The Bear Grylls and Les Stroud Knife Showdown

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Bear Grylls and Les Stroud have long been at the top of the ranks for the most popular survivalists on the planet. They both have hit shows. They both have their own line of products. Both being survivalists of course they also have their own signature knives. Is one better than the other? In this knife showdown we pit the two knives together in an all out deathmatch!

First, take a look at the review I did on the Bear Grylls knife and then take a look at the one on Les Strouds knife. At the top of each of those reviews I have created tables outlining the specs of both knives. You’ll notice right off the bat they are nearly identical to each other! Was this by mistake? I think it’s possible that Les Stroud’s knife came out to market first and then Bear Grylls had to one-up the blade length by a measly .25 inches!

Taking a look at the chart you’ll see the blade length on the Les Stroud knife is 4.75″ while the length on the Bear Grylls knife is 4.8. Some might say a quarter of an inch can make all the difference. I’m not so sure about that and I’ll let you decide if the extra length is a game changer or not.

Another thing to note is that you can’t find any specs for the Bear Grylls knife indicating what kind of blade material was used. It’s clearly some Chinese stainless steel but there are so many varieties out there. Looking at both blades it is very possible they are both using the same exact material. Maybe Bears plan was to swipe the material and keep everything on the hush hush. Well, maybe the conspiracy theorist in me is coming on too strong! Whatever the case, both blades sharpened up the exact same.

You will also notice besides the length the blades are nearly identical in every other way possible. Both feature a drop point and both have a serrated edge. Something is certainly starting to get fishy about this!

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Les Strouds Blade

 

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Bear Grylls blade

Moving on the handle is more of the same similarities. Sure the colors are different but you can clearly the see the same design elements in the finger grooves and the overall shape. The one difference is the Les Stroud knife has a hammer point on the end of the pommel. This is one thing missing from the Bear Grylls knife. I’m not entirely sure how hard you can hammer with this thing but you can give it a go if you want. Some traditionalists would balk at you for hammering with a knife, opting to find a rock or something other than your most prized and valued survival gear.

The handles do seem to be made out of slightly different materials and I did feel that the Bear Grylls handle had a better grip. Something about those grooves allows the hand to get a good handle on the blade even when wet.

The sheaths are quite different beasts and it’s about time something changed up here. The Les Stroud sheath features a Kydex holster and a nylon backing. The knife slips into the Kydex holster and is secured with a single nylon strap. The sheath also features a number of bells and whistles including a signalling mirror, a flashlight + whistle, a ferrocerium rod, and a built in blade sharpener. All of these items are as cheap as possible, the one redeeming quality being the signalling mirror which is half decent.

 

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The Les Stroud Knife Sheath

 

The Bear Grylls sheath comes with all of the same things minus the signalling mirror and the flashlight. I found the Bear Grylls sheath secures the blade in a much more secure manner than Les Strouds. It also has 2 nylon velcro straps to further secure the knife at different parts. You can feel the blade snap securely into place. It’s this feeling that tells you your knife isn’t going to fall out on the trail.

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Now let’s discuss price. For the most part all things have been fairly equal up to this point. As of this writing the Bear Grylls knife will cost you $20 more than the Les Stroud knife. Is the slightly extra length on the blade and the better sheath worth the cost? I’m not so sure. The Les Stroud knife is on hell of a deal I must say.

The final verdict

At the end of this review we discovered that these two blades are nearly identical for the most part except for a few minor features. We also discovered that Les Strouds knife is $20 cheaper than Bears. The choice is now on the table. Perhaps the final deciding factor can be answered with the following question…

Who is the ultimate survivalist, Les Stroud or Bear Grylls?

 

Bear Grylls Finally Talks About Les Stroud?

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When you think of the top celebrity survivalists there are 2 heavy hitters who come to mind. I’m talking about Bear Grylls and Les Stroud. Bear Grylls is well known for his hit show Man vs Wild where he takes viewers on a wild adventure of survival. Bear Grylls pulls off some truly Hollywood style stunts and isn’t afraid to do whatever it takes to make sure his ratings stay on top. He’s been known to repel down cliffs with bailing wire, jump in raging rivers, and even drink his own urine!

