For avid outdoor explorers, having the right bushcraft drill can make a big difference.
From building furniture to drilling ice-fishing holes, a top-quality bushcraft auger can fulfill many purposes—it can even be a life-saving tool in an emergency.
Use this guide to find the best bushcraft drill for your needs—or the perfect holiday gift.
My top picks
- Alloy steel (Hardened & Oxidized)
- Extremely light & highly durable
- Multi-functional (four drill bits)
Best for woodworking
- Multiple size options
- Very safe and ergonomically built
- Works on soft and hardwood
- Sharp & durable
- Sophisticated design
- Leather sleeve included
How To Choose the Best Bushcraft, Auger,
A bushcraft auger has many uses and can be ideal for backpacking, fishing, climbing, hiking, kayaking, canoeing, and more.
Additionally, this versatile tool offers many diverse features and customizable characteristics, so it’s best to consider what you are looking for before splurging on any one option.
Consider using the guide below to find the best bushcraft drill.
The Basics of Bushcraft Augers
Augers are drilling tools shaped like corkscrews, allowing users to drill holes in dense objects.
There are many different types of drills, including
- Wood Augers, used on wood (hard or soft).
- Earth Augers, which lift soil away from the earth
- Hand Augers, which are hand tools best for small holes
- Garden Augers, typically used for gardening
- Ice Augers, often used for drilling holes in the ice.
- Gain Augers, used for carrying grain products to and from storage sites.
A drill has six distinct parts:
- The Screw is short and delicate, like a tapered wood screw.
- The Twist is the spiraling metal helix that disperses wood shavings.
- The Spurs are two sharp points at the end of the twist, which score the diameter of the hole you plan to drill.
- The Cutting Edges cut shavings out of the wood within the scored circle.
- The Shank is the smooth rod between the twist and tang.
- The Tang is the tapered square piece that fits onto the brace.
Each component of a bushcraft auger contributes to its function, and most parts are variable depending on the item you purchase. This is important to keep in mind as you peruse your options.
How To Choose the Best Bushcraft Auger
With so much variety available, you’ll need to narrow your options.
Before choosing your bushcraft drill, consider the following questions.
What Will You Use It For?
Augers have many uses, but bushcraft augers are typically used for any of the following:
- Gardening and planting
- Drilling irrigation trenches
- Extracting maple syrup
- Building shelters, furniture, and tools
- And more!
Although most augers are multi-purpose, some may not be powerful enough for specific uses or lack particular capabilities.
I would advise against using a hand drill, for example, when attempting to plant trees or displace the earth.
What Type of Auger Do You Need?
There are many different types of drills available.
While you can choose between a mechanical and manual option, most bushcrafters opt for a hand drill (manual design).
A manual auger offers more flexibility and function, and you can use yours even when off the grid and deep in the backcountry.
I prefer the scotch-eyed auger. A scotch-eyed drill is ideal for drilling holes in hardwood and denser surfaces. Most scotch-eyed augers feature a ring welded to the top, so you can easily create a T-handle and use your tool.
Scotch-eyed augers are most often used for
- Crafting wooden utensils and tools
- Camp furniture
- Shelters and structures
- Dowel peg holes
- Attachment loops
- Drilling to get dry fuel
- Rocket stoves.
What Is Your Budget?
Most manual scotch-eyed augers cost between $15 and $40.
While this is relatively affordable compared to pricier tools, it may remain prohibitive for some. I’ve chosen most of the items on this list for their high value. Each offers excellent quality at a relatively cost-effective price, so you don’t have to worry about breaking the bank.
If you love the tool you buy, you can consider working your way up to a pricier item depending on your needs.
Who Is It For?
If you’re buying a bushcraft auger for personal use, you likely know what you’re looking for. If you don’t, I’ve ranked each option below according to its uses, so you can follow my suggestions if you need to.
Consider purchasing a bushcraft auger for a friend or family member—or as a gift for your fellow bushcrafter—as these durable, multi-functional tools are ideal for most.
Several friends thank me for gifting them one of these, so you can’t go wrong with any option on this list.
Features To Consider in a Bushcraft Auger
Once you’ve narrowed your search down to a preferred auger type and budget range, you can assess the features in the list below.
