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Reviews > Knives > Folding > Gerber Outrigger Serrated Knife > Test Report by Ray Estrella

Gerber Outrigger SE
Test Series by Raymond Estrella
LONG-TERM REPORT

INITIAL REPORT - October 07, 2013
FIELD REPORT - February 04, 2014
LONG TERM REPORT - March 31, 2014

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Raymond Estrella
EMAIL: rayestrellaAThotmailDOTcom
AGE: 53
LOCATION: North Western Minnesota, USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 6' 3" (1.91 m)
WEIGHT: 213 lb (96.60 kg)

I've been backpacking for over 30 years, all over California, Minnesota, and many western states. I hike year-round in all weather, and average 500+ miles (800+ km) per year. I make a point of using lightweight gear, and smaller volume packs. Doubting I can ever be truly ultralight, I try to be as light as I can yet still be comfortable. I start early and hike hard so as to enjoy the afternoons exploring/chilling. I usually take a freestanding tent and enjoy hot evening meals. If not hiking solo I am usually with my brother-in-law Dave or my twin children.


INITIAL REPORT

The Product

Manufacturer: Gerber Legendary Blades
(A division of Fiskars Brands Inc.)
Web site: www.gerbergear.com
Product: Outrigger SE, clip folding knife
Year manufactured: 2013
MSRP: US $49.00
Weight listed: 1.9 oz (54 g) verified dead on
Overall length listed: 7 in (178 mm) verified accurate
Blade length listed: 3 in (76 mm) verified accurate
Closed length listed: 4 in (102 mm) verified accurate

Quick & Dirty Nitty Gritty

With an unusable one-handed opening system this knife is my least favorite. The design is nice and the weight is great, but ease-of-use counts for too much for me to want to use it. Please read on for the details.

Product Description

Outrigger open


The Gerber Outrigger SE (hereafter referred to as the Outrigger, or the knife) is a folding knife and is a clip-style, meaning it has a steel clip that can be used to attach the knife to a belt, a strap, or the outer material of a pocket.

The blade is made of 7Cr17 steel. This high carbon steel is made in China and is very similar to the US 440A that many of my other knives are made of. The blade is extremely sharp with no waver or bad spot on it, although there was a miniscule ball on the very tip. My Henckels steel removed it.

The "SE" in the name comes from the serrations that are ground into the blade for the first half of its length. The blade is pretty narrow, averaging only 0.75 in (18 mm) deep. The two folding knives I reviewed last month averaged a full inch (25 mm) by comparison. This gives the Outrigger a kind-of wicked stiletto look that I like.

The frame/handle is made of aluminum, for weight savings, that has been cut out in spots to cut the weight down even more yet. A black rubberized edging runs around the handle to facilitate gripping the knife. At the end of the handle is a hole made to string a lanyard through if so desired.

side views


The blade has two thumbstuds, one on each side to assist in opening with one hand. This lets it be used by lefties, but as the clip is not reversible said lefties will have to carry it differently than I do. But in the case of my knife the point is moot as it can't be opened one-handed anyway.

I have written very positive reviews on five or six Gerber knives I have owned over the years. There have been others that I never reviewed because those were when I was younger, in the pre-BGT days. All have been wonderful knives, and I was really looking forward to the highly touted Assisted Opening 2.0 technology. Well I am sorry to say it does not work at all. Not only is the opening not "assisted" in any way it is so stiff that the pressure it takes to actually get the blade to open makes me hit the pad of my thumb into the serrated part of the blade as I can't stop the motion in time to avoid it after generating enough force to get the blade to move. It is the same left-handed too. The blade just doesn't want to start. I am using it two-handed for the duration of this test as I can't find any information on Gerber's web site or the packaging talking about possible adjustments of the system.

Once open the blade is very secure. There is no slop or wiggle in the blade. It is very well balanced, the slim blade and light handle working well together. I really think this has been designed well, and feel it is great for those times I want to be extra weight conscious, like Dave's yearly UL Challenge trips.

To close the blade I just have to press my right thumb tip (lefties will use their index finger) on the Plunge Lock, a steel button that rises from the handle once the blade locks in place. Once pushed down it frees the blade to swing back into the frame.

