Gerber Octane Multi-tool
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- Last updated: 14/12/2016
The introduction of the more Spartan-type multi-tools seemed to appear almost overnight - the first being the Leatherman Skeletool. Since then a few more models have been launched by that company and Gerber recently entered the fray with their Crucial. The success and continued manufacture of these ‘tools’ obviously means there’s a market for them, hence the launch of their latest the - Octane. However, this is a very niche market, so let’s see if it’s a trend jumper or a serious contender.
Flick of the Wrist
The Octane measures 4” in closed and 5 3/8” open position and weighs a mere 5oz. Interestingly Gerber have reverted to their own particular and patented flick-assisted mechanism to deploy the plier function, rather than go with the traditional butterfly opening design. Flick-assist used to be the cornerstone of many of their most popular multi-tools.
As the name suggests it allows one-hand opening. All you do is press in the twin locking catches on the outer edges of the handles, then flick your wrist downwards and the pliers will disengage and slide into their working position and lock there. Once deployed you get semi-needle-nosed, regular, wire cutters and wire strippers. Apart from the thumb-assisted, 2 ¾” liner-locking half serrated/plain edge 420HC blade with sheep’s foot-type tip, the other tools are accessed from the inside of the handles. This means the plier head has to be deployed so the tools can be chosen.
These all have thumb nicks or tags and consist of a large flat head screwdriver, a tool termed as a ‘clam shell pack’ opener but useful as a small chisel-edged scraper. There’s also a large and small Phillips screwdrivers. All lock out positively, being released by black plastic retaining catches. For a better hold it’s advisable to choose the tool you require, then stow the pliers, which will lock the handles securely together. To add to this neat package there is also a handy pocket clip.
However, the question is does the Gerber Octane have a place in the more basic, compact and lightweight genre of multi-tools? I’d say it does but only just. The build and design is up to Gerber’s usual very high standard of construction. Made mainly of satin-finished stainless steel, all pivot points and locking catches are robustly built and secure when in use.
As to the tools it holds, I feel the major plus is the length and design of the knife and the fact it opens independently from the outer edge of the handle, so ideal for gutting and paunching small game in the field. The handles are ergonomic offering a superior grip whether using a tool or pliers but in many ways I feel this concept of multi-tool has now reached its limits.
For: Good to see the flick-pliers again
Against: Minimalism rather detracts for the multi-tool ethos
Verdict: Well made, but has it enough functions?