Survivor revealed a mass audience appetite for watching strangers struggle against the wilderness on television. Now survival TV is an established genre, and there’s a variety of shows that each put a different spin (Survivor does competition, Naked and Afraid does nudity) on the man versus nature narrative that goes back to Robinson Crusoe. The latter half of the 2010s produced the category’s best shows, and there were only two: Man vs. Wild and Survivorman. The first featured unlikely scenarios and stunts that made Bear Grylls both famous and maligned while the latter presented a more realistic take on survival with a man named Les Stroud.
Stroud’s activities on Survivorman were likely boring to many. Many of the show’s hour-long episodes, which Stroud filmed himself since he entered the wilderness without a support crew, contained similar scenes: build shelter, make fire, find food. Grylls, on the other hand, jumped off a cliff into freezing water, took on venomous snakes and slept inside of a camel carcass.
Stroud’s program was easily more realistic and demonstrated practical skills that might actually come in handy to those who find themselves lost in the wilderness. Crafting a bow drill or processing wood for shelter are vital chores and things that can be practiced and learned at home. A knife can make any of these tasks easier, and Stroud has teamed up with Helle Knives to produce three, the newest being the just-announced Wabakimi.
The Wabakimi is a fixed blade with a 3.3-inch triple-laminated stainless steel blade and a birch handle. The knife draws on Stroud and Helle’s previous two collaborations; it’s large enough for serious tasks, precise enough with its drop-point shape for precise cutting and small enough to carry on the hip. Named after a park in Stroud’s home province of Ontario, the Wabakimi is, as expected, a survival-oriented knife that’s suitable for any outdoorsman entering remote areas. Stroud wouldn’t attach his name to it if it weren’t.
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