A while back I did a review of a few Leatherman tools which I said, at the time, were one of the most useful things one might carry on a trip, with the possible exception of a towel. Recently it came to my attention that, in only reviewing the Leatherman offerings, I had neglected the other industry leader in the field of dinguses-that-do-just-about-everything-and-fit-in-your-pocket. That would be Gerber, the other well known maker of pliers-centered multi-tools. The people at Gerber were kind enough to bring this neglect to my attention and offer their assistance in helping me to remedy this oversight. To that end, they provided me with three different tools to review: The Diesel, The Freehand, and The Ripstop.
Going into this I knew that Gerber approached the multi-tool with a very different design orientation than Leatherman. Instead of folding out, the Gerber tools have pliers that slide forward from within the handle. This allows the user to get out the pliers and start to use them with one hand. In essence, you can take one of these tools and get out the pliers with a sharp flick of the wrist.
This mechanism is nice for one-handed operation, but has a few issues. For one thing, neither of the tools that open in this fashion would lock in a closed position; when they were opened, they would lock that way, but when slid closed, they would never snap into place. Also, they had a tendency to rattle or move around, giving these multi-tools a roughly-crafted feel. When it comes down to it, it’s something you have to try out to see whether you prefer it to a butterfly design, such as the Leatherman tools or the Ripstop (see below)
All of the tools I looked at for this review have certain things in common. They all have locks to hold open every tool that they have, though the type of lock is different in each case. All come with a nylon belt-case and have the following:
2 flathead screwdriver
1 Phillips screwdriver