Friday, January 4, 2013

MERCH: Gerber Gator Combo Axe

Over the past year I've grown an interest in 2-wheeled adventure travel. Anyone who has traveled with the intentions of camping on their vintage motorcycle has quickly learned how valuable space and weight can be, especially when it's on your back. I'm not too keen on throwing saddle bags onto the CX so when I travel everything I need goes into a backpack. An axe and a knife are key elements in gathering and breaking down wood as well as preparing tinder shavings to start your fire. 

A few months back I picked up a Gerber Gator Combo Axe. I bought it for it's ultra compact size and weight. This axe also houses a 2.75" bladed knife in the handle; hence the "combo" in the name. 
+1 for an efficient use of space.



Yes, we took a pristine E30 M3 camping. Some might say this is far from the ideal camping vehicle. I would then have to disagree on account of how ideal this car is for the 2 hours of Wisconsin twisties leading up to the camping location. I originally planned on bringing the CX out for the trip however it was already below freezing in Chicago and I knew it'd get worse once we headed north. We woke up to snow so I didn't regret my decision.


The issue with a compact and lightweight axe is just that - you don't have as much heft behind the blow. That being said, this little guy had no problem collecting and breaking up all the tinder we would need for the night. It's a great balance of size and weight. I personally prefer having to put in a little more elbow grease splitting logs over adding more weight to my backpack. Not having a long handle meant I could use it to make wood shavings to start the fire. The flat butt also works great for driving in tent steaks.
The only real negative I found with this tool was in the rubber sling around the butt of the handle. This sling is used to hold the knife inside the handle, in addition to some magnets and clip details.  When you're whaling on a log the sling gets in the way and ends up coming undone. I ended up just taking mine off. The magnets and detents in the handle do a good job of holding the knife in there firmly.



Gator Combo Axe - 1, Mossy Knoll - 0




All in all I'm pretty impressed with this tool and haven't come across any other axe's that seem more fitting for a 2-wheeled backpacker. If you've got any recommendations I'd love to hear them. I'm specifically on the look out for an ultra compact 1-man tent.


10 comments:

  1. Nemo makes a very compact 1 man tent that uses inflatable tubes rather than poles. the price is a bit steep but its super compact at only 10x7 when packed up. http://www.ems.com/product/index.jsp?productId=12093465&cp=3712723.3718212.3718213

    EMS makes their own tent thats pretty compact as well and a bit cheaper.
    http://www.ems.com/product/index.jsp?productId=12077527&lmdn=Sleep%20Capacity&cp=3677338.12946247

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    1. Great info, thanks. 10x7 is pretty compact. Do you happen to know what the EMS tent packs up to?

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    2. theres a technical specs tab on each page. the ems tent packs up to 6x17. its got less square footage than the nemo tent so it depends on how cozy you want it. the ems tent has a slightly larger vestibule so if you want to keep your pack dry some extra space might not hurt.

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  2. Big Agnes Fly Creek UL1 Tent. Tim has the UL3 which packs down unbelievably small and light. I did a little googling and found the UL1, super light but I'd be interested to see how much smaller it packs, might be one of those things where you get the UL2 or UL3 just to allow room for the big head of hair in exchange for a few oz.'s. He can give you good reviews on his.

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    1. Looks like the UL1 packs down to 19x5" at 2lbs 3oz. Not too bad. I sleep with a hairmet so no need to worry about the tent interfering.

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    2. http://images2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20110709145922/scrubs/images/c/cc/5x22-Hairmet.jpg

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  3. The Easton Kilo 1P Tent was also recommended to me. Posting it here for anyone interested. It packs down to 16x5.5" at 2lbs and looks like a definite contender.

    http://eastonmountainproducts.com/tent/kilo1p-tent

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  5. If you're concerned with weight and space, leave the hatchet at home. I've hiked over 1800 miles in the woods and never needed a hatchet. Just throw the logs on a bigger log or large rock find to split them. For tent stakes use your foot. Get a small swiss ary knife. The one that includes a can opener and thats all the blade you will ever need. I agree with the comment about big agnes their stuff rules! I have their bag and sleepng pad, really light weight, compact and comfortable. Check out AT forums for other gear advice. Hikers love their lightweight gadgets.

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