Gerber shrunk down the butcher’s best friend so you can carry a cleaver with you anywhere you go. We put this blade to the test at camp, in the kitchen, and beyond.
The cleaver is one of the most iconic blades you can own. From chefs’ kitchens to horror flicks, the distinct shape of the cleaver is imprinted in popular culture. Cutting through meat and bone with an ax-like chop, the cleaver means business.
In short: There are some knives you’d never know you want until you see them. The concept of shrinking down one of the biggest knives in history into something you can carry on your hip is a clever move.
That’s what Gerber accomplishes with the Tri-Tip Mini Cleaver, a multipurpose knife that works in the kitchen — and the backcountry. The little blade, while unorthodox, can handle a variety of daily cutting and scraping tasks.
We tested out the cleaver in the kitchen and the desert of Utah to see how it would hold up.
Gerber Tri-Tip Mini Cleaver Review
The blade comes sheathed in a stout black case complete with a belt loop. Pressing down on a small button releases the knife, which slides out smoothly. First impressions: the mini cleaver looks serious. The satin-finish blade is angled in all the right places and is complemented nicely by the green machined aluminum handle, textured for added grip.
The corrosion-resistant steel blade is 7Cr17MoV, which is a less expensive steel used in chef and survival knives. While not as strong as some steel, it is a good all-purpose material for the cost.
The factory sharpening is pretty darn good — the Cleaver sliced paper right out of the box. The blade is a plain edge and full tang and feels really solid.
The handle fits in the palm, and the pinky finger extends beyond the end. Or, you can cinch the blade up into your palm, pinching it between your thumb and forefinger for more of a dicing or chopping motion.
One of the best features here is the weight. The little cleaver clocks in at a mere 3 ounces, which makes it easy to hold and carry in the sheath. The blade locks into the sheath with a satisfying “click” and works with tip-down or scout carry configurations.
The stout cleaver blade has one full fine edge that can cut everything from steaks to sticks. And Gerber designed the final beveled leading edge (not sharp) for scraping materials.
- Blade dimensions: 8.5 x 5 x 2 in.
- Weight: 3 oz.
- Steel: 7Cr17MoV
- Finish: Satin blade
- Price: $38
- Country of origin: USA (Oregon)
Gerber Tri-Tip in the Kitchen: Home & Camp
The most obvious use for this little guy is chopping and mincing in the kitchen for cooking. And as you might imagine, it really excels here. The blade is an ideal size to chop up everything from vegetables to meat. I sliced through steaks and carrots with ease. The ergonomic grip makes it easy to hold and invites a smooth cutting motion.
The broadside of the blade can also do things like crush garlic or crack peanuts. And the beveled edge is great for pushing the chopped-up food into the frying pan or plate. At camp, the blade can dress small game or gut and clean fish. Anything more and I’d want a hunting-specific knife.
All in all, prepping food and cutting or slicing is the bread and butter of this blade.
Camping With a Cleaver
I went to the barren desert of Utah for a week-long camping trip and threw this knife in my kit to see how it would perform. Normally, I would opt for a more traditional folding blade along the lines of Gerber’s Fastball, but I found this fixed blade to be a fun change of pace.
The Gerber Trip-Tip could tackle anything that a traditional knife might handle, and in some instances, having the chisel leading edge was more helpful. From cutting small sticks to shaving wood, the blade is stout and small enough to handle most common camping needs. The blade can also cut paracord and spark a flame for a fire.
An EDC Cleaver?
While perhaps unconventional compared to something like Gerber’s Sedulo, the Tri-Tip mini cleaver can even be used as an everyday carry knife. The fixed blade makes it a bit bulkier to carry, and you couldn’t slip it into a pocket as easily as a folding knife, but it can affix to a belt easily with the sheath.
The Tri-Tip can do everyday tasks such as opening boxes or cutting and stripping wire. Without a sharp tip, it may not work as well for a survival situation, but it still has a very sharp edge.
The Gerber Tri-Tip Mini Cleaver is a different style of knife, one that looks very sleek and appealing. Initially, the cleaver seems more like a novelty knife shape, but after field testing it, there are a variety of practical uses for this knife.
The cleaver can do almost anything that a standard knife can do, and in situations such as meal prep, it really shines. While I don’t think this will become a regular EDC for me, it certainly has earned a home in my camp kitchen kit and will come in handy for any sort of meal prep, tailgating, or grilling scenario.
The Gerber Tri-Tip Mini Cleaver sells for $38 and is available in two colors.