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Reviews > Knives > Folding > Gerber Outrigger Serrated Knife > Test Report by Andrew Henrichs

Gerber Outrigger, Serrated Knife

Test Series by Andy Henrichs

March 24, 2013

Initial Report - 11-20-13
Field Report - 1-19-14
Long Term Report - 3-24-14

Biographical Information

Name:  Andy Henrichs
Age: 32
Gender:  Male
Email address:  andyhenrichs(at)gmail(dot)com
City, State, Country:  Golden, Colorado, USA

Backpacking Background

   Most of my backpacking has been in the mountains of Colorado and the deserts in the southwestern US.  I have gone winter camping several times but I still prefer backpacking in the warmer months.  Most of my trips are 2-3 days, but I have taken several trips of 5-6 days.  In the summer of 2004, I was fortunate enough to have thru-hiked the 476 mi (766 km) Colorado Trail over 35 days.  Recently, I have been leaning towards the lightweight side of the spectrum. I will do just about anything to get outside including backcountry skiing, whitewater kayaking and rafting, and mountain biking.

 

Initial Report

 

Product Information

Manufacturer:  Gerber (gerbergear.com)

Year of Manufacture: 2013
MSRP: $49 US
Manufacturers Stated Weight: 1.9 oz (54 g)
Measured Weight: 1.85 oz (52 g)

folded outrigger

The folded Outrigger with belt clip shown

folded Outrigger
The Outrigger with the unlock button shown (just above the orange screw)

Product Description

The Gerber Outrigger, Serrated is a compact folding knife. As the name implies, this knife features a serrated section of the blade. According to the Gerber website, other variations of the Outrigger design include a Fine Edge, XL version, and Mini version. The folded knife is 3.94 in (10 cm) while the open knife is 7 in (17.8 cm). The body of the knife has cutouts to reduce weight. It also features a rubberized coating along the edges to increase grip. The knife features two thumb studs (one on each side of the blade, near the base) to assist with opening. According to the Gerber website, it has a ball bearing pivot, as well as "Assisted Opening 2.0 technology" (essentially a spring-loaded assist) to facilitate one-handed opening. The knife locks when open, and it is unlocked by depressing a small button on the handle of the knife near the blade. One side of the knife handle features a clip to attach the knife on a belt or something similar. The bottom of the handle features a small hole through which one could thread accessory cord for other attachment options.

open Outrigger

The Outrigger open and ready for work!

Initial Impressions

The Gerber Outrigger, Serrated seems to be a nice-sized knife for outdoor adventures. It arrived just as I was heading out the door for an overnight backpacking trip so I've been fortunate to get some use from it right away. It is quite light, but it doesn't feel flimsy in my hands. I have moderately large hands, and I wouldn't want the handle to be any smaller; it's large enough to grip confidently, and the rubberized grip is a nice touch. I can see that potentially being a point of wear, but I won't jump to any conclusions yet. The locking mechanism feels very secure and I don't have any concerns about it accidentally unlocking on me. When closing the blade, the spring-loaded opening mechanism is quite noticeable. The blade closes about 110 degrees before I feel resistance from the spring. The resistance is not great, but it does require effort to close it. I feel that this could be a good safety mechanism to prevent fingers unintentionally being in the way when closing the blade. For whatever reason, the spring doesn't seem to be of much assistance when opening the blade. Maybe I have incredibly weak fingers, but I have not been able to open it one-handed. I'll keep practicing and maybe I'll figure it out over the next 4 months. The knife seems to be quite sharp. So far I've only been able to use the knife to open some packages and slice up salami and cheese for lunch. It did these tasks very well with minimal resistance upon cutting.

The backpacking trip I took it on was to the Sawatch range of Colorado. My trip ranged from 8500 ft (2590 m) to nearly 14000 ft (4300 m). There was fresh snow on the ground that melted throughout the day, so I got conditions ranging from quite cold to moderately warm, blue sky to clouds, and snowy to muddy terrain. The knife got fairly wet on the trip but never showed any signs of rust. It also cleaned up very nicely once I got home. It's light enough that I can keep it in my pocket and forget about it until I need it. Fortunately, I only needed it for lunch assembly on this trip.

