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Reviews > Knives > Multi-tools > Gerber Diesel Multi-tool > Owner Review by Jesse D. Fister

Owner Review - Gerber Diesel Multi-Plier with Tool Kit

Date: December 05, 2007
Tester Information:
Name: Jesse Fister
Age: 20
Gender: Male
Height: 5' 11" (1.8 m)
Weight: 168 lb (76 kg) br> Email address: Mako_tree at Yahoo DOT com
City, State, Country: Missoula, Montana, USA

Backpacking Background: I have been a hunter and a fisherman since my youth. I currently study wilderness preparation and survival. I often backpack with minimal gear weighing less than 20 lb (9 kg). As life permits, I try to get into the wilderness practicing my skills multiple times per week. I have backpacked all over Montana, including many beautiful high mountain lakes. I have also lived out of a backpack in Europe, parts of Brazil, and the Amazon basin. I enjoy lightweight backpacking in any environment and sometimes experience harsh survival situations with minimal gear.

Product Information:

Manufacturer: Gerber Gear
Year of Manufacture: I bought two of these tools, one in 2005 and another in 2007
Total Measured Length: 4.87 in (12.38 cm)
Measured Length Closed: 6.56 in (16.66 cm)
Measured Weight: 8.6 oz (244 g)
Handle Material: Stainless Steel
Sheath Material: Ballistic Nylon
Included Tools:

Tools: Needle-nose pliers; wire cutter; wire crimper; half serrated knife blade; cross point screwdriver; small, medium and large flat blade screwdrivers; can opener; bottle opener; file; saw and scissors.

Toolkit Accessories: Small, medium and large flat blade screwdriver; four sided screwdriver; torx driver and adaptor (special adaptor tool on multi-tool).

Gerber_1 Gerber_2

Gerber_sheathed_1 Gerber_sheathed_2

Multi_kit_1 Multi_kit_2

Product Description:

The Gerber Diesel is a stainless steel multi-tool. This blade has accompanied me through mud, blood, water, dirt and all varieties of weather and has yet to fail me. It has a ballistic nylon sheath with attractively sits the multi-tool safely on my belt. I also bought the optional tool kit for this knife.

Product Review:

I have used this multi-tool on almost every camping trip I have been on in the past couple of year. I have also brought it with me for urban use and construction. The multi-tool has seen all varieties of environments and conditions. The buttons on the side this tool's handle provide a sliding mechanism that draws the plier tool along the length of the tool when pinched and guided. It can also be pushed forward or “flicked” open with the wrist. Either way, it brings the pliers into a locked and usable position. The handle rails then become the handles, and the pliers are ready for work. Bringing the pliers forward allows the other tools to become accessible by pulling the two handles away from each other and releasing the tools from the inside. It is like a variation on the original Leatherman style multi-tool concept for anyone who is familiar with that.

The tools have a locking mechanism at the end of both handles for safety that is easy to use. I open whichever tool is desired and it automatically snaps into a locked position when fully opened. I then pull the lock mechanism down to release its hold on the tool and return the tool to the closed and compact position. I find this task very easy to do, especially since I have had practice. My only complaint is that that the plier must be extended and opened to access the tools. This however could be considered a positive feature, as it provides a very comfortable and safe handle, especially when using the pliers, because the tools have no way of opening on the hand, and the odd tool shapes do not dig into the hand.

I bought this multi-tool with backpacking and survival in mind. My ideal multi-tool would contain a blade, saw, scissors, file, pliers and an awl. Of multi-tools I have seen, the Diesel comes the closest to my requirements, missing only the awl. The four main tools (blade, saw, scissors and file) have an indented mark on the side of the handles showing which tool rests there. They are all the easiest to access because they are opened from the side of the multi-tool. The other tools are more difficult to access because they require opening the outside tools to access them. These tools all work wonderfully, and better than most that I have seen.

The multi-tool blade has the lower half serrated with a kind of triangular tooth. This blade is very, very factory sharp, is easy to sharpen and works well. The serrations cut through wood, especially softwood sticks with ease. The blade is not impressively strong however, and I broke the very tip off my first Gerber Diesel blade trying to pry a little piece of bark off a branch I was carving. It sharpened out easily, and then I had a functional blade with a rounded tip.

