By Shane Neilly
It’s cold. You’re shaking, but not from the temperature. The reason for this is simply because the twelve point whitetail that you know for sure will score B&C, is standing twenty yards from your stand. You pull your bow back as the monster turns broadside and you proceed to pull the trigger on your release. Complete silence fills the air as you wait for that point of impact, then suddenly the buck drops. As you climb down and get to your kill the first thing you reach for is your Buck PakLite.
Before I was able to handle this blade, I had two compelling thoughts.
1) With a very affordable price of $40.00, could this knife just simply be another cheap quick fix blade that won’t last me but one year?
2) I’ve been wrong many times before, and I will admit I was hoping this was one of those times. Simply because I fell in love with the new PakLite. Let’s face it; Buck makes some pretty amazing things.
Out of the Box
This skinning knife is simple, yet elegant. When I pulled it out of the packaging I was stunned. This blade comes with an amazing Buck factory edge and is very thick. The skeleton handle goes well with this setup. With an overall length of 8.0 inches, a useful cutting edge of 3.5 inches, and a mind blowing light weight 4.1 ounces, this thing is the perfect size. The steel used to create this blade is Buck’s standard, yet famous, 420HC corrosion resistant steel. Which is very easy to clean and simple to touch up the blade if needed. My all time favorite thing about the PakLite is that it is made in the USA.
The one thing I did not care for out of the box was the China made sheath. Personally, I have never been a big fan on the nylon sheaths, but like everything else in this world they have their place. On the bright side, this sheath does have a hard plastic insert inside the nylon that does hold the blade quite well, along with the retention button snap. I think that Buck should have offered a kydex sheath option as well, but for forty dollars you can’t complain.
In the Field
One of my favorite things about this tough son of a gun is exactly that, it’s tough! I have carried this Buck knife for about two months now and I have done everything from prying with the blade tip to gutting and skinning a coyote. There is not one weak spot, or even a chip in the blade and it has only had to be sharpened once since the time I have opened it. The Buck Knife Company has definitely earned a +1 from me on the blade toughness.
There are very few things about this knife that I do not like but one of the biggest things is carrying it. Carrying the PakLite on my belt was almost like work. It seemed like no matter where on my belt I positioned it, the handle of the knife would jab me right above the belt. The only thing I could figure out to do to ease the pain from the handle was to tuck my shirts in, which still did not take all the pain away, just some of it. But for the amount you are paying for this knife, these little imperfections are sustainable. Who knows, it could just only be my body that feels this as a discomfort.
When you put this beautiful piece of steel into your hands, whether they are rough and callused or soft and baby bottom smooth, you will be comfortable. The orange textured coating and the ten different jimping points ensure that this knife will virtually never slip from your hands. But don’t worry, if it were to slip, the knife is brightly colored so therefore it is easy to spot in the leaves or on forest floor.
Now being that this particular blade has no handle scales, means that it makes it noticeably lighter than most skinning knives. With that being said, I have found that sometimes after extensive use, your hands tend to hurt from the corners of the steel. In my eyes, you have two options.
1) Man up and take the painful abuse to your hands.
2) You can take a few feet of 550 paracord and wrap the knife handle, which in my opinion is the best choice. No one can ever have enough paracord on them, so you’re killing two birds with one stone. The wrapping job even looks really great if it is done right.
My in the field score would be 4 stars out of 5.
Lastly, in my own Ohio Valley woodlands, I would greatly recommend the Buck PakLite Skinner to anyone who is an avid outdoorsman, hunter, prepper, or even just a knife enthusiast. If you are seeking a skinning blade that can also do many other things, take the abuse, hold a great edge, and come with the Buck Knives Company lifetime warranty, then this is the knife for you. With an internet price range of $33.00 – $40.00, it is very affordable and in almost everyone’s price range. Where I come from, the knife a person is carrying says a lot about that certain individual, and this is one piece of steel that I would gladly be seen carrying. Simply amazing.
You can find the Buck PakLite Skinner Knife at http://www.buckknives.com/