As a mountain biker, I love getting into the outdoors. I love camping, hiking and any opportunity to escape the city and explore remote natural environments. For that reason, I really love outdoors gear too. Especially cool lightweight techy-stuff like tents, sleeping bags and compact cook stoves. And no, you probably don’t want to end up in a conversation with me about that topic.
While not strictly cycling-specific, a lot of this gear translates really well to the more adventurous side of our sport of mountain biking. Not all rides involve driving to a trail centre, riding around in circles for an hour, and then driving home. At its core, mountain biking is about adventure, getting lost, and discovering sections of untouched virgin singletrack. And sometimes you need to look outside the box for the right gear to take you into those remote environments.
In the same vein as recently reviewed products such as the Osprey Escapist pack and the Optimus Crux Lite cookstove, I’ve decided to give you a closer look at a handy multi-tool from US knife brand Gerber, which has become a staple in my weekend gear bag.
“Slightly smaller than our Multi-Plier® 600, the Compact Sport is Gerber’s most popular multitool. Built with stainless steel hardware, including Fiskars scissors and one-handed opening pliers, the 400 is durable and easy to use. Every tool locks securely into place using Gerber’s Saf.T.Plus™ system and it comes with a nylon sheath for secure carry. This is a do-it-all Gerber multi-plier designed for a lifetime of use.”
As it’s name indicates, the MP 400 Compact Sport is a small-sized tool designed to fit in the bottom of your backpack or in a weekend gear bag in the back of your car. It comes with a neat Nylon sheath to keep the tool protected from anything that might come in contact.
MP stands for ‘Multi-Plier’, which basically means that the MP400 is a set of pliers equipped with a whole bunch of other little tools that you may need to call on in times of need. It weighs less than 200 grams, which is impressive given it employs a full Stainless Steel construction. Hollowed sections in the handle strip some weight off but also provide a textured surface for improved grip.
There are no less than 9 other tools on the MP 400. There’s the obligatory can opener, but you’ll also find Phillips head screwdriver and 3 different sized flat blade screwdrivers. There’s also a nifty pair of scissors and a saw blade too.
The MP 400 uses a patented Saf.T.Plus locking mechanism to secure the tools in place when they’re unfolded out of the handle. And when folding up to store inside the supplied Nylon sheath, the pliers slide down inside the handle to reduce the total size of the MP 400 to just 11.1cm in length.
Most cyclists would carry a bicycle-specific multi-tool with them in their hydration pack or saddle bag when heading out for longer, more…epic-er rides. However, the MP 400 adds in a bunch of useful functions that you won’t typically find on a bicycle tool.
The pliers themselves are a must for fiddly jobs like securing a gear cable or attempting to dislodge a bolt that’s become wedged inside its thread. The pliers also house a small cutter, which is ideal for securing and then snipping down cable ties when mounting up a race plate. I’ve also found the larger flat-blade screwdriver quite useful for spreading disc brake pads that have been accidentally squeezed together while the bikes been in the back of the car.
When camping, the small scissors have proved useful on many occasions including opening up food packets, or cutting off an annoying label inside some gloves. The can opener was also a bit of a revelation for me with going to weekend cycling events. It’s a super simple tool, but it means you can bring along a whole bunch of other food with you to an event without having to rely on the (sometimes questionable) food vendors. Canned rice pudding anyone?
The MP 400 isn’t a cheap tool, but then nothing that Gerber makes is cheap. It is high quality however, and the Stainless Steel construction means you’ll have this guy long after you replace several carbon frames. For those that are a little more picky, Gerber do make an enormous range of multi-tools and knives, some with more functions than the MP 400, and some that are smaller and lighter again. Otherwise, the MP 400 is a great compact multi-tool.