Pros: Head Material, Balance, Construction, Weight, Handle Material
Function without the Fashion - Finally
Finally, and thankfully, Gerber can offer us the outstanding functions of this lightweight, low maintenance, and very durable tool without the "survivalist" hype of the earlier version. It makes a great "hacker" to go with whatever more delicate "cutter" you choose to carry in the field.Years ago I bought the earlier model and experimented with this tool. The 3CR13 stainless took a very sharp edge and got to a mirror polished gleam simply using ceramic sharpeners, even when in the field. Sure it doesn't hold that edge like higher end and exotic steels, but more importantly it doesn't chip or crack like those pricey options would under similar uses. And it only takes minutes with a stone, even a flat river rock, and you've got that edge back, ready for work.That steel also is relatively impervious to coastal salt mists, rain forest drizzle, or dripping bayou humidity. Even fish or game related fluids leave no mark if simply wiped away with the murkiest water. When you have other priorities, It doesn't get much easier to care for a tool.It's the right size and weight for wood processing around camp. It will chop well, baton easily, or shave fuzz sticks efficiently using one-handed or using two-handed control methods in ways that few knives, some costing hundreds of dollars, could not do. In the extreme, debris shelters are easily achievable with this tool, though requiring more effort than using full size axes, but the advantage is that you can actually have this tool on your belt 100% of the time because of its light weight and compact size.When used to pound wooden stakes into the ground, simply add a "strike plate" stick crossing - like a T - over the top of the stake and the stake will be driven into the ground easily, without splitting the stake, using the thin profile hammer end.Based on experimentation and field use, here are the two improvements that anyone can make in their garage before going afield with it:1. Use a thin or triangle file, perhaps a Dremel tool if you have it, and sharpen the edges of each "X" or cross-hatch you see in the hammer end. These sharpened teeth then serve as a rasp-like tool for quick and efficient notching. By simply making two cuts in the stick/trigger/trap to define the ends of a notch, the rasp teeth can quickly remove the wood between those cuts down to any desired depth. In similar fashion, the rasp teeth make quick work of heart wood or fat wood processing for Maya Dust types of tinder material.2. Using file or Dremel, refine the spine of the tool to a 90 degree scraping surface in the area located between the hammer surface and the top/back of the handle. This makes quick work of several fire starting tasks, including an ever-ready striker for your ferro rod. A quick 180 degree flip of the tool from the cutting grip to the reverse grip and you're ready to scrape some tinder or strike a spark. I don't have the new model yet so the sheath of the new model is an unknown. The older version, despite its TV commercial logos, worked very well. Hopefully Gerber meets or exceeds expectations on the newer version.I look forward to working with this new version, without having to explain my way around the hype that went with the earlier version when other campers saw it in action.Gerber - you've got a winner in the Pack Hatchet.