Spyderco’s Chaparral project is a unique approach to the gentlemen’s folding knife genre. Named after a plant native to the Western U.S. that is known for its extreme resilience, the Chaparral series uses a single design format to showcase a variety of distinctive handle materials and texture patterns.
All Chaparral models share the same core features. They are exceptionally thin to minimize their weight and make them very convenient to carry—even when wearing a suit. Their leaf-shaped PlainEdge blades are full-flat ground from American-made CTS-XHP stainless steel and handsomely satin finished for near-effortless cutting performance. The blades also include a fully accessible Trademark Round Hole for easy one or two-handed opening that, together with a sturdy lockback mechanism and reversible wire clip make all Chaparrals completely symmetrical and their operation fully ambidextrous.
Where Chaparral models show their individuality is in their handles. The first member of the family, released in 2011, featured skeletonized full stainless steel liners and subtly textured carbon fiber scales. It was followed in 2012 by the Chaparral Titanium, which boasted solid titanium scales precision machined with an intricate geometric pattern. Continuing the titanium theme were the Stepped Titanium and Blue Stepped Titanium models, released in 2013 and 2014, respectively. Both feature an incredibly detailed “stepped” pattern machined into both scales. Composed entirely of straight lines, this amazing design creates the illusion of curves and detailed geometric shapes. In the Blue Stepped version, the scales are anodized a brilliant shade of blue partway through the machining process to create a spectacular contrast of alternating blue and silver surfaces. Earlier this year, Spyderco rounded out the Chaparral family with a version featuring scales made from Raffir—a composite material made with fine layers of crinkled metal mesh encapsulated in a translucent epoxy resin.
Although Spyderco is admittedly proud of the Chaparral family and the variety and pride of ownership it offers, they still felt there was something missing—a lightweight, affordable, user-oriented expression of the Chaparral spirit optimized for everyday carry. To fill that void, they created the Chaparral Lightweight.
The Chaparral Lightweight offers the same refined design theme, functionality, and cutting performance as its brothers, but with a simple, reliable and affordable injection-molded handle. Its tough gray fiberglass-reinforced-nylon (FRN) handle reduces its weight to a scant 2.1 ounces—22% lighter than its titanium-handled counterparts. At the same time, its molded construction allows it to incorporate a style of Spyderco’s high-traction Bi-Directional Texturing pattern. Despite its slim profile and light weight, this version of the Chaparral still offers the strength of nested, skeletonized stainless steel liners and a stainless steel backspacer. They ensure excellent structural strength and the precise alignment of all key components.
Like the other versions of the Chaparral, the Lightweight has a mid-positioned lockback mechanism that locks the blade securely open and allows for safe, easy one-handed closing. Its 50/50 index-finger choil straddles the juncture of the blade and handle to provide a solid purchase for a forward, “choked-up” grip. Despite the knife’s compact size, this feature allows even larger hands a full, four fingered grip. Matching “jimping” (grooves) on the choil and thumb ramp offer additional texture for even greater control during precise cutting tasks. A reversible deep-pocket wire clip attached to the butt end of the handle supports left or right-side tip-up carry and keeps this remarkable knife discreetly poised for instant access.