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The CJRB Hectare Does Everything the Most Famous EDC Outdoor Knife Can, for $100+ Less

The CJRB Hectare sets its sights on doing everything the reigning outdoor EDC favorite can, for $100+ less.
cjrb hectare knife rope and cardboardProven performance: The CJRB Hectare knife vs. rope and cardboard; (photo/Nick LeFort)
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There are so many folding knives aimed at the outdoors these days that there’s bound to be some overlap. In some cases, that overlap might even be intentional — so intentional, in fact, that when you Google one knife and another one comes up in the results, you can confirm you’re not crazy. This is really happening.

For years, the Benchmade Bugout has been a dream come true for those folks who want a durable, reliable, medium-duty folding pocket knife without the heft. At 1.85 ounces, Benchmade aced the weight challenge. It also hit a home run with the choice to go with S30V blade steel, a wicked popular stainless steel. And the cherry on top, the knife carried Benchmade’s Axis lock. For less than $200, the Bugout became a no-brainer in the world of EDC knives.

This year, CJRB Cutlery reached out to see if I wanted to test out its newest outdoor-focused knife, the Hectare. CJRB deemed it the brand’s “first EDC-focused knife featuring a fast and reliable crossbar lock.”

Looking at the pictures and reading the specifics, I couldn’t ignore the similarities it drew to the Bugout: roughly the same size, sub-3-ounce weight, and a very similar, albeit less refined, design. It fits well in the “Hiking and Backpacking” knife category.

Accepting the offer to test and review the Hectare was a no-brainer.

In short: The CJRB Hectare proves that you can get more bang for your buck. By taking cues from one of the most desired hiking and backpacking EDC knives on the market, CJRB created a $50 knife that questions the need for a $200 one. If you don’t want to spend a lot on a knife but want to experience the hype surrounding the Benchmade Bugout, the Hectare will get you there.

CJRB Hectare Knife


  • OAL 7.35"
  • Blade length 3.15"
  • Blade steel AR-RPM9
  • Blade shape Drop point
  • Grind Flat
  • Hardness 59-61 HRC
  • Lock type Crossbar lock
  • Carry Deep, left or right hand, tip-up
  • Weight 2.69 oz.
  • Price $67 (but seemingly always on sale for $47)


  • G10 handle scales
  • Overall performance of the steel
  • Crossbar lock
  • Price


  • The roughness of the crossbar lock buttons
  • Initial crossbar lock resistance

CJRB Hectare Knife Review

Design & Features

a close-up photo of cjrb hectare pocket clip
CJRB Hectare pocket clip; (photo/Nick LeFort)

The CJRB Hectare is a lightweight, durable, reliable backpacking knife. It features a skeletonized steel frame and G10 handle scales, and deep-carry pocket clip. For a lock, the Hectare relies on a crossbar-style lock. The Hectare has an overall length of 7.35 inches, 3.15 of which make up the AR-RPM9 drop-point blade.

Additionally, the Hectare comes in at a trim and lean 2.69 ounces — a shoo-in for backpacking and EDC requirements.

Last month, Knife Steel Nerds, which I consider to be the authority on knife steel, claimed that Artisan, the parent company of CJRB, made false claims about its AR-RPM9 steel. Dr. Larrin Thomas, the brainpower behind Knife Steel Nerds and inventor of MagnaCut steel, claimed that AR-RPM9 steel was not a powdered steel as Artisan had claimed.

In the end, Artisan apologized for the mistake; however, it seems like the future of AR-RPM9 hangs in the balance. It may need to be reevaluated and renamed. The “P” stands for “Powdered” and the “9” stands for the number of elements in the steel, but there are only 7.

Still, it is nearly identical to 9Cr18MoV, a Chinese high-carbon stainless steel known to excel in edge retention, toughness, abrasion resistance, and corrosion resistance. So politics aside, 9Cr18MoV stands as an excellent budget steel.

First Impressions

cjrb hectare knife details close up
(Photo/Nick LeFort)

I take no issue with a company like CJRB making a knife so similar to a popular knife made by a premium brand. I was eager to see how a knife that costs more than $100 less compares to the knife that inspired it. While I didn’t expect this knife to behave like the Bugout, when it arrived, I was pleasantly surprised.

