Benchmade 535 Bugout Carbon Fiber Elite

Lighter, Stronger: Benchmade Bugout Gets an Upgrade

The Benchmade Bugout is light, simple, and perfect for backpacking. And with the introduction of the blacked-out 535BK-2 version, it gets lighter and tougher.

If you’re a hiker or other gram-counter who heads far from the trailhead, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of the Benchmade Bugout. It’s one of Benchmade’s lightest knives at just 1.85 ounces. But it has a great 3.24-inch CPM-S30V steel blade that can do pretty much anything you’d ask of it.

Benchmade Bugout 535BK-2

While the standard Bugout is a good, extremely popular knife (it’s one of Blade HQ’s top-selling knives), the lightweight textured Grivory handle is a tad flexible. It performs well but leans more toward lightweight than robust.

Enter the newest addition to the Bugout family, the 535BK-2.

Benchmade 535BK-2 Bugout

The new Bugout integrates Benchmade’s new CF-Elite handle material. This carbon fiber-reinforced nylon polymer is slightly lighter (17%) than the previous Bugout handle. But it has a claimed 50% greater rigidity than those with the Grivory handle.

The CPM-S30V blade also has a “diamond-like-carbon” (DLC) coating to give “extreme corrosion resistance” to an already strong and premium blade steel.

Benchmade Bugout 535BK-2

The whole knife weighs in at 1.8 ounces, shaving just a tad from the previous bugout. We haven’t gotten our hands on one yet, but the new Bugout excites us for light backcountry trips and even for EDC.

Benchmade Bugout 535BK-2

The 535BK-2 Bugout hits the market on January 17. It has a retail price of $170 but is already listed on Blade HQ for $145. As a modest upcharge from the standard Bugout, this one should be high on the list for anyone looking for a superlight, versatile knife for backpacking and beyond.

Sean McCoy

Editorial Director Sean McCoy is a life-long outdoorsman who grew up hunting and fishing central Wisconsin forests and lakes. He joined GearJunkie after a 10-year stint as a newspaperman in the Caribbean, where he learned sailing and wooden-boat repair. Based in GearJunkie's Denver office, McCoy is an avid trail runner, camper, hunter, angler, mountain biker, skier, and beer tester.