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Knifestyles - Jason Heaton

Knifestyles - Jason Heaton

At GiantMouse, we are always interested in the different relationships people have with their blades. For this installment of our Knifestyles series, we talk to Jason Heaton, author, diver, gearhead, and podcast host, about the tools of his many trades. 

Jason Heaton is a man of varied passions. A certified technical diver, timepiece enthusiast, and two-time novelist, his life and work can best be boiled down to four driving forces: adventure, travel, watches, and writing.

You may know Jason from his in-depth gear reviews, found in publications such as Outside magazine, Gear Patrol, Men’s Journal, The Telegraph, Wired, or Australian Geographic. If that wasn’t accomplishment enough, he recently released his second novel, Sweetwater, a followup to his 2021 debut, Depth Charge, an old-school thriller centered around deepwater diving.

Jason himself has been underwater all over the world, from the Galapagos to the Caribbean. These aquatic exploits are a frequent subject on his popular podcast, The Grey NATO, as well as his blog, Swimpruf , where he shares tales of diving, driving, and collecting.

Above everything, Jason is a gearhead through and through. In fact, The New York Times once called him, “a test pilot for the world’s most illustrious undersea timepieces.” We caught up with the prolific multi-hyphenate to talk EDC, knives, and advice from a well-traveled life.

The Knifestyles of Jason Heaton

What originally piqued your interest in knives?

I wouldn’t call myself a knife connoisseur or collector, yet I find myself with an eclectic bunch of blades of all ages, uses, and types. Some I’ve been given as gifts, some I’ve bought myself.

They range from a Norwegian hunting knife with a curly birch handle, to a quirky (and very sharp) little blade with a handle made from a caribou antler, to a birth year (1970) Swiss Army Soldier knife, in addition to a couple of GiantMouse Ace Riv folding pocket knives. 

Of course, as a diver I have a small collection of old school diving knives. Nowadays, divers typically carry small blades clipped on their harness, but I still like a big commando style blade strapped to my calf. My first was a Wenoka “Blackie Collins” I got when I learned to scuba dive, but my most prized dive knife is the GiantMouse limited edition made for the Danish frogman corps, the “Conventus Ranae."

How do knives fit into your life?

Sadly, day to day I have little serious use for a knife, other than cutting open the all too numerous packages that arrive. When I go camping, I like to have a knife at hand for the myriad tasks one does, from cooking to whittling to cutting rope. When diving, a knife is very handy for cutting “ghost nets,” i.e., abandoned fishing nets, or fishing line that entangles sea life or drapes on coral or shipwrecks. 

What's your go-to everyday carry gear? Favorite GiantMouse Knife?

My EDC consists of a wristwatch (with which I never leave the house), my wallet, typically some sunglasses, my Ace Riv clipped to my pocket, and, of course, my iPhone—the most indispensable piece of kit I own (sadly, or not).

While the Ace Riv is the most useful for any number of tasks, the Ranae dive knife has pride of place on my desk in my home office. It is simply a beautifully made, brutally functional old-school commando knife. I heard about GiantMouse from Jim Wirth, who is not only a fellow watch enthusiast, but a loyal listener of the podcast I co-host.

Your background spans watch expertise, adventure writing, and novel authorship. How do these interests intersect and influence each other in your creative pursuits?

If there’s an underlying theme to my life, it is adventure, in all its forms. Watches, and knives, are simply an extension of the gear needed for any variety of activities and always good to have close to hand.

Writing is my core aptitude, and I’ve always done it, both for work and pleasure. It only makes sense to combine my interests and my aptitude. The fiction writing is pure fun, and allows me to live vicariously through my characters and plots. I’m also a chronic dreamer.

How do your own experiences diving and traveling play a role in shaping your novels?

The news these days is rife with adventure novel plots! One need look no further than the headlines for ideas. It’s funny though, it wasn’t until my late 40s when I felt I had accumulated enough life experiences to take on a full-length novel. My travels and diving have taken me to some remarkable places and fed my creativity with a reserve to last for years to come.

In your extensive career, what's one adventure or writing experience that left a lasting impact on you and why?

So many to choose from! Most of the memorable experiences have been diving around the world for some assignment or another. Last spring, I was in Polynesia diving a remote coral atoll, just a week after diving close to home under two feet of lake ice.

Diving the World War II wreck of the aircraft carrier HMS Hermes was probably the dive I’ll remember the most though, as it was the culmination of a lot of training in technical diving, some fascinating history and a part of the world (Sri Lanka) I have particular fondness for (my wife hails from there).

What's your life motto?

“It’s all one life,” is something I live by. There is no separation between work and home life, what makes me money, and what brings me happiness. The adventures feed the work, the work takes me places for adventures, and I remain happy doing it all.

Discover Jason Heaton's Favorites

The GiantMouse Team would like to thank Jason Heaton for taking a break from his adventures to talk shop with us. Keep an eye out for more Knifestyle profiles coming soon! 

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