Fat Little Fixed Blade: Gerber Stowe Compact Knife Review

Practicality leads the way in Gerber’s utility everyday carry knife.

I reviewed a veritable library of knives for GearJunkie, so this admission should shock absolutely no one: I really like small fixed blades. Their durable construction, versatile nature, and nimble profiles allow them to perform all sorts of detailing tasks that larger knives shouldn’t or can’t.

So when Gerber’s social media started posting images of a new Stowe model, I was immediately intrigued. A light and practical tool intended to disappear on the belt? It’s like they speak my language.

Gerber sent a sample out for testing, and with a 5-day camping trip on the horizon, the timing couldn’t have been better. Read on to see why the Stowe, after 2 full weeks in service, managed to squeeze into the “Best Fixed Blades Under $50” conversation.

In short: The Gerber Stowe is a compact, affordable and well-designed fixed blade with a versatile shape and solid grip. Its comfortable ride and light weight make it a great companion for outdoor adventure, although the sheath itself has some flaws.

Gerber Stowe Knife: Review

(Photo/Josh Wussow)

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  • Blade length: 2.5 in.
  • Total length: 5.96 in.
  • Steel blade: 440A stainless steel
  • To manage: micarta
  • Sheath material: Leather
  • Total weight: 3.06 oz.

Design and pricing

At just over 3 ounces and 6 inches, the Stowe is a decidedly compact tool. Its 2.5 inch brim makes it slightly shorter than favorites like the Uinta Hunter V2 Where ESEE Izula IIwhile stretching half an inch longer than the Candiru.

But with a retail price of $47 (or $40 at knife center), the Stowe is significantly cheaper than other cruisers in its class.

Gerber Stowe knife review - spyderco knife size comparison
(Photo/Josh Wussow)

I particularly like the leaf-shaped blade which is reminiscent of a Spyderco Dragonfly 2 Where Native 5. The taller natures of these designs tend to be stable under pressure, with the added slope allowing for better edge control.

It should be noted that the Stowe is not exactly an only child. Her sister offering, the dibsfeatures the same steel and profile.

The Dibs eschews micarta, aiming for an even lighter experience. I like micarta and generally prefer some width in my grip, so the Stowe was the easy choice for the review.

But if you’re a fan of the skeleton look, the folks at Gerber have you covered.

Performance and driving

Gerber Stowe knife - chopping vegetables
(Photo/Josh Wussow)

For the first week of her stay, the Stowe was relegated to household chores. It did respectable service as a vegetable chopper, and it sliced ​​mushrooms with surprising aplomb.

It also tackled packaging, cardboard, and many similar enemies in the garage.

Gerber Stowe knife - cutting wood
(Photo/Josh Wussow)

But clearly, this is a knife intended for the outdoors. With that in mind, I clipped the Stowe to my belt and hit the woods.

Over a 5 day period he sliced ​​cheese, cut a few bandages and even helped carve out some bases. The chamfered edges of the blade’s shoulders won’t draw sparks from a hot steel, but the knife is more than capable of shaving off tinder from dry wood.

Can he bludgeon? Yes but why? Any stick small enough for the 2.5 inch blade to hammer into is already about the size of a kindling.

Still, if you must, the full flavor of the Stowe will stand up to the punishment.

The edge, however, might not be. You see, 440A is fine as a budget stainless steel, but it’s not as strong as some of the high carbon variants found, for example, in an ESEE.

My experiences with fast bludgeoning put a few bumps on the edge, so it’s not a practice I would encourage.


Gerber Stowe knife - sheath
(Photo/Josh Wussow)

Perhaps the weakest point of the package is not the knife, but the sheath. It’s light and comfortable, and it rolls almost effortlessly alongside you. But between the bent belt loop and the blade slot, there’s a thin, unreinforced area that seems to be vulnerable to wear.

And the nearby strap that holds the knife in place is in an awkward position. When drawing, you need to undo the snap and slide your fingers between the strap and the handle. Otherwise, the heel of the blade will sink into the leather.

Now that’s not a dealbreaker. The Stowe can be easily drawn with one hand, after a minute or two of practice.

But replacing the blade at your side may require some extra attention.

The Gerber Stowe: Conclusion

Gerber Stowe - review
(Photo/Josh Wussow)

Despite my scruples with his car, I am a fan of the Stowe. It served me well for 2 full weeks of testing, both indoors and outdoors.

It is a short knife with a very high edge, which makes it manageable and safe under grip. I would recommend the Stowe to anyone looking for a compact, lightweight knife for camping, gardening, or even backcountry food prep.

Still, I’d like to see Gerber offer another sheath option, specifically a Kydex or similar variant. Something like what ESEE is doing with the Izula-IIs black molded case – now, that would be kind of nice.

But as it stands, the Stowe is a welcome addition to the company’s lineup and one of my best small fixed blades of 2022.

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