Bear Grylls Ultimate Knife

Official Product image

Official Product image

I like gear that’s very versatile, and there are some really impressive features found around this knife, like the flint-like fire starter called fire steel, or how the base is fashioned into a blunt end which acts as a hammer and is great for pounding in tent poles. There are holes to lash this to a stick to make a spear, and a whistle for attracting attention. It also comes with land-to-air rescue instructions and how to survive if you find yourself in an emergency with a Priorities of Survival pocket guide. These fold out instructions help you learn how to start a fire, create shelter, navigate without a compass, collect safe drinking water, how to catch food with snares, and how to tie knots.

Here’s the survivalist himself detailing the product.

It appears the only thing they left out was how to use the included sharpening stone with the knife. That may be because one would assume it’s relatively straightforward, but there are 3 key things to keep in mind to ensure you sharpen the blade properly so let’s take a closer look now on what you need to know.

Step 1 - Secure the Sharpening Stone

Remove the knife from the sheath and flip the knife sheath around to expose the sharpening stone. You could remove the sheath from the holster, but I’ve discovered that opens the door to a new problem of now trying to find a level surface for the sharpening stone while contending with the awkwardness of the opposite side having the fire steel. Flipping it around within the holster gives you that level surface and sandwiches the flint steel between the sheath and the holster.

Step 2 - Create the Sharpening Angle

If you look at this sharpening stone carefully, you’ll notice it’s not resting totally flat but has some underside supports that give it an angle of rest.

Companies put an edge angle on their blades somewhere between 15 and 22 degrees. It may be different if it’s a specialized knife but generally speaking this means you want to create this angle between your knife and stone when sharpening.

Unfold the survival pocket guide and notice it’s a perfect square, meaning if we fold this piece of paper in half once it creates a 45 degree angle, with another fold giving us 22.5 degrees. This piece of paper is now our knife sharpening angle guide. Notice this angle more or less coincides with the angle created by those underside supports to the sharpening stone.  

Step 3 - Run the knife over the stone

You’ll want to apply even pressure throughout the sharpening stroke. Go in one direction, making an even amount of passes on each side of the blade. I switch hands when I switch sides just because I find it more comfortable. After five strokes on each side, check the blade for sharpness and for evenness. Use the paper as a guide if you need to keep your sharpening angle honest. You want to keep checking the blade and your angle throughout the process until your blade is sharp and ready for the wild again.

A couple of things to keep in mind

  1. Avoid drag through sharpeners since they usually take off much more material than they need to and the edges you receive aren’t as good as one you can make yourself with a sharpening stone.
  2. Don’t use the knife’s edge with the flint starter, particularly the serrated part of the blade. It conveniently fits in the notches, but the top side of the knife has a place for creating sparks too, and this will keep your knife blade sharper for longer.