By G. Chambers, SFBCA member
If you’re looking for a sturdy, well priced camping knife the Bear Grylls Ultimate Fixed Blade Knife ($60 at Canadian Tire) is worth a look. Unlike a lot of cheaply made knives which are basically a blade inserted into a hollow handle, the BG ultimate knife is full tang (I.e. tip of the blade to the butt of the knife is one solid piece of steel). The knife comes with a ballistic nylon sheath that can be worn on a belt or adapted to lash onto a backpack. The sheath also has a built in sharpener that actually sharpens. I liked the rubber grip and the flat butt end that has the heft of a hammer (they actually advertise that you can use the knife to drive in tent pegs – which I’ve done without any problems). The knife also has couple of extras; a steel flint that attaches to the sheath and a detachable pea-less whistle for calling for help or directing city traffic (your choice). I bought my BG survival knife on sale at Walmart for about $50
– full tang design makes it super sturdy
– decent sized blade (4.8″)
– “no slip” rubber grip is handy for wet conditions
– grip and sheath have lots of bright orange markings, making it easy to see if you set it down in the grass, etc.
– built in sharpening stone brings the blade back to life with a few strokes
– the plastic mechanism on the sheath for holding the knife is a bit suspect (It broke when I accidentally dropped it on a rock. Walmart replaced it no questions asked). My knife is the 2011 version. The 2014 version of the sheath has been redesigned to do away the plastic mechanism.
– The knock against this and other Gerber knives is that the steel is a bit soft and the knives lose their edge quickly. The upside of soft steel is that it’s also easier to sharpen, and the built in sharpener is up to the task.