Humans are wired for tool use — it’s what separates us from most other species on Earth. One meaning of the term Homo sapiens is “wise man,” hinting at our propensity for using tools.
Aside from the discovery of fire, no tool has been as important to humanity’s evolutionary success as the knife. From the blunt instruments of our forebears to Gerber’s latest multitools — the knife has been with us every step of the way.
For the past 84 years, Gerber has outfitted the world’s top soldiers, craftsmen, and explorers. In its latest collection, the company leans on its expertise and offers a kit that caters to outdoor newbies and adventurous families: the More Than Ready collection.
The collection includes nine camp tools: three multitools, two knives, a portable hatchet and folding hacksaw, a firestarter, and a folding shovel. Read on for more details.
‘More Than Ready’ Collection
Keith Carrato, Gerber’s VP/GM, said that the inspiration for More Than Ready came from a desire to deliver more high-end options to its entry-level, adventure-curious customers.
“Gerber has always been a problem-solving brand,” Carrato explained. “With the More Than Ready collection, we sought to provide outdoor enthusiasts and newcomers with a curated selection of go-to items that can be brought along on their next trip.”
Adding to Gerber’s decades of bladesmithing know-how, the More Than Ready collection also leverages thousands of years of design progression. For that reason, it could be worth exploring how this family-friendly kit draws inspiration from historical designs of years (and centuries) past.
Here’s what’s in the collection:
- Armbar Scout multitool
- Stake Out multitool
- Devour Multi-Fork for cooking and eating
- Gerber Ultimate survival knife
- Scout pocket knife
- Folding Pack Hatchet
- Freescape Saw
- Fire Starter
- Gorge folding shovel
Origin of Pocket Knives & Multitools
Despite advanced machining, tech-driven alloys, and the customization you’d expect from a Gerber blade, the company’s tools are still based on the classic designs of our ancestors.
Dating back to over 500,000 years ago, the first documented knives were rudimentary fixed-blade stone tools. These crude instruments were used for protection, hunting, cooking, and crafting essentials for daily life. All these years later, we’re still using our knives and multitools in many of the same ways.
Primitive fixed blades slowly developed as better materials and construction methods became available. But it wasn’t until the 6th century BCE that humans began crafting folding blades. These were the first iterations of what we consider an EDC folding knife.
A cornerstone of the More Than Ready collection, Gerber’s Ultimate Knife is a direct descendant of those ancient fixed-blade designs. Built for the backyard bonfire or roughing it at camp, the Ultimate’s heavy-duty build stands up to any task.
As the Ultimate exemplifies, the same factors that made for a great blade in the Bronze Age remain true today. Decades of field testing have brought design improvements, leading us to the present day.
“Gerber’s longstanding expertise and over 8 decades of creating knives and tools has given us the know how to execute this, from both a design and manufacturing standpoint,” Carrato said. “This, combined with an understanding of the needs of the modern outdoorsperson has led us to where we are.”
Roman Empire’s Influence on Design
During the heyday of the Roman Empire (200-300 CE), utensils made from fine metals were a sign of wealth. To flex their status, nobles and officers would commission custom cutlery.
This tradition of customization lives on through Gerber’s custom made-to-order pocket knives and multitools. But far from their ancient Roman counterparts, Gerber prices its customs for the everyman.
Credit goes to the Romans for creating the world’s first multitool. Complete with a three-pronged fork, spoon, spatula, pick, spike, and iron blade, this relic multitool bears a resemblance to Gerber’s Stake Out multitool, another mainstay of the More Than Ready collection.
The Romans made that first multitool for everyday needs. Similarly, Gerber created the Stake Out to be your best friend at the campsite.
Integrating a carabiner attachment point and a wide variety of camp tools, the Stake Out even includes a handy finger-saving hook for pulling out your tent stakes (as the name implies).
The Origins of Everyday Carry
Throughout the middle ages, people from all walks of life — soldiers, farmers, and artisans — needed a tool for daily tasks. To meet that need, the simple and utilitarian folding knife continued to grow in popularity.
In the 1800s, peasant knives, also known as penny knives (because they only cost a penny), became immensely popular. These budget-friendly knives brought everyday carry to the masses, allowing both rich and poor to enjoy a folding pocket knife.
Similarly, Gerber still keeps a sharp focus on people’s everyday needs by making EDC gear that’s accessible to everyone.
“Let’s face it: For some folks, knives and multi-tools can be intimidating,” Carrato explained. “As more people from all walks of life head toward the outdoors, we’ve focused our attention on creating approachable, and most of all easy-to-use gear for even the beginners.”
This emphasis on utility-first EDC for the masses lives on in Gerber’s Armbar Scout multitool. Adventure-ready, the Armbar Scout packs EDC utility into a compact, unobtrusive design that can go everywhere you do (except in your carry-on).
Gerber on the Rise
The science of metallurgy saw continual advancements throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. Metals science culminated in the early 1900s with the invention of stainless steel — tech that would completely reinvent bladecraft.
Father and son duo Pete and Joseph Gerber jumped on this wave of design and tech advancements and began fashioning knives in the 1930s. Always resourceful, the Gerbers made their knives from recycled materials, sourcing scrap aluminum and beat-up hacksaw blades from auto shops. Continuing this emphasis on sustainability, Gerber’s US factory in Oregon is zero-waste and runs on 100% renewable energy.
Gerber’s reputation spread, and soon, Abercrombie & Fitch expressed interest in selling the renowned blades in its popular retail catalog. In 1939, Gerber Legendary Blades launched with an initial lineup of mythically named blades like Balmung, Curtana, and Excalibur.
The Evolution of Gerber Gear
Over the decades, Gerber’s designs have changed and developed, but the brand has always maintained a focus on quality craftsmanship and the timeless needs of its customers, it says.
“Gerber and the outdoors go way back,” recalls Carrato. “Our first hunting knives were introduced in 1947, and our fishing knives were released in the ’60s. In the last few decades, we’ve expanded our outdoor offerings beyond just knives — now including compact multitools, eating utensils, axes, and shovels. True to our history, the brand still makes product for the military, and also for outdoor activities beyond family camping with robust hunt and fish collections.”
Backyard to Campsite, You’re More Than Ready
Gerber prides itself on dependability — from fixed blades to multitools and minimalist pocket knives. Many professionals and recreationists of all stripes put their livelihoods and lives on the line with Gerber Gear.
Originally passed down from father to son, a key part of its legacy is inspiring a love for the outdoors, generation to generation.
“The traditions that are passed down — adventures taken together — these are moments that shouldn’t be taken for granted,” Carrato said of the company’s spirit. “Gerber was started by a family and still has that same tight-knit feel. We’re passionate about empowering families to get out and be confident that they have what they need for the adventure.
“After all, less time worrying about gear means more time enjoying the trip and making memories.”
This article is sponsored by Gerber. Check out its More Than Ready collection.