Field Report

Field Conditions
I've been able to bring the Gerber Outrigger on two overnight backpacking trips as well as eight backcountry skiing days during the Field Report phase. Both of the backpacking trips were in the Sawatch Range of Colorado, at elevations ranging from 9200 ft (2800 m) to nearly 13500 ft (4110 m). Weather on the first trip was beautiful with clear blue skies and only a mild wind. The second trip was a little less ideal, with fairly cold temperatures, a stiff breeze most of the first day, and a few inches of snow fell overnight. Most of the backcountry ski days were also in the Sawatch Range, although I managed to get out twice in the Elk Range of Colorado. Temperatures ranged from 0 F (-18 C) to 30 F (-1 C), and skies ranged from clear blue to moderately cloudy to a full on whiteout.

Field Observations
The Outrigger has proven to be a handy little knife thus far. Its duties in the field have been a bit mundane, but it's definitely earned its keep. While in the field I've used it to trim overly generous straps on a new pack, cut a length of cord down to a size suitable to replace a broken zipper pull, open up a splinter entrance in my finger just enough to remove the buried splinter, trim threads from an unraveling shirt, and slice up hunks of salami and cheese for lunch. At home I've also used it to open packages and trim some cardboard boxes down to size.

I've been impressed with how well the Outrigger has handled these tasks. It is a very sharp little knife and doesn't take much effort to slice through even some of the tougher obstacles. The fine point was helpful as I worked to remove the splinter from my finger. After expanding the opening, I was even able to use the point to pop the splinter up and out of my finger. It has retained a sharp edge even after trimming up the cardboard boxes. One upgrade I plan on making in the next week is to add a small loop of accessory cord to hole at the base of the hilt. The knife has just been loose in the top pocket of my pack thus far, and I always get worried it will slip out without me noticing and will be gone for good. My one disappointment with the knife is the "Assisted Opening 2.0 technology." It just doesn't work. It's a fairly minor inconvenience to use both hands to open the knife, but it's a big selling point that doesn't live up the hype. As I stated in the IR, I'll keep experimenting with the opening of the knife; maybe I'll figure it out yet.

Long Term Report

Field Conditions
The Gerber Outrigger Knife has ridden in my pack or pocket on an overnight backpacking trip near Moab, Utah as well as eleven daylong ski tours since mid-January. The desert backpacking trip took place under one day of cloudy blustery skies and one day of beautiful bluebird skies. Temperatures ranged from 30 F (-1 C) to 65 F (18 C). The ski tours were fairly evenly split between the Sawatch Range and the Elk Range, both of Colorado. Elevations on these tours ranged from 8500 ft (2590 m) to 12500 ft (3810 m). Temperatures varied from a low of -10 F (-23 C) to 35 F (2 C). Weather varied from cold, cloudy, and windy to blue, still skies and everything in between.

Final Observations
Overall, this has been a very reliable knife. As I mentioned in my Field Report, I put a small section of accessory cord through a hole in the handle of the Outrigger. This has given me more peace of mind when stowing the knife in my pack. It's easy to clip into attachment points and helps to secure the knife very well. The Outrigger put in a lot of work on the backpacking trip, primarily in the kitchen. It sliced up avocados, salami, cheese, bread, mangos, and apples with ease. I never felt like I had to exert a large amount of pressure to complete a cut and never felt like the knife was in danger of slipping from my grasp. I still feel that it fits into my hand comfortably and securely. Despite working in a sandy environment, the blade looks like new. There aren't even superficial scratches on the sides of the blades. Cleanup has always been easy, even after I let avocado dry on the blade for most of a day. I generally used the Outrigger for meal prep on my ski tours as well. It performed just as well in these situations, although I did change into thinner gloves for more dexterity.

final Outrigger picture

The Outrigger looks like new, even after 4 months of use.

The Gerber Outrigger was up to some more demanding tasks as well. I used it to help cut out some small section of bed liner from my truck. Again, I always felt like I had a secure grasp and thought the blade was able to cut through the material quite well. The blade seemed to hold up to this abuse just as well as it did to the lighter tasks. I was nervous about prying too much on the tip, so it didn't stress that aspect too much.

My one continued gripe about the Outrigger is the "Assisted Opening 2.0 technology." Despite four months of testing, I have not yet gotten it to work. In the end, I really don't care. A knife is supposed to cut, and it does that very well. Using two hands to open a knife is not a deal-breaker for me and I will continue to keep the Gerber Outrigger handy for my future adventures.

Likes:
Sharp and durable blade
Comfortable and secure feel in hand
Easy to clean

Dislikes:
"Assisted Opening 2.0 technology" doesn't work

Thank you to Gerber and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this knife.



Read more reviews of Gerber gear
Read more gear reviews by Andrew Henrichs

Reviews > Knives > Folding > Gerber Outrigger Serrated Knife > Test Report by Andrew Henrichs



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