Titanium: Understanding EDC's Precious Metal

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Learn about one of the most desired "holy grail" materials in the EDC world, starting with an appreciation for classic titanium essentials in the first installment of this three-part primer in the Carry Smarter series.

You’ve seen it everywhere, from keychains to flashlights, to the back of flipper knives from every production house in the world. It’s found its way into premium pledges on Kickstarter campaigns and is the de facto high end metal to grace the benches and lathes of respected craftsmen. I’m talking, of course, about titanium. Titanium (Ti) is a chemical element with an atomic number of 22 and an atomic weight of 47.87 u. It’s useful because of its high corrosion resistance and light weight due to the highest strength-to-density ratio of any metallic element.

While I can go on and on talking about what titanium is, in this series of Carry Smarter, I talk about why titanium is worth its weight and a fantastic metal to add to your EDC. While its properties aren’t optimal for every situation or product, the numbers don’t tell the whole story. Once you see its unique sheen for yourself and feel its cool touch in your own hands, you begin to understand what makes Ti so special.

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A reader-submitted EDC featuring several titanium essentials.

However, it’s not so easy to immediately get your hands on some titanium gear, given its rarity and cost. So in the first installment of this three-part primer, let’s take a moment to appreciate titanium gear classically considered “holy grails” in the EDC world. These examples represent Ti in its best element, raising the bar for production quality and aesthetic among their peers, and inspiring the use of the material in more products throughout the industry. These are the products people graduate into when they want to level up their carry, and titanium plays a big part in both their performance and joy of use and ownership.

The Benchmark

Chris Reeve Knives Sebenza

When people talk about titanium knives, there’s often one mentioned at the top of every list. The Chris Reeve Sebenza has been the standard by which EDC knives are set, and for good reason: its blade shape and balance are near-perfect for both its sizes. Its CPM S35VN steel is tough with excellent edge retention. Lastly, its signature titanium handle is cool to the touch and wears gracefully with age. Whether in mint condition or well worn, the Sebenza has been making people double-take at loadouts that include it for nearly three decades.

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The Diamond in the Dark

McGizmo Haiku

It’s hard not to geek out over Don McLeish’s masterpiece of a flashlight. Not only does it look like Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber in Return of the Jedi, but its technical qualities are the best-in-class in nearly every aspect. From the full-body titanium tube and clip to its High-CRI emitter and EDC-friendly size, the Haiku is a masterpiece to see, use, and carry. There are many full-Ti flashlights on the market, but few get it right with as much attention to detail and quality as the Haiku.

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The Elusive Implement

Peter Atwood Prybaby

You may have heard of Peter Atwood’s celebrated one-piece multitool. You may have even seen one for sale, right before it sells out instantly to a rabid list of potential, excited owners. It’s beloved and sought-after not only due to its efficient complement of tools — nothing in excess, no space wasted, with every tool machined precisely — but also its austere appearance. Titanium’s deep color gives the Prybaby a sheen that just exudes quality and cold simplicity. Well-deserving to be on everyone’s keychain; that is, if you can pry it from the clutches of its enraptured owners.

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The Indestructible

Sinn EZM1

Sinn will always be remembered for its classic U1 timepiece, but few know that the company has also made a full-titanium watch alongside its tegimented, submarine-steel brother. The EZM1 carries the same heavy-duty bearing and features of all Sinn watches, enhanced by titanium’s raw color yet benefiting from its lighter weight. It’s tough, clean, and has the no-nonsense quality of German engineering, built specifically for use by Germany’s law enforcement and military elite.

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The Mightier Than the Sword

Tactile Turn Bolt Action Pen

Tactile Turn make some of the most popular and enduring machined pens in the business, and it comes to no surprise thanks to their use of titanium in most of their models. The superior strength and durability offer a lightweight and robust carry to last a lifetime, while many of Tactile Turn’s signature features offer a superior writing experience, like a micro-ridge textured body, satisfying bolt action, and a custom machined clip. Capping off this premium product is Tactile Turn’s offerings of different sizes and exotic materials to accent the perfect pen for your EDC.

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The list goes on for the top tier of titanium EDC, especially once you begin to explore the world of custom made gear. Plenty of manufacturers create functional works of art using this premium metal, but is it all just for show? Stay tuned for the next part of our Carry Smarter: Titanium series, where we dig deeper into titanium’s unique material properties and explain how to reap its benefits in your own EDC.

Do you have any titanium gear in your carry? What are some of your titanium grail items? Let us know and leave a comment below!

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