Les Stroud on the other hand is considered the more “serious” survivalist. He’s known for his practical survival skills and gives the viewers what he considers seasoned survival advice. While not as interesting as Bear Grylls, Les has still managed to amass a large following of people who look to him for advice.

I always considered Les a humble guy until I found a video of him bashing Mr. Bear Grylls to an audience…

When asked about his opinion on Bear Grylls he had many snarky things to say like “Who?” Playing as if he’s never heard of him.

He then goes on to say “Oh, the actor!”

Once again slamming Bear Grylls and making a joke out of him.

As the final stake in the coffin, Les had this to say this…

“If you wanted to learn about archaeology, would you go to Harrison Ford?”

Okay we get it Les, you are the survival God and we should all bow down to you.

Bear Grylls response to Les Stroud

I’ve looked around but can’t find a single video or audio clip of Bear Grylls making a rebuttal. You would think in todays world of drama Bear would be chomping at the bits to stir up some controversy, perhaps for a new show, or maybe a Les vs Bear face off at the least!

What I did find was a number of stories showcasing who the truly humble man was. For starters, Bear is a military man with 3 years of active duty with the British SAS. It goes without saying he knows a thing or two about survival. In 1996 he suffered a back injury where he broke 3 major vertebrae. 18 months later despite doctors orders he CLIMBS Mount Everest, fulfilling his childhood dream. I would like to see the credentials and life experiences of Bears haters at this point.

Second, the show was meant as an education/entertainment vehicle. It was never about Bear Grylls going out there to survive on his own, despite many viewers and haters having this impression. To capture the shots he needed to accurately portray the survival skills he needed a camera crew.

Sure, every night Bear and his crew would go back and either stay at a local lodge or a tent onsite where they were shooting. Does Bear deserve flack for this? I certainly think not and SHAME on Mr. Les Stroud for taking a snarky stab at Bear and painting him as an idiot.

Conclusion

Bear is a Christian, a humble guy, and donates to charity. He’s served in British SAS, climbed Mount Everest, and produced one hell of a show. Maybe Les is pissed because Bear makes more money? I’m not sure but good on Bear for refusing to talk about Les in the same ill mannered way.

Read next…

What’s in Les Strouds survival kit?

The Bear Grylls ultimate survival kit

 

 

 

 

 

What Is In Les Strouds Survival Kit?

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In his best selling book Survive, Les Stroud shows you exactly what it takes to survive in different survival scenarios. In an early chapter he dedicates an entire section to what he considers to be a highly efficient and lean survival kit. In this post I will explore the contents of Les Strouds survival kit and shed light on different ways you can use each piece of gear.

5 lb coffee container

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Les recommends keeping all of the following gear in a 5lb coffee container. This serves to house the gear in a compact space and also to protect the gear from outside elements like water. Les fails to mention just how you are supposed to transport this container. Are you supposed to hold it in your hand or keep it in your cargo pockets? I doubt a coffee container of that size will even fit in the most baggiest of pants pockets. It would be wise to store the container in a bug out bag or stash it somewhere safe. In the event you need the items within you can easily retrieve the contents and use what you need. However, if you’re venturing out into the wilderness I can’t see how carrying this thing around is practical. I do see the importance of keeping your gear stored in a safe container though.

Folding metal cup

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Some kind of stainless steel or metal cup is a versatile piece of survival equipment. The cup can be used to boil water and also doubles as a drinking and eating cup. I’ve used cheap metal cups in the past which tend to warp and degrade overtime. These days I’ve been very pleased with this camp set from Stanley. It comes with a handle so pulling it in and out of the fire is no problem. Without a collapsible handle you’ll be waiting a long time for the cup to cool down unless you have gloves or something to protect your hands.

Multi Tool

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A good multi tool or Swiss Army knife is always a lifesaver. The pliers on the multi tool especially come in handy for a number of situations. I use mine to take hot gear out of the fire like my cooking pieces and also to bend metals into place. You’ll never know what you’ll need the multi tool for but you will always be wishing you had one if you don’t.

