kukri knife made from premium materials. It’s definitely expensive for a kukri knife, but you end up with a really nice kukri knife for your money.

Ka-Bar Combat Kukri Knife

Ka-Bar Combat Kukri Knife
The Ka-Bar kukri knife product picture

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Ka-Bar is one of the most well known names in the knife and self-defense world. Their Marine Fighting Utility Knife has been used on the frontlines since WWII. The Ka-Bar Combat Kukri Knife combines the aesthetic and functionality of these two famous knives.

It has the curved shape and blade profile of a kukri, with the iconic handle style of the Marine Fighting Utility Knife. This gives you an excellent utility and self defense tool that’s easy to hold onto.

The Ka-Bar Combat Kukri has an overall length of just over 13 in, with a blade length of 8.5 in. That gives you a slightly more compact kukri than usual but still a lot of useful blade.

It’s made from powder-coated 1095 steel and comes with a heavy-duty polyester sheath.

The Ka-Bar Combat Kukri is a really nice utility kukri from a highly reputable manufacturer. It’s a little bit more expensive than some other kukri knives but overall a great value.

Cold Steel Royal Kukri Machete

Cold Steel Royal Kukri Machete
The Cold Steel kukri knife product picture

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The Cold Steel Royal Kukri Machete is an extra large kukri knife intended for utility use. It has an overall length of nearly 21 in, with a blade length of fully 15.5 in.

That’s a whole lot of usable blade. It’s made from 1055 high carbon steel with a black powder finish. This allows you to put an excellent edge on the blade while still protecting it from corrosion.

The handles are made from molded composite materials with an excellent grip pattern. This makes it easy to hold onto even in wet or rainy conditions. It comes with a Cor-Ex sheath.

Its large size and high-quality build make the Cold Steel Royal Kukri Machete an excellent general purpose tool or self-defense weapon.

OKC Kukri Knife

OKC Kukri Knife
The OKC kukri knife product picture

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The Ontario Knife Company Kukri knife is a large and highly capable modern kukri. It’s made from 1095 high carbon steel with a black corrosion resistant coating.

It has a 12 in blade with an overall length of 17 in. That’s on the high end of traditional kukri knives, but excellent for both self defense and utility tasks.

The OKC Kukri uses a full tang design with modern G10 composite scales. You get a knife that’s comfortable to hold and secure in your grip. It comes with a black nylon sheath that can be attached to your belt or bag.

It also has an included lanyard to make it easier to retain while using it.

The OKC Kukri Knife is a well made kukri from a respected manufacturer. It’s on the large end of the knife spectrum but is highly used for a variety of tasks.

Boker Magnum Pocket Folding Kukri

Boker Magnum Pocket Folding Kukri
The Boker kukri knife product picture

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The Boker Magnum Pocket Folding Kukri is an unusual entry into the kukri category. We mentioned below that most folding kukri were little more than novelties, this is the exception.

It has a 4.625 in long stainless steel blade that folds into a black G10 handle. This gives you a surprising amount of useful blade for a folding knife, with the distinctive kukri blade profile.

The Magnum has a linerlock to keep the blade steady while in use and folds out quickly with the help of a flipper. As a folding knife it doesn’t come with a sheath but it’s small and light enough, just 7.9 oz, to fit comfortably in your pocket.

The Boker Magnum Pocket Folding Kukri is great for use by fishermen, hikers, and anyone else who wants a large and highly capable folder in their pocket.

Buyers Guide to Buying the Best Kukri Knife

Choosing the right kukri knife really depends on what kind of knife you’re looking for. The traditional kukri is an excellent tool, but it has been modified and improved by dozens of different modern manufacturers.

You can pick between a classic Nepalese khukuri or a highly tactical kukri style combat knife made from the finest modern materials. Before reading our buyer’s guide we also have reviews for the best machetes and best bowie knives you should check out.

Price

There is a wide range in kukri knife prices. They start at value models made from cheaper materials in the $10-$20 range and go all the way up to hundreds of dollars for original Nepalese kukri.

Blade

The most distinctive feature of a kukri knife is its recurved blade. Most knives have a curve with the blade on the outside. The kukri reverses this and gives you a crescent shaped blade with the sharpened portion on the interior of the curve.

Wherever the shape and layout came from, it’s great for utility work and highly effective as a close in weapon for hand to hand combat.

Handle

The classic kukri handle is made from hardwood or buffalo horn, with a pronounced flare at the butt. This helps prevent the knife from slipping during use.

You can also choose from more modern flattened handles with textured scales. These will usually be more comfortable for folks who are used to Western style knives and machetes.

Cut-Out

At the base of the blade you’ll usually find a small notch or cut-out. The reason for this has been lost to history, but different stories say that it’s to allow blood and sap to run off the blade without making the handle slippery, as a guide for sharpening or as a representation of a cow’s foot indicating a connection with the god Shiva.

