By Nick Italiano
I’ve spent a few weeks testing the prototype of the Knives by Nuge Pack Puukko and if I had to sum it up, I would call it a full-sized personal survival knife (PSK) that you actually want to use. When Nuge designed this knife his goal was to produce a highly functional primitive-style puukko at an affordable price point that can be easily thrown into your bag or pack.
At first glance, I was not convinced this was a good option for my purposes. The double-wrapped jute was thick and had a “shank” vibe going. Now, full disclosure, I’m not typically a huge fan of full-sized jute-wrapped knives, so I was definitely looking at this with a preconceived opinion. Despite all this, I did want to do my usual rounds of testing and develop an informed opinion on the knife rather than just dismiss it right off the bat.
Very early on in the testing phase the Pack Puukko began to grow on me, the double-wrapped handle jute handle was very comfortable in hand over extended use, which is definitely a rarity in budget-oriented PSK-style knives. The Jute presented no significant shift or movement during use, and the retention of the hand-made kydex sheath was excellent.
The blade performed admirably in all my typical outdoor tasks, from carving wood, scraping tinder, sparking a ferro rod, some light batoning, and some foraging tasks. The scandi grind is well done and easily bites into wood for easy processing. From a performance standpoint, It does everything that the original Knives by Nuge Puuko does, and you can read more about that here. Overall I was very impressed with the performance-to-price ratio on the Pack Puukko, at just $135 dollars this is an incredible value for a hand-crafted U.S.-made knife.
As mentioned above this is a full-sized knife, coming in at 8 inches overall with a 3.75-inch scandi ground blade and sharpened 90-degree spine. The Prototype I tested was made from 1095 high carbon, but the standard model will be offered in Nitro-V, which provides a significant boost in corrosion resistance. The handle is double-wrapped burnt jute with a “secret sauce” to keep it durable and from moving around, without making the jute rock hard. The simple black kydex sheath provides great retention and gives you multiple mounting options should you wish to belt carry it or attach it to your pack.
Who’s it for
This is an outdoor knife through and through and is a great option for the budget-conscious buyer, or anyone who simply wants a functional backup pack knife. This is a particularly great option for those who like the look of a primitive-style jute-wrapped knife. Like all Nuge knives, the Pack Puukko is made in the USA from materials sourced in the USA adding appeal for those who love supporting U.S. small businesses.
This is one of those times I really appreciate as a knife reviewer; when a knife that I initially don’t think I will like that much turns out to be an absolute joy to use, it really brings a smile to my face. While it lacks the premium handle scales you see on other Nuge knives, it does not lack in the performance department and is on par with any of his more premium puukko models. Overall, it is a superb handmade tool at an unbelievably good price point and would make a worthy addition to any collection.
Check out these and many more awesome knives at www.knivesbynuge.com