Hands-on Gear Review

Gerber Bear Grylls Compact Multi-Tool Review

Gerber Bear Grylls Compact Multi-Tool
Price:  $20 List | $11.57 at Amazon
Pros:  Compact and inexpensive
Cons:  Secondary tools difficult to engage with fingernails. Pliers will not withstand heavier use.
Editors' Rating:   
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Number of Functions:  10
Pliers type:  Small Needlenose. Wirecutters
Locking tools?:  none
Manufacturer:   Gerber

Our Verdict

The Gerber Bear Grylls Compact Multi-Tool is the second smallest and lightest tool in our test and by far the least expensive. It is half the price of our Best Buy Leatherman Wingman and can be found for even better deals. As compared to the similarly sized Leatherman PS4, the Gerber is less strong but has an extra blade. The blades on the Gerber are one of its best attributes. There are two of them, and both are basically the same length as that provided on the overall much larger Gerber Multi-Plier 600.


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Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Jediah Porter

Last Updated:
Sunday
September 29, 2013

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The Gerber Bear Grylls Compact Multi-Tool is exactly what it sounds like: a small set of folding pliers that's chief claim is the endorsement of the television survivalist.

Performance Comparison


The small selection of tools on the Gerber Bear Grylls Compact Multi-Tool is well thought out and simple. This compact tool is suitable for light duty  keychain carry.
The small selection of tools on the Gerber Bear Grylls Compact Multi-Tool is well thought out and simple. This compact tool is suitable for light duty, keychain carry.

Functions


This tiny guy comes with 10 simple and useful tools. We like that there are two blades. Having a full serrated edge as well as a full straight edge is an excellent advantage of this compact multi-tool. As compared to our Best Buy pick Leatherman Wingman, these two blades are a welcome addition.

The phillips head screwdriver on the Bear Grylls tool is actually a flat-head, pointed driver that is lightly contoured to look like a phillips head. In light usage, this will be fine. If your task calls for more torque, this design may come up short. In a small tool like this, the readily accessible bottle opener will be one of the more commonly used items. The inclusion of a small pair of tweezers sets the Gerber Compact tool apart. No other multi-tool in our test includes tweezers. This may seem like an important distinction. However, our Top Pick tool, the Leatherman Squirt PS4's main pliers are actually more pointy and precise than the tweezers on the Gerber.

Ergonomics


Small multi-tools are inherently more difficult to use. All the features need to be miniaturized, and as a result, functionality is compromised. Of the tools we tested, the Gerber and Leatherman PS4 are roughly similar in size. The Gerber, if anything, is slightly larger. If you are looking for a keychain tool, but want a little extra to grab ahold of, the Gerber may be for you. All the secondary tools fold out with little fingernail tabs. As compared to similar fingernail tabs on the Editors' Choice winning Leatherman Charge TTI, the little Gerber has subtle and rounded insets. Short and dull nails will have a tough time engaging them. We like, however, that every feature on the little Gerber can be engaged without deploying the pliers.

Portability


A compact multi-tool on your keychain will be used at least every day.
A compact multi-tool on your keychain will be used at least every day.
This tool is small with rounded contours. It is eminently portable. It is a little bulkier than its closest competitor, and doesn't come with its own key ring. In order for this tool to live comfortably on your keychain, you'll need to add an intermediate and small split ring to the Gerber.

Construction Quality


Gerber generally makes excellent equipment. However, the Bear Grylls Compact Multi-tool came up short in our testing. In the very beginning of our review period, a tester was faced with a repair task that required the improvisation of toolbox hinges. Small-guage wire coat-hanger wire was perfect for the job. Our tester had the Bear Grylls in his pocket and used the included wire cutters to try and cut the wire. While squeezing the handles, something in the hinge mechanism on the pliers failed. The handles closed without the pliers/wirecutter closing. And the damage has been permanent. The pliers still do not close without manually squeezing the jaws. In essence, the pliers are now permanently ineffective.
In this case  applying the pressure required to cut the hanger resulted in a failure of the tool. As shown here  one handle of the Compact Multi-Tool has "inverted" past its stop.
In this case, applying the pressure required to cut the hanger resulted in a failure of the tool. As shown here, one handle of the Compact Multi-Tool has "inverted" past its stop.
The result is a pair of pliers that no longer function. Applying pressure with the jaws open results in the handles folding closer together without appreciably increasing the pressure. The jaws only come together as pictured  with fingers on the jaws.
The result is a pair of pliers that no longer function. Applying pressure with the jaws open results in the handles folding closer together without appreciably increasing the pressure. The jaws only come together as pictured, with fingers on the jaws.

Value


The Gerber Bear Grylls Compact Multi-Tool is the least expensive in our test. If you are looking for a tool to attach to your keys for lightweight application, this is an excellent value. However, if you will ever try to engage in any more rigorous usage, your money will be far better spent on a more rugged tool.

Conclusion


A tiny folder that brings a useful suite of features to an inexpensive package.
Jediah Porter

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Most recent review: September 29, 2013
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 (2.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
 (0.0)
Rating Distribution
1 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 100%  (1)
1 star: 0%  (0)


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