By Nick Italiano
As a kid growing up in 1980’s all I wanted was the iconic hollow handle survival knife, but my dreams were quickly dashed as they were pretty much junk. Thankfully Wilson Custom Knives is able to revive that nostalgia with his line of hollow handle survival knives, with one glaring difference from the ones I had in the 80’s…Wilson makes high-quality performance tools! As can be expected with most custom knives these tools are expensive and can be hard to come by.
Enter the P.A.C.K. Lite, the first semi-production hollow knife in the Wilson Tekline that is designed for EDC carry. The goal for this project was to make an accessible hollow handle knife that meets the same exacting standards that are found inWilson’s custom work, and P.A.C.K. Lite definitely achieve that goal!
Like always, let’s start with some specs. The P.A.C.K. Lite weighs in at 3.2 ounces, making it ideal for EDC, lightweight hiking, or as part of a light emergency kit. The overall length is 7 inches with a 3 inch CPM-154 blade. There is a blade guard that will help protect your fingers without getting in your way. The handle is made from high grade Aluminum and wrapped in cord for super positive grip. The butt cap is removable and has a compass on it, and you can store assorted survival gear inside. The whole knife is coated in a durable gunkote for a nice non-reflective matte finish. The sheath is a nice fitting OD Green kydex with a drainage hole and accepts a number of optional accessories, including a leather belt loop and some additional storage options.
DESIGN and ERGONOMICS
It’s a hollow handle knife! Beyond that it’s an incredibly well designed and built hollow handle knife. The blade is positively fixed in place mechanically and does not budge under normal task pressure. The blade grind allows it to perform very nicely in slicing type tasks, and the full-size handle allows for a positive working grip. The butt cap is nicely textured, making removing it easy. The threading inside the cap is excellent. The cap also had a lanyard hole should you wish to put one one. The guard is very well done it is contoured nicely for finger comfort in use. Even with the blade coating, the spine is sharp enough to perform scraping tasks.
In looking closely at P.A.C.K. Lite it is clear that Wilson is a stickler for detail, every aspect of the design is well thought out and you can tell a lot of R&D work went into bringing this knife to life.
The P.A.C.K. Lite performs very well in all your typical EDC type tasks; it makes short work of boxes, opens cuts through annoying plastic packaging, and easy slices through veggies and meat. I’ve done some limited outdoor work with it so far and found it did a great job when cutting through plant material while foraging and processing some kindling. The size of the knife does not make this ideal for batoning through large pieces of wood, though from what I have seen from others, it’s up to the task in a pinch. I’d be very comfortable carrying this as my primary knife for hiking and foraging trips as well as EDC.
Now let’s talk about the handle, and the question that I’m sure many people have is is it really beneficial? I’d say yes. While it’s not a huge space, you can easily store a few fire plugs, a compact ferro rod, thread, needles, or other assorted survival odds and ends. This essentially allows you to keep a micro survival kit on your belt at all times; remember, the best survival gear you have is the gear you have on you! For more storage space, you can pair this up with the ferro rod or match case pictured above.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Does anyone “need” a hollow handle knife? No, but if you’re like me and want a nostalgic experience, that also happens to be a really good knife than the P.A.C.K. Lite is definitely worth looking into. In addition to the nostalgia, the hollow handle does provide storage that allows you to keep some survival essentials with you, or even a place to store some cash and medication if you’re just around town. For the naysayers that feel that this knife lacks structural integrity, I can assure you that the P.A.C.K. Lite is built tough, and I have seen absolutely no movement in the blade through regular use and have seen some other folks do some pretty heavy work with these with no concerns.
The P.A.C.K. Lite starts at $275 and can go up depending on your addition of optional accessories. I feel there is a ton of value in this package, and the modular nature of assorted accessories will allow you to really create the survival system you are looking for.
Check out the P.A.C.K. Lite at Gear Convoy and as well as the custom work available at Wilson Custom Knives.