The Outrigger has a nice shape for working with. It has a slight recession for my finger to fit into, and it has a knurled area at the base of the blade's back to allow secure finger or thumb placement (depending on which way the edge is aligned). It is a bit small for me, but I do have pretty big hands. The company makes an XL version that would probably be a good fit for me.

Well that is it for now. Time to take this lightweight knife into the field. Please come back in a couple months to see how it works. Two-handed of course… ;-)


FIELD REPORT

Field Conditions

I have taken the Outrigger on every day hike and backpacking trip over the past four months. I used it backpacking for a total of 12 days and probably racked up another six day hikes. All trips were in the State of Minnesota (MN), and were in my regular hiking locales of Smoky Hills State Forest, Buffalo River State Park, MB Johnson Nature Park and private and public properties around Moorhead, Halstad and Hendrum, MN.

Temps ran from lows of 32 F (0 C) to a frigid -27 F (-33 C), and highs between 45 and -10 F (7 to -23 C).

Observations

The Outrigger has been a nice little knife for hiking as far as its design and function goes. When I first started the test it was just getting into our cold weather. (We see freezing temps and snow by October at least and this year went below 0 F/-18 C by December 5th! About a month earlier than normal.) So the knife got to see some "real" use for the first couple of trips. As I was still cooking, and like to jazz up my freeze dried meals, I got to use the Outrigger for chopping food like in the picture below. That is vegetarian Cuban Coconut Black Beans & Rice that I added chicken and sharp cheddar cheese to. Fortunately as it was raining solid on this trip I was able to wipe the Outrigger off on wet prairie grass.

Outrigger cut the cheese man...


I really like the weight of this knife. It is half the weight of some of my other clip knives. I really think this will be a selling point for those like me that try to keep the weight down. (Now maybe I should think about my middle… ;-)

I have not used the clip, but instead just carry the knife in my pocket. Since the Assisted Opening 2.0 does not work at all there is really no reason to have it ready to deploy quickly. Nothing has changed over the course of the test. It has not gotten any better. Use has not loosened anything up nor smoothed anything out. It is a major pain to open and as soon as the test ends it will go in a drawer or in a car for an emergency blade. I will never bother to carry it again.


LONG-TERM REPORT

Field Conditions

Because of very unsafe driving conditions I only went on one overnight trip during the last phase of testing. This was a rare trip to the southern section Halstad property just because I could park at a state maintained spot. Road closures have been very common this winter. That trip went from a high of 0 F to a low of -27 F (-18 to -33 C). The next day was even colder, never getting above -24 F (-31 C).

I did a lot of day hiking along the Red River north of my own town as I could start from M.B. Johnson Nature Park. All hikes were on snow in temps running from 0 to -28 F (-18 to -34 C).

Observations

To be honest there has not been much need for a knife on the day hikes I was forced to settle for this winter. So to get the Outrigger some use I started carrying each day to work. It actually got a better work-out there than the common rope/cord and meal bag cutting that it sees hiking. At work I used it to cut heavy nylon and plastic bands that hold building materials together. It cut them with relative ease and looking at the blade it is still fairly sharp.

Carrying it in the pocket of my jeans, which are tighter than my big insulated hiking pants, really showed the true benefit of the slim design. I rarely notice that it is there until I need it. And the rubberized edging on the handles make it stay put in my pocket. It really grips well, to a point that it is a bit of a chore to slide in each morning or after using it. That's a good thing as I know I won't be apt to lose it while kneeling or squatting down.

I still wish that the knife could open with one hand. I only used it the past two months to uphold my testing commitments. Now that the test is over it's going into my SUV's glove box. I certainly hope that the Outrigger is a fluke, and is not indicative of their entire assisted opening line up.

As I am the kind of person that likes playing with sharp objects I do thank Gerber and BackpackGearTest.org for letting me test the Outrigger.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5 Copyright 2014. All rights reserved.

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Reviews > Knives > Folding > Gerber Outrigger Serrated Knife > Test Report by Ray Estrella



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