Gerber Freescape Camp Kitchen knife

Review by Arnie P

The Freescape Camp Kitchen knife was provided by Gerber for review purposes.
The Gerber Gear company established in 1939 is about a year younger than I am. We are both survivors and that says a lot. The product I will be testing is the Gerber Camp Kitchen Knife. As the name implies I intend to do a lot of the testing in my kitchen. I have increased my use of vegetables in my diet as part of a weight loss program. All the details will follow in this and the next two reports.

Major features are:

Weight : 7.6 oz (215 g) with sheath
Weight : 6.5 oz (184 g) knife only
Blade length : 3.8 in (9.7 cm)
Total length : 9.5 in (24 cm)
Stainless Steel blade : 7CR17MOV blade
Rugged full tang construction
Sheath with belt loop
All conditions rubber grip
Dishwasher safe
Lanyard hole
Designed and engineered in Oregon
Made in China
Santoku inspired blade
Full fine edge blade
Textured rubber grip
Main purpose : chopping and food prep

Description

The knife is mostly black. The blade has a black coating with a small amount of edge showing along the cutting edge. The handle has some bright green trim. The thumb hold is the same color as the trim. The blade is inscribed with 897011140C which also appeared on the outside of the package.
The blade is a modified Sheepfoot point and was inspired by a Santoku chef as mentioned in the features. The flat belly on the blade helps with obtaining accurate food preparation. The Gerber camp kitchen knife has all the looks of a rugged tool that may withstand the rigors of camping use and those of the home kitchen.
F

Gerber Freescape Camp Kitchen

knife and sheath

Gerber Camp Freescape Kitchen knife and sheath

 

Gerber Camp Kitchen knife in left hand

Gerber Freescape Camp Kitchen knife in left hand

It appears there are several ways to sanitize this knife as it is dishwasher safe. For those who don’t have a dishwasher a pot of boiling water is readily, but more realistically a standard washing should suffice.
The grip is featured as all conditions rubber grip. The grip is textured and is contoured so there no edges to feel while firmly gripping the knife. The knife is symmetrical so it the same for right and left handed users. The knife was
provided with a small plastic point protector. My guess is this will get lost soon.

More about the grip

I use a knife a lot to prepare vegetables for meals. When I started eating more raw vegetables I was spending a lot more time prepping the vegetables. The grip on the Gerber kitchen knife has a couple things I really like. The thumb pad is wide enough to support about half the width of my thumb and it is flat with small ridges to prevent my thumb from slipping. There is a cutout area for my forefinger which allows a comfortable grip for my hand.

Sheath

The sheath is mostly black with a slight amount of bright green trim. The inside of the sheath has a hard plastic lining to prevent the sharp edge of the knife from cutting the nylon case. The belt loop is about 3 in (8 cm) wide. The knife is held in place while in the sheath by a small strap which is made of a hook and loop fastener. This may take a little practice as sometimes the knife was easy to slide out. The knife can be placed in the sheath in either direction. The knife is always placed in the sheath so that the cutting edge of the knife faces backward.  What makes this a little different is the cutting edge is straighter then the non cutting edge.  If you are left handed and wear the sheath on the left side the cutting edge is now on the curved side of the sheath and the latch is a bit more difficult to attach.

Trying it out

I started by putting the sheath on my left side mainly because I am left handed. I slid my left hand straight down released the hook and loop with my left thumb and put my hand on the handle and when I raised my hand the knife was ready for me to start cutting whatever I needed to cut. I repeated this for the right side sliding the knife with the cutting edge facing backward, the latch and hook was easier to use.  Getting used to the cutting edge being straight is a little different for me at this time.
Turns out I had prepped my current supply of vegetables the day before receiving the Gerber kitchen knife. I am very anxious to replenish my vegetables and try out the kitchen knife.
Please check back in about a month when I will have more to say about the Gerber Camp kitchen knife.

Update

5-1-2014

I never know how a product is going to work for me until I start using it doing the things I normally do. When I started raising my children by myself back in 74.  I soon learned my way around the kitchen. This update on the Gerber Freescale Camp Kitchen knife will focus on using it to prepare my meals. You will notice a small very thin plastic which I use for a cutting board. This is the same board I have been using for years on car camping trips. It is very light and compact and could be used for backpacking. This knife, like most tools, does some jobs exceedingly well and some not so well, probably why a chef has several knives to choose from. In this review I will go into detail on the operation of the Camp Kitchen knife on a variety of vegetable and fruit.

Eggplant

It has only been in the last year that I have had success cooking with eggplant and the preparation was part of the problem. With the Camp Kitchen knife I was able to cut my eggplant in the way I wanted quickly and easily. After rinsing the eggplant I cut off the ends and inspected for bad spots. I then placed it standing with the large end at the bottom and split the eggplant in half. Some of the eggplants I used were quite large and I initially thought I would have trouble. I found out quickly that as long as the blade was longer than the diameter of the eggplant at the top and a little ways down I could easily cut the front half, then turn the eggplant around and finish the job. I then placed the eggplant flat side down and cut the eggplant lengthwise. I then turned my cutting surface a half turn and cut the eggplant crosswise. I found that I could easily cut the tough skin of the eggplant with a lot more control than with my other knives. The sharp thick wedge like blade cuts and separates the material being cut. My being able to comfortably put my finger on the top of the blade added to the control and effort I could exert of the eggplant I was cutting.

