GERBER OUTRIGGER KNIFE
TEST SERIES BY MARK THOMPSON
January 28, 2014
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markthompson 242 at gmail dot com
Parker, Colorado, USA
6' 0" (2.10 m)
170 lb (77.10 kg)
Outdoor adventures started for me at an early age, my passions have grown to include backpacking, rock climbing, hiking, hunting, fishing, canoeing, cycling, skiing and snowshoeing. Most of my adventures presently take place in Colorado's amazing Rocky Mountains. For trail hikes, my pack typically weighs 15 lbs/7 kg (summer/fall), 25 lbs/11 kg (winter/spring) and trail speed ranges from 2.5 - 4 mph (4 - 6 km/h) depending on elevation gain. For backpack trips, my pack weighs 40 - 45 lbs (18 - 20 kg) and my trail speed drops to 1.5 - 3.0 mph (2 - 5 km/h).
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Year of Manufacture: 2013
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.gerbergear.com
MSRP: US$ 49.00
Listed Weight: 1.9 oz (54 g)
Measured Weight: 1.9 oz (54 g)
Overall Length: 7.0" (178 mm)
Blade Length: 3.0" (76 mm)
Closed Length: 4.0" (102 mm)
Blade Material: 7Cr17 Steel
Handle Material: Aluminum with "SoftGrip" Overmold
Gerber's website claims that they have blended elements of their three most popular clip folding knives over the past 10 years into this one product. I can only take them at their word, but I have to say, this looks like an awesome piece with fantastic features, specifically:
- Light weight: Honestly, I was shocked at how light it was when I first pulled it out of the package. I actually went and picked up a very similar knife from my personal collection just to make sure I wasn't dreaming. Sure enough, this knife is almost 30% lighter.
- Locking/Unlocking mechanism: so many of my other knives have a locking mechanism, but to release the blade for folding it seems that I am always having to put my fingers into the blade path. With Gerber's reputation for extremely sharp blades, I certainly want to keep my fingers out of the blade path! The Outrigger is fitted with a side "Plunge Lock" release mechanism making it not only easy to release the blade, but keeping fingers nicely outside of the blades path.
- Comfort: So many products eliminate the ergonomic features that make a product comfortable to use in an effort to reduce weight. Not so with the Outrigger! The handle is nicely fitted with their "SoftGrip" material making it easy on the hands!
- Sharp: Of course, it's a Gerber!
- Assisted Opening: The blade is designed with what appears to be a lobe, much like a camshaft on an automobile engine, that keeps the blade firmly closed, but then assists with opening.
- Pocket Clip and Lanyard Point: I was quite pleased to find that the Outrigger was fitted with a lanyard attachment point as well as a pocket clip. So many knives have just one or the other. For backpacking, hiking and especially rock climbing, I like to clip my knife to the shoulder strap of my pack and have an elastic lanyard that secures the knife to my pack. Dropping a knife on your belayer is bad all the way around!
This is a great looking product! If it meets with Gerber's superb reputation, it will undoubtedly be great!
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
During the middle of this reporting period, I was sidelined for a bit with rotator-cuff surgery and now in recovery mode (this means lots of hikes and winter fun, just can't abuse the shoulder yet). The Gerber has been faithfully by my side during my recent excursions, including:
- Backpack trip, November, 2013
Location: Colorado Trail, near Bailey Co
Total Distance: 13.4 miles (21.5 km)
Total Elevation Gain: 1,450 feet (442 m)
Weather: Mostly sunny, mild winds (especially calm below treeline)
Temperatures: 20 to 50 deg F (-7 to 10 deg C)
- Ice Climbing Trip, November, 2013
Location: Rocky Mountain National Park, Loch Valle Falls
Total Distance: 6 miles (9.7 km)
Total Elevation Gain: 800 feet (244 m)
Weather: Sunny with clear skies
Temperatures: 12 to 36 deg F (-11 to 2 deg C)
- Snowshoe, December, 2013
Location: Rocky Mountain National Park, Old Fall River Road
Total Distance: 5 miles (8 km)
Total Elevation Gain: 1,000 feet (305 m)
Weather: Overcast with winds at 15 mph (24 kmph)
Temperatures: 18 deg F (-8 deg C)
- Recovery Hike, December, 2013
Location: Rocky Mountain National Park, Loch Valle Falls
Total Distance: 4 miles (6.4 km)
Total Elevation Gain: 600 feet (183 m)
Weather: Overcast with winds 25 to 40 mph (40 to 64 kmph)
Temperatures: 12 to 14 deg F (-11 to -10 deg C)
- Hike, December, 2013
Location: Mt St Vrain, Allenspark, CO
Total Distance: 5.5 miles (8.7 km)
Total Elevation Gain: 950 feet (290 m)
Weather: Sunny with mild winds below treeline
Temperatures: 24 to 28 def F (-4 to -2 deg C)
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
As a matter of habit, I carry this knife on the outside of my pack, typically using an elastic lanyard tied to my pack with the pocket clip holding the knife securely to the shoulder strap of my pack. This makes for easy and ready access to the knife, but also exposes the knife to all the elements, cold, wind, snow and blowing snow.
Despite the frigid temperatures, high winds and precipitation, the Outrigger has performed flawlessly. Opening the knife is difficult with my heavy gloves, as would be the case with any folding knife, but the mechanical function of the knife performed perfectly and operating the Outrigger was easy with my liner gloves. The heavy winter gloves are just too bulky to easily perform intricate tasks.
The Outrigger has continued to prove that it is a comfortable and durable piece regardless of the task or abuse I present. Specifically:
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
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- I really like the pocket clip and lanyard option. As mentioned, I prefer to use both and these two features are not commonly found on a single piece
- The appearance of the Outrigger would lead one to believe that it is heavier than knives I would consider comparable, but surprisingly, I measured and found the Outrigger to weigh in at nearly one half these other knives.
- I have really enjoyed the mechanical advantage afforded by the cammed opening mechanism.
A special thanks to Gerber and BackpackGearTest.org for offering this test.
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Read more gear reviews by Mark Thompson