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Reviews > Cook Gear > Utensils > Gerber Freescape Camp Kitchen Knife > Test Report by Michael Mosack

FREESCAPE CAMP KITCHEN KNIFE
TEST SERIES BY MIKE MOSACK
LONG-TERM REPORT
October 30, 2015

CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE LONG-TERM REPORT

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Mike Mosack
EMAIL: mosack(at)earthlink(dot)net
AGE: 51
LOCATION: San Diego, CA USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 6' 1" (1.85 m)
WEIGHT: 240 lb (109.00 kg)

I've been backpacking for over 30 years, doing day trips, weekenders and week-long or longer trips throughout the year. I backpack in all climates and seasons, from summer desert trips to Spring/Winter camping in Michigan, California and Grand Canyon, Arizona and I worked in Afghanistan for 4 years and rely on my equipment constantly. I prefer to go lighter when possible and am always trying new items. Quality and reliability of items are paramount to me over price and weight.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Gerber
IMAGE 1
Actual Product tested

Year of Manufacture: 2015
Manufacturer's Website: www.gerbergear.com
MSRP: US $53.00
Listed Weight on Website: 6.5 oz (184 g)
Listed Weight on Product Packaging: 7.6 oz (215 g)
Measured Weight of Knife: 6.2 oz (177 g)
Measured Weight of Sheath: 1.2 oz (33 g)
Total Weight of Knife with Sheath: 7.4 oz (210 g)
Listed Dimensions on Website:
Overall Length - 9.1" (23.11 cm)
Blade Length - 3.8" (9.65 cm)
Listed Dimensions on Product Packaging:
Blade Length - 3.8" (9.7 cm)
Measured Dimensions:
Overall Length - 9.1" (23.11 cm)
Blade Length - 3.9" (9.85 cm)
Other Details:
Lifetime Warranty (North America only) and 25 years outside North America
This is Item # 31-002533 from the manufacturer's website
This product (both the knife and sheath) is Made in China

The Gerber Freescape Camp Kitchen Knife, hereafter referred to as the "knife", is a full-tang straight-edged knife. The high-grade steel blade design is called a modified sheepsfoot point with a flat belly inspired by a Santoku chef's knife. The manufacturer states it is intended to be used as a kitchen knife that can also be used in the field and for camping. The knife has a rubberized, textured handle with bright green colored accents to assist with grip and visibility. There is a lanyard hole in the butt end. The hole is actually cut from the steel tang so it is a very secure tie point. The knife is dishwasher safe, even at temperatures allowing it to be sanitized. The knife comes with a nylon sheath for a secure and convenient place to carry and store the knife.

IMAGE 3


Per the manufacturer, the knife's features include:
Santoku inspired blade
Dishwasher safe
Full tang construction
Textured rubber grip
Full fine edge blade
Lanyard hole
Sheath with belt loop
7Cr17MoV steel

Santoku, in Japanese, literally means, "Three Primary Virtues", or "Three Uses". As a knife, the Santoku is intended for the three uses of, slice, dice, and chop. It is a general-use knife that is smaller than a standard chef's knife and it has a straighter edge. Often used by sous chefs, its smaller size can help make quick use of food prep in the kitchen. The choice of a Santoku or a chef's knife is really of personal choice.

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

The packaging is clean and informative. It seems to me that the packaging makes the knife look like a cheaper quality knife than it actually appears to be. To further confirm this, I found this knife for sale at a major outdoor specialty retail store and they had this knife placed near the bargain or clearance items and well away from the section specializing in knives that were displayed in cases. Product packaging is the first impression I get as to what the product is and I believe in this case, the packaging does not do a service to the knife.

Once I opened the packaging and got to hold the knife, I was impressed by the weight and feel of the knife. It is balanced and comfortable to hold, although it seems weightier than I expected for a chef's knife. For a camping tool, it seems very sturdy as if it will handle very rough use on the trail. The handle is textured and there is a slightly tacky feel to the handle adding to the overall grip. The green color areas of the handle feel like they are a harder plastic while the black colored part is a rubberized material that has a very solid feel.

The blade has a light greasy-type of coating, typical for anti-corrosion protection on other similar products when shipped new, from the factory. In my experience, this greasy coating is temporary and it easily washes right off prior to first use. The blade is extremely sharp! It is probably one of the sharpest knife blades I've come across in a long time.

The sheath is included with the purchase of the knife. It is made for a right-handed person or to be worn on the right-side hip. The sheath is made from nylon material. There is a stiffening-foam interior that provides additional thickness to the sheath material. Inside the sheath, there is a plastic sleeve for the blade. Additionally, there is a securement strap made from nylon webbing with a hook and loop fastener. The securement strap (or locking strap) is routed through a type of plastic "D" ring and the webbing locks back onto itself.

IMAGE 4


The design is such, however, that the strap must be unhooked and pulled completely through the "D" ring in order to pull the knife out easily. In some cases, this is probably a good thing, as it restricts the possibility of accidentally pulling the knife out. The other side of this is that it forces me to have to pull harder to get the knife free of the sheath, if I didn't completely pull the strap clear of the "D" ring. I will see how this goes throughout the course of the test. I can see myself avoiding the use of the securement strap as it is restrictive in most (or every day) uses.

IMAGE 5


The style of the knife blade directly affects the shape of the sheath. This makes the sheath appear to be housing the knife backwards and I have to think about how I am holstering my knife to ensure I do not shove it in wrong, as I am just used to seeing the sheath end curve the opposite way. It is just a visual oddity I'll get used to over time. In the photo above, this design shape can be seen clearly. It looks as if the sheath might be made for a left-handed person, but it really isn't. The sheath is perfectly sized for the knife and has an attractive design.

READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

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No instructions came with the knife. I did locate a small "Caution" box as photographed above which basically provides the standard liability release information for those who believe that someone else must be responsible when they cut themselves while using a sharp tool.

TRYING IT OUT

The knife has a good, solid feel to it and it is incredibly sharp. The handle has a grippy feel without feeling sticky. The blade appears to be like a good sturdy tool, great for cutting, slicing, as well as maybe even prying and chopping. There is absolutely no give or flexibility to this knife, so filleting is probably not in this knife's future.

SUMMARY

So far, this knife has the feel, weight, and appearance, to be a quality tool. It is incredibly sharp and sturdy. It's not a flexible blade, but very stiff and I expect to be able to use it for tougher outdoors jobs as well as in the kitchen. The sharpness of the knife seems perfect for slicing even the most finicky of fruits and vegetables. I will be able to report more in my Field Report. Please return in about two months for that.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

Three night backpack trip in the area of Gunnison, Colorado USA elevation approximately 7600 - 8050 ft (2310 - 2450 m). Weather included sunny days mixed with rain showers. Foot trails, open grassy fields and rocky climbs

Two Day hike trips in the area of Crested Butte, CO USA elevation approximately 8900 - 10000 (2700 - 3050 m). Foot trails, open grassy fields and rocky climbs.

Numerous uses at home, in the kitchen as a daily piece of cutlery. Lakeside, CA USA elevation approximately 425 ft (130 m)

IMAGE 6
Cutting up celery for dinner

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

The knife has worked out very well for me to date. I've used it while chopping up pounds of veggies and other foods. I cut up garlic for flavored olive oils. In this case, I made Garlic Olive Oil as well as Habanero Olive Oil. I shaved firewood from small branches, which worked out well. The knife is easy to clean both out in the field as well in the kitchen. I have washed it by hand and in the dishwasher without any difficulty. Using the knife while wet has not caused any concern. The finger groove in the handle helps to maintain a solid grip whether the knife is wet or dry. Cutting or slicing the different foods, with few exceptions, the knife slices smoothly through and without foods sticking to the blade. The width of the blade is thick so it has strength and does not bend. The blade is smooth (not serrated), so it is easy to maintain a sharp edge.

IMAGE 7
In my kitchen


I found that when I want to pull the knife from its sheath, I have to undo the securing hook and loop strap and then pull the strap out through the "D" ring as well. Otherwise, I am unable to easily get the knife clear of the sheath. I then have to route the strap back through the "D" ring each time I want to resecure the knife in the sheath. This requires the maneuver to be a two-handed operation every time. Keeping the knife sheath on my hip throughout my daily chores would mean that I either keep the knife in my sheath unsecured or go through the procedure of "D" ring routing each time.

IMAGE 8
Shaving wood for tinder

SUMMARY

Overall, I am liking this knife. It is a solid blade with a good weight and balance for its size.
I really do not like the "D" ring securement for the hook and loop strap of the sheath, I would much rather just have a hook and loop strap securement without the "D" ring. I feel I should be able to holster my knife and secure it easily with just one hand with almost a single movement and basically while blindfolded. With the way the sheath is from the manufacturer, it is a two-handed operation. It requires me to look at sheathing or unsheathing my knife which takes my attention from other things, and route the strap through the "D" ring every time. This could be so much simpler and more efficient, yet still very secure.


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

Three night backpack trip in the area of Gunnison, Colorado USA; elevation was approximately 7600 - 8050 ft (2310 - 2450 m). Weather included sunny days mixed with rain showers. There were foot trails, open grassy fields and rocky climbs.

Two day-hike trips in the area of Crested Butte, CO USA; elevation was approximately 8900 - 10000 (2700 - 3050 m). There were foot trails, open grassy fields and rocky climbs.

Numerous uses at home, Lakeside, CA USA; elevation was approximately 425 ft (130 m).

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

I really don't have much to add to this report. This knife is just cool. It is a little heavy for my liking for backpacking, but it is also very tough, so there is, like always, a trade-off. The edge is sharp and the blade strong. I have split wood, shaved wood for tinder, cut up veggies - including celery, carrots, tomatoes, avocado and so much more. I even whittled a replacement tent stake from a stick. The handle provides a good grip even when wet and the bright green colored trim helps to see it in low light.

SUMMARY

The knife sheath is still weird to me as the curve at the end makes it appear that I need to put the knife in what is actually the wrong way. I have to make a conscience effort to make sure I have the knife turned correctly each time. Additionally, the locking strap still catches even when the hook and loop tape is released. This is something I cannot get passed with this sheath. I need a locking system that when I release it, I can pull out my knife immediately, without it hanging up. I really hope that the manufacturer redesigns this feature.

The knife is well balanced, and has a strong blade that retains a sharp edge even with rough use. The handle material and texture provide a good grip even when wet and the green trim color helps in low light situations to see it. Although I never use it, there is that convenient loop in the handle butt that can be used to secure the knife - which many of my friends love to have.

All told, I really do like this knife - and my wife does as well! We use it in the kitchen at home all of the time. I have large hands and can manipulate the knife easily as can my wife, who has much smaller hands. This knife, to me, is a winner.

I would like to thank both Gerber and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me the opportunity to participate in the testing of this product.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.

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