I like weird stuff in general, and that extends to my knife collection. The good news is knives can get really weird. I now have three cleavers that have been produced by companies who don’t specialize in kitchen utensils. My ESEE cleaver, my Gerber Flat Iron, and now a second Gerber, the Gerber Tri-Tip mini cleaver knife, make up my collection.
Gerber is a broad brand when it comes to knives. They can range from quite lovely and rather expensive, to remarkably affordable. The Tri-Tip leans more to the affordable side. It includes a molded polymer sheath and admittedly has a very fresh look. The Tri-Tip is a pretty blade, and I can’t lie when I say its looks drew me to it more than any specific need for a mini cleaver. I’m a real sucker for a pretty blade, and the Tri-Tip is a rather attractive and stout little knife.
General Dimensions and Blade Details
The Gerber Tri-Tip has a 2.875-inch cleaver blade is divided into a chisel edge and a cutting edge. The chisel edge is about an inch long, not very sharp, and it is finger safe. The bottom cutting edge is the near 3-inch blade. The handle is 2.75 inches long, and the whole thing weighs a mere 3 ounces. It is a full tang knife with a set of grips attached.
The blade is made from 7Cr17MoV. This cheap stainless steel that’s very popular for budget based knives. It’s quite common in affordable hunting and camping knives and even kitchen knives. The Tri-Tip fits that description nearly perfectly. It’s a budget based blade optimized for camping kitchen chores. This steel does offer excellent corrosion resistance, is easy to sharpen, and for low-end steel tends to hold an edge okay.
Edge retention is somewhat questionable, and it’s not one that lasts long. The good news is that as a cleaver, the blade isn’t always tasked with tradition cutting tasks, so the edge lasts longer than I thought. This steel isn’t known for being tough, but I’m not batoning wood or striking a fire rod for cleaver tasks.
Its edge is good enough to cut through meat and veggies easily, and even thin bones with a little strike to the rear of the blade. It’s not as sharp as any ZT or Emerson, but it’ll do its job as a 30 dollar cleaver. The small blade length offers a solid cutting edge due to the knife’s aggressive belly. You can cut through thick meat and chop vegetables rather well.
Admittedly the use of such a small cleaver is somewhat niche. I can see it as a functional camping cooking utensil that takes up very little room and weighs very little. With sustenance camping becoming more popular, I see the Tri-Tip being a handy tool for cleaning up squirrel, rabbits, and deer. The small blade won’t chop through the thicker bones of medium-sized game, but it quickly eats through chicken bones.
The chisel edge acts as a useful bench scraper to collect ingredients with ease after slicing and dicing them. The edge could also serve as a pry tool or even a stripping tool to remove bark from branches.
Handle and Ergonomics
The little 2.75-inch handle doesn’t necessarily fill the hand and won’t give you the real cleaver’s wacking ability. The grip angle has a slight incline that allows for a rocking motion to cleave through meat. The handles are made from aluminum and textured.
The downside is that there are some immediate hotspots in the area where the handles meet the palm. Using the cleaver to strip meat from bones creates hot spots throughout the hand. Using the Tri-Tip in traditional kitchen tasks was comfortable enough. Giving the black a wack, rocking it back and forth, and using the chisel edge was all plenty comfortable.
The handle is textured comfortably, and you can get a sure grip, which was surprising due to how small the grip is. I like the rounded aluminum grips and the texture they add, but they were far from perfect.
Once you turn to more outdoorsy tasks, you’ll want a larger, more prominent handle. The lightweight design is appreciated, and at only 3 ounces, it won’t pull on you when belt-mounted.
The rear of the blade is wide enough to cover with a towel and give a wack to break through thick veggies and small animal bones. You can split a chicken breast, but anything more significant might prove to be a challenge.
The included molded polymer sheath is a high point in the Tri-Tip design. It’s mostly a simple, rectangular shape that fits 1.5-inch belts. The sheath is quite sturdy and well designed. The Tri-Tip sheath is outfitted with an active retention device. To defeat the device, you merely press down a small spring-loaded toggle and pull the blade out.
Tri-Tip slides in and out of the sheath with ease and allows you to dismount and mount the knife quickly. It’s a neat design that seems like it would be more at home on a more expensive knife. The included sheath can be worn on the right or left side, or even in a scout position. Scout being the fancy name for wearing it upside down on a plate carrier or pack strap.
While I haven’t tried to modify the sheath, it seems possible to attach a variety of clip options and change how it’s mounted. With different belt clip options, it looks like a great candidate for horizontal carry should you wish for such a thing.
Gerber Tri-Tip Review – Final Thoughts
The Tri-Tip is a neat mini cleaver. It looks and feels cool. The aluminum grips are fantastic, as is the included sheath is quite nice. I like the Tri-Tip, and I say that because I can’t find a use for it. If you wanted to kill a squirrel and clean it in the woods, then here you go. The Tri-Tip is perfect for that role. I could do the same with a dozen other essential fixed blade knives and have a more useful tool overall.
With that said, I think the knife has a powerful cool factor that makes me a fan. For the low price, I don’t mind buying it for the giggle factor.
- At home on the trail, in the backyard kitchen, or at a tailgate, The standout design of the tri-tip rewrites what a utility blade can do.
- The Cleaver blade is not only eye-catching with it's black oxide coating, but has two distinct functions: scraping and cutting.
- The machined aluminum handle scales provides an excellent grip, and a balanced contrast of color to the knife
- The multi-mount sheath can to be carried in two positions: tip down or horizontal SCOUT carry.
- A lanyard hole is integrated into the handle as an additional place to the secure the knife.