Here is LTR on the Gerber Instant Knife (and BridGeT hasn't even started bugging me about being a few days late!)
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Thanks in advance for the edits...
March 3, 2013
FIELD CONDITIONS AND EXPERIENCE
Over the past 2 months, I have only been on one trip, a weekend trip to Newark, OH for some cold-weather camping in February. I had another weekend trip planned to the Cleveland area for January, but we got snowed out. In February, it had rained the night before we went, so the ground was wet. Fortunately, it was cold enough at night (25 F/-4 C) that it froze and wasn't muddy. Daytime temperatures got up to 42 F/5 C so it got a little mushy but wasn't bad. As shown here, it was cold enough that there was still ice on the rocks, but warm enough for water run off during the day.
Over the course of the test, I have gotten quite adept at handling the knife with one hand. I now am quite comfortable opening and closing it with my right hand while I hold whatever needs cutting in my left. Although I'm right-hand dominant, I use my left a lot, so I tried opening and closing the knife left handed. Opening the blade works the same with either hand, so that was no problem. The blade can also be closed left-handed, although the action is slightly different, because the safety lock (unlike the thumb stud) is only on one side of the knife. In my right hand, I push the safety lock with my thumb. In my left hand, I use my index finger to push it. I have tried to show this in the photo below:
When on the trail, I usually carry the knife in a pocket, rather than clipped to my belt. I have this habit because I don't like the feeling of the knife under my pack's hipbelt. I have worn it clipped on my belt when not backpacking, and have had no problems with that. I just like the consistency of knowing which pocket to reach for if I want the knife.
In terms of the knife's function, my experience in February was fairly similar to what I seen during the Field Report section of the test. The knife works extremely well for typical camp chores like opening packages, cutting rope, and so on. It is also quite effective at stripping bark from small branches and making shavings.
Also as noted in my Field Report, I had an instance where I was seated at a picnic table for dinner and the knife fell out of my pocket. When it hit the ground, the blade flipped open. Luckily, it didn't fall on anything, because the blade is sharp enough that I worry about cutting through my tent, or even my foot!
After using the knife for 4 months, it still seems nearly as sharp as when I started using it, on both the straight and serrated parts of the blade. The opening mechanism remains smooth and easy.
Overall, I found the Gerber Instant Knife to be an excellent knife for the trail. At 3 oz, it carries a decent amount of weight. However, it's a great tool to have in the backcountry, as it has easily cut anything I have tried so far. I expect that the Instant will be standard piece of gear in my backpacking kit.
Things I liked about the Gerber Legendary Blades Instant Knife:
Sharp and multifunctional blade
Easy to open and close, and can be done one-handed
Things that could be improved:
Blade may open when knife is dropped
Thanks to Gerber Legendary Knives for continuing to provide their knives for testing, and to BackpackGearTest.org for giving me the chance to participate in the evaluation process.
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