Gerber’s River Shorty Knife

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What I like about the River Shorty comes down to two things. First, it is stout to the point of indestructibility, from the sheath and the easy-to-grab glass handle down to the stainless-steel blade. Second, it works. The main thing I look for in this sort of knife is that it can quickly saw through rope or a life vest strap if I'm trapped underwater in deadfall. The serrated, very sharp blade does short work of webbing straps or rope. In a pinch, the River Shorty will even gut a deer at the takeout. True story. Oh yes, there's a third thing. I like the blunt tip, which keeps bunglers like me safer around inflatable craft. Finally, pick the neon green color for quick identification if you're fumbling around in the murk. The only thing I wasn't crazy about is that the clip on the sheath is a bit cumbersome and stiff to easily fit onto some PFDs. That said, I'd rather put up with a little struggle at the launch than have a sheath that comes loose in turmoil.

Intel: Blade length – 3"; weight – 4 oz.; color – green or black; MSRP: $33; www.gerbergear.com

Only in Montana: the author's takeout roadkill. Photo by Al Kesselheim

Only in Montana: The author’s takeout roadkill. Photo by Al Kesselheim