Spyderco STRETCH 2 XL LIGHTWEIGHT C258BK Pocket Knife Review
The Spyderco Stretch Knives feature modern styling on full-size folding knives. The models have premium blades with the earliest version optimized for hunting and other outdoor activities.
The design changed over the years and spawned a new range of smaller and more lightweight knives that serve as all-purpose tools. One of these variations is the Spyderco STRETCH™ 2 XL LIGHTWEIGHT C258BK knife.
From the name, you can already tell that this is a lightweight knife that makes carrying and using a breeze. Does it live up to the expectations of outdoor enthusiasts who want a light knife? Or is it more suited for everyday use?
You will find the answers to these and more questions in the detailed review below. But first, here is a description that should give you a visual image of what you may be working with if you purchase this knife.
Technical Specs Of The STRETCH™ 2 XL LIGHTWEIGHT C258BK
Its progenitor, the Stretch 2, inspired the design of this knife. The Stretch 2 lives in the hearts of many outdoor enthusiasts for its functionality. The Stretch 2 XL extends the original design of the knife by giving users about 8% more length and 13% more blade.
And speaking of the blade, it sports a full-flat-grind VG-10 stainless steel blade that champions corrosion resistance, durability, and function. We will uncover more about that later on.
Attached to the blade is a linerless fiberglass-reinforced-nylon (FRN) handle that gives the knife its lightweight characteristic. This is a change from the original, which has stainless steel liners. The weight of the Stretch 2 XL goes down by 29%.
The FRN handle has bi-directional texturing, which enhances the handle's grip, making it an all-weather knife. The knife comes with a fully configurable four-position pocket clip giving users more options for carrying. And finally, the Stretch 2 XL has a strong locking mechanism.
The technical specs of the knife are:
Overall Length: 8.85" (225 mm)
Closed Length: 4.97" (126 mm)
Blade Thickness: 0.118" (3.0 mm)
Blade Length: 3.92" (100 mm)
Edge Length: 3.46" (88 mm)
Weight: 2.7oz (77 g)
Most people would look at this knife and instantly think it is heavy due to its size. But it defies expectations and sets a new standard. Let’s take a closer look at the features.
Key Features of the Stretch 2 XL
This stylish knife has a linerless fiberglass-reinforced-nylon (FRN) handle. The linerless characteristic of this handle makes it so lightweight, but we will get into that later on. This segment concentrates on the properties of FRN.
FRN handles are nylon-based plastic reinforced with glass fiber. The strands are arranged together to form a sturdy and rigid handle for pocket knives.
First, this material is lightweight, which is great for pocket knives. If you want a folding knife to carry every day, you best get something light on the pocket. FRN can do that for you.
Next, FRN is also affordable, ranking as one of the cheapest knife materials in the market. This makes the knife relatively affordable, beating carbon fiber and G-10 knives. This knife is, therefore, a sound investment.
FRN offers durability and longevity. The nylon strands of FRN are arranged randomly to withstand stress from all directions. This is a good quality, beating carbon fiber handles that can tear when stressed in the opposite direction.
The knife handle is also highly resistant. It does not rust, sustain water damage, abrasion, or bend. Nylon is a strong material that makes this knife handle strong.
Sadly FRN does not have great surface traction. But this knife handle has a bi-directional texture that enhances the grip. Therefore, you can comfortably use the Stretch 2 XL in any weather.
The only palace that this knife handle does not perform is the visuals. FRN can look and feel cheap, which many people have issues with. But since the handle comes in black, it is more discreet and offers some stylishness.
The length of the blade is the main characteristic that stands out for the Stretch 2 XL. The length of this blade is 3.92 inches, approximately 100 millimeters. This lies somewhere in the range of medium to large blades.
This means that it is a long blade but mobile and lightweight. It will give you a wider range of uses compared to smaller blades. Additionally, it gives you much-needed discretion, and you will barely feel it in your pocket.
