Hikers and campers tend to fall into one of two multi-tool camps.
Some prize portability above all else, and are willing to forego a few tools in order to save weight.
And then there are others, who’d rather lug around a few more ounces to ensure they’re prepared for any challenge the trail throws at them.
Backpackers falling into the latter category would be well-served by considering the Gerber Truss — a full-sized, feature-packed multi-tool that will leave you feeling confident that you’re ready for anything.
Read on to learn what we thought about the Gerber Truss Multi-Tool and see if it sounds right for you.
Gerber Gear Truss Multi-Tool: The Basics
Gerber clearly set out to create a full-function multi-tool when they designed the Truss. This isn’t designed to be a bargain-basement, no-frills tool you’d find in a bin at Walmart.
It’s designed to keep you prepared to deal with just about anything.
But they still tried to keep weight and size in mind in an effort to ensure it was still easy to lug around.
Gerber says as much in their marketing copy: “This full size multi-tool aims to remove excess heft while keeping all of the functionality. “
But did they accomplish their goal?
Well, yes and no.
Built on the original Gerber Suspension chassis, the Truss certainly has an impressive assortment of tools (more on this later). They’re not specifically geared toward hikers and campers. In fact, Gerber characterizes it as being “…built to handle any and all tasks thrown at it: at the job site, around the house, and everywhere in between.”
They claim to have “edited” tools users aren’t likely to need, while adding tools that their customers have requested.
At any rate, the overall assortment of tools should serve outdoor enthusiasts well.
It also feels solid in the hand. It isn’t a flimsy multi-tool like so many others on the market, which are likely to break when you need them most. In fact, the handle is built from a single piece of steel for improved strength.
It also comes with all of the high-end features users typically want, such as spring-loaded pliers and outward-opening tools (so that you don’t have to butterfly it to access the tools).
But is it light?
Eh. Not particularly. It’s not especially heavy either, but it’s probably not the ideal choice for ounce counters (if that sounds like you, you’ll definitely want to check out the Leatherman Skeletool — one of our all-time favorites for backpackers).
Gerber Gear Truss Specs & Features
The Truss easily stands out from most (if not all) other multi-tools on the market, as it is both durable and well-built.
You won’t feel like it’s going to break every time you use it, and it also comes with a number of very user-friendly features, which make it a pleasure to use.
Of course, you’ll “pay” for this a bit, as it is both heavier and more expensive than many other options on the market.
- Weight: 8.4 oz.
- Closed Length: 4.35”
- Open Length: 6.5”
- Primary Blade Length: 2.25”
- Width: 1.875″
- Overall Thickness: 0.68″
- Pliers are spring loaded
- All tools lock
- The handle is made from one piece of steel
- Handle tools are all accessible while closed
- Available with sheath
Gerber Gear Truss: Included Tools
The Geber Truss is a very well-equipped multi-tool, which won’t won’t leave you feeling like you need anything you don’t have on the trail. In fact, it’s the best-equipped option we examined while trying to determine the best multi-tool for hikers.
That said, it is important to emphasize that the Truss is not specifically designed for hikers and backpackers. It doesn’t come with a fire starter, emergency whistle or other backpacking-specific tools like the Leatherman Signal does, but it does include just about all of the “standard” tools you’d expect of a multi-tool at this price point.
- Needlenose pliers
- Regular pliers
- Wire cutter
- 2.25″ plain edge blade
- 2.25″ serrated edge blade
- Real cross driver
- Wire stripper
- Small flathead driver
- Medium flathead driver
- Large flathead driver
- Can opener
- Bottle opener
- Lanyard Point
It’s also important to point out that almost every tool included is sturdy and ready to go to work.
As you can see, this assortment of tools will put the Truss on par with most high-end multi-tools. But how do they hold up under actual use? Are they as easy to access and use as you’d want?
Read on to find out (spoiler alert: Yeah, they’re pretty awesome).
Our Experiences with the Gerber Truss Multi-Tool
We’ll admit it: We were pretty stoked to check out the Gerber Truss — it was one of the top two or three multi-tools we were eager to try.
And it by and large lived up to our expectations. This is a high-quality tool.
- The needlenose pliers and regular pliers both work really well. The tines both line up well and provide a rock-solid grip. We also love that the pliers are spring-loaded and that the handle’s design makes them comfortable to use. In fact, this is a significant upgrade over the Gerber Suspension-NXT, which has handles that splay too far for comfort.
- Though they don’t line up perfectly on the pair we received, the wire cutters are good enough to get the job done. Honestly, the demand for wire cutters is going to be pretty minimal on the trail.
- Both the plain and serrated edge blades are really nice. The plain blade is scalpel-like sharp, and the serrated blade work well for everything from tomatoes to small sticks. All of that said, both blades are a tiny bit on the thin and small side.
- We don’t love the way the scissors fold or unfold on the Truss (or the Suspension-NXT), as they would make it pretty easy to cut yourself. But they’re adequate. For that matter, many competing multi-tools lack scissors entirely.
- Whew. The included saw is really ready to rip through stuff. It’s not designed to be a precision tool; it is clearly meant to get through whatever material you’re sawing and to do so in a hurry.
- Though it is a bit small, the included cross driver is likely the best one we’ve encountered. It is well-built and strong enough to impart quite a bit of torque.
- The wire stripper and large flathead driver are both attached to the same metal tab. The wire stripper will work, but it is one of the lowest-value tools included with the Truss. The large flat driver is sturdy, but because it is built on the same tab that the wire stripper is, we worry that it would be possible to damage it when cranking a really tight screw.
- The can and bottle openers are on the same metal tab (as is pretty common), while the small flathead driver is located at the end.
