One of the big announcements last year was the launch of the new line of Les Stroud knives from Camillus Knives. At the time, I was fortunate to have a chance to sit down with Les and talk about the project when it was still in the prototype phase. I’ve since gotten the production version into my hands and out into the woods for some fieldwork.

Survivorman

Looking back at some of what we talked about last year, it’s worth noting that Les has been looking at doing a knife since well before his forays into television and his Survivorman series. Les was a survival instructor long before he was a television star, and in those earlier days he began forming his own views on what techniques and gear worked best for him. Over the years he has distilled those experiences into qualities that he feels make a practical survival tool. Stroud said that he’d been approached by a number of companies over the years about doing a line of knives but that it wasn’t until Camillus approached him that he found a partner who would guarantee him the level of quality he needed, in order to put his name and reputation behind the product. Les applied his experience and opinions to come up with the actual designs and worked with the engineers to figure out the best materials and methods to make it happen. Les has field-tested the blades himself and made the final refinements on the knives before they went into production.

Les told me that what really matters in a survival situation are luck, physical stamina, the will to live and your kit. What you’re carrying can make the difference between life and death. Les puts a strong focus on the fact that, when you need an item, you really need it. So you need to have your kit on you, and it has to work. One question he asked himself when coming up with this line of knives was, what can I give them to make it through?

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