55 gallon trash bags

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These thick industrial size trash bags can do a lot of good in a survival situation. You can easily create a shelter or use the bags to waterproof your gear. Crossing a river and don’t want anything to get wet? Throw everything in one of these trash bags and call it a day. You can also wrap your shoes up to create instant waterproof footwear during a storm. They also function very well as a makeshift poncho

Cotton bandana

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A cotton bandana in the signature Bear Grylls orange color. Oh the irony!

 

Use a bandana the traditional way as a means to keep your head from getting sun burnt and to wipe the sweat from your brow. They can also be used to filter sediment and debris from a water source. Note that this does not purify the water. Be careful to boil the water before hand and then filter through the bandana to remove the debris.

Ziploc bag

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The rest of the items below fit conveniently in a large Ziploc bag. The Ziploc bag further waterproofs your gear and protects from the elements.

  • 550 cordageParacord. Essential for stringing up a survival shelter and other uses to long to list. As they say, you never know what you’re going to need it for but you’re always going to need it.
  • Small led flashlight – Any kind of flashlight will do. When darkness hits and there is no electricity the night will be very dark. To navigate your way around your gear and camp you’ll need some illumination. I like a good tactical light like the Fenix PD-35 but any cheap flashlight will work.
  • CandleCandles are the old school way of lighting camp and home. They’re drop dead simple to use and are extremely practical as part of a survival kit.
  • Lighter or butane blow torch – Something you can use to light a fire with. A lighter works but a butane blow torch is nearly unphased by wind and other external elements.
  • Space blanket – A space blanket will reflect the heat you lose from your body right back at you. This creates a cycle of warmth even in extremely cold conditions. While you might not be comfortable, a good space blanket can keep you warm enough until the morning – and that’s all that matters. Survival is not a 5 star experience at the Ritz-Carlton.
  • Ferrocerium Rod – A ferrocerium rod is a man made metal used to create sparks which ignite a fire. The nice thing about them is they can get wet and will still be usable. This is not the case with lighters and matches. With a little practice in the wild you can easily create fire from dry tinder found locally in the environment.
  • Strike anywhere matches – A basic set of strike anywheres to add a little redundancy to your fire kit. Keep these in a metal container because plastic has properties which can ignite the matches.
  • Signal whistle – Has anybody ever been found by using one of these? I have no idea but Les recommends having one. I can see if you broke a leg in the wild how this might be your only way out.
  • Compass – Almost useless without a map but Les still recommends having one. This is one of those pieces of gear requiring proper training to be used correctly. If you choose to get one this compass is the best in the business.
  • Painkillers – Ibuprofens, Advils, Tylenols etc. Useful for minor ailments of the human body including any aches or pains endured in a survival situation.
  • Knife – Need I say anymore. A good survival knife is worth its weight in gold out in the bush. If there’s one thing you’d want on this list it’s a solid knife at your belt. I’ve written a post on choosing the right survival knife to give you an idea about what kind of knife you want. There’s thousands of knives out there but if you follow a few basic principles you can’t go wrong.

My Review of the Les Stroud Survival Kit

Les Strouds survival kit has taken a lot of flack from the survival community. Either people don’t understand why a certain piece of gear was included or they think his kit is completely missing critical gear. I will say this – The Les Stroud survival kit is extremely lean. This means you’ll need to rely more on your skills as a survivalist.

Everything you need to survive is there. Most importantly you have the means to secure clean water and shelter. Without these 2 elements in place survival is highly unlikely. People wonder why there isn’t 72 hours worth of food in the kit as recommended in most bug out bag guides. The thing is, this is not a bug out bag. This is a survival kit. Man can go 30 days without food but will quickly die without shelter or water. Everything you need to survive is here.

Would it be nice for the kit to have a water filter and everything else that goes into a full blown bug out bag? Sure, but why make it so easy on yourself? This is not a stay at a 5 star hotel. This is survival. With the right skills anybody can survive with the Les Stroud survival kit.

