When you think of a folding knife, you probably imagine something small like a Swiss Army knife — something that you can pull out of your pocket and flip open when you need to get into a box, trim a loose thread or slice a wedge off a lime to pop into a beer.
The Portland-based knife maker's latest creation is the Doubledown, a 15.1-inch long knife built for far more rigorous jobs than those simple everyday tasks listed above.
The Doubledown is, no joke, a machete. It's a short one, admittedly, with its 6.75-inch blade, but the reduced length allowed Gerber's designers to give it a unique two-piece handle. With a pivoting system reminiscent of Bali-Song knives (also known as butterfly knives), each piece rotates to go from being a handle to forming a protective sheath when the knife isn't in use.
It's a feature that both protects the blade and reduces the tool's length by roughly half when in storage mode, for more convenient storage and carrying. The handle design also features four locks that work in concert to ensure safe opening and closing, as well as a fifth that keeps the handle rigid while you're using it.
The Doubledown isn't as long as most machetes, but Gerber has ensured that it's still capable of tackling backcountry tasks through features less apparent than its unique handle. One is a jimping on the blade's spine, which enables batoning (splitting wood by hammering the blade's spine with another piece of wood). Another is its blade, which has a subtle recurve shape that makes it broader toward the tip and comes in 420HC (high-carbon) steel, which is practical for in-the-field maintenance.