5 Best Kukris of 2018: Most Popular Survival Knife?

Jul 27, 2018 | Reviews, Survival

A Kukri is one of those survival/camping tools that everyone wants. It’s an amazingly simple multipurpose tool that ends up being used for cutting, building, chopping and gutting fish/animals.

As with most types of knife, the Kukri has a long history. In this case, it goes back to the Gurkha army, a formidable force of men who fought for the British Army. These men were experts in survival, hunting and combat.

The Kukri is still a frequently carried weapon in Asian counties such as Nepal, Singapore, and Hong Kong – it’s still a common carry weapon for Police to this day.

Top 5 Gurkhas

NameBlade LengthBlade Material 

EGKH

11 inch

High Carbon Steel – 5160

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SOG

12 inch

High Carbon Steel

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EGKH

10 inch

High Grade Carbon Steel – 5160

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Ka-Bar

11.5 inch

Steel 1085 carbon

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Cold Steel

13 inch

1055 High Carbon Steel

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EGKH

Blade Length

11 Inch

Blade Material

High Carbon Steel – 5160

Check Price

SOG

Blade Length

12 Inch

Blade Material

High Carbon Steel

Check Price

EGKH

Blade Length

10 Inch

Blade Material

High Grade Carbon Steel – 5160

Check Price

Ka-Bar

Blade Length

11.5 Inch

Blade Material

Steel 1085 carbon

Check Price

Cold Steel

Blade Length

13 Inch

Blade Material

1055 High Carbon Steel

Check Price

1. Best Overall

EGKH Genuine Gurkha

Our Rating

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Features

  • Authentic design ordered directly from the official Gurkhas of Nepal
  • Hand forged 11-inch blade
  • 5-inch rosewood handle, manufactured by hand
  • Unpolished blade, razor-sharp edge
  • Buffalo leather sheath

If you’re looking for a traditional Kukri that can trace its routes right back to the Gurkha army, then this knife is for you. As the name suggests, this Kukri is handmade by Ex Gurkha’s at the Khukuri House in Nepal.

The first thing we noticed about the Genuine Kukri, was the fact it almost felt a shame to use it! This Kukri is a handcrafted tool of unbelievable quality and reminds us of the types of tools our great-grandfathers might have owned.

It feels very solid and secure in hand, plus the steel blade is razor sharp, making cuts easily. The sheer ability of this knife to cut is quite frightening, think of a craft knife that’s taken steroids and hit the gym for a year and you’ll get the idea!

One of the interesting things about this knife is that it’s not completely perfect. It’s a handmade tool and feels like it, with tool marks along the blade and a sheath that’s not entirely straight.

On any other day of the week, we would call this a massive disappointment and relegate the knife to “also ran” status; however, this isn’t any other knife.

One thing we will also point out, this knife is a heavy beast that’s designed for swinging. You’ll make short work of almost anything with it, but beware if you’re looking for surgical precision.

Pros and cons

  • The original Kukri that’s designed to get down and dirty.
  • It’s not made to modern factory standards, then again, who are we to argue against 300 years of historical use!

2. Best Value

SOG Specialty Knives Kukri

Our Rating

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Features

  • 12-inch carbon coated steel blade
  • Saw back
  • Kraton runner handle
  • Nylon sheath

The SOG Kukri is a solid and modern take on the Kukri with a 12-inch blade, rubber handle and nylon sheath.

One of the benefits to this blade is the saw on the back that works well for cutting small sections of wood or tree, more on that later.

The SOG comes in a solid $20 cheaper than the original Ghurka model, and its design is obviously more that of a modern factory design than a handcrafted piece. Even so, it feels good in the hand with a decent weight to it.

The blade is nice and sharp, making quick work of bushes and smaller pieces of wood. This nice is probably a good addition to any camper’s knife collection – especially if you don’t plan on using it every week.

Our only worry is that the saw section of the knife is more of a hindrance than a feature. It tends to cut into the sheath when moved about, even when being careful not to damage it. In our view, SOG should have forgone the saw section of the blade and spent time to improve the cutting part instead.

Pros and cons

  • Well priced and a nice kukri for campers who need a knife they can store away for the occasional trip.
  • Saw section is badly designed and cuts into the sheath, a real shame because the sheath is one of the best parts of the SOG.

