I was fortunate recently to travel to Kosovo, Montenegro and Albania, where I spent a week walking along a trail called ‘Peaks of the Balkans.’ Most of my journeys are much longer than this and before leaving I’d wondered: just how much can be seen or achieved in just a week? The answer, I’m pleased to say, is a lot.
The trail is beautiful, especially so as I caught the Balkans in the sweet transition spot of autumn to winter; my days were filled with golden and rust coloured leaves falling upon fresh snow, and from the summits I had clear, crisp air and views for across the mountains for many miles in every direction.
The journey also gave me a chance to test out some new gear, and over the course of journey I became familiar with the latest iteration in Gerber’s long line of multi-tools: The Centre-Drive. I’m aware that people like me probably take much more pleasure than is healthy from using kit like this, but so it goes: the older I get, the more of a gear nerd I become.
The Centre-Drive does a number of things, and it does them all very well indeed. On journeys like mine, I am particularly grateful for reliability and a robust build-quality, and I’m pleased to say that I found this here. The Balkans were cold, especially at night, and with the temperature dropping well below zero I appreciated the simplicity of the one-thumb opening sliding jaws (it was much too chilly to be faffing around with anything too fiddly.)
I also found the new longer blade to be very beneficial for the variety of uses that an adventure like this demands. Equally, the centre-axis driver, which operates exactly like a real screw-driver instead of a compromised outdoor version, is something that I found myself using much more often than I had expected. That’s the thing about journeys like this: they are unpredictable. Twice I had to open and repair wire mesh on the trail; once a boulder fell on my kit crushing my camping mug, and I had to twist and rebuild a new handle using the Centre-Drive.
In an empty cabin in one of the valleys in Montenegro, I took shelter for an evening and was able to screw the door back onto its frame to cut out the chill of oncoming winter winds. All would have been very difficult, if not impossible, if I’d left the Centre-Drive at home.
The other thing I noticed is that there is no excess fat on the Centre-Drive – over the course of a week I found use for most of the 16 tools included. The market for equipment like this is saturated, and competition is huge, but I can safely say that I was extremely impressed with the quality and design of the Centre-Drive. For journeys of a day, a week, or a year, this does the job and, as was the case on this trip, it allowed me to relax and enjoy the experience which, after all, is what adventure is all about.
Read more about Gerber Gear here