Review: Bear Grylls Ultimate Survival Knife

Most people know who Bear Grylls is. He is one of those survivalists guys on TV. What many do not know is he spent several years in the British SAS and eventually broke his back in three places in a free-fall parachuting accident. He spent months in military rehabilitation and celebrated his recovery by climbing Mount Everest. He has raised millions of dollars for charity and appears in numerous television shows. He has written numerous books and has led record-breaking expeditions in Antarctica and the Arctic.

He also got busted staying in a hotel while filming one of his survival shows.

Hey – nobody’s perfect.

Bear has worked with Gerber in development of numerous survival tools and knives. Particularly popular is the Bear Grylls Ultimate Survival Knife.

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General Information

The Ultimate Survival is a fixed blade knife with a 4.75″ blade partially serrated. The tang is 3/16″ thick. Research on the steel used varies from a type of 440A stainless to a “special Gerber formula”. Regardless – it is Chinese stainless steel. Many consider the tang to be full although it does not come completely to the end if the handle. – but extremely close. The knife has a soft comfortable handle with a flat pommel end for striking and hammering.

The knife comes with a multi-functional sheath containing a fire starter, diamond sharpening stone, emergency whistle, and a small sheet of survival instructions/tips.

Build looks good with smooth lines and finishes. Note: All the pictures below were prior to testing.

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Above: Blade came very sharp with fairly aggressive serrations. Holes on either side of the handle contain lashing holes for securing to a pole or stick.

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Below: Coloration is the typical dark grey and orange which represents the Bear Grylls line. I like it. The handle itself feel extremely comfortable and almost supple in the hand.

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Above: Early models reportedly had problems with the pommels falling off during batoning and hammering. Gerber made a change in their manufacturing process and fixed the problem. 

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Below: The included whistle is small in size and came attached to the knife handle itself. 

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Above: The sheath contains a ferrocerium fire starter. It is carried in the lower portion of the sheath and rides very securely. 

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Below: On the back of the sheath sits a diamond sharpening stone which is well positioned. 

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Below: The Bear Grylls Ultimate Survival Knife complete with its sheath.

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TESTING & EVALUATION

I have spent the last few weeks testing the knife in a variety of ways. Certainly more time and use will lead to more thorough testing.

Below are a few pictures I took during this time period along with some commentary.  A final summary follows.

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Above: After a good amount of use the blade definitely needed sharpening. Based on my experience the Chinese stainless is not the best for edge retainment. The diamond sharpener worked well for bringing the edge back to more than usable. 

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Below: One shining star of the Ultimate Survival Knife is the fire starter. It works great sending a showering spray of hot sparks with each strike from the blade. There is a small section along the spine of the blade which is used to strike the ferrocerium rod.

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Above: I was surprised to find I had great success throwing the knife. Time and time again I had consistant turns and sticks. This is not the knife’s fortey but just a bonus.

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Below: Beyond smashing the knife into trees when I missed my throws I tested the pommel by hitting the flat section on a large rock exactly 50 times. Nothing loosened up or fell apart. I have never understood the need to use a knife as a hammer as I would much rather grab a large rock.  For testing purposes I felt the need to go ahead and pound the crap out of it. Seems Gerber did in fact fix their previous issues.

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SUMMARY

Many who dislike Bear Grylls or the commercialized coloring of the Ultimate Survival Knife will never give it a chance. Its origin of manufacture and suspect steel quality will also omit it from numerous survival kits and get home bags. There are many knives out there that are a better choice especially at higher pirces. At the price point of $32.00 it is an excellent deal.

The Bear Grylls Ultimate Survival Knife is one of my favorites. The testing was uneventful – as it should be. Hammering on the back if the spine to split firewood was easy and no damage to the knife occurred. The whistle works – not the best – but works well. The included knife sharpener was easy to use and within a minute or two brought the edge back. The fire starter was great. The sheath itself is well designed and holds the knife securely.

$32.00. Not bad at all. I think I will get another.

One is none and two is one….right?

JR

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