They say if you’re not moving forward then you’re falling behind. Benchmade is a company that has continually moved forward over the years. From their humble roots as a company that manufactured butterfly knives, to their current place as an elite manufacturer of some of the best knives commercially available, their growth has been consistent. That growth is apparent with the recent redesign of some of their most popular hunting knives. Let’s take a look at some of the new models which are all updates of previous knives.
15002-1 Saddle Mountain Skinner
The Saddle Mountain Skinner has been a favorite of hunters since its initial release. The 4.2″ long blade is a perfect length for skinning tasks, field dressing game, and even some butchering. The new base model (15002) features a newly designed leather sheath, a thinner blade profile, and a new jimping location based on user feedback. The premium model, 15002-1, features the high-end S90V steel with better edge retention, premium G10 handles with orange accents, and an upgraded Kydex sheath. The base model retails for about $150 and the premium retails for $215, on average.
15017-1 Hidden Canyon Hunter
The hidden canyon hunter has been the little brother to the saddle mountain skinner for a while, but no less capable. With a smaller 2.79″ blade and a thicker belly, it is almost the perfect size for a field dressing knife. The jimping on the back of the blade provides perfect control as you open up an animal. Following a similar pattern to the saddle mountain series, the hidden canyon upgrades feature a base model with a new leather sheath, and then a premium 15017-1 edition. The premium model features G10 handles with orange accents, S90V steel, and a Kydex sheath. Retailing for $135 and $195, respectively, the base model and upgraded 15017-1 both feature decent upgrades over the classic models.
Is It Worth It To Upgrade?
The answer is maybe. If you currently use either the Saddle Mountain Skinner or Hidden Canyon Hunter and are happy with their performance, then it’s probably not worth losing money to sell them and pick up the new model. The premium editions of both knives are very impressive offerings, but your opinion on them may depend on your steel preferences. S90V certainly holds an edge longer than other steels but is more difficult to sharpen. You will likely need to use a diamond stone to touch up the edge and the likelihood of sharpening it on a rock in a pinch is slim to none. If you’re in the market for a new hunting knife, you can’t go wrong with either the Hidden Canyon or Saddle Mountain. The premium models are likely worth the extra money for the better steel, G10 handles, and Kydex sheath.