On the popular Discovery Channel series “Man vs. Wild,” Bear Grylls, a former United Kingdom Special Forces solider now turned TV star, documents efforts to survive and find a way back to civilization from deep wilderness around the globe. Central to many episodes, Grylls often wields a knife to build a shelter or fashion an implement for survival.
The Bear Grylls Ultimate Knife, a new product from Gerber, has two holes in its handle, allowing a user to lash it to a stake and create a spear. The end of the handle is textured and blunt, made for pounding. Integrated into the sheath, a small magnesium rod lets you draw the blade and strike metal to create hot sparks and start a fire.
Gerber pitches the Bear Grylls Ultimate Knife as giving a “vital edge to any survivor.” Its market is fans of the TV show as well as hikers and hunters who want a good general knife that could also be a survival tool.
The knife comes to market this month for $60. It was designed in partnership with Bear Grylls. The company did not just slap his brand name on the blade. It has a solid build and some unique features to give that “vital edge” if you’re lost or stranded in the bush.
I tested the knife out over the last couple weeks. In the hand, the Bear knife is well balanced and feels stout. The handle has a grippy rubberized coat. It weighs about 9 ounces alone or just under a pound stored inside its plastic scarab and nylon sheath.
Features on the Ultimate Knife include a full-tang, stainless-steel blade. The blade is partially serrated for sawing through materials in the woods. Overall, it’s a simple tool — a big blade on a solid handle.
But the extra Bear-inspired features set it apart. There’s a small emergency whistle on the lanyard cord. The sheath and plastic scarab Velcro together. There’s a sharpening stone, the magnesium fire-starter stick, and land-to-air rescue instructions printed on the nylon sheath in case you need to communicate with a plane. The kit comes with a weatherproof survival guide that has Bear’s tips on how to make it in a worst-case scenario outdoors.
The Ultimate Knife is the first product in a line called Gerber’s Bear Grylls Survival Series. Beyond the big knife, the Bear products will include tools, additional knife models, and general survival gear available early next year.
—Stephen Regenold is founder and editor of www.gearjunkie.com.