What Is A Kephart Knife?

You may not have heard of the Kephart knife, but after reading this piece you will realize that sometimes the smallest of things can hold the biggest stories.

What Is A Kephart Knife?

What Is A Kephart Knife?

The Kephart knife is a simple but extremely high quality and high-performance bushcraft knife.

The steel that is used in this knife is Crucible CPM 3V at HRC 60.5 and has been extensively tuned for edge stability and retention.

You’ll be shocked at how sharp it can get and how it is able to retain its edge so well.

It is designed to be carried unnoticed in a pouch sheath on your belt or in your pack and balances between the first two fingers of the hand.

It is primarily intended for use as a bushcraft knife.

The handle is large and thin, and it fits into your hand with no death grip required to avoid spinning, allowing for a lot of torque with little strain.

The tip is centered for drilling and the end is circular.

The History Of The Kephart Knife

The Kephart knife is named after the man who created it – Horace Kephart.

He came to the highlands in 1904 and charted a course for a “nature-as-healer” way of life.

Kephart was fascinated by the culture of the mountain inhabitants in addition to the natural landscape.

This was before electricity and interstate highways, and these Scotch-Irish settlements had remained mainly isolated since their founding in the late 1700s.

Kephart was a sponge for these people’s old basic customs, which matched nicely with his great understanding of the natural world.

Kephart was a writer whose record of mountain culture, as well as contributions to camping and woodcraft, were explosive.

This was a time when Americans were creating a conservation ethic, and themes like The National Parks System were being discussed in public by people like Teddy Roosevelt and John Muir.

Kephart grew at the ideal period in our history, and in 1906 he released a book called “Camping and Woodcraft”, which provided practical outdoor counsel to the reader.

His most well-known work was “Our Southern Highlanders”, a masterwork released in 1913.

Both publications are still in print and are regarded as authoritative works on the subject.

In one of his books, Kephart describes the ultimate knife, which we now call a bushcraft knife, stating that it was designed by himself and believed that appearances weren’t everything, and sometimes being unassuming is preferable.

The Kephart design is a true workhorse, and everybody who engages in even a minor number of outdoor activities should own one.

The knife pattern is currently available from a variety of manufacturers since its superb design has given it a lasting heritage that has outlasted all changes in fads and camping equipment.

The Kephart pattern has been tried and tested and will show anyone that its functionality is timeless.


All in all, the Kephart knife may be small and to the average person, pretty simple and self-explanatory.

However, when you delve into the knife a bit more, it opens up this large, beautiful story that makes it that much more special.

Tom Bower