Length of the Auger
The length of your drill is one of its most important features. It contributes to the depth of the holes you can dig with your new auger. For example, if you use your auger on hardwood, you’ll need a shorter drill bit than on a fallen tree stump.
Additionally, consider how long your auger is before placing it into a backpack or suitcase. Longer items are harder to transport.
With a shorter drill, you’ll be able to travel with ease. You can apply more pressure with a shorter drill shaft, as you won’t get as much bend and flex.
However, a longer post offers better leverage and a more ergonomic build.
Width of the Auger
The width of your drill bit will contribute to the size of the holes you can make.
It may be difficult for you to estimate the size you need. If you are planning a specific project, then choose accordingly. However, if you don’t have a particular size, consider aiming for anywhere between one inch (2.58cm) and two inches (5.08cm).
If you plan to use your drill to drain sap from a tree, consider using a little width bit, as it will prevent the tree from incurring too much damage.
For building furniture and shelters, use a thicker scotch auger with eyelets. You can also make an attachment loop for a thicker auger.
The durability of the Auger
Durability should always be a top consideration when purchasing any tool.
Since most tools are metal, they easily rust, chip, or stain. Additionally, some steel augers may bend or warp over time.
You should also consider the sharpness of the drill bit and how likely it is to dull over time. Thankfully, I’ve done all the research for you so that you can read the bullet points below.
Weight of the Auger
Weight is one of my most important features.
Since I am often on the move, I have to use tools that can come with me. For this reason, the lighter the drill, the better.
If you plan to use your auger for camping, backpacking, hiking, or traveling, you should opt for a more lightweight and ergonomic model.
Alternatively, if you don’t need to bring your auger, don’t worry too much about size. I use one auger in my workshop and a lighter model to travel.
Most augers weigh between 14 and 15 ounces (around 450 grams).
Most augers require storage—particularly if you plan to use them outdoors or in the rain or moisture.
To that end, consider choosing a drill bit with its carrying case or sheath. The denser and more durable it is, the better your sheath can protect your auger.
If your chosen auger doesn’t come with a carrying case, consider purchasing your own. In my experience, the carrying case provided with most augers will not meet your needs, so you may have to buy your own.
Remember to exercise proper maintenance practices as well. You should lightly oil your auger every once in a while, sharpen it, and clean it after use.
When purchasing any tool, it’s necessary to consider the safety considerations and precautions involved in using it.
Augers can be relatively dangerous. They have sharp edges and interchangeable drill bits that may be easy for a child to swallow. They can easily harm someone who isn’t paying attention.
Use the following checklist to take the proper precautions and care for your bushcraft auger.
- Keep this item out of reach of children and pets. From its sharp bits to small, bite-sized pieces, this tool is unsafe for small children, pets, and anyone who might accidentally swallow things.
- Use a robust and sturdy carrying case for your bushcraft auger. The drill bits are sharp, and many augers are fragile and susceptible to damage.
- Supervise beginners when they attempt to use it. If you plan to give this as a gift to a young person or new bushcrafter, consider teaching them how to use it!
- Lightly oil it frequently to prevent rust.
- Clean it after every use to prevent rust and bacteria from growing.
Frequently Asked Questions
The following are some of the most frequently asked questions about bushcraft augers.
How do I use a scotch-eyed auger?
Using a scotch-eyed auger is relatively easy.
First, pass a stick through the scotch eye for leverage. You can tap the auger into the wood before drilling to gain traction and then spin the auger slowly to drill a hole.
What is the best bushcraft auger?
The best bushcraft auger is the Jon Mac Bushcraft Auger.
It comes with four drill bits and is great for multiple uses. It combines high value with affordability and has lasted me a long time.
Do I need a bushcraft auger?
If you camp, hike, backpack, or work with your hands, you need a bushcraft auger.
However, even if you don’t currently have a use for one, a drill can come in handy in an emergency, making it an excellent purchase for most people.
The Top 5 Bushcraft Augers: Ranked & Reviewed
Once you’ve decided which features matter to you most, it’s time to choose your bushcraft auger.
Consider selecting any options from the list below for the best results. I have vetted, ranked, and reviewed each opportunity to meet your needs.
