Benchmade Introduces Ultralight 535 Bugout Knife

Less than 3 months after introducing the Proper, the company’s first slip joint knife, Benchmade is continuing to fill holes in their line-up. This time they’re introducing an astonishingly lightweight Axis folder called the 535 Bugout. The new knife will take center stage at the opening of the Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt Lake City, Utah later this morning.

“[The 535 Bugout] is truly an ultralight carry,” Benchmade’s Derrick Lau says. “It’s the lightest knife in our Blue Class, weighing in at 1.85 ounces.” Lau tells us Benchmade went all out to find every possible opportunity to save weight without compromising the knife’s durability. “We didn’t want to sacrifice strength. Because when you’re out in the sticks, you really rely on your knife,” he says.

The Bugout’s handles are made of Grivory, a strong and light polymer material. The knife features a pillar construction to avoid the need for liners and backspacers. Even the Axis bar got the ultralight treatment and is made of DLC-coated titanium instead of steel.

The knife’s 3.25-inch S30V drop point blade is reminiscent of the award-winning 490 and should be popular with anybody looking for a substantial blade in a featherlight package. “It’s going to make people who are conscious of counting every ounce of their gear very happy,” Lau promises.

Benchmade 535 Bugout

With such a light weight, a new mini deep carry clip, and a relatively affordable price, Benchmade is clearly taking on the likes of the Spyderco Manix 2 Lightweight and preempting the release of the linerless Ant-Lock knives from Steel Will.

The 535 Bugout debuts in bright blue handle scales with matching anodized thumb studs. Lau informs us that no immediate plans exist for other colors, but hints it could happen someday. “Like with many other Benchmades, there’s always the opportunity for a variant.”

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Limited quantities of the 535 Bugout are already on their way to dealers. tells us that a handful of the plain edge version will be available to fill pre-orders on a first come first served basis later today. Additional quantities should be arriving in about two weeks.

Knife featured in image: Benchmade 535 Bugout