First off, let me say I am a big fan of Les Stroud, and his no-fanfare version of survival documentary… that being said, it led me to purchase his knife, the Camillus Les Stroud SK Mountain Ultimate Survival Knife, especially when I first saw the arctic version of it on one of his 2012 “10 Days” Survivorman series episodes.
I am going to give quick review of this, as there are already hundreds of other reviews of this piece of gear out there. I’ll start off with the cons…
Out of the Box – Cons
The Sheath – When it came and I ripped open the package for first inspection, my first peeves were that the sheath feels cheap. It has not broken on me in over 3 months of use, but, it still feels cheap.
Whistle – The whistle is absolutely terrible, mine does not even work.
OOTB Cordage – I also replaced the cheap cordage wrapped around the inner coil of the sheath with some 550lb test paracord. (I did however throw the cheap cordage in my “bug-out-bag”).
Mirror – The mirror is nothing great, not too shiny, but, it could work in a pinch if needed. However, the fact that it is on the outside, is a big negative to me, constantly flashing light everywhere. I covered it with a square of black duct tape.
Map Pocket – In which the survival directions come in… well, unless you have a really small map, and do not mind getting it beaten up as it rubs against your leg or pack, it is not even remotely useful.
Out of the Box – Pros
The Sheath – It does what it is supposed to do – hold a knife!
Sharpener – Not universal, as it works for this knife, and anything of its size or smaller only, but it does work good.
Knife – The crown jewel of the package… the knife feels very strong (and I have also given it a lot of abuse, and it still keeps on ticking!). I also like the layout – a small serrated area on the front of the knife, and being flat on the back, with a small notch for the firesteel striker. It is full tang, and very strong. Also, the hammer at the bottom is useful for hammering small things, or, if you are using the knife for hunting, a good way to seal the deal.
The knife feels good in the hand, and I do like the fact that its color really doesn’t match much in nature, so the chances of losing it are lessened. (I forget stuff all of the time…)
Firesteel - It does what it is supposed to do!
LED Flashlight – I usually have a headlamp on me, but, this one will do in a pinch. About as bright as a cheap keychain LED flashlight (as the flashlight is cheap) for finding your lock late at night.
I give this overall package 5/6 possible High Lifes. Less 1 for the issues with the sheath and doodads, and 5 basically all on the knife itself.
DISCLAIMER: This product was purchased using out-of-pocket funds by Just Your Average Hiker. The manufacturer did not offer any compensation or suggestions for review. Although, Les, if you want to send me some goodies, I am always open for it :)