CAN GEAR MAKE YOU A BETTER WEEKEND WARRIOR? ONLY IF YOU HAVE THE SKILLS TO USE IT.
I’ve never been one to ogle knives. It’s not that I’m a pacifist, or that I don’t appreciate the aesthetic beauty of a good stiff blade. It’s that I have absolutely no use for a knife in my daily life. My typical day goes like this: I wake up, go to the office, get a cup of coffee at the local book shop, go to the gym, pound away at the keyboard, go home and play with the kids. You tell me what part of that schedule presents an opportunity to use a steel blade? Maybe if there’s a long line at the treadmill…
And yet, I find myself gazing longingly at a new blade made by long-time knife manufacturer Gerber—a blade that was inspired by Man vs. Wild survival TV show host Bear Grylls. It’s “The Ultimate Knife”—a fixed blade with a partially serrated edge, stainless steel pummel, emergency whistle, and a sheath packed with a fire starter, diamond sharpener, and a pocket guide detailing Bear’s survival essentials. According to Bear, “this knife will give you an edge on surviving if you ever find yourself lost or stranded.” Just one look at the ergonomically designed handle and sweet carbon-black blade makes me want to go wild boar hunting.
It’s a weird sensation for me. I don’t dig on swine, as they say, and I’ve never hunted a day in my life with a rifle, let alone with a dagger and my bare hands. But it’s an oddly familiar sensation too. I had similar urges back in the early ‘80s when Master Cutlery released the Rambo Official Replica Knife which was virtually identical to the knife Sylvester Stallone wielded in Rambo: First Blood.
Remember that dagger? In addition to the ridiculously long blade, the knife had screwdrivers, a compass, a survival kit with matches, fishing line, surgical blade…all hidden inside the handle! It was everything you could possibly need in any situation you found yourself in, whether you needed to catch a fish or fight your way through a Pacific Northwest forest with redneck sheriffs on your trail. Not that the Rambo Knife was the first survival tool by any means. Swiss Army has made all-inclusive blades for decades, but those are a bit more “urban.” Cork screws and magnifying glasses…that’s your tool if you’re on a winery tour and you want to burn some ants. The Rambo Knife was for surviving manly situations that may or may not include gutting a deer and sleeping inside its carcass.