Benchmade 162 Bushcrafter Knife Review

Benchmade 162 Bushcrafter Knife

The 162 Bushcrafter is Benchmade’s first real Bushcrafting knife. Bushcraft, for those who haven’t heard the term, is an increasingly popular trend that takes ancient survival skills and blends them with modern day wilderness survival techniques.

The origin if the word comes from skills used in the bush country of Australia and South Africa, and dates back at least a couple of hundred years. Today, it’s most often associated with a diverse set of survival techniques including modern wilderness survival skills, primitive tool making with natural materials, and the use of modern tools like knives and axes.

The main point to Bushcraft is being able to not only survive, but thrive off the land. This means being able to live with only the materials you find in the wild and some simple tools, usually an axe, a knife and tools that you are able to make yourself.

Bushcraft really requires a different kind of knife, one that can hold up under the constant use and abuse it will face out in the field. Over the last couple of years a number of companies have started marketing dedicated bushcrafting knives, but in my experience, a lot of them were Bushcraft knives in name only.

The Knife

The 162 Bushcraft Knife is Benchmade’s first foray into the Bushcraft world. It’s a fixed blade knife that’s a real workhorse, and a definite positive addition to the community. You can really beat the heck out of this knife without worrying about damaging it.

The Handle

 

The 162 Bushcrafter's Handle

When selecting a good Bushcraft knife, the handle is an extremely important consideration. Pick the wrong one and your hands are going to pay the price.

When this knife first hit the market, I saw a number of people complain about the handle, especially those in the bushcraft community who claimed it was going to cause hotspots on your hand. While hotspots and comfort are definitely valid concerns when choosing a knife that’s going to be used for long periods of time, I’ve never had a problem with hotspots while using this knife. I think it’s really a non-issue created by people who might be a little stuck in their ways.

I really liked the feel of the handle and think the design is an improvement on a lot of the traditional bushcraft handles. The handle scales are molded G-10, held in place with flared titanium tubing. The hollow tubes in the handle are great lashing points, allowing you to turn the knife into a spear or a makeshift machete.

The Blade

Closeup of the Blade on the 162 Bushcrafter

The Bushcrafter doesn’t have a scandi grind like most Bushcraft knives on the market, instead, Benchmade went with something they call a “high-ground drop point blade.” It’s basically a modified scandi grind that has been lowered to raise the bevel closer to the spine. This is supposed to increase the edge strength, something that in my testing was one of the things I really liked about the knife.

The blade is made with super strong S30V steel, which has a very clean grind and comes out of the box razor sharp. This is another area of concern that I’ve seen in some other reviews, but again, I think it’s really a nonissue.

S30V steel has outstanding edge holding properties and is about as durable and maintenance free as it gets. While it might be a little harder to sharpen the blade down the line, its raw durability and strength are going to make it hold its edge for a much longer time. In fact, I’ve been using the knife for about six months, and it’s held its edge better than a majority of the knives I own.

The Sheath

The only real issue I had with this knife had nothing to do with the knife itself, but with the buckskin leather sheath. I’m not going to beat around the bush, I thought the Sheath sucked. Closeup of the Damaged Bushcrafter Sheath

After a couple months of use, the top of the sheath started splitting on me – something that’s a huge problem out in the field and a definite safety issue.  If you look at the picture above, you can see the problem comes from the cheap plastic insert that pushes the blade into the leather.

If you do buy this knife, the first thing I would do is replace the sheath with a Kydex alternative or replace the cheap plastic insert with a better fitting piece of Kydex. I prefer Kydex to leather, so I may be a little bias in that regard, but even if you love the leather style you’re going to have to eventually do something to better secure the blade.

Overall Impression of the Benchmade 162 Bushcrafter

While the knife is marketed to the Bushcraft community, I think it’s a really solid all-purpose knife, suitable for hunting, utility use, survival, and bushcraft. Aside from my issue with the Sheath, I have no problem recommending this knife; in fact, it’s one of the knives that I most often carry.
The Knife retails for around $155 – $180.

9 Comments

  1. charley
    September 17, 2014 at 7:55 am

    Felt the same way, love the knife but hated the sheath. I replaced it with the very beefy Wolf II sheath from Wolf Wind Leatherworks, been happy ever since.

  2. Mark Lizotte
    July 30, 2015 at 8:38 pm

    I am considering purchasing the 2014 version of this knife (it has a sandy tan colored handle).
    My only concern is with the kydex sheath. There is no strap to help secure the knife. Do you recommend another kind of sheath to use?
    Thanks a lot!
    Mark

    • Daniel
      March 20, 2016 at 7:53 pm

      Might be a tad bit late, but the kydex is trash. My leather has held up exceptionally well.

  3. Lee
    August 27, 2015 at 3:17 pm

    I agree with your review 100% on the knife its self and although I didn’t have a problem with the leather sheath I could see it wasn’t something I wanted. I ordered a kydex sheath from the expert at Armadillo Sheaths and now the combo is perfect.

  4. Mike
    September 15, 2015 at 11:16 pm

    My problem is the $185.

  5. T79
    September 21, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    Mike,

    $185 is more than justified for this knife. IMO

  6. jeffrey
    April 3, 2016 at 10:51 am

    it seems everything calling itself bushcraft in blade tools has become stupid expensive EXCEPT what i now carry a screamin bargain in the bush/survival knife field i carry a modern shrade copper head belt knife called 2141 o.t. as a model number; bush crafter knives have become less and less rambo hackers and more and more durable manageable batonable hefty( think becker) 8″ average all around field tools…enter the schrade 2141ot copper head best hefty bush craft knife for the very reasonable money in the world!!!!!!!! thick stock; grippy scales c7 crm17 high carbon stainless with a titainium finish check this! 8″ knife weighs 1/2 pound 8oz under $30.00 also a folder and gut hook skinner offered.best kept secret in the survival industry!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Dawgy1
      April 14, 2017 at 4:32 am

      Jeffery, I basically agree with what you said here about some knives being overpriced.
      With that said, it’s all depends on personal preference. A $15000 smart car will take you across the country and the fuel costs will be impressive. A $70000 Lexus will get you there too and you won’t care what your fuel costs are. People are impressed by different things and some like you are impressed by value and bang for the buck. Some could care less about the cost and will buy whatever they want.
      I say great for both.

  7. Jon
    May 15, 2016 at 7:42 am

    I carry a med/large folder and a parang when I go walkabout. I can do more with the parang than that bloated, over-priced slab of marketing and I can make the parang out of a mower blade.

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