The Buck Omni Hunter 12PT and the Paklite Caper are fixed knives manufactured in the United States that can be bought separately or as a set.
The Omni Hunter is model 393 with a four inch skinning blade, gut hook and rubber handle and weighs 7.3 ounces.
The Paklite Caper is model 135 with a 2.5 inch caping blade and bare metal handle and weighs 1.1 oz.
Both knives are made from 420HC stainless steel and are nontraditional designs.
The wide-bladed Omni Hunter has a curved and ridged rubber handle, which seems designed best for gutting and skinning large game.
The skeletal Paklite Caper is entirely metal and has a raised point for safely caping the shoulders and neck of a trophy animal.
The handles of both knives needed some getting used to. The natural grip position of the Omni Hunter left the index finger resting on an uncomfortable squared section, while the design of the Paklite Caper left the owner no option but to choke up high on the knife. The grip for both knives became dangerously slick when wet.
It required little effort to resharpen either blade to factory condition.
Buck offers a lifetime warranty on all its products. The edge-to-spine width of the Omni Hunter blade turned out to be unwieldy.
Other than the poor grip ergonomics, the biggest disadvantage is the 420HC stainless steel. The knives’ designers have done their best with the low-grade material by using a heat treatment process and hollow grinding the blades.
However, Buck’s efforts have only slightly mitigated the lackluster performance of this kind of stainless steel. The blade edges can be made to be serviceable for short periods but will never be outstanding in condition, endurance and sharpness. This is an important flaw when confronted with a situation of needing to process multiple game animals in a short time.
The nylon sheath was cleanly stitched and serviceable, but we had difficulty closing the safety snap over the handle of the Paklite Caper. This was probably a minor flaw in the manufacturing of the sheath but requires more manipulation of the knife and sheath than should normally be required when securing the tool. We would be concerned about the security of the Paklite Caper in case one accidentally fell.
Hard plastic sleeves protect each blade, but the imperfect clearances result in rattling. The sleeves also became dirty, difficult to effectively clean and unsanitary with use.
Although the Buck Omni Hunter and Paklite Caper Combo looks impressive on retailer shelves, we do not feel it is a good investment, given its shortcomings.
The knives are much like the fishing lures that are designed to attract fishermen spending money but are ineffective in actually catching fish.
Despite the seemingly moderate cost for the combo, we recommend spending your money elsewhere.
Kim Quintin is a Saskatoon outdoor enthusiast and knife maker. He can be reached for column content suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org.