The Gerber Freeman Guide Folder knife. Those active in the outdoors know how important having a good knife can be. From simple tasks to potentially life saving situations a good knife is essential. Can this offering from Gerber live up to the expectations?
Is a knife really that important to photographers?
Every outdoor photographer should have a versatile knife in their bag. It’s essential gear that I never leave home without. There are so many situations in which having a good knife can save your bacon, be it simple things like opening packages (those new lens boxes aren’t going to open themselves are they?!) to important tasks like having to create a roasting stick for S’mores! Ok, that is important but in seriousness there are many situations you can find yourself in while out in nature in which a good knife can be a life saver. Fashioning a splint for a twisted ankle, paring down fuel to shavings as kindling to get that fire going, or even self defense should you come across an aggressive animal that attacks.
Sometimes a good knife is needed for entertainment and joy. Follow me here, I’m not crazy! There are many times when I’ve been set up on my tripod, waiting for a sunset to hit that special spot, and I’ll just sit back and relax while I whittle away at a chunk of wood. It’s a great relaxing way to wait for the right light to arrive.
The bottom line is that having a good knife in your bag is truly a bit of gear that I never leave home without, and I think you should consider doing the same if you are a fan of hiking and shooting outdoors.
Enter the Gerber Freeman Guide Folder
I’ve been using the sister blade to this folding knife for many years. The Gerber Freeman Guide fixed blade knife has been my knife of choice when out hunting big game for at least 5-6 years now. In fact I own two of the fixed blade versions and I’ve used them in hunting applications more times than I can count. From field dressing game to the actual butchering and processing of the meat in prep for filling my freezer, this knife has been a constant on my belt.
Needless to say, when I received the folding version of my favorite knife this past Christmas I was over the moon! I knew I wasn’t going to use it for hunting applications because I’m not a fan of folding knives in those situations. Just too hard to make sure everything stays clean and sanitary with the moving parts. But I hoped it would be a great addition to my camera bag. Before I get into the pros and cons of this knife, let’s take a look at the technical info.
Full disclosure part one. I’m not being paid by or affiliated with Gerber in any way. Which means the thoughts here are strictly my own and are not an advertisement.
Full disclosure part two. I am not a professional knife reviewer and therefore will not be getting super technical with this review. It’s an honest look at a bit of gear I have put time into testing and using that I wanted to share with you guys here.
The technical side of things, specs and such.
As a drop point, fine edge knife they want to make this knife your go-to knife when you hunt. They’ve added their TacHide Onlay and large finger grooves to make sure that no matter the conditions you can maintain a solid grip as you work with the knife. Very important since the fine edge of this knife maintains razor sharpness, a small slip could mean a big slice in your fingers without a solid grip.
Here are the rest of the specs directly from the Gerber website.
Blade Length: 3.6 in.
Open Length: 8.1 in.
Closed Length: 4.5 in.
Weight: 6.6 oz.
Lightweight Handle – Easy to carry
TacHide™ Onlay – For secure grip in all conditions
Large Finger Grooves – For comfort and security
Full Fine Edge Blade or Gut Hook
Nylon Sheath – Wear resistant
What I like about the Gerber Freeman Guide Folder
First off, it’s very lightweight in terms of how big and bulky it feels on your belt. The build quality is very solid and I love how the grip feels in my hand. Be it when using smaller motions or broader strokes I always feel like this knife is very secure in my hand. It’s very sleek and fairly minimalistic looking, something I appreciate in a design. The steel and black are a very classic pairing that gives the Gerber Freeman Guide Folder a sharp look. (UNINTENTIONAL BAD PUN ALERT)
The blade itself is very durable and does a great job retaining sharpness overall, meaning that when you need it most you’ll be ready to cut through whatever task you are tackling. As it starts to dull a bit with use, a couple of quick passes to touch up the edge will have it razor sharp in a hurry. Overall the size is perfect for those with larger hands and there is a great balance between the blade and grip. You can maintain excellent control as you are using this blade because of the great balance.
It does come with a nylon sheath, pretty standard of most of the larger Gerber blades, so it’s easy to slip it on your belt or strap it to your bag. Of course the knife itself also has the lanyard slot at the end so you can secure it easily without the sheath. I also absolutely love the fact that I can get a quality knife that is durable and extremely versatile at a price that won’t break the bank at all. At the time I’m writing this you can find this knife for just over $20 US, which is an absolute steal.
Dislikes about the knife
Not a lot to mention here, mainly some minor thoughts. First, while I love the grip and feel in my hand, that TacHide Onlay can be difficult to clean in some situations. When skinning and field dressing big game the fat and tallow can become a nightmare to get out of the textured areas of the grip. Not a deal breaker at all, especially with this folding version of the Freeman Guide. As I mentioned earlier, I’ll stick to the fixed blade version because of the ease of cleaning when it comes to my hunting uses.
The operation of this knife is pretty smooth and simple, though the size of this knife does make one handed operation a little unsteady at times. It’s not a huge knife, but just big enough that you are best being safe and using both hands while opening and closing the blade. Safety first and again it’s by no means deal breaker.
The last potential downside as an every day carry type of knife is it’s size. While it’s a fantastic size to handle just about any task you throw at it, it can feel a bit bigger or bulkier than a smaller pocket knife. The Gerber Freeman Guide Folder is not necessarily a “pocket knife”, it will feel a bit bulky if you slide it into the pocket of your jeans. It’s really meant to be worn either on your belt or carried with you in your bag. My camera bag has a variety of straps and attachment loops both inside and out and I’ll often just leave it in it’s sheath attached to one of the straps if it’s not on my belt.
Who is this knife for
Because it isn’t a true “pocket knife”, this probably isn’t the best choice for those looking at a more compact, every day carry type of knife they can keep in their pocket or on their key chain. It is the perfect size to carry on your belt while outdoors or even to have in your camera bag at all times. Because it’s fairly lightweight you won’t feel like you are adding rocks to your bag, the knife will be there when you need it without adding a ton of weight.
If you find yourself outdoors often with your camera, hiking trails, camping, or even just enjoying a day trip with friends, the Gerber Freeman Guide Folder is for you. I’ve used this knife for everything from cutting rope, opening packages, making the perfect hot dog roasting sticks, to creating fire starting shavings, butchering game, even just as a steak knife.
The bottom line on this knife for me is that it feels great and fits perfectly in my hand. The fact it’s a folding knife makes it a little more portable on a daily basis in my camera bag versus the fixed blade version of this knife I’ve used for years. It holds a good edge and is easy to sharpen as needed. Operation is simple, I just recommend two hands for safety. Best of all, it’s size and durability mean it’s extremely versatile and will handle just about every task you throw at it. Even better, as I mentioned above, it won’t break your budget as it’s extremely affordable!
The Gerber Freeman Guide Folder is absolutely a must have, so if you are looking for a new knife check this one out! If you want to help me out feel free to hit the Amazon link right here, it is an affiliate link which means that it cost’s you nothing extra to make your purchase but I get a small amount for the referral!
All photos were created with a Fuji X Series cameras and lenses.
Images all processed in Lightroom Classic with the Rebecca Lily Premium Color Grading Pro Set V system as my base for all of my custom processing.
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