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Dave and Anke
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Saturday, November 16, 2019

REVIEW: Buck Knives PAKLITE Combo

Buck 684 (Top) and 135 (Bottom)
Photo from Buck Knives

Ah! Sweet mystery of life, at last I've found you!
- from Naughty Mariette by Victor Herbert

REVIEW: Buck Knives 684/135 Bucklite Paklite(R) Combo and Sheath!!!

A while back I wrote Good Knife, Bad Knife involving the carrying of two knives; a better quality 'good knife' for sharp, clean cutting and a lesser quality 'bad knife' for all the rest.

As usual, I'm putting up with two, inferior sheaths on my belt and putting off building a decent, double sheath.

And then... AND THEN...

Along comes Buck Knives' Paklite Combo. Two quite decent knives at - if you shop around - a quite decent price (about $45 at this writing).

Both knives are well made of good quality steel. Useful shapes. Jimping (notching) in the right places. Comfortable, secure grip handles.

I use the 684 hunting knife as my good knife. The rubber handle gives more control, power and comfort for fine work.

I use the 135 as my bad knife. I was concerned that it's hollow grind on a thin blade (0.1in... it's designed as a caping knife) wouldn't stand up to the rough use we require of it. But after a year of abuse, I can report that it has done very well. The edge is easy enough to touch up and holds quite reasonably well.

Should I lose one or several, I've found 135s for as low as $20, delivered. That's a little rich for my bad knife standards, but they fit their sheath perfectly. And a skeleton knife / sheath opens the door to many, many other less expensive options if I'm feeling cheap.

Showing my set, above and apart
with Anke's, below and assembled

Now, knives that are both economical (cheap) and useful abound. What is in short supply, to my mind, are decent, inexpensive sheaths to hold them.

In every case, I've either endured the sheath supplied, or built my own. In all these years, I've worn two on the belt and never gotten around to building a double sheath to conveniently carry both knives.

These blades are better than cheap. But what's truly makes the Combo stand out is their supplied sheath system.

Somebody really thought this one out!

The system has two main components:

A sturdy, durable (and modifiable) polyester holster secures two separate but interlocking sheaths. Features include

  • Vertical and horizontal belt loops... loops are snug for a firm carry (not floppy).
  • Snap-down security flap... this may be folded back and tucked behind sheath when knives are being actively accessed.
  • Snap-down to sheaths... locks them securely into the holster.

The sheaths are hard polypropylene. Features include:
  • Symmetrical... sheaths hold their knife equally well either way, for left or right hand carry.
  • Slender, integrated design... together, they are less bulky than many of the single sheaths I've encountered.
  • Separable sheaths... they can be separated and slipped into a pocket.
  • Interlocking tips... these securely unify the sheath tips into a unit when used in the holster.

My only quibble is that the 135 skeleton blade fit just a bit loosely in its sheath. This allowed a slight rattle, and if working ass-over-teakettle with the flap open, could fall out.

Easy fix... a couple round turns of seine twine in the skeleton sheath provides enough friction to resolve these issues. More turns = more friction, so you can adjust to taste.

So I'm happy with this combo set of blades. I'm WAY happy with the sheath!

Down the road, I'm likely to modify the holster to accept a marlinespike.

Hey Buck! Hint, hint!! Howzabout a mariner's version?

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