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Bladeology
Gerber Suspension Multi Tool
April 2018
Dan Martinez

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with multi-tools. No one can deny how handy it is to have a toolbox in a pouch on your belt. But the downside is carrying a half-pound chunk of steel on your belt every day. Yeah, OK Ė if you EDC a concealed carry handgun, maybe youíre saying, ďWhatís the big deal?Ē But I donít.

I do carry a medium sized folding knife on a belt sheath every day, and donít really notice it. But when I strap on a multi-tool, I definitely do. I prefer to carry a multi-tool off-body, in a sling pack or a back pack. So needless to say, I do not EDC a multi-tool, but I usually have one with me when Iím adventuring.

My house backs up to some desert hills with trails. Iíve been hiking these hills since before the city of Phoenix decided to cut some trails into these hills. A little over a year ago, I got a new pup and decided to take him out on the trails. At one point I decided to go off trail, but pup was definitely leery about that. You can probably guess what happened. Pup got a big chunk of cholla embedded in the side of his hind leg. I WISHED that I had a multi-tool with me! I didnít even have a comb. All I had was a fixed blade sheath knife. After a lot of struggles and a lot of yelping, I was able to fling the cholla chunk free of his leg using the knife. But then I had to use my teeth (carefully) to pull out the larger remaining embedded spines. After that I ended up carrying him home cross-country, through the desert vegetation, over my shoulder.

That was definitely a lesson learned. Now I make sure that I have at least one multi-tool in every hiking pack I own. I have several packs for different outdoor adventures.

Because I have a need to own several multi-tools so that I donít have to keep moving a single one from one pack to the next, suffering a chance that I may forget and not have one with me when I need it, I canít afford to buy a high quality Leatherman for each pack. Thatís where the Gerber Suspension comes in.

You can find the Gerber Suspension for under $30 most places. My most recent purchase was on sale at Cabelaís for $21 plus some change. It is really quite a decent tool for a moderate cost. Tools included:

  • Needle nose spring-loaded pliers
  • Wire cutter
  • Fine edge knife
  • Serrated edge knife
  • Saw
  • Scissors
  • Crosspoint screwdriver
  • Small and medium flat drivers
  • Can opener
  • Bottle opener


 
Gerber Suspension with Wal-Mart multi-tool sheath
The only tool that it doesnít have that I wish that it did, is a file. All the blades lock in the fully open position. There is spring loaded blade locking mechanism that you pull toward the pliers to unlock, on each handle near the pivot point for the tools.

Cheap multi-tool? Walmart has an Ozark Trail branded multi-tool that looks a lot like the Gerber Suspension, for under $4 if you can believe that. Itís definitely lighter, and will work OK most of the time, but the difference in quality is very noticeable. But it does have a file!

But here is the interesting thing: The Gerber comes with a cheap and floppy nylon sheath that closes with Velcro. The Ozark trail multi-tool comes with a semi-rigid nylon sheath that closes with a snap. To me, it is worth buying the Walmart multi-tool just to get the sheath to house the Gerber! I even tossed the last Walmart tool in the trash because the knife was so difficult to open, but I kept the sheath. The Gerber Suspension fits perfectly.

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