I'm also one of those guys who constantly asks "how low can you go?" How cheaply can a manufacturer bring a truly outstanding design to market? Well, today we are going to look at what is, in my opinion, the single best low cost knife on the market today. It has all competition beat in terms of design and execution. It is the current 'How Low Can You Go?' champ. The Cold Steel Pendleton Lite Hunter
|Cold Steel Pendleton Lite Hunter|
This knife is a low cost version of the Cold Steel Pendleton Hunter, itself a great knife. This knife was designed by custom knifemaker Lloyd Pendleton and has been in the Cold Steel lineup for a number of years.
Cold Steel has a reputation for producing some really nice low priced knives. They leverage their relationships with manufacturers in the Far East to re-interpret some famous designs using less expensive materials and manufacturing processes. That is how we got the Pendleton Lite Hunter. In comparison with the original Pendleton Hunter this knife sports a simpler molded handle, the blade is made of a lower-cost (and thinner) steel - Krupp 4116 - that is stamped instead of ground. Krupp 4116 is widely used in the kitchen cutlery industry so it's a proven steel. Krupp 4116 isn't a sexy steel like Cold Steel's San Mai laminate, but it works just fine in the real world. The sheath is a simple nylon pouch style that is used with several other Cold Steel knife designs like the Finn Bear, so there's a big cost savings there.
What I also suspect, but can't confirm, is that this knife is not a full tang design. My guess is that the tang only runs part way into the handle, a common compromise with lower cost knives.
Update! I recently contacted Cold Steel and asked whether or not the Pendleton Lite Hunter has a full tang. Here's the reply from Anthony Russell in Cold Steel's Customer Service Department:
"The tang goes just over 1/2 way to the end of the handle, and the handle is injection molded around the tang. The tang is also "keyed" into the [handle] for added strength."
So as I suspected it is not a full tang knife. It's not a problem, just good to know.
What the Pendleton Lite Hunter retains from the original is the excellent blade profile and handle shape. The blade incorporates a slight upsweep along the spine that results in a deeper edge belly and reinforced tip. The handle is extremely comfortable in a multitude of positions. In fact, I think I like the Pendleton Lite Hunter's handle more than the original model. The handle shape and texture is very reminiscent of the excellent cast aluminum handles Pete Gerber used to put on his classic knives like the Gerber A-400.
The knife is very light, very comfortable in the hand and very easy to use.
The sheath is also a pleasant surprise. It is a simple pouch design that is very well constructed and is a very effective design. The sheath is made of stiff nylon that is stitched and riveted and it incorporates a thick spine to help it hold its shape. It ain't fancy, but it does precisely what a knife sheath is supposed to do - hold the knife securely and protect the user from the blade.
So how much does all this goodness cost? This morning I checked prices on the web and found you can buy this knife from Amazon.com for a whopping $13.72!