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.
|Blade Length||4.75 inches|
|Total Length||10.0 inches|
|Blade Thickness||0.153 inches|
|Blade Material||440 stainless steel with anti-stick coating|
|Weight||8.3 oz (no sheath)|
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 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.
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.
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.