A titanium knife with carbon fiber handles sounds like it would make for an interesting piece of gear, so when Vargo Outdoors offered one for our review, how could we say no? When it arrived, I was reminded of a running joke about boxes from Vargo feeling empty, since they are always so light. But sure enough, there was a knife inside, and yes, it was light and pretty cool too.
This knife is a study in contrasts, and the unexpected. A matte titanium blade is surrounded by shiny carbon fiber grips. My first thoughts were, would it hold an edge, and would that shiny grip cause it to slip right out of my hand? Well, the titanium is a special Japanese alloy, blended to offer a hardness of Rockwell C 50. While this may place it at the lower end of hardness for knife blades, all that really means is that it is easy to sharpen, but will not hold an edge as long under heavy use. Although I enjoy sharpening my best knives on a whetstone older than me, a few passes on a $10 pocket sharpener will get the Ti-Carbon’s double bevel blade back into service. Unless your life depends on having a razor sharp blade at all times, and you have the time and skill to sharpen the best steels, most anything of this quality will do.
On to the grips! The weave of the carbon fiber is a plain over and under weave, which is fine for knife grips. It has a pleasing look, but I felt the gloss was a bit too shiny. As much as I am tempted to scuff it up a bit with some very fine steel wool, it would be for aesthetics, and not performance. Of course, that’s because there is no gloss on the edges, so when you hold the knife open, with your finger in the groove, and thumb on the back, it feels very secure. There’s a hole for a lanyard, if that’s your thing. Four small allen screws hold the grips on, and add to the high tech look of it.
The blade of the Ti-Carbon is a Wharncliffe design, where the curve of the back meets the straight edge of the blade. I like this design over a blade with a curved edge, as you get to use just about all of the 2.25″ blade. It opens with a little effort, and the liner lock keeps it from closing on your fingers. Overall, the knife is only 5.5 inches long when open, and it closes to 3.3 inches. It should go without saying that titanium and carbon fiber make for a light knife, and this one comes in at just one ounce. I have a much smaller all-steel knife, and the difference is noticeable.
So who is this knife for? Well, the Ti-Carbon will no doubt appeal to my cycling friends that like these two exotic materials. But if you want a light pocket knife for everyday carry, it’s a good choice too. If you need something to toss in your pack or pocket for a day hike, it’s hard to beat the low weight, and the blade will get most jobs done with ease. At $59.95 (it ships free), I think it’s a pretty good deal for a knife that works well, looks cool, and it sure to be a great conversation piece too. Find it at VargoOutdoors.com.