The Jon Mac Bushcraft Auger is my top pick for its versatility, quality, and multiple unique features.
This item consists of prime alloy steel, and each drill bit comes from Japan—the global experts in blade manufacturing.
With a reversible ratchet mechanism and four auger bits, this drill packs a lot of value for an affordable price. Drill bits are 6mm, 13mm, 19mm, and 25mm—so you can drill into nearly anything.
I’ve used mine on ice, plywood, tree trunks, and more. It comes with me wherever I go—including camping, as it weighs less than a can of soup!
The entire set—wrapped in a durable canvas roll— weighs only 730g, making it the perfect addition to a heavy pack.
Mine has been vital for several years, so this item is highly durable when correctly maintained. Remember to clean and oil it frequently to extend this auger’s shelf life.
This tool boasts many unique benefits and features. These include:
- Weight: This item is one of the lightest I’ve ever owned. It fits into any small pocket, daypack, or car door.
- Chrome Finish: Manufacturers have chromed or blued each element of this set to ensure longevity and resistance to rust and damage. However, remember to dry it before storing it, as it’s best to take precautions.
- Versatile: With four bits of varying sizes, this drill offers the best bang for your buck. It’s adaptive for most basic uses.
- Affordability: As with most other items on this list, the Jon Mac Bushcraft Auger is affordable and easy to use—excellent for beginners.
There are a few drawbacks to this item. However, consider the following before making your decision.
- Power: This tool is a hand drill, so it does not have the same power a more powerful electrical tool might have. It is less suitable for larger projects and drilling into highly dense substances like rock or bone.
- Size: This auger is relatively small, so it doesn’t have the same drilling capacity as a larger tool.
- Bending: My auger has incurred some damage over the years, namely a chip and some bending. However, it’s nothing a little applied force can’t fix.
This scotch eye-hand auger is one of the most popular bushcraft drills on the market.
The WEYLAND bushcraft auger includes a custom peg maker with an ergonomic design, a wood auger bit made of top-quality, high-carbon steel, a thick pass-through handle for leverage, and a split leather sheath with an attractive, rustic design.
Its sleek design, versatile build, and attractive leather carrying case make it an excellent gift for the cub scout or fellow camper in your life.
I’ve given several away so far with excellent results!
My favorite thing about this product is its pairing of design and quality. Consider additional benefits below.
- Excellent Value: This drill is relatively affordable compared to others—and it has lasted me several years without issue.
- Light: This bushcraft auger is extremely light, making it adaptive to any occasion (or pack size). I don’t even notice it’s there.
- Sharp: It’s sharper than most alternative options and comes ready to use. Remember to exercise caution around children and pets.
- Durable: This drill can withstand some bumps and bruises without incurring any permanent damage, so it’s a good gift for beginners.
I’ve experienced the following drawbacks when using this product:
- Unattractive Weld: Although unimportant, the welding on this drill is somewhat sloppy. Just something to consider if you plan to give it as a gift.
- One-Bit Size: Unlike other options on this list, this drill only has a one-bit size, so it’s less versatile than others.
- PDF Instructions: This drill doesn’t come with clear instructions—only a PDF that’s difficult to open—so consider looking up Youtube videos.
The Bushcraft Survival Scotch Eye Auger is a top-quality manual auger that can drill clean, crisp holes into most wood surfaces.
It is ideal for woodworkers and outdoors people since it drills through any wood surface relatively easily—dry or green.
This item comes in two sizes. The 1- inch (or 2.58cm) drill has been sufficient for my uses, but you may wish to purchase the 1.5-inch (3.81cm) drill instead. Both are adaptive to a wide range of uses. Your choice will depend largely on the hole size you want to make.
I’ve used this item to make stools, shelters, and other tools. Additionally, I’ve noticed the following key features and benefits:
- Expert Design: This item consists of hardened oxidized steel with an electrophoresis coating to protect it from damage. It also features an ergonomic build with a protective shank to prevent damage—to your hands!
- Size Options: This item comes in two different sizes. I recommend buying the smaller one.
- Safety Features: This tool is relatively safe, as it isn’t as sharp as others. I’ve used it with children and around pets with no problems.
