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Survival Gear Test: Gerber's Bear Grylls Ultimate Knife

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July 19, 2011
Survival Gear Test: Gerber's Bear Grylls Ultimate Knife - 6

In several recent survival classes, I have observed my students using the new Ultimate Knife from Gerber’s line of Bear Grylls equipment. I decided to run it through the paces myself to see how it operated for some typical survival chores, and here’s what I found out.

The Chopping Test
When I was first handled the Ultimate Knife, I was pleasantly surprised that it was lighter than I expected. But it was no lightweight when it came to chopping.

I started with a test that medium to large survival knives should be able to accomplish – chopping green wood and dead wood. A 2-inch diameter medium hardwood sapling under a little tension chopped cleanly through in 6 seconds for me, which is the speed you’d expect from a much larger, heavier knife.

A dead and dry medium hardwood branch at 2 inches in diameter took 13 seconds to cleave, but that was still a good time, as dry wood is harder to cut than greed wood, especially when cutting across the grain.

The Carving Test
Carving friction fire equipment and trap parts with a knife  are the most important of my wood carving tasks in the woods. The serrated section of the blade can saw or carve material away quickly, and the straight section cleans up any roughness that the teeth leave behind. Can you carve tiny figurines with this knife? No, it’s too big for that. Can it carve a notch for a bow and drill fire set? Yes it can. 

The Knife Features
I don’t know how many hours of R&D it took to make come up with this knife, but whatever the number, I’d say it was worth it. The full tang blade is just short of 5 inches in length, and is made from a 7Cr17MoV Stainless Steel with a waffle head hammer on the pommel. The drop point blade is half serrated, and the textured TacHide™ handle is absolutely tacky. There is a lanyard hole at the end of the handle, through which is tied a rope lanyard with an integrated emergency whistle. There is a square striker notch incorporated into back of knife blade to use with the spark rod that stows in the sheath.

Having done a fair bit of carpentry over the years, I really appreciated the waffle head design on the pommel hammer—just remember to keep it in the sheath when hammering. You don’t need the knife tip coming near your face while you are pounding a stake into the ground. 

The Sheath Features
The nylon sheath is lightweight and mildew resistant. It holds the knife in place well, and the sheath features include a ferrocerium rod, which locks into sheath; a diamond sharpener; land-to-air rescue instructions printed on the back; and a weatherproof page of survival instructions tucked into a pocket.

The spark rod performed well. Personally, I like a bigger spark rod as it lasts much longer, but this is a good back-up. You should always carry lighters and matches for instant flame.

The diamond knife sharpener was a great feature, but I wish there was a file for sharpening the serrations.

Excellent Handle 
I can’t get over the incredible grip on the knife’s ergonomic TacHide handle. It’s like somebody made a custom handle for me, and wiped it with pine tar.

The abundant and well-designed features of this knife really make it go above and beyond the average survival knife. The overall utility and usefulness of Gerber’s Bear Grylls Ultimate Knife make this one tool seem like a whole line of outdoor equipment. With an MSRP of just $60, this knife is a tremendous bargain, too.

Comments (6)

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from RichardAM 9/5/2011 at 02:25pm

This is an excellent survival knife. It has the features the LMF II lacks and is greater for civilian use. The LMF II is great for military use but in the military alot of things are provided for you. To any hunters who travel far into the woods on ATV or seasoned trail climbers I'd highly recommend this knife.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from emergprep 7/21/2011 at 01:51pm

Gerber has replaced my first BGUK as the pommel broke off when I was driving tent stakes (knife in sheath). One mionor complaint, the screws that hold the sharpener is place were slightly ABOVE the surface abd scratched the blade when I sharpened it. The knife itself is very good. I have carried on several overnight outings. I too have carved out traps and bow drills etc. I have used it to split 4" branches for firewood and it did fine. Dressed small game, fish gutting, carved out spits etc. It's great for the wilds of Illinois.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from BCCL 7/21/2011 at 01:17pm

They are made in China.

I've not had a chance to use the fixed blade much, but I've been carrying the USK sheath folder for a few months and it has done very well.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from WckedMidas 7/19/2011 at 10:21pm

I have this knife. I use it for work at times. Its a good knife. But if you where the sheath in normal position the corners of it poke u on the side. The nylon balistic material is to stiff. And realy hurts ya when u sit down. Blades easy enuf to sharpen. Firestarter didnt work for me. But im a total beginer with a fire strike.One more complaint. God help you if u get salt water on the knife. Starts rusting before it dries off. I no its no scuba diveing knife. But neither is my gerber multitool. And the multi tool didnt rust after a fishing trip in florida but the Grylls knife from gerber did. Was very disapointing.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Johnnie 7/19/2011 at 10:02pm

This knife reminds me of and looks like the Gerber LMF™II Infantry knife.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from 25-06 guy 7/19/2011 at 08:52pm

Sounds like a good buy and it has good features, where is it made?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report

Write a Comment Your comment (200 characters or less):

from 25-06 guy 7/19/2011 at 08:52pm

Sounds like a good buy and it has good features, where is it made?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Johnnie 7/19/2011 at 10:02pm

This knife reminds me of and looks like the Gerber LMF™II Infantry knife.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from WckedMidas 7/19/2011 at 10:21pm

I have this knife. I use it for work at times. Its a good knife. But if you where the sheath in normal position the corners of it poke u on the side. The nylon balistic material is to stiff. And realy hurts ya when u sit down. Blades easy enuf to sharpen. Firestarter didnt work for me. But im a total beginer with a fire strike.One more complaint. God help you if u get salt water on the knife. Starts rusting before it dries off. I no its no scuba diveing knife. But neither is my gerber multitool. And the multi tool didnt rust after a fishing trip in florida but the Grylls knife from gerber did. Was very disapointing.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from BCCL 7/21/2011 at 01:17pm

They are made in China.

I've not had a chance to use the fixed blade much, but I've been carrying the USK sheath folder for a few months and it has done very well.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from emergprep 7/21/2011 at 01:51pm

Gerber has replaced my first BGUK as the pommel broke off when I was driving tent stakes (knife in sheath). One mionor complaint, the screws that hold the sharpener is place were slightly ABOVE the surface abd scratched the blade when I sharpened it. The knife itself is very good. I have carried on several overnight outings. I too have carved out traps and bow drills etc. I have used it to split 4" branches for firewood and it did fine. Dressed small game, fish gutting, carved out spits etc. It's great for the wilds of Illinois.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from RichardAM 9/5/2011 at 02:25pm

This is an excellent survival knife. It has the features the LMF II lacks and is greater for civilian use. The LMF II is great for military use but in the military alot of things are provided for you. To any hunters who travel far into the woods on ATV or seasoned trail climbers I'd highly recommend this knife.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report

Write a Comment Your comment (200 characters or less):