Though all crossbar lock mechanisms look and perform in a specific way, there are a lot of different versions of it on the market. Out of the box, the crossbar lock on the Hectare was a little resistant to being activated. That’s due to some differences in machined tolerances and the use of heavier springs.

CJRB’s choice to go with caged ball bearings around the pivot complements the axis lock nicely, allowing the blade to swing open smoothly and lock up tight like a tiger.

I like CJRB’s decision to use G10 handle scales. They’re durable and provide an excellent grip. On the Hectare, CJRB machined them to allow the knife’s steel frame to nest into them. This increases the overall foundation of the knife without impacting its size. And it keeps the weight under 3 ounces.

But even with this full frame embedded into the handle, the Hectare still exhibits the known flex that the Bugout has when you squeeze its handle with the blade open. This is a clear indication that this is a light- to medium-duty pocket knife.

In the Field

cjrb hectare knife review
(Photo/Nick LeFort)

Out in the world, the Hectare performed really well for a $50 knife. Heck, its overall performance was on par with a $200 alternative. I had some concerns it wouldn’t hold up to use and abuse at the level I treat the knives I test. But those all washed away within the first few uses.

I never thought it would fall apart on me, but $50 sits on the low end of the spectrum for what I consider a reliable knife. So, while I’m not shocked that the Hectare made it through a few months of living with me, I am surprised at how well it held up overall.

I hate to be the guy who says he spent a lot of time cutting rope and cardboard with his knives, but I actually did with the Hectare. Both rope and cardboard (along with meat) can dull a knife edge quickly. I’m happy to say that wasn’t the case here. After 4 months, the blade needed to be honed to return to its factory sharpness, but it was far from dull.

After opening and closing the knife via the crossbar lock several times, I decided to rub it down with a Scotch Brite pad. The machined-in tapers on the buttons were a little annoying and got caught on my thumb, irritating my skin. It’s either a process CJRB missed or didn’t think was necessary. It’s by no means a deal-breaker, though, and is easy to fix.

the cjrb hectare knife and flowers
(Photo/Nick LeFort)

Like all of the knives I test, the Hectare spent plenty of time in the elements and dirt getting wet and gritty. At no point did it falter. Even now, the knife doesn’t show any signs of wear or tear.

But I will say that the pocket clip on the Hectare is a little sensitive. At some point, the clip pulled away from the surface of the handle scales. It’s not a lot to cause any issues in carrying, but it should be noted.

Ergonomically, I had no issues using the Hectare in demanding situations. It still has the flex that’s associated with the Benchmade Bugout, but I’ll chalk that up to being the nature of the beast. Though it’s noted and noticeable on both knives, it does not impact performance.

In Conclusion

It’s key to keep in mind that any lightweight knives, from any brand, are medium-duty at best. You can’t baton the spine to split kindling or pry with them. They are designed to prep a tinder bundle and food for the fire, or open boxes from Amazon — stuff like that.

AR-RPM9 steel sign on cjrb hectare knife
(Photo/Nick LeFort)

Though the form and finish of the Hectare might be missing some of the geometry that make the Bugout look more refined, it’s hard to ignore the fact that both knives function the same. That includes the AR-RPM9 steel.

No, I am not saying that AR-RPM9 is as good as S30V in the long run, but it’s good enough for the day-to-day use the average person doles out. It may turn into sand after 20 years of abuse, whereas S30V will still be riding high. Maybe I’ll swing back around and write a long-term review about it then.

All in all, the Hectare serves as another indicator that budget knives have their place in the viable EDC knife market. Brands like CJRB, CIVIVI, and SENCUT prove you can get a quality knife at a lower price.

The steel may not have a buzz-worthy name, but that won’t impact the way it performs. In the case of the Hectare, you won’t find any issues unless you want to. This knife exceeded my expectations, sore thumb and all. Expect to see the Hectare in the next update of the Best Knives for Hiking & Backpacking.

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