Red Peppers

I cut the end with the stem off and cut the pepper in half lengthwise. I remove seeds and then cut the pepper in the direction that yields the longest strips most of the time. For diced I cut the strips again. I am finding I am getting more uniform strips than I was previously getting with my other knives.

ZucchiniAfter cutting the ends off I can either cut round slices or cut the zucchini in half and cut into strips. I prefer strips and I had a problem with the strips sticking together after being cut. The thicker blade of Camp Kitchen knife reduces this problem. It also seems that the ones that stick are easier to separate after using this knife. I have also used summer squash using this knife and the results were the same, only I did not take any pictures.

Pineapple

I did the cutting for the pineapple on a picnic table outside. This would be similar to picnic tables I would be using while car camping. Cutting pineapple has always been a challenge for me. The ends results were worth it especially when I was in Florida and able to get really ripe pineapple. Recently I bought a pineapple locally and waited till the bottom started getting really soft. I used the Camp Kitchen knife to do all the cutting, something I have not been able to do with a single knife previously. I cut the top and bottom off, then I cut the pineapple in half similar the the way I cut the eggplant. I now started cutting the rough outside skin off. This operation is much faster with the Camp Kitchen knife than any other knife I have used in the past. With the skin removed it was an easy matter to cut the hard part of the core. I wish I had this knife when I was making my winter trips to Florida where I could easily find ripe pineapples.

I am very pleased with the performance of the Camp Kitchen knife. The knife is sharp, keeps its edge, compact, and I am spending less time prepping my food. Please check back in about a month when I will have more to say about the Gerber Camp Kitchen knife.

 

A last look

6/1/2014

 

Onions

I do use a lot of onions and over the years have settled on the following

cutting method. I remove the loose skin covering, cut off the end opposite

the root, then cut the onion in half lengthwise. Remove any other skin

and place onion flat side down, make a few cuts into the end of onion that

was cut off, turn 1?4 and cut onion into slices. I am now spending less time

cutting onions with the Gerber Freescale Camp Kitchen knife..

Apples

Quartering an apple with the Camp Kitchen knife is easier but when it

comes time to coring the apple I had to resort to a paring knife. Initially

that was true, but with some practice I am able to do the coring with this

knife, maybe not quite as fast at this time. When I go car camping I will

be able to manage very nicely with this knife and a paring knife.

Garlic

Cutting Garlic

Cutting Garlic

Before getting the Camp Kitchen knife I was using my paring knife in my

hand over my skillet on the stove. Initially I tried the Camp Kitchen knife

in my hand and that did not work. Recently I tried using the Camp

Kitchen on my plastic cutting board, I was blown away. It was quicker,

more accurate and I could get thinner slices on all but the smallest cloves

of garlic. I would say most of the cloves in a garlic head were easier to

cut with this knife.

Foraging for wild edible plants

I attended a talk at the local library on foraging for wild edible plants.

During this talk the author talked about more of the plants in his book on

foraging for wild edible plants. I had foraged for wild edible mushrooms

in the past with obvious success in that I have never gotten ill. I use a

knife for the harvesting but this year has not been a good year for

mushrooms so far. Of all the  mention of the Japanese knotweed

plant got my attention as it started growing actively in my neighborhood

in the last 4 years. In his short – about 20 second explanation of this plant I

learned to cut it a few inches above the ground. The item cut could be

boiled or eaten raw. On my next walk with the dog in the neighborhood I

harvested several of these plants using the Gerber Freescale Camp

Kitchen knife. This knife performed well, but the taste was passable

initially but I soon got to dislike the taste. I boiled some and the taste did

not improve. This could be an acquired taste and I will try again next

year hopefully earlier in the season for this plant.

On the trail

B_2900

Gerber Freescape Camp Kitchen knife

Cutting Some Branches

While in Franconia New Hampshire this past month I hiked Bald

Mountain and Artist Bluff twice. I learned that the knife carries well on

the trail. The sheath makes carrying the knife on the trail very

easy, I hardly know it is there. I have 2 reasons to carry a knife hiking,

one is to use cut branches that interfere with walking on the trail. I started

doing this after doing some volunteer work clearing trails. When I cut

branches I either slash at the branch, making sure I am slashing away

from my body or hold the branch and cut with branch in one hand and

knife in the other. The second use is when I discover some edible wild

plants and I need a cutting tool.

Summary

I liked the Gerber Freescale Camp Kitchen knife enough for it to become

part of my actively used tools for cooking related tasks and for use on the

trail. I especially like the control in cutting, sharpness and speed when

cutting. It is provided with a right handed sheath and that is slightly

inconvenient for left handed persons. I have used this knife a lot and the

coating is still completely intact and the cutting ability has not decreased.

I wish to thank 4alloutdoors.org and Gerber for the opportunity to review

the Freescale Camp Kitchen knife.

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