3. Best in Authenticity

EGKH Genuine Gurkha

Our Rating

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Features

  • Fully synthetic knife
  • Carbon steel blade
  • Non-slip handle
  • Leather/Cordura sheath

A modern version of the original Kukri from a manufacturer with a solid reputation for quality. Ka-Bar has been creating quality knives for many years and this model should be a real contender.

It’s priced the same as the official Ghurka model, yet some with some extra features that look extremely useful.

After using the SOG, which was something of a disappointment, it’s nice to see exactly what modern manufacturing techniques can do to upgrade a classic piece of equipment.

The Ka-Bar feels very sturdy in use, the handle is quite soft, yet extremely solid in use, giving you confidence when hacking away. The carbon steel blade is extremely sharp and solid, far more so than the SOG, plus it slices through branches easily.

As a modern interpretation of a classic, it’s build quality is flawless and the knife/handle work together perfectly.

Pros and cons

  • A modern version of a classic that stays true to the original design, yet with up to date build quality and materials.
  • You’ll pay the same amount for this as an original Ghurkha model. The sheath isn’t quite as good a design as the SOG.

4. Best in Synthetic

Ka-Bar 2-1249-9 Kukri

Our Rating

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Features

  • 2.8mm blade thickness
  • Cor-Ex sheath
  • Cold steel blade
  • Anti-rust finish

A cheaper alternative to the awesome Ka-Bar listed above, if you want a decent machete that works fine but without spending upwards of $50, the Cold Steel Kukri could be for you.

Some of the materials have been downgraded to keep this kukri on price, polypropylene in the handle instead of the molded grip of the Ka-Bar and wood of the Ghurkha model for example.

The first thing I noticed about the Cold Steel blade, is the weight. It’s much lighter than all others reviewed, which would make it the perfect blade for walkers who need to pack light.

To make up for the lack of weight, the blade is unbelievably sharp, possibly more so than the Ghurkha original. That Polypropylene handle that seemed so unappealing on paper, makes much more sense when you have the blade in hand. It’s strong, yet feels “just right” and unlike some handles, doesn’t lead to blisters after heavy use.

The only real issue we have with the Cold Steel blade is the sheath. We feel like the manufacturer skimped on the quality of the sheath to keep costs down. If you did purchase this model, we would bank on the sheath breaking after a few months and budgeting for a better version down the road.

Pros and cons

  • Cheap, cheerful and surprisingly well built
  • The sheath is hopeless! Factor in the cost of early replacement if you purchase this blade.

5. Best in Length

Cold Steel Kukri Plus Machete with Sheath

Our Rating

CHECK PRICE

Features

  • Authentic design, hand forged and made by the official Ghurkha supplier
  • 10-inch blade with rosewood handle
  • Unpolished blade with sharp edge
  • Balance water tempered

We saved another awesome blade until last in this review! The first Gurkha blade we looked at is an example of a design that goes back 300 years. The Iraqi version, is a more modern version that was used in Iraq.

As with all genuine Gurkha blades, don’t expect modern levels of finish; however, do expect the level of quality to be through the roof!

Like the first kukri we reviewed, the Iraq version of the kukri is a rough and ready knife to take with you anywhere. We found no grind marks, yet there are obvious signs of hand tools being used to forge the blade.

The blade feels amazing in use, with a superb weighted feel to it that makes most people go “wow” when they hold it for the first time. One of the cool features of the kukri, is that it’s overtly designed to balance in your hand. Some of the weight of the handle has been carved out in the mid-section to serve just thing purpose.

It’s this attention to detail that makes the Iraq version of the Kukri a real winner.

Pros and cons

  • A superb tool that’s built for hard work
  • You’ll pay to own something so special

Conclusion

As you’ve likely noticed, there’s always going to be trade-offs. If you want something completely, 100%, dunk-it-underwater-and-it’s-fine waterproof, it’s not going to be as functional or practical as a regular backpack. If you want external zippers and to be able to wear it, you’re going to be making certain sacrifices in terms of how waterproof it is. A regular waterproof backpack like the Kimlee or one of the other models we looked at is a solid option for most people, and you can’t go wrong with any of these choices. Just choose the one that fits your needs, shut off the computer, and go enjoy nature after patting yourself on the back to take a little time to do some research first.

Clarence McCall

Editor for Survivalgearexperts.net

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