IN THE FIELD OR IN CAMP, GERBER’S DOWNWIND HUNTING KNIVES PROVIDE ALL YOU NEED

Gerber’s new Downwind Series of hunting knives combines a bit of nostalgia with modern materials and manufacturing. Together, they are three affordable blades with matching handles and sheaths that provide everything a hunter will probably need in the field.

The three blades that comprise Gerber’s new Downwind Series

The three blades that comprise Gerber’s new Downwind Series provide an excellent and affordable set designed with the hunter in mind.

The sheaths for the knives in the Gerber Downwind Series

The sheaths for the knives in the Gerber Downwind Series are made of waxed canvas and add a retro look to the otherwise modern blades.

No, there’s nothing fancy about these knives, nothing ground-breaking in their design. They’re simply very usable knives, well made, one complementing the next. These knives aren’t offered as a set—you’d have to buy them individually.

But with the complete series, you could go from the woods to your cutting board needing little else in the way of cutting tools. And you wouldn’t have to sell your favorite big-game rifle to pay for them.

DOWNWIND TRIO

The Gerber Downwind Series consists of three full-tang, fixed-blade knives at this point: a mid-sized drop-point, a caper, and an ulu. All three are made with 7Cr17Mov steel and have grippy layered G10 handles machined with beveled edges to stay comfortable and secure in the hand.

Mine arrived with handles of alternating green (olive) and black G10 layers. They’re also available with black and gray handle scales.

“They’re simply very usable knives, well made, one complementing the next.”

The Downwind Drop Point is sized right to make a great all-around field knife.

The Downwind Drop Point is sized right to make a great all-around field knife.

All of the handles feature lanyard holes, something I make use of more often when I’m over water in a canoe or kayak. Still, fitted with short lanyards, these knives could be hung from hooks on a camp kitchen cupboard, one of those homemade wooden boxes that houses all of your pans, utensils, and spices that you can tilt upright for easy access when preparing meals. I keep meaning to make one of those. It’s on my list.

For many families, hunting is a tradition handed down through the generations. To give these knives the feel of something your grandfather might have used, each knife in the Downwind Series comes with waxed canvas sheath.

DOWNWIND DROP POINT

The Downwind Drop Point is the all-arounder of this crew. It features a 4.25-inch blade, which is approaching the upper limit in my mind of the blade length that’s handy for field-dressing a deer.

And let’s face it, when many hunters are thinking of a knife for hunting, they have hunting deer in mind.

The overall length of the knife is 8.97 inches, and it weighs a mere 4.59 ounces. So, it will carry easily on your belt without the need of adding suspenders too.

The Downwind Caper is capable of much more than caping out an animal’s hide.

The Downwind Caper is capable of much more than caping out an animal’s hide. A large, finger-groove choil provides a way of choking up on the blade for precision cuts.

The size and configuration of this knife lend themselves well to other necessary tasks. Maybe you need to carve thin slivers of wood to start a fire to cook your lunch. Perhaps you want to construct a travois to make it easier for hauling out your deer when you’re alone.

Or maybe you’ve twisted an ankle and you need to improvise a rudimentary emergency shelter until your buddies back at camp realize it’s your turn to cook dinner and they decide they’d better go looking for you. This knife can handle those jobs and more.


SPECS

Gerber Downwind Drop Point

Blade Length: 4.25 inches
Overall Length: 8.97 inches
Steel: 7Cr17Mov
Weight: 4.59 ounces
Handle Material: G10
Other: Lanyard hole; waxed canvas sheath
MSRP: $42


DOWNWIND CAPER

A caper, as the name suggests, is a knife designed for meticulously removing the cape of an animal, cutting the hide from the nose to behind the shoulders for the purpose of having a trophy head mounted by a taxidermist.

A caper might also be used for removing the complete pelt of a furbearer, although there are specially designed, narrow-bladed pelting knives for that.

Jimping on the back of the Downwind Drop Point blade and handle provide an extra secure gripping surface when making detail cuts.

Jimping on the back of the Downwind Drop Point blade and handle provide an extra secure gripping surface when making detail cuts.

Despite that designation, a caper isn’t limited in usefulness to that one task, quite the opposite. It’s simply a smaller fixed-blade knife that is configured for excellent control and making precision cuts.