Conclusion

I think the Les Stroud survival kit is good enough for most people with basic skills. The thing is, there is no such thing as the perfect survival kit and who am I to judge one of the best survivalists out there? The nice thing about this kit is everything on it is very inexpensive. You could easily pick the stuff on this list up for less than $50. A good bug out bag with all the goodies will easily run you a few hundred.

What do you think about this kit? Let me know in the comments below.

Les Stroud Knife Review

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In this post I’m cracking into another knife review. This go around? The Camillus Les Stroud knife. If you’re a reader of the blog you might have read my review of the Bear Grylls survival knife. While this write up won’t specifically compare the two blades, I think it is only fair to include a proper review of the blade Les Stroud has to offer. Let’s get into it.

Specifications

Blade TypeFixed
Blade Length4.75 inches
Total Length10.0 inches
Blade Thickness0.153 inches
Blade Material440 stainless steel with anti-stick coating
Weight8.3 oz (no sheath)
TangFull
Sheath IncludedYes

The Blade

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Let’s talk about the blade itself. The material used to make the Les Stroud knife is 440 stainless steel. Now, as far as stainless steel goes this is the cheapest material out on the market explaining why the Les Stroud knife is considerably cheaper than most other knives. Does that mean the blade is complete garbage? Absolutely not. In fact, 440 stainless steel can take and hold quite the edge for most purposes and is extremely resistant to corrosion.

The quality of the 440 steel depends entirely on where the steel was sourced and how well it was tempered and formed. I found the Les Stroud blade to sharpen up quite nicely and held its edge. Sure, it might not have the longevity of an ESEE knife which favors the 1095 steel but for the price difference its not fair to compare or complain. All in all, this knife held up in the bush and is competitively priced for someone who wants a decent knife but doesn’t want to spend an arm and a leg.

It should also be noted that this is a drop point blade and a 1/3 of the knife features serrated edges. A drop point knife lends itself well to things like skinning, butchering, and carving.

The Sheath

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The sheath is actually quite slick. The blade snaps in to the Kydex holster and takes a considerable amount of force to unsheath. This prevents the blade from falling out in the bush. Also on the sheath is a signalling mirror, a slot for the included ferrocerium rod, blade sharpener, flashlight, and survival whistle. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a sheath pack in this many survival tools. And the thing is, you think these tools would be low quality but I was surprised at the usefulness of all of it.

Full Review

When I saw this knife I was thinking “oh great, another celebrity survival knife.” Knowing that Les Stroud was one of the more seasoned and realistic survivalists I took the plunge and gave the knife a shot. I must say, it stands on its own in the bush and comparable to even the more expensive survival knives.

First, there’s a lot of features on this knife I like. For starters, the knife comes with a ferrocerium rod and the blade has a built in notch to make striking drop dead simple. The ferro rod strikes smooth through the notch and throws a considerable amount of sparks. You can easily get a fire going with this thing if it came down to it.

Second, the handle is extremely ergonomic. The grip is perfect for my medium size hands and the synthetic rubber material provides a good grip even when wet. The handle towards the blade side of the knife has a bright green flare. While many knife companies go camo, black, or brown I like that if I drop the knife in the woods I can easily find it. With a camo handle knife you’ll be lucky to spot it on the ground especially if you dropped it and didn’t notice until much further down the trail.

Now, how does the knife stack up in the bush? It’s one thing to admire the qualities of the knife but another to take it out into the bush and use it for something useful.

When I buy a survival knife I have a few questions:

  • Can it baton wood?
  • Can it make fine feathersticks?
  • Can you skin game and fish easily?
  • Could you use it as a self defense weapon?

I found the blade was just long enough to baton wood decently. While I don’t expect a knife to produce a whole winters worth of wood, I do want to secure the wood I need for a night or two if I am camping or stranded somewhere. The Les Stroud knife batons would efficiently enough.

