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Reviews > Knives > Folding > Gerber Outrigger Serrated Knife > Test Report by Mark Thompson

GERBER OUTRIGGER KNIFE
TEST SERIES BY MARK THOMPSON
LONG-TERM REPORT
March 30, 2014

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

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Mark Thompson
EMAIL: markthompson 242 at gmail dot com
AGE: 49
LOCATION: Parker, Colorado, USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 6' 0" (2.10 m)
WEIGHT: 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).


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Gerber
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)

IMAGE 1

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

IMAGE 2

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

Initial Impressions:
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!

IMAGE 3

IMAGE 4

SUMMARY

This is a great looking product! If it meets with Gerber's superb reputation, it will undoubtedly be great!


FIELD REPORT

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.

SUMMARY

The Outrigger has continued to prove that it is a comfortable and durable piece regardless of the task or abuse I present. Specifically:
Pros:
- 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.

Cons:
- none


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

During the Long Term Reporting period of this test, I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to test this knife on 5 more "trips" with a variety of weather conditions. These five trips have included:


Location: Castlewood Canyon State Park, near Franktown, CO
Event: Basic Mountaineering School Instructor Refresher Course
Total Distance: very little (maybe a mile or 1.6 km)
Total Elevation Gain: very little, 100 feet (30 meters)
Weather: Clear and sunny, but the previous 24 hours had brought several inches of snow
Temperatures: 28 to 56 Deg F (- 2 to 13 Deg C)

Location: Lincoln Falls, near Alma, CO
Event: Ice Climbing
Total Distance: very little, maybe two miles (3.3 km)
Total Elevation Gain: approximately 800 feet (244 meters)
Weather: Sunny and very windy!
Temperatures: 14 to 26 Deg F (-10 to -3 Deg C)

Location: Mt St Vrain, near Allenspark, CO
Event: Snowshoe Trip
Total Distance: approximately 8 miles (12.9 km)
Total Elevation Gain: 2,400 feet (732 meters)
Weather: Overcast, snowing and windy
Temperatures: 18 to 22 Deg F (-8 to - 5 Deg C)

Location: St Charles Peak, near Rye, CO
Event: Snowshoe Trip
Total Distance: 9.4 miles (15 km)
Total Elevation Gain: 2,800 feet (853 meters)
Weather: Started clear and turned overcast with heavy snow showers and significant wind
Temperatures: Started near 45 Deg F (7 Deg C) then dropped to 28 Deg F (-2 Deg C) as the storm (and wind and snow) moved into the area.

Location: Arches National Park, near Moab, UT
Event: Hiking and Exploring Trip
Total Distance: 4 to 6 miles (6 to 10 km)
Total Elevation Gain: minor overall
Weather: clear skies and sunny, some wind (but hey, it's Utah)
Temperatures: 56 to 68 Deg F (13 to 20 Deg C)

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

Over the entire course of this test, I have been quite pleased with the performance of this knife. Of specific interest was how well this knife performed during adverse weather conditions including temperature declines from above freezing to below freezing and subsequently followed by a snow storm.

IMAGE 1
The photo above was taken during my hike to St Charles Peak, during which the temperature dropped significantly, from above freezing to below, while a snow storm moved into the area. I was quite impressed that the knife remained fully functional and was undisturbed by the weather which could have caused it to freeze up and become unusable.

IMAGE 2
This photo was taken during my hike up Mt St Vrain. On this trip, the weather was never very nice. Below tree line, the wind was bearable, but above tree line, I really had to gear up (including a hard shell and balaclava). Despite the weather, the knife, again, performed flawlessly.

IMAGE 3
This photo was taken at "Landscape Arch" in Arches National Park.

SUMMARY

Overall, I have been extremely pleased with the performance of this knife, so much so, that it has now replaced my previous knife on my "go to" pack. Rather ironic, in that the previous item was also a Gerber product! This just shows me that the folks at Gerber are working day and night to improve their products. Don't kid yourself, I still love the previous knife, it now resides on another pack (my go to overnight pack). My specific comments are:

Pros:
- Pocket Clip
- Equipped to support a lanyard
- Super light weight
- Great thumb action
- Awesome push button blade release
- Superbly comfortable, especially for a compact knife

Cons:
- none

A special thanks to Gerber and BackpackGearTest.org for offering this test.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2014. All rights reserved.

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Reviews > Knives > Folding > Gerber Outrigger Serrated Knife > Test Report by Mark Thompson



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