- Great for Beginners: Because it’s safer than most, this is an ideal option for beginners to bushcraft and drill.
I’ve noticed the following drawbacks to the Bushcraft Survival Scotch Eye Auger.
- Dull Drill Bit: This drill bit is duller than others. While it is safer around children, it isn’t as convenient for jobs that require precision.
- No Sleeve: The Bushcraft Survival Auger doesn’t come with a sleeve or carrying case, so protecting it from the elements may be challenging.
- Rust: Because this item uses high carbon non-stainless steel, it will rust over time if left exposed to moisture.
The RDSTER Scotch Eye Wood Drill Bit for Bushcraft is a multi-functional, professional-grade tool that fits every budget.
With an eye diameter of 1 inch (2.58cm) and a length of 1.8 inches (4.57cm), This small auger can drill relatively big holes. This drill also includes a peg tool and a cutting point for a peg wrench, so it is highly versatile and compatible with other tools.
The eye is extremely sharp, and the device features a crisp, clean, ergonomic design. Mine has received many compliments and has served me well for a long time.
This affordable auger offers excellent value at an affordable price.
This is a great tool for survivalists, campers, backpackers, and more. Additionally, it offers the following benefits:
- Durability: My auger has taken some serious hits, but it remains in excellent shape. The eye also seems to stay sharp for a long time before requiring maintenance.
- Sharpness: This drill bit is extremely sharp, so you can use it right away on the toughest surfaces.
- Leather Case: The RDSTER has a quality leather case, so you can keep it safe from wind, rain, and corrosive agents.
- Sophisticated Design: I love this tool’s sturdy, handsome design and ergonomic build. It fits comfortably on the hand without leaving marks or blisters.
Consider the following drawbacks of the RDSTER before making your decision:
- Less Adaptive Than Others: This auger only has one drill bit, so you won’t be able to use it for as many tasks as some others on this list.
- Works Best on Soft Wood: This drill doesn’t work as well on seasoned hardwood, and you may damage it if you try to use it for this purpose.
- Poor Customer Service: This company is relatively hard to reach.
- Less Safety Features: Unlike similar products, this drill doesn’t have safety features, so remember to keep it away from children!
This gorgeous, sleek auger is just as powerful as it looks.
Made of alloy and high carbon steel, the Pine & Deer auger is durable and rugged—perfect for survivalists.
Experts designed this product to feature an ergonomic build, protecting your fingers and knuckles from injury, and a self-tapping pilot screw minimizes the possibility of additional damage.
I love this item for its sheer versatility. It is powerful, can drill through most wood types (green and dry), and fits neatly into any backpack or suitcase.
This is one of my favorite bushcraft augers. Consider the following features before investing in one for yourself:
- Powerful: The Pine & Deer auger drills seamlessly through most hard surfaces and woods, making it adaptive to most needs.
- Customer Service: Pine & Deer has excellent, responsive customer service. Plus, they offer a lifetime warranty.
- Great Value: This item offers tremendous value and versatility at an affordable price.
- Storage Pouch: The Pine & Deer auger has a storage pouch to protect your drill and the chrome coating.
Consider the following drawbacks before making a substantive investment.
- Heavy: This item is heavier than most others on this list, so it may be more difficult to travel with.
- Variable Assembly: Although my drill bit came in excellent condition, others have complained of poor assembly and uncentered drill bits.
- Not as Sharp as Others: This tool isn’t quite as razor-sharp as others, so you may need to sharpen it yourself.
What Is the Best Bushcraft Auger?
A bushcraft auger is an excellent, multi-functional, adaptive tool for most uses.
With the right bushcraft auger, you can drill through most surfaces and create furniture, shelters, tools, utensils, and more.
The best bushcraft drill on this list is the Jon Mac Bushcraft Auger. It offers the best value for your money and includes four drill bits of different sizes, making it the most versatile item on this list. The drill bits are 6mm, 13mm, 19mm, and 25mm, and the entire package weighs only 730g—less than a can of soup!
The Jon Mac auger also boasts a sleek, sophisticated design and ergonomic build so that you won’t damage your fingers or hands. It is affordable, durable, and sturdy—mine has withstood more than your average damage and still works great!