James Brand Hells Canyon

Meet the Chef’s Knife for ‘All Conditions and Environments’

If you spend a lot of time as a camp chef and prefer using a real chef’s knife in the mess tent, then the newly released James Brand Hells Canyon fixed blade is for you.

OK, let’s face it: You can prepare a meal with pretty much any knife, especially in the field. But if you spend a lot of hours prepping meals for big groups, or even if you just find joy in using a well-balanced chef’s knife, you know it’s worth hauling one in your camp kit.

And with the release of the Hells Canyon, James Brand is giving us a blade that will transition from your home kitchen to cabin, RV, or hunting camp with ease.

James Brand collaborated with Top Chef Masters winner Chris Cosentino to develop the blade. The goal was a kitchen knife “that is fully capable in all conditions and environments.” What does that mean? Read on.

James Brand Hells Canyon

First thing’s first, the Hells Canyon is pricey, with a retail price of $295. And while that sky-high price may make your nose bleed a little, it brings excellent materials to the table.

James Brand Hell's Canyon
The James Brand Hells Canyon

First and foremost, the Hells Canyon uses Crucible S35VN stainless steel throughout the full-tang design. S35VN is exceptionally good knife steel. We’ve used it on everything from hunting knives to pocket knives and have been impressed again and again.

Sure, there are a few better steels out there, but they would jack up the price even higher. S35VN also can be sharpened with common tools, so you can probably maintain this knife yourself.

That said, it should hold an edge for a very long time. Coupled with good toughness and corrosion resistance, this steel will perform in rough conditions.

James Brand Hell's Canyon
The Hells Canyon uses quality G-10 handle scales

But the premium materials from the everyday-carry world don’t end there. The 5.4-inch blade extends its tang through a G-10 handle. This material is extremely tough yet provides excellent grip and hand feel. Top it off with a Kydex sheath and lanyard, and the ingredient list of this chef’s knife sounds more like a bushcraft blade.

But looking at the shape, it’s clear this is intended or the kitchen. The Hells Canyon has a nice drop-point shape, and the profile should put it right at home among other kitchen knives.

Camp Chef Knife Competition

It’s worth mentioning this isn’t the first kitchen knife with good potential for the outdoors. We tested and love the Elmax super-steel Artisan Revere Chef Knife. It’s definitely worth considering if you’re looking for a chef’s knife in this price range.

In our use, it’s held up to tons of cooking and travel, and we love the leather sheath. It has a longer blade profile, so do consider your personal preference when choosing!

Artisan-Revere-elmax-kitchen-knife
The Artisan Revere Elmax Kitchen Knife is solid competition for the James Brand

Another good option for camp cooking is the Field Knife Set by Tiktaalik. This is a more affordable offering, and the brand offers multiple knives for different chores.

We haven’t had this one in our hands to test yet. But ultimately, the James Brand Hells Canyon is a beautiful blade judging from its specs and images. For those who treasure high-quality cutlery, this one might be worth investigating further.

Sean McCoy
By

Editor-in-Chief Sean McCoy is a life-long outdoorsman who grew up hunting and fishing central Wisconsin forests and lakes. He joined GearJunkie after a 10-year stint as a newspaperman in the Caribbean, where he learned sailing and wooden-boat repair. Based in GearJunkie's Denver office, McCoy is an avid trail runner, camper, hunter, angler, mountain biker, skier, and beer tester.

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