Reviewed 02/14/2011 by Jon G.
-Price Paid: $70.00
-Used for Every Day Carry
-Owned for Less than 1 Month
I picked up the PackRat after reading several favorable reviews on EDCforums and watching nutnfancy's video review on YouTube. The PackRat has a blade length of 3-1/4" and weighs in at ~4.2 ounces. Like many of Kershaw's mid-to-higher-end folding knives, the blade is made of Sandvik's excellent 14C28N steel (takes an extremely keen edge, good edge retention, decent rust resistance from what I hear).
Compared to the Kershaw Leek and Skyline, the blade is fairly thick at the spine, but this would plausibly lend itself towards greater durability and propensity towards harder-use situations. The blade shape is fairly unique, with a pointed tip and a sweeping convex-shaped belly running the full length of the blade. Like all the Kershaws I've ever handled, the PackRat came paper-shearing, hair-whittling sharp out of the box.
This is a SpeedSafe assisted-opening knife, primarily designed to be actuated via the index-finger flipper. The torsion bar is particularly robust on this model; it takes a fairly significant push on the index flipper to activate the SpeedSafe mechanism. Like all SpeedSafe-equipped knives though, the PackRat opens up swiftly and locks with a satisfying audible and tactile "thwack". The lock is solid and there is no blade play in any direction. However, my example has a rattle emanating from within the handle when the blade is open. Posts I've read on knife forums online suggest that this is a problem with the assisted-opening mechanism, but there I have not observed any functional deficits, apart from the noise. The PackRat also has dual thumbstuds, but they butt up directly against the handles when the knife is closed, making them nearly impossible to use in opening the knife.
The scales are made from fairly grippy textured G-10, laid over partially-skeletonized steel handle liners. This lends itself to a very solid feel, but also adds significant weight and thickness. At ~4.2 ounces, I definitely can feel when I am carrying this knife. The curvy, organic shape of the handle is extremely comfortable for my small-to-medium sized hands, and is one of the biggest strengths of this design. The index blade flipper doubles as a hand guard when the blade is open, providing additional protection from the hand moving forward onto the sharpened portion of the blade. The clip is repositionable tip-up and tip-down (right hand only), but is somewhat stubby and feels flimsy. I can hear a definite "twangy" sound when I test the clip's tension against the handle, and the knife has already been inadvertently pulled out of my pocket twice.
While it has its flaws, Kershaw has done a good job with the PackRat. It is just about the perfect blade length for an everyday carry knife, feels like an extension of my hand, and its assisted opening mechanism makes the knife just fly open. However, the weight is more noticeable than I'd like, and the organic shapes just aren't my cup of tea aesthetically. In terms of function though, the PackRat is good at what it does.