- The awl included with the Truss is fantastic. It’s long enough to be useful without being so long that it’s unwieldy to use. For that matter, the edge is sharp enough to score or cut a variety of soft materials.
- Ruler and file are both on different sides of the same metal tab, while the end serves as the medium flathead driver. All three tools are functional. The file is relatively coarse, and we wish the ruler was a bit longer. But hey, at least it includes metric and imperial units. We will say that the tool itself is surprisingly thick and strong — this driver is unlikely to twist or warm during normal use.
- There’s not a ton to say about the lanyard point, except that it is solid and gets the job done. It’s also easy to thread up, as the hole opening is quite large (just like we found with the Suspension-NXT). We’re not sure how many people actually carry around a multi-tool in this manner, but if that’s your jam, the Truss makes it easy.
Individual components aside, we simply enjoyed the tool as a whole. It is a bit heavy, as we’ve mentioned. But that is part of the tradeoff involved in purchasing such a rugged, tool-heavy model.
However, it is important to point out that we didn’t love everything about this tool. The fit and finish are not top-notch. It looks great at a glance, but a few of the tools rub on the housing when you open them. And the entire thing feels very slightly twisted — meaning that the handles don’t line up perfectly when it is closed.
Now, these kinds of issues are to be expected of a sub-$100 multi-tool. This is obviously a Chinese-made product, and as such, it simply can’t compare to a true high-end product.
Ultimately, we don’t think these issues should stop you from purchasing it (they weren’t the biggest drawbacks to our mind at all), but it is important that we point them out.
The Gerber Truss Multi-Tool: Pros & Cons
Ultimately, we liked the Gerber Truss. But just as is the case with every product, there were some things we loved and some things we didn’t.
We’ll outline some of our favorite and not-so-favorite things below, so that you can make the best choice for your new hiking multi-tool.
Gerber Truss Pros
- Comes with an impressive slate of tools
- All of the tools lock in place
- The lock release is easy to operate
- We love that it includes two blades
- Both knife blades were very sharp
- The cross and flat drivers were great
- The ruler is a nifty inclusion
- Several tools are conveniently labelled
- Moderately comfortable in the hand
- The pliers and scissors are spring-loaded
- The sheath is Molle-compatible
Gerber Truss Cons
- The handles twist and flex a bit
- We don’t love the way the scissors open
- It’s heavier than we’d like
- Some may find the tools stiff
- None of the tools are one-hand open
There are a few other considerations to mention, which don’t clearly fall into the “pro” or “con” column.
For example, the sheath utilizes a Velcro closure rather than a snap. Some hikers are likely to prefer this, whereas others may prefer a snap instead.
User Reviews: What Do Others Think of the Gerber Truss Multi-Tool?
We clearly liked the Gerber Truss, though we do think its weight is a bit of an issue. There were also problems with the fit and finish, even though we tend to think those shouldn’t be deal-breakers.
But what about other users? What did they think about the Gerber Truss?
We’ll share some of the most noteworthy user reviews we came across below.
For the most part, reviewers tended to agree with our overall sentiments.
I love every tool on it, and has no gimmicky tools.
Amazon Reviewer John Doe
…the tool combination is one of the best, and you couldn’t get me to part with my first one for anything.
Amazon Reviewer Sands of Time
Great tool for the money highly recommend I didn’t want to pay 100 bucks for a letherman and then I found this and took it it’s been great no issue
Amazon Reviewer Rileysteen
But Amazon Reviewer NC Jack perhaps best echoed our sentiments, saying that:
I am extremely impressed with its functionality and durability – exactly what I expect from Gerber. The compact design makes it easy to carry in my pocket, and the truss design provides ample strength for any job. The variety of tools, including pliers, a wire cutter, a saw, a file, and more, make this the perfect tool for any outdoor or DIY task.
Amazon Reviewer NC Jack
As for negative reviews, most seemed to revolve around durability concerns. Or, as you can see below, full-blown durability problems.
Pliers broke the very first time I used this tool. The hinge point of the pliers is not very strong. I don’t recommend this tool for more than very light duty use.
Amazon Reviewer Edward
Now, we don’t think this is a flimsy or cheaply built multi-tool. To the contrary, it felt like a rock in all of our tests. But we want to be sure you get a full picture before picking out the best hiking multi-tool for your needs.
Other reviewers seemed to find it adequate but overpriced.
In my mind, overall this is really a middle of the road multitool and I think Gerber is charging to much for it.
Amazon Reviewer Kamja
Interestingly, we did note quite a few complaints about Gerber’s customer service department. Several users expressed these kinds of sentiments, with the following serving as a good example:
Today went to cut a thin cable and it snapped and broke. Can’t use the tool anymore. Sucks because I’ve hardly used it at all. To add to my review. I’ve submitted three claims with gerber about three months ago. No contact back. Their phone number doesn’t work. I am done with Gerber products.
Amazon Reviewer adam
Bottom Line: Is the Gerber Truss Multi-Tool Worth It?
Yes — we think the Gerber Truss Multi-Tool is absolutely “worth it” for most hikers and backpackers.
It comes with a very impressive assortment of tools, and most of the individual tools are rugged and work well. They are also accessible from the outside and lock into place. They even have nifty little graphics on them so that you can find the tool you’re looking for without having to do the whole trial-and-error thing you have to with many other multi-tools.
But it’s not right for everyone.
It is a bit heavy, so ounce-counting hikers will likely want to look elsewhere. And for that matter, it’s not especially cheap. So, if you’re new to hiking or camping and in need of tons of gear, you may want to spend some of your money elsewhere.
Is it the best hiking multi-tool on the market? No, but it is certainly worthy of consideration — especially by those looking for a tool-rich option.
Enough about us — what about you? Have you tried the Gerber Truss Multi-Tool? Did you consider it but go another direction?
Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!