There is little doubt that you have owned a piece of Gerber gear in your life, or have at least known someone who has. Gerber was founded in 1939 and has been building high-quality and innovative cutting tools, knives, and multi-tools ever since.
A few Overland Expo staff members got their hands on various tools made by Gerber and they have assembled their thoughts below.
Multi-Plier 600 — Zach Elseman
I am an unabashed knife collector. Normally, I have a folding knife in my pocket and a multi-tool nearby in the glovebox or desk drawer. I enjoy the process of picking a knife to carry for a specific activity and on every overland trip I have taken, there has been a multi-tool in the center console for all of those tasks that don’t require dragging out my full tool kit.
My grandfather gave me a Gerber Multi-Plier as a child to carry while we worked on his ranch. The multi-tool was invaluable to a kid who wanted nothing more than to follow his grandpa around and do everything that he did. We snipped barbed wire, cut bailing twine, and used the pliers almost daily for a wide assortment of activities including the occasional afternoon fishing excursion. Unfortunately, I lost my hand-me-down multi-tool while kayak fishing nearly ten years later and I lost my grandfather a few years after that. When I had the opportunity to try out a product from Gerber, I knew exactly what tool I wanted.
The new Gerber Multi-Plier 600 is much like the old one and that is a good thing. The shape is almost unchanged and the tool feels solid in hand, much like the old one did. The one-handed opening and locking tools are unchanged as well, because they flat out work. One of my favorite additions to the MP-600 is the serviceable carbide cutters. When one of the cutters becomes dull over time, simply rotate the cutter to a sharp side and continue using. Once all sides are dull, call up Gerber and get a new set of cutters.
This stainless steel multi-tool is a top choice for the U.S. Military and it is tough enough to become a valuable piece of your overland kit. If you are like me, you will be finding an excuse to pick up a second tool so that you are never stuck without one.
Center-Drive — Nick Jaynes
I’ve got knives and multi-tools galore in all my trucks — you never know when you’ll need to cut, clip, or torque something on the trail. They’re all useful. But the Gerber Center-Drive is something else.
I tossed the Center-Drive into my overland kit for my last trip, which took me to one of the most remote regions of the U.S., in southeast Oregon. Out there you are hundreds of miles from the nearest other person, let alone town or store. So, being prepared is a must.
On this trip, I was shooting video. I found myself constantly in need of adjusting this or tightening that throughout the adventure. And having the Center-Drive on my hip was clutch, as I adjusted cameras and tripods and clamps.
Then at night at camp it continued to prove its value, as I prepared dinner.
There’s no denying that the Gerber Center-Drive is a big tool, larger than many of my other multitools. But what it adds in value, strength, and versatility, it more than makes up for in its overall heft.
I really love that Gerber Center-Drive was designed here in my home state of Oregon and built in America. What’s more, its craftsmanship is second to none. It’s designed and built by outdoorsmen, workmen, and adventurers who know what we overlanders demand of our tools. I should know — one of my buddies is a designer there.
The Center-Drive has found a permanent spot in my overlanding kit as a trusty go-to for just about anything I’ll need to mend, tighten, or jerry-rig on the trail.
Fastball Cleaver — Anthony Sicola
I wouldn’t call myself a knife collector, but they do just seem to find their way into my house and into my pockets. Over the years I’ve amassed a considerable collective of knives, multitools, and gadgets that makes me question whether I really need another.
When Gerber offered up a knife to try out, I decided to go with a blade style that I seem to be lacking in my knife collection, a cleaver. A cleaver blade excels at exactly what you think it would, chopping, slicing, and cutting. The high-quality 20CV steel blade on the Fastball Cleaver comes out of the package super sharp and holds an edge well. This blade can cut paper like butter, slice through rope with ease, open boxes in seconds, and still be sharp enough to slice into a medium rare steak.
READ MORE: WHAT TO BRING OVERLANDING
Using the knife is super easy with its smooth finger flipper action, which deploys the blade in seconds and keeps it open with a secure liner lock mechanism. The lightweight handle is made of milled aircraft-grade aluminum and provides a secure place for your hand well away from your knife blade. The Fastball Cleaver includes a three-position clip that can be set up for either a right-hander or a south-paw.
Being the first cleaver-style blade in my collection, I found myself using it for a variety of applications around the house and around my overland rig. This is truly a great every day carry blade for those looking for an all-around solution.
Fastball — Eva Rupert
I’m a bit of a steel snob. When it comes to knives, I value quality high carbon above all else. Good design is also important, but what good are fancy looks if your steel is less than stellar? So, when it came time to add a Gerber knife to my fanny pack (my go-to EDC kit), the Fastball was a natural choice.
The Fastball is a tidy little folder made of S30V steel, a tried-and-true knife steel. If you want to nerd out on it, S30V is a high-carbon steel that hits the sweet spot between durability, corrosion resistance, and edge retention with the addition of chromium, molybdenum, and vanadium.
Perfect for everyday tasks, the Fastball’s wharncliffe shape comes to a sharp point with a strong spine and lends itself to smooth cutting and detail work. Whether you’re using it for slicing salami on your tailgate or portioning out p-cord in camp, the Fastball deploys smoothly thanks to manual finger flipper operation and stainless ball-bearings. It fits nicely in my hand and the sage green aluminum handle has a lovely finish to it.
What’s more, the Fastball is 100% American made, which I’m particularly fond of. Between the quality steel and fine construction, I’m confident that the Fastball will be a key component in my fanny pack on countless adventures to come.
Armbar Cork – Azure
I can’t say I’m a small knife or multi-tool snob, as I’ve generally found that most of the products in this category that would fit in my pocket or motorcycle tank bag are able to accomplish the job I need them to do. But having worked in the wine industry for 10 years, I am a wine-bottle-opener snob. And the Armbar Cork is the first multi-tool that will be found in the kitchen drawer when it isn’t in my camp kit on my bike.
I recently took the Armbar Cork on two separate camping trips and was deemed the camp kitchen hero thanks to my new little orange friend.
One camping trip took place at the beach where the wine flowed quite freely and literally everyone was jealous of my multi-tool. The covert foil cutter on the lever arm, combined with the perfect ratio of the lever arm-to-corkscrew measurements saw me opening bottles of wine smoothly and in record time, which is why the Ambar has replaced my former go-to, tried and true wine key — even at home.
The other adventure was a seven-day motorcycle camping trip in Utah where I used more of the tool/knife components for what one would usually look to a multi-tool to accomplish. The bottle and can openers, spring-loaded scissors and 2.5-inch fine edge blade worked perfectly around camp, whether it was opening food cans for group meals or snipping errant zip ties off of various bike bits that needed to be re-fastened after a hard day of off-road riding.
The Ambar Cork is a solid, supremely serviceable little multi-tool weighing in at just over three ounces. As someone who has been caught arriving at camp with a cold bottle of wine and no wine key within grasp, the corkscrew and lever arm are a game changer that I highly recommend.
Header image: Gerber Gear