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EDIT: LTR: Gerber Crucial FAST - Jamie DeBenedetto

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  • ftroop94
    Jamie, Great conclusion to this series! Feel free to delete the test file and upload at will! Great working with you! ~steve
    Message 1 of 2 , Feb 10 6:53 PM
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      Jamie,

      Great conclusion to this series! Feel free to delete the test file and upload at will! Great working with you!

      ~steve

      --- In backpackgeartesters@yahoogroups.com, "Jamie D." <jdeben@...> wrote:
      >
      > HTML version here -
      > http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/test/TESTS/LTR%20-%20Gerber%20Crucial%20FAST%20-%20Jamie%20D/
      >
      > Thank you for another fun test. Enjoyed it!
      > Jamie D
      >
      >
      >
      > ------------------------------------- Long Term Report -----------------------------------------------
      > -------------------------------------February 8th, 2012 ----------------------------------------------
      >
      > Collective Use and Field Conditions
      >
      > Since posting my Field Report in December I have carried the Gerber Crucial F.A.S.T pocket tool on thirty-five more day hikes and one kayaking trip. I estimate it was used somewhere around thirty times on those outings for a total of fifty-five collective use days in the field.
      >
      > The field conditions remained the same for a majority of my treks as stated in my Field Report: Day hikes through desert preserves near Phoenix, Arizona ranging between 1.5 and 2.5 hrs in length at elevations between 1,300 ft (400 m) up to 2,100 ft (640 m). Winter temperatures fall somewhere between 50 and 65 F (10 and 18 C) with both nice and sunny weather or stormy with light sprinkles.
      >
      > Other trips included:
      > A six hour kayaking/hiking trip at Lake Pleasant Regional Park in Peoria, AZ. The weather was very windy with overcast skies and temperatures in the upper 50's F (14 C).
      >
      > A 6.5 mile (10.5 km) trek on the Maricopa Trail near Lake Pleasant Regional Park. Weather was beautifully sunny and calm.
      >
      > Long Term Findings
      >
      > The Gerber Crucial F.A.S.T has eight features, some of which I have found useful with regard to hiking needs and others I have found no use for whatsoever, despite trying. The regular pliers, square cross driver and the bottle opener remain in new condition since I didn't find any ways to use them in the field. Conversely, the blade, needle nose pliers and belt clip have all been used repeatedly throughout the last four months. Basically in the same ways they were being used in my Field Report so I won't go into any repetitive details previously covered.
      >
      > I will comment on the blade, however, since I did use it more often over these last two months. I used it to cut up fruit during some of our snack breaks, to cut rope, as the spark device in conjunction with a magnesium stick, to cut skin to remove a splinter and to construct a fire saw out of yucca. It performed well at all these duties and to my surprise I have not missed having a more pronounced blade tip. I have found the F.A.S.T feature of the knife convenient. It does make deploying the blade easier. I feel like there is less risk of it slipping from my fingers and collapsing back into its notch, which also makes it safer. I confess, I did resist the temptation to "apply force" to the back of the blade because after thought I decided I did not want to use the knife outside the manufacturer's stated parameters during the test series. Given that, I cannot comment on how the blade holds up to this type of use at this time.
      >
      > Although not used extensively, I did find a couple of ways to use both the flat head driver and the wire cutters in the field. I, on occasion, stumble across old downed barbed wire fences while hiking. These can be a hazard to dogs so naturally having a tool that can cut through wire fencing could be a very handy thing to have around. On my Maricopa Trail hike I ran across some old knocked down sections of fencing to I took the opportunity to give the wires cutters a go. They were strong enough to cut through single strands of wire, which is what the barbs are made of but not strong enough to cut through anything thicker. A successful showing for the Crucial F.A.S.T though I think.
      >
      > As for the flat head screw driver, sadly I never found any traditional ways of using it in the field. I did, however, discover it could be used instead of the knife as the striker component when using a magnesium stick to make fire. To my pleasant surprise the driver effectively performed both the scraping of the mag stick to accumulate shavings and the striking to emit sparks. A truly wonderful find since it saves wear on the blade.
      >
      > With the exception of a bit of black paint scraped off the thumb stud, the tool is in very good condition. Any grinding noises I originally experienced when deploying the various tools have totally disappeared. The locking mechanism on the flat head driver still does not fully drop into locked mode unless the diver is purposely bent back farther than it wants to naturally extend. Beyond that, everything still works as it should.
      >
      > Final Thoughts
      >
      > In sitting down to write this last installment of the test series I asked myself, "Is the Gerber Crucial F.A.S.T a tool I'd take with me hiking if I wasn't testing it?" My answer is, "Probably not." This doesn't, however, mean I don't think the tool is a good one. It just means I feel it's larger, heavier and has a few functions I can't imagine needing in the outdoors. That being said, the components I used regularly were very helpful and worked flawlessly. As for the pieces I didn't use or only used purely because I was trying to find ways to use them for testing sake, I'd love to see those replaced with parts more germane to hiking. Tweezers and a much smaller flat head driver come to mind.
      >
      > I did enjoy being part of this test so thank you Backpackgeartest.org and Gerber for allowing me to be in on it.
      >
      > -Jamie J. DeBenedetto – 2012
      >
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