At this point it’s less a functional feature of the kukri and more part of its distinctive look.

Tang

One thing many people are surprised to learn is that the traditional kukri knife uses a partial tang. Rather than a standard stick style full tang extending through the handle the kukri most commonly used a rounded partial tang that made up part of the handle.

Many modern reproductions have changed this to go with a full tang design with a flatter handle. If you’re looking for a true kukri though you should stick with the rounded partial tang design.

Weight and Size

The traditional kukri was similar in size to a machete, with a total length of between 14 and 18 inches and a weight around one to two pounds. Modern kukri are available in a variety of sizes and weights.

You can actually get folding kukri knives now, though the majority of these fall under the curiosity category more than useful tools.

Sheath

You can get a kukri sheath in just about any material, with just about any level of decoration. Leather and decorated wood were the most common kukri scabbard materials in the past.

Now though you can choose from leather, wood, canvas, nylon, kydex, and any other modern material imaginable.

Top Kukri Knives Video

FAQ: Best Kukri Knife

As you explore the world of camping and hiking, having the right tools can make a significant difference in your outdoor adventures. When it comes to versatile and reliable cutting tools, the kukri knife stands out as a popular choice among outdoor enthusiasts. However, with a wide range of options available, it’s natural to have questions about the best kukri knife for your needs. In this Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section, we address common inquiries to help you make an informed decision. From understanding the features to consider when purchasing a kukri knife to maintenance tips and even its potential for self-defense, we’ve compiled answers to help you navigate the world of kukri knives confidently. So, let’s dive in and find the answers to your burning questions about the best kukri knife for your camping and hiking needs.

What is a kukri knife?

A kukri knife is a traditional Nepalese knife characterized by its inwardly curved blade. It is commonly used as both a tool and a weapon. The unique design of the kukri knife allows for various applications such as chopping, slicing, and even digging.

Why should I choose a kukri knife for camping and hiking?

Kukri knives are versatile and durable tools that can be incredibly useful in outdoor activities like camping and hiking. They are designed for heavy-duty tasks, such as chopping firewood, clearing trails, preparing food, and even self-defense if needed.

What are the key features to consider when buying a kukri knife?

When choosing the best kukri knife, consider factors such as the blade material (stainless steel, carbon steel), blade length, handle design (ergonomics and grip), sheath quality, weight, and overall balance. Additionally, consider the intended use and personal preferences to find the best fit for your needs.

Which blade material is better: stainless steel or carbon steel?

Both stainless steel and carbon steel have their own advantages. Stainless steel blades are corrosion-resistant, require less maintenance, and are generally more affordable. On the other hand, carbon steel blades are known for their exceptional sharpness and durability. The choice depends on your specific needs and preferences.

What is the ideal blade length for a kukri knife?

The ideal blade length depends on your intended use. For general camping and hiking purposes, a blade length between 10 to 14 inches is considered sufficient. Shorter blades offer better maneuverability, while longer blades provide more chopping power.

How important is the handle design?

The handle design of a kukri knife is crucial for comfort and safety during use. Look for handles with ergonomic shapes that offer a secure grip. Materials like rubber, wood, or synthetic composites are commonly used for kukri knife handles, each with its own advantages in terms of grip, durability, and moisture resistance.

What should I look for in a kukri knife sheath?

A good kukri knife sheath should be sturdy, well-constructed, and offer a secure fit for the knife. Look for sheaths made from durable materials like leather or Kydex, with reliable retention systems such as snaps, buttons, or straps. Consider additional features like belt loops or MOLLE compatibility for easy carry during outdoor activities.

Are there any maintenance tips for kukri knives?

To maintain your kukri knife, clean and dry it after each use to prevent rust or corrosion. Apply a thin layer of oil to the blade for added protection. Sharpen the blade regularly using appropriate tools like sharpening stones or honing rods. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for specific maintenance recommendations.

Can a kukri knife be used for self-defense?

Yes, a kukri knife can be used for self-defense if needed. Its heavy blade and forward weight distribution make it effective for delivering powerful strikes. However, it’s important to note that self-defense laws and regulations vary by jurisdiction, so be sure to familiarize yourself with the legalities and use your kukri knife responsibly.

Remember, always prioritize safety and proper knife handling techniques when using any bladed tool, including a kukri knife.

Best Kukri Knives Recap

Final Thoughts

As you can see above, picking out the best kukri knife isn’t easy.

The best kukri for me probably won’t be the best kukri for you.

Figure out what features you value the most and whether you want to go with a traditional kukri or a more modernized kukri style utility/fighting knife.

Once you know that it’s a lot easier to narrow down the field.

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