BENCHMADE BUGOUT SURE TO BECOME A FAVORITE
Sometimes one is enough. Lately, I’ve been carrying a Benchmade Bugout, the company’s latest, the 535BK-4 model. To make sure I was giving it a thorough test, this slim folder was the only EDC knife I carried over a period of several weeks.
What I found with this Bugout is that it ably handled every job I called on it to do. Not once did I wish I had more knife or a different knife. Benchmade has produced the Bugout in several iterations since 2017, offering it with different blade steels and handle composition. If you really want it your way, now you can order a customized version by choosing the features you want on the Benchmade website.
This particular model is pretty much how I want any EDC knife. I don’t think I’d change a thing. It has a well-configured 3.24-inch drop-point blade with a swedge on the spine that gives it a good pointy tip. The edge on this model is plain, not serrated. Significant to this model is that the blade is made of the highly regarded M390 steel with a matte black coating. My knife arrived extremely sharp.
The handle is a gunmetal gray aluminum with a nicely textured sunburst pattern engraved in it. There is a rounded triangular lanyard hole that’s actually large enough to be useful too. The blade opens smoothly, and dual thumb studs help you to do it with either hand.
The handle is an open design that won’t trap debris. A nice touch is that the spacers and thumb studs are an attractive red color, offsetting the gray handle and black blade and hardware in an attractive way.
The Benchmade Bugout carries as well as it cuts. It’s a very slim knife and it weighs a scant 2.5 ounces. There’s a Mini Bugout too if you want to go even smaller. I’ll stick with this one that offers a great balance of carry convenience with a blade big enough to be highly capable.
Benchmade Bugout (535BK-4)
Overall Length: 7.46 inches
Closed Length: 4.22 inches
Blade Length: 3.24 inches
Thickness of Blade: 0.09 inch
Blade Material: M390
Handle Material: 6061-T6 Aluminum
Locking Mechanism: Axis lock
Weight: 2.5 ounces
Other: Pocket clip, reversible, tip-up carry
A version of this article first appeared in the Jan/Feb 2022 print issue of Knives Illustrated.