Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Review - Cold Steel Voyager XL

Cold Steel makes some of the most remarkable production folding knives available. Their designs, innovation and strength have earned them a place in many a life-lover's collection.

An explanation of Cold Steel's Tri-Ad Locking System. (Click Image to Expand)
One of their more recent innovations is called the Tri-Ad Lock. More about this lock can be read HERE. The Tri-Ad Locking System is one of the, if not the most secure knife locking mechanism ever designed. Most of Cold Steel's lock-back knives now use the Tri-Ad locking system.

A comparison of some of the different Voyager XL options
The knife that I wanted to write about today is the Cold Steel Voyager XL Series. These knives use Cold Steel's Tri-Ad Locking System to essentially give you close to the same security and dependability found in a fixed blade, but in a folding knife. The Voyager XL is the largest set of knives with the name Voyager. There is also the Voyager Medium and Voyager Large. The differences are mainly in the blade size: Medium has a 3" blade, Large has a 4" blade and the XL (Extra Large) has a 5 1/2" blade. The XL is the most impressive, and that is why I wanted to focus on them in this post, but most of what I say below is true of the Medium and Large Voyagers as well.

The Voyager XL could be described as a pocket sword. It's impressive blade length give you amazing reach. While not the most practical for daily use, it would be an incredible defensive tool, that may even scare away a potential aggressor before he has a chance to hurt you.

When closed, the Voyager XL can easily
fit in a medium-sized pocket.
The blade comes in many shapes: Clip Point, Tanto or Vaquero and comes in either a plain edge or a half-serrated blade (Vaquero is fully-serrated). The blades are made out of a Japanese AUS-8A Stainless Steel with a stone-washed finish. This type of steel holds an edge well, while still being easy to sharpen.

The 6.8" handle on the Voyager XL is made out of a polymer material that cold-steel calls Griv-Ex. To me, it seems very similar to a fiber-reinforced nylon. The grip is textured with a cross-like pattern that provides a good grip, while still looking attractive. There are deep finger grooves in the handle, which give you quite a secure grip. Since the handle is 6.8" longer, there are also a number of different ways to grip the knife. You can hold the handle near the blade for more delicate cutting and carving, hold it near the middle for all-around work, or even hold it near the end for chopping or slashing.

Underneath the polymer handle scales, are is metal, which greatly strengthen the handle. In one of their latest videos (see below), Cold Steel even hung a 440 lb weight off of the handle, and both the lock and the handle stayed in tact and didn't fold.

Like I mentioned earlier, this knife features the Tri-Ad Locking Mechanism. Unlocking the knife is a bit stiffer than other lock-backs that I've owned and used, but it's still easy to unlock, and more importantly, still allows your blade to be opened quickly. Speaking of opening the knife, the standard way to deploy the blade is with the thumbstud. However, the blade is so massive that it can be easily swung open, even against the pressure of the locking mechanism. This has to be a deliberate motion, so there's no real chance of the blade opening inadventently, but it's still a neat feature, which can help in a pinch.

The Voyager XL might have a large blade, but disappears remarkably in a medium-sized pocket. It comes with a removable pocket clip that can be carried on either the right or left side. For such a large knife, it conceals very well and can be a viable defensive option for place when carrying a gun is not allowed.

So, do I like the Voyager XL? You betcha! Especially at the price. I've seen this blade sell for as little as $43, which is an unbeatable deal for such a formidable folding knife.

Do any of you have any experience with the Voyager XL? If so, let me know in the comments below.