The Spyderco C64 Meerkat: a boomerang Spydie

December 19, 2021

The Spyderco C64 Meerkat was originally produced from 2002 until 2004. A respectable run for a Spyderco design, but it’s nowhere near as impressive as such mainstays as the Delica, Military or Paramilitary 2. There have been, however, 4 revivals of this wonderful little big knife. One of these, is this version with a burnt-orange FRN handle and HAP40/SUS410 blade. If you’d ask me, I wouldn’t say that the Meerkat is one of my ‘favorites’, but somehow it does seem to find its way into my pocket regularly.

Let’s start with my main ‘objections’ to the Meerkat: it’s thick and it’s a tip-down carry only. That means it’s slightly more uncomfortable to carry and a little more awkward for me to deploy. But that’s about it. Features of the C64 I do like, are the lefty clip mounting option, the ergonomic 3D sculpted handle, the blade width and excellent edge geometry.

Phantom Lock

Operating the Meerkat left-handed is not easy. The phantom lock is definitely biased for right-handers. However, there’s no mechanism that cannot be learned by opening and closing it constantly when watching TV, right? My wife and kids are not always happy with this ‘training’, as the click clacking tends to ruin certain moments in movies, or so I’ve been told. 😉

Blade

On paper, the C64 is a rather small folder. In reality, the Meerkat’s blade is short – not small. The blade’s width gives the knife very impressive cutting ability. The edge is really thin, and the HAP40 makes it a very smooth cutter. So much so, that I’m not afraid to admit that I cut myself a few times. Playing with that phantom lock might have something to with it as well.

Handle

The handle features these divots all over the handle that might look a bit odd at first. Once you grip the knife, you immediately know what these ‘holes’ are for. That provide a positive full handed grip on a pretty short knife.

Lil’ Big Knife

The Meerkat is one of the earlier ‘lil’ big knife’ designs from Spyderco. It came from the ‘Experimental’ and Navigator designs. In regular production, the Meerkat lasted two years. This is a respectable production time, but not too long. I think it’s funny to see no less than 4 sprints of the C64 since its original production ended in 2003. And like that production history, the Meerkat also keeps on finding its way back in my carry rotation. In that respect it’s really the ‘boomerang design’ of my Spyderco collection. It just keeps coming back.

See more details of the Spyderco C64 Meerkat on Spydiewiki.com, or check out my previous articles, such as: an earlier review, my Meerkat countertop display, photos of the prototype of the knife featured in this article, or my impressions of the burgundy and blue sprint run Meerkats.


Spyderco Meerkat Countertop Display

June 16, 2019

My collection contains many nice knives, but some of my most prized collectibles don’t have a sharp edge. This Spyderco Meerkat countertop display is a good example. It was designed to demonstrate the Meerkat’s phantom lock. To me, it shows more aspects of Spyderco’s philosophy than ‘just to show how the new phantom lock works’. In many ways, it’s a great piece of Spyderco history.

The Meerkat countertop display definitely shows its age in the fact that it was designed to be used in physical brick and mortar stores. Yes, kids, once upon a time you’d have to physically travel to a different building in order to see and buy goods. We used to call it a ‘shop’, and it they only sold knives, we called it a knifeshop. You never knew what you might find inside. Looking back, this was actually one of my favorite parts of going to a knifeshop. Without the benefit of the interwebs, a display like this would alert your customers to a brand new product. I realize this display might have also seen use at shows, but that doesn’t really make sense to me, as you’d have a Spyderco rep right there to show you how it works.

The display features a steel bug logo, that is held upright at a slight angle by two removable stands. In the middle of the bug plate, a little shelf displays the Spyderco Meerkat. The knife is almost fully functional. Almost, because the edge is missing. The Meerkat is tied to the display on a long chain. That way the Meerkat couldn’t accidentally ‘walk away’ with a ‘customer’. The chain is long enough to clip the knife to your pocket to test it out. The lock and clip are fully functional.  Below the shelf is a little cardboard card with instructions, revealing the secret of the phantom lock. The entire unit can be taken apart into one flat package, making it easy to store or ship.

I like this display because it shows a few of Spyderco’s core principles. Innovation, since it supports a -then- brand new design with a lock nobody had ever seen before. Edge-u-cation, the primary function of the unit is to educate knife users and shop owners on the new phantom lock. Creative marketing, a secondary benefit of this display is that it is a fun way to also announce you have a brand new knife to offer. It also challenges customers to see if they can figure out the lock. Supporting dealers, it’s a challenge for many manufacturers to figure out a balance between supporting online and brick-and-mortar retailers. Spyderco has always been faithful to the brick-and-mortar stores that supported Spyderco, especially way back when Spyderco first got started.

That ‘new and wierd’ hole in the blade  and clip on the handle, not even to mention the serrations on the blade, probably needed a LOT of edge-u-cation to -and support from- dealers. It was the brick-and-mortar stores that helped make Spyderco a success before the advent of the interwebs. This display must have been made in 2002, when the C64 Meerkat was introduced. At that time, the internet and buying knives online was already happening. That makes it all the more poignant that Spyderco made this display.

