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TOPS Lite Trekker

Discussion in 'Knife Reviews & Testing' started by mistwalker, Oct 31, 2012.

  1. mistwalker

    mistwalker Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    Back in June I saw the prototypes of a new lightweight TOPS knife at Blade that caught my eye. It had a 1/8 inch thick drop-point blade, a full flat grind, a full handle, and is a collaborative work between our Joezilla and Leo Espinosa of TOPS.. They finally hit the market back in September and I put in the order so I could check it out myself.

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    Specs from the TOPS website

    O/A Length:............................8 3/4"
    Blade Length:.........................4 1/4"
    Thickness:...............................1/8"
    Steel:.......................................1095 High Carbon RC 56-58
    Handle:................................... Tan Canvas Micarta
    Blade Color:............................Black Traction Coating
    Handle Color:..........................Sheath: Kydex w/Firestarter and Piggyback
    Weight:....................................5.0oz
    Weight w/Sheath:....................7.7oz
    Designed by:...........................Leo Espinoza & Joe Flowers



    The knife comes with the piggy-back carrier for the TOPS emergency fire starter and that's pretty cool. The fire starter is two magnesium rods and a ferro rod press-fit into an aluminum cap.

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    At 5 0z the knife is lightweight, but full sized and fells pretty good in the hand.

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    The tapered handle doesn't have any heavy features or contouring so it is comfortable in overhand and underhand grips, as well as in a pinch grip and the odd reversed pinch grip used in the chest lever technique.

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    I like how it has a full flat grind without the plunge cutting into the spine

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    The blade angles down from the handle slightly with a short straight area right in front of the handle and then a continuous curve to the tip.

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    I haven't done a lot of carving with it yet, but a little here and there and it handles well.

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    I've done a bit of whittling with it to make feather sticks for fire starting. It came with a really sharp edge and it's easy to control.

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    Since it comes with the TOPS emergency fire starter I thought I'd put it to use and whittle a little pile of magnesium shavings for a first stage tinder, this can come in handy in high humidity conditions. That's a common issue here, but not really a problem the last couple of weeks...as you can tell by the blaze produced by the dry wood.

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    The knife has an area on the spine that has been squared for sparking the ferro rod. The one I have doesn't really spark the rod all that well yet, but I am sure it will once I scrape some of the coating off right at the sparking area and clean the corner up. I'm pretty sure it's the coating on the side of the corner impeding sparking and that's an easy issue to fix.

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    While the fire settled down I whittled a little forked stick and then sliced up some smoked sausage and white cheddar for a quick lunch. With the thin blade and high grind the knife slices really well. The sharp edge even made quick work of the rolls without me squishing the soft bread.

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    I really haven't beaten on it yet, but all in all I like the knife. I like it better than some other 1/8” steel knives I have just for the full 1/8 thickness and a plunge that doesn't cut into the spine, and the full sized handle is a plus. It's so light that I have worn it for hours forgetting it was even there until I needed to cut something.

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  2. Insipid Moniker

    Insipid Moniker Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 28, 2011
    Love to read your reviews, this knife has been on my radar for a bit and it's good to hear it performs well.
     
  3. mistwalker

    mistwalker Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    Thank you, I'm glad you enjoy them. The knife itself performs very well. The only issue is the coating on the side of the striker that impedes sparking. I'll fix that with a razor knife and then edit the photos of that into this post later on.
     
  4. mistwalker

    mistwalker Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    Just to add this in, I wrote the guys at TOPS and mentioned the issue I ran into with the sparking edge and how I fixed mine. They informed me that they had already discovered that issue and implemented a fix in house.
     
  5. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    Nice. I'm really excited about this one.
     
  6. mistwalker

    mistwalker Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    Me too. Mostly I'm happy with over-built heavier blades. But for all of the people that read my reviews and always say they like TOPS, but their blades are too thick and edges too obtuse that this one would be a good one to review. It's not their first full flat grind, and not even their thinnest I believe, just the newest one. Plus I happen to Like both Leo and Joe and make a point of looking at things through the perspectives of others when I get the chance. It's light, but a good size and definitely very functional.
     
  7. TheGame

    TheGame

    Sep 24, 2008
    If my mind wasn't made up about buying a certain knife right now, I'd order this. It looks great. Maybe that's just the hunger in my stomach talking, but either way... :D

    Thanks for the write up bro. :)
     
  8. mistwalker

    mistwalker Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    Thanks Dale, it handles great too. I thought you were into bigger blades anyway.
     
  9. TheGame

    TheGame

    Sep 24, 2008
    Oh, I like them all, with a slight preference to the bigger blades ;) There is a lot of smaller blades I like, too. Especially around the house and indoors.
     
  10. Jack Black

    Jack Black Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 2, 2005
    Nice knife, and an enjoyable review as always :thumbup: How's the sheath, any rattle?
     
  11. Street Samurai1978

    Street Samurai1978 Gold Member Gold Member

    656
    Mar 25, 2012
    That sammich made me seriously hungry
     
  12. Nightfly

    Nightfly

    63
    Feb 6, 2010
    Well done and excellent pics. Thanks
     
  13. Tommythewho

    Tommythewho KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    767
    Aug 21, 2011
    Been eyeballing one of these, thanks for the review. Nice to see some pics other than the catalog pics.
     
  14. JTC

    JTC

    Dec 22, 2002
    Nice review as always. I like the looks of that knife.
     
  15. LG&M

    LG&M

    Dec 19, 2005
    I liked this knife when I first saw it. Like it even more now, Good review. It's now my top TOPS knife.
     
  16. knarfeng

    knarfeng senex morosus moderator Staff Member Super Mod Moderator

    Jul 30, 2006
    As always, a thoughtful review. Thanks!
     
  17. mistwalker

    mistwalker Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    Thanks guys, glad you enjoyed the post.

    I know what you mean, same here.


    Thanks. Actually there is just a slight rattle in this one, which is unusual in their kydex sheaths for the larger full sized knives in my experiences. It's not bad enough to bother me, I just noted that it was there.
     
  18. facablade

    facablade

    468
    May 23, 2009
    Hi I like it.
    One question, is handel skeleton type or not?
    Please can you show some piics without micarta handel? thanks
     
  19. vic2367

    vic2367

    Sep 15, 2006
    nice review,,im liking this tops model now , time to add it too my loooong wish list lol
     

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