Repeat After Me: Strong and Light

Count the folding knives you own and carry on a regular basis. You’ve probably got at least three, right? One of them is a beater knife, able to be abused … and if it breaks? No big deal. One of them might be an ultralight, the one you take with you when you want to really minimize but still need useful. And then I’m guessing you’ve got a big one that’s super strong and exceptionally well built, sharp and yet simple. Now … add up the dollars paid for all three knives. Hold that amount in your head for a minute while I look at one knife that puts heavy emphasis on being strong and light.

Aside from the matter that owning multiple knives is completely within our rights and a whole lot of fun, what if you could have only one? Would you go for light and strong and, if so, would this Spyderco Mantra Titanium be a contender? Retailing for $289.95 (you can find it for well under that price, though), the Spyderco Mantra Titanium sports a familiar Spyderco look and feel in a design borrowing from the Delica line. Key specs include an overall length of 7.34 inches, a closed length of 4.14 inches, a 3.2-inch blade and a weight of 3.0 ounces — sort of an average-sized folder. Blade steel is CPM M4 — tool steel on which you can put a fantastic edge but which might also require a bit more maintenance than other steels — and the handle is titanium, which is durable and good looking.

In pocket, the Mantra Titanium rides tip-up, holding on via a wire clip. The clip allows for a deep carry, hangs on with no problem and seems more than durable — as far as wire clips go. I usually prefer a more robust clip for attaching to a pocket, but this one seems well-suited to the task. Strong and light!

In hand, the Mantra Titanium feels like a high-end knife, sporting a fit and finish you’d expect from Spyderco’s Taiwan operation. The titanium handle is smooth and solid. Snap the flipper and the blade opens obediently and locks with a click. Or, open the blade using your thumb in the Spyderco Round Hole. A Reeve Integral Lock takes care of keeping the blade locked open when in use via a steel-on-steel interface in the liner. Initially, using the flipper didn’t always send the blade to its locked position, but after some time, this has worked itself out (or I’ve just become more adept in deploying it). The Reeve locking system is one of the better liner locks out there; when locked in position, blade use is sure and safe.

Favorite features: Besides being able to put a terrific edge on the Mantra, I really enjoy the strength of the knife overall and its relative light weight. It’s not too big, but I wouldn’t want to carry anything smaller. As is, it rides well in a pocket and the wire clip makes it just a tad more discreet. Yep, I’ve got other knives. But the Mantra has been earning its way to “daily carry” status as it keeps reminding me how much I appreciate strong and light.

Note: A portion of the sales of the Mantra will be donated to The National Parkinson Foundation.

More info at: www.spyderco.com

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