Today, this display is one of the pieces in my collection I’m the most proud of. I got it from a good friend who works for Spyderco, so it also symbolizes the family-aspect that I appreciate so much from Spyderco. I haven’t seen a second one, online or offline, but I’m sure there must be a few more floating around out there. If you love Spyderco and have chance to pick one up, do it, it’s a rare piece!

 


Spyderco 2017 Production Sample – Meerkat Sprint

March 12, 2017

The Meerkat has been the subject of quite a few sprints over the years and I’d love to add this version to my collection. This HAP40 sprint is basically the same as the Delica, Endura and Stretch HAP40 sprints. However, none of those sport that fun phantom lock!




 

Specifications
Overall Length:  13,5 cm / 5.31  inches
Blade Length: 5,1 cm / 2 inches
Blade Thickness: 2,5 mm / 0.09 inches
Weight: 71 grams / 2.05 ounces


Spyderco Meerkat: a fun and functional little folder

September 2, 2012

Spyderco has been designing little big knives for quite some time now. The Co-Pilot was probably one of the first, followed by the Dragonfly, Cricket, Pegasus and Navigator models. I never really liked the Navigator, as I felt there were too many sharp corners on the handle. The Navigator pattern has evolved in the Spyderco line-up into the Navigator 2 and the Meerkat. The latter has steadily been growing on me with those wonderfully colored sprint runs.

The Meerkat features the phantom lock that’s housed in relatively thick FRN handle scales. The dimples and corners in the FRN handle make the Navigator a very ergonomic knife to use, especially for its size. The FRN Meerkat handle is a welcome improvement over the sharp thin aluminum scales of my Almite Navigator. The Meerkat can be noticeable to carry due to its thickness. However, that extra thickness also makes the knife easier to use and it helps to easily manipulate the phantom lock.

I received a Reverse S serrated Meerkat for Christmas many years ago. It was a wonderful piece, but I have little use for a reverse S blade shape in daily use. It’s a nice addition to my collection, to be admired and only occasionally carried. The blue sprint run that came out few years ago instantly pushed the Meerkat in my EDC rotation. The drop point full flat ground blade proved much more useful for my daily cutting tasks. The NKP friendly color and phantom lock also made the blue sprint run Meerkat a great conversation piece. The Burgundy sprint run seems to be the same as the blue sprint run, except for the color.

I did encounter one problem with my new Burgundy Meerkat when I wanted to switch the clip for left-handed carry. Two screw-holes in the FRN scale did not match up with the holes in the steel liner underneath. It was impossible to screw the clip on the left-side of the handle. I was able to fix it by carefully filing out the FRN to provide clear access for the tiny screws through the steel liner. The heads on the screws hide the enlarged holes in the FRN. Functionally and cosmetically, no-one will realize there was anything wrong with the knife. Now, I was able to fix it because I’m a stubborn knifeknut with a collection of miniature files, screwdrivers etc…A regular lefty knife user would have probably had to ship the knife back for a replacement.

The Meerkat sprint run is a great cutter and even better conversation piece. It’s one of the knives that have proven to be a welcome sight at family birthday parties when there are presents that need a little help opening. It gets the kind of reaction that a Titanium Military just can’t match. 😉

How do you like your Meerkat?


First impressions of the Sprint Run Meerkat

January 9, 2010

Two great things arrived at my doorstep this week, the new sprint run blue Meerkat and snow. Mind you, snow doesn’t fall often here or stay very long. The Meerkat surprised me, I like it more than I thought I would.

The Meerkat follows the Navigator pattern. I’m not a big fan of that pattern: it’s kind of pointy and uncomfortable for my grips and the clip is usually non-reversible for lefties and tip-down only. I was seduced by the lovely color so I pulled the trigger. This Meerkat is less sharp or pointy in the hand, because the hande is thicker and FRN is always nicely rounded on the corners. The full flat ground leaf blade makes it a very nice user. It’s opened everything I threw at it and it did some nice paring work in the kitchen. Sharpening is very easy and fast, since the grind is thin and the blade is VG-10.

The clip change was easy to do, but I’m still getting trying to get the hang of operating the Phantom lock left-handed. There’s no bladeplay in any direction so far. The handle color is a nice turqois kind of blue. It has gotten some inquisitive looks from my better half, and not with the usual ‘did you get another spydie’ rather ‘let me see that’. The deep carry clip is nice, but could have been a pain to retreive the knife from a pocket,if there weren’t these nice divots and other gripping points all over the handle. Especially for the money, you get a very unusual but very functional little user. It’s hours of fun, even without any actual cutting. I highly recommend it. I’m going to put it in my office-carry rotation.

For those who don’t have a Meerkat yet and are wondering how the lock works, I made this little clip.

Join the discussion on the Spyderco forums.