Monday, September 30, 2013

Gerber Knives and the Art of Survival

Survival equipment is a growing market in the last few years. Whether you just love trekking in the wilds or preparing for other activities, outdoor gear will be at the top of every wish list. Chances are, Gerber knives will appear in many of these wish lists.

From cutlery to the outdoors

Gerber knives, one of the biggest and most well-known knife companies around, had humble beginnings. In the holiday season of 1910, founder Joseph Gerber mailed twenty-four sets of kitchen knives to clients of their family's advertising firm. The handmade knives caught the attention of Abercrombie & Fitch, who placed a request for more of the knives for their 1939 catalog. That same year, Gerber founded the company that would bear his name. By the 1960s, Gerber was one of the most trusted and collected name in knives.

Gerber knives have seen use in wartime and peacetime, as hunting tools and survival gear. One old Gerber poster best describes the knifemaker's reputation: many sportsmen own at least one Gerber outdoor knife. Its knives and tools have unique features like a bolt action locking system, push button locking, and clip-it diving knives. It also introduced innovations like injection molded Zytel handles, Kraton rubber for enhanced grips, high carbon stainless steel for its blades, and titanium nitride coating.

Aside from its knives, Gerber also manufactures multi-tools, especially for use in outdoor activities. Today, it is the second leading seller of multi-tools in the United States, with revenues of over $100 million.

Dominating the outdoors

Gerber was the first knife production company to collaborate with custom knifemaker David Murphy in the 1930s. Gerber continues this tradition of working together with known knifemakers, survival specialists, and outdoorsmen. Some of the names associated with Gerber knives include Bob Loveless, Blackie Collins, William Harsey, Jr., and Matt Larsen.

Gerber's latest collaboration is with English adventurer, writer, and television host Bear Grylls. You probably know him best for his show, Man vs. Wild, which matched Grylls with many hostile places as he taught the audience how to survive in those locations. Grylls is also one of the youngest Britons to reach the summit of Mt. Everest and was a former Special Air Service (SAS) member.

The knives and tools that bear Grylls' name reflect their namesake's ability to survive just about any situation. The pinnacle of the series, the Bear Grylls knife, has a high-grade stainless drop point blade. The first model came out with serrations for half of the blade's length, but enthusiasts suggested Gerber come out with a version that has a smoother blade.

Other features of the Bear Grylls knife include an ergonomic textured rubber grip, stainless steel pommel that works well as a makeshift hammer, and an emergency whistle combined into the lanyard cord.

True to its association with a known name in outdoor survival, Gerber knives put several excellent features in the knife's sheath. Included is a firestarter whose striker is on the back of the knife's blade, a diamond sharpener and Bear Grylls' own Priorities for Surival, so you can survive in the great outdoors like a pro.

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