The length gives the knife a secure locking mechanism enhancing its safety. Additionally, it feels natural and lightweight but solid in hand. Overall, this blade’s length is an ideal sweet spot.
The only disadvantage you may face with this blade length lies in carrying laws. Some states have strict regulations about the blade length of folding knives. Therefore, ensure that you do not violate any laws when purchasing this knife.
But overall, the knife can handle simple and heavy-duty tasks as the sweet spot between small and large blades.
Next, we can examine the overall weight of the Stretch 2 XL. The average weight of a folding knife is 4 ounces. Knives can lie anywhere between 1 and 8 ounces. This knife weighs 2.7 ounces which is on the lighter side.
The benefits of a lightweight knife speak for themselves. A light knife is easier to carry around, especially for newbies. Therefore, this knife is ideal for beginners who haven't gotten used to carrying a knife everywhere.
Additionally, a lightweight knife encourages EDC, so it would be safe to say that this is an ideal everyday carry knife. However, it does take a little getting used to, especially if you are used to heavier knives. A lightweight knife will feel strange and not as solid in your hands when you use it. However, with a little practice, you will enjoy the weight of this knife.
This blade's mechanical properties lie in its chemical composition. VG 10 stainless steel is premium Japanese steel. The steel stands out as it has attained gold standards and is one of the best materials for kitchen knife and pocket knife blades.
This blade has a high concentration of carbon with chromium, vanadium, manganese, molybdenum, cobalt, and phosphorus. The chemical composition gives it an edge in hardness, edge retention, and corrosion resistance.
The high levels of carbon give the blade excellent hardness. It also enhances corrosion and abrasion resistance. Hard blades often last longer, so expect this knife to give you years of service.
Carbon is also known to affect the toughness of the blade. It makes it brittle by affecting its ability to absorb energy without cracking and chipping. But vanadium solves this issue. And while toughness is hard to quantify, this blade ranks well.
Hardness enhances edge retention, so this blade has excellent edge retention. Using this blade should be easy and enjoyable as you will not have to worry about maintaining a sharp edge after every few uses.
However, it is important to note that the blade has a plain edge which loses its edge quicker than a serrated edge. Luckily, plain edges are also easier to sharpen. You just need the right tools since hardness makes it more challenging to sharpen.
And finally, many of the chemical elements of VG 10 steel make it extremely resistant to corrosion. If you want a reliable folding knife that will serve you for years, you need to get one with good corrosion resistance. It will allow you to use the knife in any condition.
Thanks to these properties, it is safe to say that the Strength 2 XL is an ideal indoor and outdoor use knife. Moreover, it is a good EDC knife.
Best Uses For The Stretch 2 XL
So is this an ideal folding knife for you? Considering all the properties and features of this knife, we believe that it is ideal for the following uses:
- The full flat grind is a popular grind that gives the blade excellent cutting power. Additionally, a plain edge is ideal for making clean and pressurized cuts. So if you have a cutting requirement that demands steady control and downward pressure, this knife is for you. However, if you need to cut rope and synthetic material, this knife might not do the job.
- The length and grind of the blade make it ideal for chopping. The length will allow you to rest weight accordingly for smooth and effortless chops. Additionally, the handle offers just enough grip to keep you chopping continually with minimum effort.
- Indoor Use. This knife is lightweight, and the blade makes it versatile. Therefore, it can handle all the demands of indoor activity, including opening letters, opening packages, cutting some materials, or even as a backup kitchen knife.
- Some Outdoor Activities. The knife is an ideal complimentary knife for outdoor activities. It can help you with cutting and chopping during fishing and hunting. However, ensure that it is only a complementary tool, not your primary reliance.
- New Carriers. And finally, if you are a newbie to pocket knives, this is a good one to start with. It is lightweight, easy to use, and gives you a range of uses. It will help you get comfortable with folding knives so you can graduate to something sturdier.