As far as my survival and camping experience goes and for all my small work (detailed carving, skinning animals, cutting rope, cutting small branches (especially green ones)), this blade is it! I was very impressed by its usefulness, sharpness and ability to do the small work. The various other small tasks that this blade performs stand this multi-tool above many others. Since it is all stainless it will not easily rust.

The other tools have worked well for me as well. The needle-nose pliers, wire clippers, and scissors all work perfectly, just as I expected that they should. I have been very impressed by them. I use the needle-nose pliers with wire clippers to lift my cooking can out of the fire, to strip or clip small wire, to break twigs, to fold tin edges over safely, to get fish-hooks out and any other task involving pinching, prying, snipping, clipping, holding, folding or crushing. The tip is slightly magnetic, and I have used it to magnetize a sewing needle for an improvised compass.

The scissors have skinned game, cut cloth and leather, cut rope and cordage and various other small cutting tasks. They have retained their sharpness well. I am especially impressed by how well the scissors were able to cut cloth and leather after lots of use.

The file is excellent, with the sides each having a different roughness. It has gotten use in rounding corners on wood, filing my finger and toe-nails down (in lieu of clippers), filing bone and performing other tasks such as sanding down knobs on wooden tools.

Many saws on commercial multi-tools that I have used do not perform very well, but this saw is amongst the best that I have used. It has tri-dimensional triangular alternating teeth (whew!) on both sides with sharp small teeth at the base of each larger tooth. I have no trouble whatsoever going through small wood, bone or other similar materials. All the tools in both of the Gerber Diesel Tools that I own have functioned smoothly and functionally beyond my expectations.

And it is not just useful in the woods. If it is construction work, or anything similar, this is my multi-tool of choice; especially with the tool kit. The tool kit has the nine most common screw drivers with an adapter that makes them works well, and gets me by as the “if I only had one choice” tool. This adapter connects the toolkit accessories onto the large flat-blade screwdriver tool of the multi-tool for use. One small problem that I have encountered with the tool kit is that the tools fit tightly into their rubber slots, and can be difficult to remove. Also, the toolkit fits into the front pocket of the multi-tool, but awkwardly so. It adds weight to the multi-tool and creates a sort of “bulge” in the front of the sheath that I do not find especially appealing. While it does work well, I like to leave the toolkit at home when I do not need it. In other words, I bring the tool-kit as an “urban survival” modification, and leave it at my house when I go into the wilderness.

My additional comment would be this: The multi-tool is stainless steel. It got gummed up after about a year of use (including a trip through the Amazon, various work environments, and lots of travel and wilderness time in Montana). I attempted to oil it with vegetable oil. Bad choice. That gummed it up more when the dirt collected on the oil. Perhaps a better oil would work. To clean it I just run it through the dishwasher. I learned to make sure to “fan” the tools out while drying to prevent rust spots. I try to dry it fast and maybe with heat and/or a paper towel. The tool can still somehow get rust spots if left for prolonged periods with water in between the components.


What an excellent tool. I would choose it as one of the best multi-tools on the market. It is a multi-tool that has functioned well and durably for a long time with even the least of care. It combines sleek, good looking design with rugged, functional components. I love this multi-tool for both the aesthetic characteristics, and tough, functional tools and design. Did I mention I like the look of this multi-tool? It has so many uses!

What I like:
The specific kinds of tools on this multi-tool
Strong and rugged
Sleek and functional
Excellent blade: sharp, serrations work well, easy to sharpen.
Excellent Saw: sharp, cuts very well.
All tools work smoothly and on par with expectations
Multi-tool looks good
Good carrying case
Stainless steel
Did I mention I like the look of this multi-tool?

Blade tip somewhat weak, not unexpectedly so (just use it for what it is made for)
No Awl
Toolkit is bulky and awkward, takes a moment to assemble
Features open from inside (I rather like this feature however, because of safety and comfort)
Pliers must be open to access tools
Have gotten small rust spots between components where water rested for some time
Can be difficult to clean

Read more reviews of Gerber gear
Read more gear reviews by Jesse D. Fister

Reviews > Knives > Multi-tools > Gerber Diesel Multi-tool > Owner Review by Jesse D. Fister

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