Such a knife can handle most of what you need done. The Gerber Downwind Caper is a good example. It’s 7.24 inches overall with a 3.19-inch blade.

The choil is enlarged to become a complete finger groove. That allows you to take a comfortable and safe forward grip on the knife, getting more of your hand out over the top of the spine.

The Gerber Downwind Caper was comfortable in the hand when using several different grips on the knife.

The Gerber Downwind Caper was comfortable in the hand when using several different grips on the knife.

The Downwind Caper is actually plenty big enough to field-dress a deer-sized animal. And at just 2.1 ounces, it might be a good choice when traveling light, especially when you need to cover miles or traverse difficult terrain.

You’re not going to split firewood with it, but that’s not a job you normally perform when you’re hunting far from camp.


SPECS

Gerber Downwind Caper

Blade Length: 3.19 inches
Overall Length: 7.24 inches
Steel: 7Cr17Mov
Weight: 2.1 ounces
Handle Material: G10
Other: Lanyard hole; waxed canvas sheath
MSRP: $37


DOWNWIND ULU

The ulu is a traditional knife of native Arctic tribes, once predominately used by women when gender roles were more distinctly defined. Historically, they used it for cleaning and filleting fish, skinning and butchering game, and preparing meals.

A classic ulu consists of a blade with a crescent-shaped cutting edge with a handle directly over the blade.

The Downwind Ulu has the crescent blade of the traditional Arctic knife, but with an extended handle more reminiscent of a cleaver.

The Downwind Ulu has the crescent blade of the traditional Arctic knife, but with an extended handle more reminiscent of a cleaver.

The Gerber Downwind Ulu has the crescent-shaped cutting edge, 3.42 inches in this case, but the handle extends back away from the blade more like a cleaver. The overall length is 6.54 inches.

It too comes with the waxed canvas sheath. But this sheath has a belt loop sewn to the back of the sheath where the Drop Point and Caper sheaths have belt loops attached to danglers. I don’t see many hunters carrying the Downwind Ulu on their belts.

It would excel at food prep and as such I see it playing a bigger role back at camp or in the kitchen.

When using this knife, rather than taking advantage of that extended handle in a chopping motion as I might with a cleaver, I found myself inching up over the blade to take a more ulu-centric grip (yes, I just invented that phrase).

That over-the-top grip allowed me to rock that crescent edge back and forth when making cuts. Control was excellent, and I had to slow myself down purposely on occasion as my chef skills aren’t fully developed and I didn’t want to add finger meat to the veggies. I discovered it also made a great pizza cutter.


SPECS

Gerber Downwind Ulu

Blade Length: 3.42 inches
Overall Length: 6.54 inches
Steel: 7Cr17Mov
Weight: 5.1 ounces
Handle Material: G10
Other: Lanyard hole; waxed canvas sheath
MSRP: $52


GET THE SET

All of these knives were sufficiently sharp when I received them. Each has jimping on top of the handle and blade spine for a better grip and control. Any one of them would be useful in its own way as a stand-alone knife. And you might choose just the one you think you might need most often.

“…with the complete series, you could go from the woods to your cutting board needing little else in the way of cutting tools.”

The author believes the Downwind Drop Point is probably near the upper limit in size of what he’d use for field-dressing a deer, but that size also allows for this knife to have greater all-around utility in the woods. Gerber photo.

The author believes the Downwind Drop Point is probably near the upper limit in size of what he’d use for field-dressing a deer, but that size also allows for this knife to have greater all-around utility in the woods. Gerber photo.

I’m glad I have all three. The matching handles and sheaths are a nice touch, although when I’m in deer camp—or any other time—I’m not overly concerned about being color coordinated or fashionable. Those handles, however, are very good dry, wet, or sticky—a good thing because things can get messy with a game knife.

The Downwind Ulu could be used in the field for processing game and fish, but the author supposes it will likely see most use back in camp for food prep. Gerber photo.

The Downwind Ulu could be used in the field for processing game and fish, but the author supposes it will likely see most use back in camp for food prep. Gerber photo.

I think all three knives in the Gerber Downwind Series are winners. With these three, you can be equipped to do most of what you need cutting tools to do in the field and back at camp. At their suggested retail prices, you can have all of them for $131 total.

SOURCE

Gerber
GerberGear.com

 

Editor’s note: A version of this article first appeared in the Sep-Oct 2021 print issue of Knives Illustrated.

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