Making feathersticks is another crucial element of starting a fire in a survival situation. The blade has to be sharp enough to produce fine feathersticks so the tinder can be ignited either with a lighter or ferrocerium rod. Again, with the Les Stroud knife I was able to create the feathersticks I needed to make a nice roaring fire.

I’ll admit that I have never skinned any game with this knife but I will tell you this – I know it wouldn’t be a problem. The drop point design makes this knife a natural when it comes to skinning. The blade is also thin enough sharpen up to a razors edge.

Finally, one thing I like about this knife is the steel pommel on the end of the handle. The purpose for this is two-fold: You can use the knife as a self defense weapon against an attacker or use it to crack open nuts or hammer whatever you need.

Conclusion

For the price the Les Stroud survival knife cannot be beat. Currently this knife is less than half the price of the Bear Grylls knife and to be honest, it would be very difficult to justify the price for Bear Grylls. Grab one today and test it out for yourself.

 

 

Bear Grylls vs Les Stroud – Who Wins?

Bear Grylls and Les Stroud – two notorious T.V. personalities with their own survival shows. Each one takes a different approach to survival. Bear Grylls is popular because he drinks his own urine and repels down steep mountain slopes with bailing twine. Les Stroud is noted for his calculated approach and “real” survival skills. Now, if you put these two in an ultimate survival situation, who would win and why?

Bear Grylls

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Bear Grylls in his hit show “Man vs Wild” takes his viewers on a wild expedition of survival. Him and his camera crew go balls deep into the most challenging environments to test his skills. Bear Grylls is not shy when it comes to getting naked, jumping into raging rivers, climbing trees, repelling down cliffs, or even drinking his own urine. He is also not afraid to eat whatever nasty bug crawls across the landscape. Each episode shows Mr. Grylls taking part in some fairly aggressive stunts that make you question the validity of the show.

Some say Bear Grylls is all hat and no cattle. In other words, critics of Bear Grylls say he is only in it for the money. Some go so far as to say he never even spends the night in the places he films. When filming is over he goes back to a cozy 5 star hotel where he eats the finest foods and drinks the finest champagne.

If we take a look at what we see him do on T.V. we can deduce a few things. One, most of his stunts are ridiculous and outright dangerous. Many of the situations he puts himself in can result in broken bones, twisted ankles, or other serious injuries. His habit of getting naked and jumping into the coldest rivers is downright stupid at times. In some episodes you can easily see that he could of simply walked alongside the river to reach his destination.

Man vs Wild is definitely entertaining to watch despite the obvious misinformation. But, does this make Bear Grylls an incompetent survivalist? Just because his show focuses on entertainment doesn’t mean Mr. Grylls is incapable in the wild, right?

Les Stroud

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Les Stroud is the man behind the hit show “Survivorman.” Mr. Stroud’s show differs greatly from Man vs Wild in many key areas. Les films the entire show himself. He doesn’t have a crew of people he goes out with. If somethine goes wrong he has to figure things out himeslf. He does not have a team of experts to help him through situations. This puts him at greater risk in my opinion and gives the show a more authentic feel. Because he films everything himself you get an up close and personal feel for what it really takes to survive. Mr. Stroud is well known for saying things like “you’re one twisted ankle away from death.”

He constantly delivers sound advice and spends a lot of time educating you face to face. He stresses the dangers of getting injured in a survival situation. You never saw him doing crazy stunts that could get him gravely injured. His approach to survival was always calculated and informed. I feel that Survivorman was educational and did a lot of good teaching the real nitty gritty details of what it takes to survive.

Stroud also trained under real experts and has been a student of primitive living for many years. I consider Stroud an overall good guy who knows what he’s talking about.

Who Wins?

As far as entertainment value goes the cup goes to Mr. Grylls. He is fun to watch and there is never a dull moment. If it came down to surviving I got to go with Mr. Stroud. If I was stranded on a desert island and had to choose a partner, I’m going with the guy who’s been studying this stuff his whole life. I’m going with the guy who knows what it takes to survive. My hat is off to both these gentleman but the winner in this survival competition is clearly Stroud.