Finding the right balance for a survival knife is a seemingly never-ending prospect. Should it be a big blade to do heavy work or a small blade that’s easy to carry? Should it be something simple and to the point or incorporate a number of features to provide the most utility possible? Although I can see the merits of each argument in this debate, I usually end up erring on the side of simple, lightweight and easy to carry. The TOPS Lite Trekker is all of that.
The Lite Trekker is a design by TOPS own Leo Espinoza and writer Joe Flowers with some additional input from Joe’s wife, Ashley. The Lite Trekker was designed to be a lightweight but rugged piece geared for backpackers (at least if you aren’t the “saw the handle off of your toothbrush” type of backpacker), hikers and urban dwellers or workers who like to travel light but still want a sturdy, dependable tool in case things go wrong. If you watch the news, you’ll see story after story of hikers, hunters, skiers and other outdoors enthusiasts who head out for a day trip, get lost or hit by inclement weather, and end up in a dangerous situation, often without the tools needed to handle it. The same goes for folks stuck at work or away from home when disaster hits. The Lite Trekker is an easy-to-tote blade that will give these folks an edge when things don’t go as planned.
The Lite Trekker is a relatively compact, 8.75-inch-long, full-tang design of 1095 high-carbon steel treated to HRC 56-58 and coated with a black traction finish. The 4.25-inch, drop-point blade is fairly wide with a good amount of belly. It has a full-height flat grind and is only 1/8 inches thick. A 1-inch section of the spine is left uncoated so that you have a spot to use as a firesteel scraper. The handle scales are of Micarta and have a series of oval-shaped recesses for improved grip as well as a small integral guard. The handle is only 9/16 inches thick at the fattest portion, which keeps the whole knife trim but still provides a very comfortable grip. While the Micarta is only offered in basic black or natural tan, TOPS does give you some color options. The company colors in the ovals on the handles and provides matching lanyards on some of the natural models, and you can get hunter’s orange, survival green or hunter’s black. The orange and green models really stand out and are great for folks like me who like their survival blades easily visible. An extremely large lanyard hole is provided on the knife, and I think it’s a great touch. It makes it very easy to add and remove lanyards and helps keep the weight of the knife down…
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