Over the years, Gerber has become known as a value brand for knives and tools in the outdoors. But just because it keeps its prices low and doesn’t generally use materials deemed premium doesn’t mean it isn’t bringing reliable products to the market.
Case in point, the Pack Hatchet is a 9.5-inch-long piece of nearly ¼-inch-thick, stonewashed 3Cr13MoV steel, with a textured, rubber overmolded handle.
In layman’s terms, it’s a full-tang belt hatchet made from tough, corrosion-resistant steel with a rubberized handle that minimizes shock and won’t slip out of your hand — in any weather.
And it costs less than $50.
To me, that makes this hatchet far more accessible to people on the fringe, or even diehards who are looking for a reliable tool for camping, yard work, etc., who don’t want to spend a lot of money. It’s also something you can find in almost any of the big box stores in your town. So you don’t need to hunt it down or order it online.
Talk about instant gratification.
In short: With the Pack Hatchet, Gerber makes the outdoors a bit more accessible without sacrificing quality. Although the brand could easily charge $100 for the Pack Hatchet, Gerber priced it under $50 to make it accessible to a wide range of consumers, from frequent campers to city kids who may not be entirely sold on the idea of outdoor activities. The Gerber Pack Hatchet is just an easy tool to keep around because, at some point, you might need it.
Gerber Gear Pack Hatchet
- Steel 3Cr13MoV
- Length 9.46”
- Weight 20.8oz
- Handle Rubber Overmold
- Sheath Nylon
- Accessible price point
- Full tang design
- Overmolded Handle for that Kung Fu grip
- Great for uses of all experience and dedication levels
- The sheath is annoying
Gerber Pack Hatchet Review
Growing up, Coleman and Coghlan’s always had hatchets hanging up at hardware stores. They were affordable tools that kids begged their parents to buy so they could have haphazard adventures in the woods. By the end of summer, they’d be lost somewhere outside — bent, rusting, chipped, and forgotten.
So, that’s what I expected from Gerber, and I was totally wrong.
This Pack Hatchet is meant to last for a while. It’s designed for everyone and, I suspect, will not be forgotten in the woods by sugared-up 12-year-olds covered in bug bites and poison ivy.
This is a major step up from those early hatchets that hung around hardware stores in the 1980s, so I would like to think that kid would appreciate this tool.
Design and Features
The Pack Hatchet is made from one solid piece of 3Cr13MoV, a comparably soft steel with a decent level of corrosion and abrasion resistance. It has been around forever and is used in a multitude of edged-tool applications.
Being that it is soft, you’ll need to sharpen it after a few adventures, but it’ll take an edge easily with the right tool. That softness will also help in terms of toughness, as the hatchet won’t be prone to chipping as much as a harder steel would.
As far as corrosion resistance goes, so long as you wipe the Pack Hatchet down when you’re done with it, it will not turn orange with rust. So, feel free to wash it off in any lake or stream at your convenience.
Finally, the full tang construction adds durability and makes the tool more fun to abuse. The rubber overmolded handle keeps it tight in your hand and reduces shock.
Gerber Pack Hatchet in the Field
Full disclosure: I was that sugared-up 12-year-old, covered in bug bites and poison ivy, who left his hatchet to rot in the woods after a summer of throwing it around like some farm league hack. All those memories came rushing back when I got out into the woods with the Pack Hatchet.
This tool is fun to use. It’s lightweight, balanced, and sharp. All of these aspects make the Pack Hatchet an effective implement for various occasions in the outdoors. After leaving it outside for a week, exposed to the elements — including snow, rain, and gooey pollen — I used it to clear a bunch of branches from a downed tree. And I pruned up a couple of the apple trees in the yard.
It’s not easy to use as a hammer, which I like in a hatchet. But it will hammer in tent stakes without a problem. You can also use it to dig and chop into the ground, which I also did, but one strike on a good rock could damage the edge. So have a little composure and compassion when using it.
As for downsides, my primary issue was the sheath. I don’t like it all that much. I can see myself eventually leaving it behind or just using it for long-term storage. But for less than $50, it’s not really that big of a deal. This hatchet isn’t a BMW — it’s a Subaru.
Getting into the outdoors is expensive. A tool like the Gerber Pack Hatchet isn’t a financial burden, but it’s every bit as reliable as a hatchet twice its price.
I won’t tell you I didn’t wax nostalgic thinking about that chubby kid and what he would have done with a quality tool like the Gerber Pack Hatchet. This is a great outdoor tool for that mix of unbridled energy and lack of knowledge.
For the price, it’s great for having around the shed, waiting patiently for the next adventure.
The Pack Hatchet is built and priced right for anyone looking to enjoy some time in the outdoors, or splitting kindling in their driveway.
In my expert opinion, there’s just as much room for a value hatchet like the Gerber Pack Hatchet as there is for that $200-300 hatchet you’d coddle and covet. We’re in a time where the knife industry shows us you don’t need to spend a lot to get a lot.
So, why would that be any different for an axe or hatchet? Brands can offer you more bang for your buck, and Gerber has done just that with the Pack Hatchet.