I recently acquired a Gerber Ripstop and I decided to do a review of all its features.Here is what Gerber says about this tool
“Time and again, Gerber manages to push the bar for innovation in the multi-tool category. the Ripstop is no exception. Based on they're knife counterparts, they exude style and feature all outboard components, meaning there is no need to open handles to access tools. Each component is locking, making these tools among the safest out there. And spring loaded handles reduce user fatigue during extended use.”
Please note that there are some grammatical errors in this statement from the Gerber website, I have copied and pasted them here without changing them.First impression:
My first impression of the tool was that the tool in its folded position was very broad. I imagined that sheath carry of this tool would be awkward. Upon opening the tool it appeared that this tool was well built and I liked the spring-loaded action of the pliers. Build quality:
Overall quality of the tool is quite good. I did notice an uneven grind on the standard blade. There was a small amount of lateral play on the plier head, but it nothing major, it was more of an annoyance.Feature set:
Plain edge knife blade
– The plain edge knife blade is one of two one hand opening tools. They are opened via a thumb stud located all the way at the base of the blade. Although it is a one hand opening blade I found it to be a little difficult to open as the placement of the thumb stud provides very little leverage for opening the blade. I suspect that as the tool becomes looser with use this will not be an issue. The blade shape appears a bit agressive to me with its very sharp point but it cuts well enough. The blade size I feel is too small for the size of the tool. The large size of the closed tool makes for a substantial knife handle when using the blade, possibly too substantial. I felt it was too large and made the knife slightly uncomfortable to use, but those with bigger hands might find this a plus. The small size of the plain edge blade in contrast with the large handle seems out of place. Notice the uneven grind, the other side has an almost perfectly straight grind. Flat head driver
– The flat head driver is plenty functional and is of the standard size and shape you see on multi-tools, but again the size of the closed multi-tool greatly diminishes its usefulness in confined spaces.Phillips driver
– The Phillips driver in my opinion is a mess, I tried it out on a couple Philips screws on my closet door and it shredded them. The two dimensional driver could not bite well and tended to strip the screw. I wouldn’t use this driver on any screw again; it’s not worth the potential damage to the screw or possibly stripping it. This alone would keep me from carrying this tool.Saw blade
– The saw blade is perfectly functional and will cut wood when it’s required to. When I compared it to the saw on the New Wave it paled badly. The Wave saw is longer and also roughly half as thick. The Ripstop saw tends to bind more easily than the Wave saw. The shorter saw on the Ripstop demands reduced travel per stroke which resulted in roughly double the time to make a cut with the same relative effort per stroke as opposed to the Wave saw.Serrated blade
– This blade suffers from the same shortcomings mentioned for the plain edge blade. It’s rather short, but the serrations are very sharp and it cuts fine. The New Wave blade being longer cuts much better. When cutting cardboard the New Wave serrated blade had a much easier time than the Ripstop blade.Can opener/bottle opener
– The can opener came very dull and it took quite a bit of force to punch through the can. I opened half of a can top with the New Wave can opener and the other half with the Ripstop opener. The Ripstop made a more jagged, and potentially more dangerous cut, but it cut quick enough. The picture below shows a close-up of the can opener cutting edge, I sharpened it after I took the picture and the can opener did cut better than before but still not as cleanly as the New Wave can opener. The bottle opener worked flawlessly.Small flat head driver
– This driver had a decent length to it and worked well. None of the drivers on the New Wave are this long.Lanyard
– The lanyard is very thick and substantial, but it presence is at the expense of another tool that could be in it’s place.Scissors
– The scissors compared favorably to the New Wave scissors, although they required more force to use. The Wave scissors also have the folded over thumb pad for comfortable use of the scissors.Plier head
– The plier head was well formed and solid. The spring loaded opening was very well implemented and quite handy to use.Wire cutters
– The wire cutters on the Ripstop performed on par with those on the New Wave in my quick and limited testing. See below for an example of the wire I was test cutting. The Ripstop required 2 cuts to get through the cable, as did the Wave but the Ripstop would cut through cleanly without binding. My New Wave that I tested with has been well used in the past and would occasionally bind on the cable being cut and I would have to force the pliers open. I tried with several other Charges and Waves and this did not happen on any of them. The cutting surfaces on the wire cutters for the Ripstop are like those you would see on a set of linemans pliers, if you look closely at the comparison shot you’ll see that on the Riptstop the top and bottom pliers have the full “peak” whereas on the Wave it has half of the peak on each side. Both ways cut fine though. For cutting smaller wire both cutters performed quite well.Locks
– The Gerber website states that the locks allows for one hand closing, I found the locks to be stiff and would require two hands to comfortably and safely close a blade. The lock mechanism is similar to that on a Swisstool Spirit only not as smooth. All tools on the Ripstop did lock securely and exhibited no signs of play whatsoever.
The lock mechanism takes up a lot of room and decreases the size of the tools.Price/value
– For a tool that can be had for around $32 online it is a good value in a tool, certainly when compared to the higher costs of the Leatherman New Wave.Final impression
– Of course it’s not perfect, no multi-tool is but is a good value for a well-constructed tool. My complaints with the tool are mostly design related, and I feel like some might actually like daily carrying this tool. I wouldn’t carry it, but given your needs you might want to consider it. I feel that the lock mechanism takes up too space as it is implemented and makes for design compromises that ripple through the rest of the tool like it’s stumpy blades, and wide stature when closed. Gerber didn’t pay much attention to the form factor of the tool when closed and sheathed, and let’s face it our multi-tools spend most of their lives sheathed and waiting to be used.Pros:
Good wire cutters.
Well made and sturdy.
Spring loaded pliers.
Comfortable form factor for plier use when opened.Cons:
Small knife blades.
Dull can opener.
Difficult to use one handed blade deployment (thumb studs) on the two one hand opening blades.
Thick, heavy and wide when closed and sheathed. (10.25 ounces)