Monday, October 19, 2015

Gamble Made Gatekeeper Review

Somewhere along the line to Internet and Pocket Frosting Godhood, Peter Atwood probably looked around his workshop and thought "This is an awful lot of work..."  But that thought didn't stop him and Atwood iterated on his designs over and over and over again until he arrived at where he is today--making some of the most superb, useful, and sought after one piece multitools in the world.  I have never doubted their superior design or finish, just their pricing.  Focus and iteration are key in making great pieces of gear.

And Gamble Stampfli has done the same thing with the gear dangler/pocket hook.  I have reviewed Gamble Made stuff before and while it was not the ideal thing for me, I could appreciate the clever design and the excellent craftsmanship.  His latest dangler/gear organizer, which went live on Kickstarter last week, is the Gatekeeper and it is, frankly, the only dangler or gear organizer that I have really liked.  The hook (or in this case, the non-hook) is that the dangler is a carabiner.

Here is the product page.  Here is the Kickstarter.  There are no reviews or videos.  Here is the review sample:


Twitter Review Summary: Not strictly necessary, but one damn fine piece of pocket frosting.

The design of the Gatekeeper is pretty simple--its a carabiner with holes at the bottom, but Gamble's style is something different.  He has always made things with details and flourishes and the Gatekeeper is his most lavish and complex design.  Gamble's gear reminds me of brogue shoes (oh and by the way, fuck you Dan and Andrew Lang...I am falling down the shoes rabbit hole and I blame both of you a-holes) and while I am normally a fan of minimalism, I am willing to accept that not everything needs to look like an Apple product.

Fortunately for us Gamble's flourish are not just cool looking, they are functional.  The inclusion of thumb studs on the carabiner gate is quite useful and makes hooking and unhooking much easier.  The spring in the gate is also very nice, snappy but not crazy hard to pull.  Even the flourishes are helpful in lightening the overall design.

The fit and finish on the prototype is incredible, truly great.  There are, as you can see from the product page, a ton of parts and all of them are perfectly finished and the design is actually quite pleasant to hold in the hand and fidget with.  In fact, it was so pleasing to the hand that I thought I lost the prototype only the find it in my five year old son's room.  He loves to play with it as much as I do--flicking the gate open and watching it snap shut.  There are no rough edges here.


Latched on to a pack, like I have used it most of the time, the Gatekeeper functions as an awesome, truly awesome carabiner.  I have laced a few things through the holes at the bottom, keys and the like and they work well.  This would be a VERY nice tool keychain hub.

I am not sure if this is a hidden feature or not, but I found the Gatekeeper to be a very effective pair of metallic knuckles:

P1060297 this something you intended?

I am certain that this is not a necessity, but its interesting design, its evident craftsmanship, and its fidget friendly nature makes something I really like.  Its pocket frosting, no doubt, but its not offensively so, like, say a Cobalt bead in the same of an octopus.  The price, on the Kickstarter early bird, $75, is fair for the handmade nature of the item, but I can see how someone would find it steep.  The fact that the Gatekeeper is compatible with a host of other Gamble made products is a boon, especially if you have gone down the dangler route with him in the past.

Not everything needs to be purely useful to be enjoyable and the Gatekeeper is one of those things.  In a world of things like the glass octopus from PDW and a million animal OPMTs, the Gatekeeper seems sensible and practical.  Its not an essential, but it is quite a nice bit of pocket frosting that actually functions.  Go check out the Kickstarter.  


  1. Good that you're getting into shoes. I have a few custom pairs and very high end rtw but would prob get all Aldens if I had to start all over. Chech out for the best info on shoes. If you take good care of them they'll last 40 yrs. don't wear them titties Road, brush with a horse hair brush to get rid of dirt that would eventually form cracks in the creases. Use shoe trees, and moisturizer occasionally even just with hand lotion from a hotel

    1. I've gotta ask... what does "don't wear them titties Road" mean? =P

    2. Oops. : don't wear them two days in a row.

      Great source of shoe info from a custom maker:

  2. Oops! That should have said, don't wear them two days in a row. Can't believe I trusted voice dictation.
    Speaking of questions that need asking: How do know it would make excellent metal knuckles? Any testing involved?

  3. I'd like to see a take on something like the Black Diamond Magnetron carabiner. All the same function for a third the price and you get to use a cool magnet locking mechanism.