User Review: Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Knife
Price Paid: AUD$90
In general, this is a good knife, well thought out and constructed. It has a nice feel to the grip. The checkered handle-end is useful for crushing or hitting, although I don't like hitting things with a knife which I regard as a precision instrument to be treated well.
The serrated rear section of the blade is good for rope cutting but it makes sharpening the straight front blade section trickier. It takes up the section of the blade where you like to have good control for whittling and notching.
I prefer a longer serration on the back of the blade, but accept that the BG design keeps this space clear for two purposes.
- hitting the back with a heavy piece of wood to provide extra cutting force and
- to accommodate the firelighter striker notch.
The firelighter steel is good, although the ferrocerium rod is a bit short and rather small in diameter (about 3/16") and will not last long if used routinely the way I use my much meatier 3.8" diameter Swedish Firesteel, although it strikes a good spark and is fine for its intended occasional (emergency) use, and is best kept unused for that purpose alone. It is retained in its mini-holster on the plastic blade sheath nicely by a grippy small o-ring but it will pull out and get lost if caught on branch or rock.
I found the accompanying tiny whistle utterly useless, so I threw it away and used its little lanyard to secure the firelighter to the sheath so it can't get lost. I always carry a much better whistle.
The whole sheath and mounting Cordura backboard combo is quite bulky and stiff, so it allows little flex against the body, such as when the knees are bent, as when climbing steep terrain. Underneath, between the sheath and the backboard there is a diamond sharpener which is set at on wedges at an angle to the sheath backboard and this causes some of the bulkiness to the whole assembly, but it is no big issue. The straight blade holds an edge well.
I tend to carry a Swiss Army knife for tiny jobs, a Leatherman Wave multitool, a Buck folder for light sharp work and a 20cm Bowie for the heavy stuff. The BG Ultimate is a third of the weight of my Bowie alone, but as a one-stop single knife for the intended survival purpose fulfils its function well.