When smart designers combine functionality with style, a strange thing happens—functionality seems to double. It’s true with cars, computers (I love the Mac), fins, and more. Perhaps it’s because when the design team wants to make a product look as good as it functions, they take every detail very seriously, including the maximizing of function.
Such as the case with the T-Rex dive knife from AquaTec. Before you even touch it, take a good look. The sweeping lines are smooth and attractive. You can tell even before handling it that this knife will fit quite comfortably in your hand. This is a good looking piece of dive gear.
But you need a dive knife for its function. We divers wear knives for one predominate reason—extraction in the unlikely event of entanglement underwater. For that you need a knife that is sharp and will stay sharp. Also, you need a knife that will be there when you need it. This requires a functional sheath that will hold the knife solid but release it easily. T-Rex does all this well.
The blade is solid through the entire length of the knife for rock-solid strength. It would be pretty difficult to break the back of this knife with an 1/8″ thick backbone. At the bottom of the blade, a large spur protects the index finger from slipping on to the main blade that sports a serrated edge and razor sharp edge in front of that. At the top, a thumb rest and grip is perfectly positioned so as to use the thumb as a natural guide for line into the sharp line cutter. Line cutting is a breeze even when you can’t see the line such as behind your back or in zero visibility situations. The rear of the blade or “butt” is also grooved for grip against the palm of the hand to prevent slippage.
My only negative comment about the blade is it is only available in a sharp point. A sharp point is excellent for finishing off a speared fish, probing in small holes, or cleaning seafood, but you need a blunt or square point for removing scallops, use as a screw driver, or other more brutal applications.
Plastic is bonded around the handle for better grip, but you can always see the continuous metal from blade to the butt. The center of the handle is hollowed out for weight reduction.
The T-Rex knife comes in two forms: Titanium and stainless steel. The advantages of Titanium are obvious—the knife is incredibly light weight, absolutely corrosion-proof, and the metal is very tough, holding an edge very well. But don’t count out the stainless steel version of this knife. AquaTec has chosen the best all around quality alloy for the knife: a 420 stainless. With this alloy, just the right combination of iron, carbon, nickel, chromium and other traces have been heat treated to give the knife an excellent edge yet toughness to handle the abuse that California divers seem to dish up so readily. Obviously, the stainless steel version weights more, but it is less expensive.
But a dive knife is only as good as its sheath, because what good is a knife if it’s not there when you need it? Or, worse, you can’t get it out! AquaTec has put just as much thought into the design of its sheath as it has its knife. To begin with, when you put the knife into the sheath, there is a loud and distinctive audible “click.” No mistaking the knife is in solid. Equally easy is extracting the knife which can be done one-handed with the palm, thumb and three fingers on the handle and a push of the button with the index finger. And the release button is flush with the sheath, thus eliminating at least one point for kelp entanglement. Another unique and especially effective feature of this sheath often overlooked in many knives is the leg straps. With a design inspired from rollerblading or ski boots, the elastic straps use a ratcheting mechanism to tighten. Release is accomplished with a simple one handed pinch of the buckles. Very easy to use.
The T-Rex knife is sold as a package with a few attachments other than just the knife, sheath and straps. One additional small attachment allows you to easily place the medium-sized knife on your BC inflator or console hose. AquaTec bills the knife as an “Outdoor Knife” that can be used in a variety of situations such as hiking, camping, hunting or even in the garden. I did not have the opportunity to use the knife and its unique mounting capabilities in the garden (I loathe gardening) or hiking and camping (It was winter when I got and tested the knife) but it is nice to know that if I want to use this excellent tool in those situations, I don’t have to strap the knife to my leg or forearm like a Navy Seal; rather, with the small attachments provided, I can easily clip it to my belt. And it is an attractive tool to show off to my neighbors and camping chums.
Although the AquaTec name is relatively new to many American divers, their gear is not. They have been making dive gear since 1982. AquaTec has manufactured a great deal of gear (BCDs, air horns, underwater horns, etc.) under different names. There knife is their first entry into the U.S. market under the AquaTec name. More gear items are to follow shortly. For more information on the AquaTec T-Rex knife, or other items in their dive gear line, visit www.aquatecusa.com on the web.