This excellent-looking Amerian made EDC is one of our recommendations since it’s a versatile tool that Benchmade recommends for hiking, backpacking, fishing and camping. We fell in love with it (well, you know what I mean – we’re not perverts or anything but…. okay, I’ll stop “talking”) and we’d love to tell you all we know about it. This Benchmade Bugout 535 EDC review will discuss the manufacturer, the knife’s features, and user reviews.
Benchmade started as a fledgling company under a different name in California, making Balisong knives. Through its history, it has changed names a couple of times and one division even went bankrupt. However, having learned some important lessons, the company was re-started and the name “Benchmade” is derived from the concept that the products were precision-cut by factory-precise machines (“factory-made”), while the final assembly was done by hand on a “bench”. That embodies their manufacturing philosophy.
Benchmade eventually settled in Oregon City, Oregon in a 144,000 square foot facility with state of the art laser cutting and processing machines. Benchmade perfected a model of lending manufacturing protocols and processes to custom knife designs after working with world-class knife makers like Warren Osborne and Mel Pardue. Eventually, this model led to the birth of the AXIS® lock and the rest is history!
Okay, here’s our favorite part. We love the feature-loaded portfolio of this EDC.
Designer: Benchmade (yes, they can design!!)
- Lock: AXIS
- Action: Manual open
- Weight: 1.85 oz
- Steel: CPMS30V which gives about 58-60 HRC (Rockwell Hardness)
- Blade Length: 3.24″
- Handle Thickness: 0.42″
- Blade Finish: Satin
- Blade Style: Drop Point
- Clip: Mini Deep-Carry and Reversible
- Handle: Grivory
- Sheath: Nope – not this one
- Main Use: Everyday Carry, Outdoor
- Made in: USA
Basically, to cut to the chase, what we have is an American-made folding EDC with a high-quality steel blade and a very thin (and therefore light) and super-durable handle. It has a very cool locking mechanism that is just fun to flick open and shut. It can totally be used for nearly every outdoor activity while camping or hiking, but we’d suggest stopping short of batoning or bushcrafting with it!
For those of you who aren’t sure, the fact that this knife has no sheath is quite normal and expected. Why? Because it has a pocket carry clip (that’s why it’s marketed as mostly an EDC or everyday carry knife). It’s meant to fit in your pocket and not in a pouch on your belt.
As always, the packaging from Benchmade is superb and blows other companies away in the packaging category. We love our Spyderco and Fox knives, but recent packages we received from them made us want to throw the boxes out immediately while Benchmade’s box makes us want to keep it around. It’s basically a gift box with decorative foam packing and a small silk(ish) pouch for the knife itself. Presentation is everything when you’re competing with other good products. It can give you an edge – Cudos Benchmade!
Overall, out of hundreds of reviews from Amazon purchasers, the Bugout ended up with around 80% of owners giving it a full 5-star rating. For one owner, the name “Bugout” was its biggest drawback since that implies you’d save this for your bugout bag – emergencies only. His point was that it’s not only a great EDC, but “the last EDC you’ll ever need”. High praise indeed.
The main reason that the 80% was not closer to 98% is that most of the 1 or 2-star reviewers gave the low score due to the bad press Benchmade got in 2019 after helping Oregon City Police cut up and destroy legally-seized firearms (the low scores had little or nothing to do with the pure quality of the knife!). Critics say that act by Benchmade was a not-so-subtle support of 2nd Amendment critics. We at KnifeUp can’t help (after reading Benchmade’s official statement) that they are full supporters of the 2nd Amendment and there’s no need to rid yourself of some of the best-made knives in the world in order to boycott a company that is not what you think it is. Does that make sense? If not, I tried!
Like most of the knives we bother to post on our website, the Benchmade Bugout line of knives gets our hearty blessing and we rank it a definite buy. Our only caution would be to treat EVERY knife you have (regardless of the quality of the blade steel) with a preserving oil like BlueLube (Amazon).
Thanks for checking out this review and as always, your comments are welcome!