Epic Or Not, It’s A Handy Gerber

Much to my delight, zombies are playing a growing role in the marketing of all sorts of products. Gerber even pitches their Epic knife as the first choice for zombie hunters on their website. In reality, that’s a role its 3.45 inch blade probably isn’t all that well-suited for (my personal “zombie blade” would need to be eighteen inches long), but for most other work which requires a sharp knife that’s easy to keep close at hand, it’s a fine choice. And I’m not just saying that because of the bottle opener built in.

With an overall length of 7.3 inches, this is the knife Goldilocks might choose if she were your average outdoorsy, camping, home and garden handyman. Neither too big nor too small, I found it just right for most manly duties. At first glance, the bright aluminum clip looks out of place against the titanium nitride coating, glass-filled nylon handle, and plastic sheath. But it doesn’t need to be hearty spring steel, as the blade snaps securely into the sheath, and you have to push on the sheath with your thumb to draw the knife. This action takes all of about three minutes of practice to master. Using the bottle opener takes even less time, but that didn’t stop me and several friends from practicing with it around the fire pit. Good thing there was no shortage of bottles, or we might not be the experts we are today.

Gerber Epic

Full tang construction makes for a durable knife that’s inexpensive to build. More importantly, it allowed Gerber to balance the knife so that it excels not just at heavier tasks like cutting rope or fabric, but gives you the confidence to tackle finer jobs that require a lighter touch. Irrigation tubing and bags of mulch didn’t stand a chance against the partially serrated blade. After a wash, I took advantage of the blade’s nice balance and curved design to cut veggies for dinner, and carefully slice the skin off some mango for dessert. It’s not heavy enough for chopping food efficiently, but that curve makes food prep pretty easy, and is much more forgiving than a straighter blade which would need to be held at a more precise horizontal angle.

Gerber Epic

After using the Epic for a while, it became apparent that what some consider a design flaw actually makes good sense. Sure, the clip might not seem sturdy at first. That’s because if you want to use the bottle opener, you’ll need to keep the blade in the sheath. So the Epic pops off your belt or out of your pocket fairly easily. Is there a chance it could fall off a pocket or belt unnoticed? Maybe. Luckily, it won’t come out of the sheath unintentionally. And depending on how you carry it, you might even need two hands (or more than three minutes practice) to get it back into the sheath securely. But this knife is for around the yard and campsite, not the PCT. And in that context, the overall design is quite clever. If I was going to be spending days on the trail, and covering lots of miles, I wouldn’t necessarily be looking for a knife with a bottle opener anyway.  My only other minor gripe is that the coating came off on the spot where the sheath rubs against the top of the blade. Not a big deal, as all knives gain battle scars and character with use. Older reviews also mention that the screws on the reversible clip were not tight, but that appears to have been resolved on newer models.

So is the Epic epic? Well, it’s built to last, holds an edge well, handles plenty of cutting chores, and can crack open a cold beverage with ease. Not just another “looks good on paper” design, I found it to be pretty handy for my needs. Just don’t rely on it for dropping zombies. Gerbergear.com

– Brian


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