I’ve always used Gerber knives as part of my whitewater kayaking, self-rescue safety system, so I thought I’d take a look at the new Gerber Octane Multi-Tool (5.2 oz) to see if it would make an appropriate knife and gear repair system for winter camping and backpacking. While the tiny swiss army knife I carry is adequate for my 3 season needs, I need something a little more rugged and versatile for winter use when I need to repair mountaineering or ice climbing gear and bend it back into shape.
The Octane features a pair of pliers and wire cutter, in addition to a partially serrated, full-sized stainless steel locking knife blade, a Phillips-head screwdriver, 2 standard screwdrivers, pry bar, plastic retail packaging opener and a bottle opener. This is a great selection of tools and has already proved to be quite handy for me around the house and by the BBQ, never mind the great outdoors.
One of the features I like best about the Octane is the way in which the plier heads collapse into the body of the tool, making it easier to store in a backpack pocket.
If you look closely at this photo, you’ll see that there are a pair of black sliders on the sides of the grips. When you depress the aluminum buttons on them, they release the plier head so that it can slide down into the handle for easy storage. If you depress the buttons and slide them up, the plier head comes out and locks into position, where it can be used safely.
I also like the ease in which the smaller tools on the Octane can be opened. I keep my finger nails short to play the violin (didn’t know that, huh?), so opening blades that have knife-style fingernail indentations can be hard for me. This isn’t a problem on the Octane, which has little metal nubs on each tool that make it easier to extract from the grip. You can see these near the base of each screwdriver in the top photo above. I think it’s a great design feature, that makes this an easy tool to use for a variety of functions and environments.
Disclosure: The author received a sample multi-tool for this review.
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