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TOPS Pasayten Lite Traveler Review

Discussion in 'Knife Reviews & Testing' started by Steelhed, May 6, 2003.

  1. Steelhed

    Steelhed Gold Member Gold Member

    May 21, 2001
    I have now used this knife enough to offer the following review.

    After reading about the TOPS Pasayten Lite Traveler in one of the national knife magazines, I ordered one over the Internet directly from TOPS. Processing of my order took about four weeks, which considering the war in Iraq and the run on knives at the time is not an unreasonable period to wait.

    The knife arrived well packaged and included a Kydex sheath, which I will address later. The Pasayten sports a thin 1/8 inch thick and five inch long 154CM blade with a fairly broad profile. The full tang handle area is sandwiched by two slabs of gray Micarta held in place by allen screws. The handle tecture is fairly smooth and triangular in profile. The thinner portion near the blade facilitates precise work and the wider butt section acts as a stop during roll chopping of vegetables on a cutting board, and a small hook for heavier chopping chores. In essence the knife resembles a short chef's knife and in this respect it excells as the long blade belly rocks while dicing and chopping meat and vegetables. The thin blade has a bead blasted finish and a high flat primary grind that ends in a convex edge. It came fairly sharp from the shop, but I brought it to a razor edge by stropping on a loaded leather covered block. The rear of the blade is notched for about 3/4's of an inch just in front of the handle area to give the thumb a better purchase when applying more pressure.

    I used the knife to slice vegetables for salads, cube meat for main dishes, slice up cardboard boxes before taking them to the dump, and to fillet and cube halibut. Edge retention was good, about like what you'd expect from a thin, convex, 154 CM blade. The edge did need a little touch up after two weeks of general kitchen and house chore work. I washed the knife in the dishwasher (yeah, I read the commandments thread) without a problem.

    The thing I really like about the knife is the great edge belly, the wide blade profile and its thinness. I also like the fit and feel of the handle - weight and balance is excellent for most normal knife chores, the handle shape makes moving the knife around in the hand almost second nature. If you are looking for a great camp knife where it will be used mostly for food preparation chores, the Pasayten is like a carrying a robust small chef's knife around with you.

    If I have one criticism, it would be the sheath. As I wrote before, the sheath is Kydex or some similar material and it holds the blade in place well. However, the metal clasp affixed to the side of the sheath intended for slipping over a belt is difficult to manipulate, pushes the sheath too far away from the body, and detaches from the belt when you try to draw the knife from the sheath. This can be fixed with glue I would guess, but I am going to make a nice leather sheath for the knife instead. You can find a picture of the knife on the TOPS website. I don't want to be accused of sending customers directly to TOPS so I won't post the address here. I am in no way affiliated with TOPS knives.
  2. Crayola


    Sep 23, 1999
    Thanks for the review! I saw the knife in an issue of Tactical Knives and it does look like a great camp knife.
  3. Joe Talmadge

    Joe Talmadge

    Oct 3, 1998
    Hey, the knife looks like it has the same basic theory as the TTKK, including the drop-blade format, thin stock, high grind. Looks like Steve Dick and I think alike :) The butt looks like it drops a bit too low to really enjoy the rolling-style chopping you do in food prep, but it didn't sound like it got in the way for you.

    Anyway, obviously I think this overall concept is very sound for a camp/kitchen and general-use high-performance knife. You might also check out the TTKK, same concept but different execution, and since it's custom, you can get your choice of steel type and blade length (and handle shape, and blade thickness, and ...) I think the TTKK is only fifty bucks more.

  4. Steelhed

    Steelhed Gold Member Gold Member

    May 21, 2001
    Joe - Yes, at first the handle drop did seem to be a problem, but in use it ended up being a good stop if I just rolled the blade all the way back and held the knife a little higher on the handle. I'm not familiar with the TTKK, where can I find one of those?
  5. Joe Talmadge

    Joe Talmadge

    Oct 3, 1998

    The damascus knife on the left is a TTKK, there's also a TTKK pic in the thumbnails on the right. Trace has done a lot of variations on this theme as well: the TUK and Chimera are more minor variations, but even the enigma shows TTKKish influence.

    Despite the first "T" being "Talmadge", I don't get royalties on this knife, so there's no business interest, FYI. It's just my vision of a knife for this role.

  6. Steelhed

    Steelhed Gold Member Gold Member

    May 21, 2001
    Joe - Whoa! I like everyone of those knives, especially the TTKK and TUK. Can I order a TTKK with a longer blade than 4.5 inches? I'd like something in the 5 to 6 inch range in S30V. Thanks for turning me on to these. I should have already known about them.
  7. Joe Talmadge

    Joe Talmadge

    Oct 3, 1998
    Steelhed --

    Trace is a true custom maker. You can order them however you want, within the constraints of whatever he's willing to do. He does a number of steels plus talonite, a number of thicknesses, he can change the blade profile to be more useful as a kitchen knife (straighter edge), fancy handle materials and mosaic pins, etc.

    I have one with burgundy micarta handles, mosaic pins, 5" talonite blade. Looks like a kitchen knife that's spent some time in the gym, cuts like crazy.

  8. ExamonLyf


    Dec 22, 2000
    Thanks Joe.., that TTKK really does look like a neat kinfe. Coincidentally I've been looking for something like that with options avaiable...

    Good timing! :)
  9. Steelhed

    Steelhed Gold Member Gold Member

    May 21, 2001
    Well, I tried to order a knife from Trace Rinaldi directly, but he is not taking any orders right now. That sent me to Bladeart.com where I did find one of his TTKK's for sale. It has a 4.25 inch blade made of D2 and black Micarta handle. I really like D2 so that is no problem, although I would have liked a bit longer blade. Maybe someday he'll be taking orders again. Anyway, it will be fun comparing the TTKK to the Pasayten.
  10. Trace Rinaldi

    Trace Rinaldi

    Oct 3, 1998
    Guys I hope to be taking orders again soon..
    Im just backed up due to many things including expediting Mil. LEO, and rescue type orders.
    Now that things are calming down, I am tearing into the backlog as fast as I can..

    Working with Joe way back when to develop the TTKK, had a large influence on my work.
    ONE of these days I hope to actually meet Joe!
    ;) He gave me an idea of what he wanted, and after a bit of trial and error, we came up with something pretty cool, that works great!

    I think Steven Dick thinks much like Joe in many regards, and I think the Pasaytan is a very good design.. I have seen them in person, and can tell they will work well in the field. Good design, and Paul Bos heat treat is a recipe for success anyday.
  11. tknife

    tknife Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 18, 1999
    Nice review, I really like the design of the Pasayten. Looks like an excellent slicer.
  12. OwenM


    Oct 26, 2000

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