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Meatcrafter: Benchmade Blade Is Highly Functional Work of Art

Benchmade worked with renowned hunter Steven Rinella on a knife for the express purpose of turning wild game into table fare. The Meatcrafter is born!

Hunters and anglers know the value of a sharp knife. From the moment a hunter pulls the trigger, the priority is to get the animal carcass out of the woods, cooled quickly, and transformed into food. In many ways, a good hunter must be a good butcher to truly enjoy the fruits of their labor.

And exquisite tools, while not required, certainly don’t hurt.

Enter the Benchmade Meatcrafter. I would hesitate to call the Meatcrafter a hunting knife. For me, it’s too big for much fieldwork. When gutting, skinning, and caping in the field, I prefer a smaller, high-quality hunting knife.

But once you move from rough field cleaning to the next phase — breaking down the animal into steaks, chops, roasts, and stew meat for the freezer — a razor-sharp knife remains a critical tool. And this is where Rinella and Benchmade want the Meatcrafter to fit into the process.

In a video here, Rinella talks about how he worked with Benchmade to design the Meatcrafter, which is essentially a boning knife.

Benchmade sent me a Meatcrafter to examine and use before writing this article. It’s frankly tough to find any wild game to process in Colorado in the spring. So I did the next best thing: I pulled some venison from the freezer, thawed it, and went on slicing and dicing on the way to some carnitas.

Benchmade Meatcrafter Knife: SelectEdge Technology

Before getting into the review, I want to mention a few things about this knife that aren’t apparent on the surface.

First, Benchmade used the Meatcrafter as a launchpad for its new SelectEdge technology. The brand hasn’t disclosed exactly what this tech does, but without going down a deep knife-sharpening rabbit hole, Benchmade notes that this provides a sharper, more polished edge than anything it has created before. And from the appearance and performance of the blade, it seems like there’s something here.

The edge is polished and smooth. Out of the box, it glints like a mirror to a perfect 14-degree apex. And for the record, that’s crazy sharp for a hunting knife. It’s also a little fine for a hard-use knife, so don’t plan on batoning this one through wood! This is a meat knife after all.

Second, the knife uses extremely high-quality “ingredients.” The full-tang blade is CPM-S45VN premium stainless steel, which provides a balance of fine grain, sharp edge, and blade flex. It’s a step forward from the excellent and widely used CPM-S35V from Crucible Industries and one of the first applications of this steel we’ve seen in person.

The black, brown, and ivory G10 handle is really a thing of beauty. It sits perfectly in the hand and provides an excellent grip at several angles. For those working through a pile of elk meat for hours on end, it’s a very nice texture and shape.

Finally, the Meatcrafter comes with a very nice Boltaron sheath. The material has a stiffness of Kydex but has a surface feel like nice leather. The knife fits in securely.

One note that speaks to the intended use of this knife: The sheath has no belt loop. I thought this a little odd until I considered that the knife will more likely ride in a pack, truck, or sit in the kitchen. While it would certainly work in the field, it’s not exactly meant for gutting or survival — it’s a meat-processing tool.

Benchmade Meatcrafter: Steven Rinella Explains

I had a few questions about the knife and sent them to Rinella. Check out his interesting replies below.

GearJunkie: Why did you decide to go with a scimitar blade shape?

Rinella: When I was working on this knife with Benchmade, the priority was versatility. We wanted to take their proven technology that produces the strength and edge retention of the kind of knives I take into the field, but stretch it into a longer, thinner blade that’s best for making precise and drawn-out cuts.

Our long, trailing-point blade lets you remove muscle groups in a single cut, work around bone and joints, and get into hard-to-reach corners so you can get a precise cut the first time around. Everything from the shape of the blade to the angle of the edge was developed specifically for this knife and for the kind of work I needed it to do.

The other day, I was filleting some lake trout with the Meatcrafter, and it was a dream. The tip was perfect for opening cuts and precision work, while the thicker portion of the blade easily sliced through the heavy rib bones. I love that thing.

Do you expect to carry the knife in the field at all, or will it live in your truck (or kitchen/garage/meat processing location)?

While I do a decent amount of processing in the field, most of the work is done at home on my butcher block. That said, this is now my go-to butchering and processing knife, so I’m taking it wherever I think it’ll be useful.

I might be cutting up a turkey on my tailgate or an elk hind in my kitchen, and it gets the job done right in either place. So far, I’ve been keeping mine in the DECKED system of my pickup truck half the time and in my kitchen knife drawer the other half.

What role do you see this knife filling that you felt was missing from the market?

You can easily find a great field knife, chef’s knife, or pocket knife, but in all my years of working with game meat, I’ve never found the perfect purpose-built blade for processing. I work with a lot of animals, from moose to beavers, and even if I’d found a knife that worked well for one task, it never had the full versatility I needed. The Meatcrafter fills those gaps.

While it seems a little stiff for a fillet knife, do you expect to use this knife on fish much?

For the right fish, definitely. I’ll often use a more flexible blade for something really delicate. But when I’m ripping burbot out of the ice, this thing makes cleaning them damn easy.

It’s best when working on four-legged fare, but throughout the testing process, we found that it can handle almost everything that ends up on your plate. I don’t imagine using it for panfish like bluegills and perch, but definitely for everything from walleye to salmon to tuna.

Obviously, a $300 knife is a significant investment. Who should buy this knife?

This knife isn’t for everyone. It’s made for folks like me: the ones that have always felt like their processing knives just aren’t up to snuff. When you spend as much time butchering game as I do, even small frustrations can take the joy out of the work, and using this thing helps keep me focused on why I do what I do. I want to create great meals for me and my family, and this knife makes that easier.

It’s a work of art and one that I’ll be using for years to come. My kids will have to fight over which one of them gets it after I’m dead.

Benchmade Meatcrafter Review

This is a super-early first look at the Meatcrafter. So far, I’ve used it to process a little stew meat from a deer and a bone-in pork loin roast. And without a hunting season for months, this knife won’t get to properly craft a full carcass for some time

But my initial impression is great. The long belly of the scimitar shape and the very fine point give you both a very fine/exact blade as well as a long cutting edge. It provides versatility for small, accurate cuts or long slices, both of which are a major part of meat processing.

The flex of the knife is just right for deboning large cuts of meat. While stiffer than a fillet knife, it offers enough flex to closely follow bones in big game. And while not its intended purpose, it would probably work fine to fillet a fish.

The handle is lovely to use. And while the appearance of the multiple G-10 colors is in the eye of the beholder, I personally love it. Its layered appearance, with splashes of color around the large lanyard hole, just oozes quality.

With a fresh edge from the factory (which you can have re-serviced by Benchmade for free for the life of the knife), the blade fell through meat like it wasn’t there. Cutting away silver skin took almost no pressure as I touched the blade to the meat, lifting the skin away from the muscle. It was impressively sharp. And cutting pork was like the proverbial hot knife through butter.

I am excited to use it on a big project. I expect it will be a lot easier thanks to such a fine tool.

So, who is it for? My gut tells me that serious hunters who like to process their own meat from field to fork will love this knife. It makes the work of cutting down big-game muscles into small cuts of meat easy, and I expect it will hold an edge well for most of a hunting season with regular stropping.

So now, what will be the hangup for many people? Price. The Meatcrafter rings in at a hefty $300. However you slice it, that’s a lot of money for a knife.

But I can pretty easily justify this purchase. If you take an elk to a butcher, you’re likely looking at a $400 bill just to have one animal turned into steaks, burger, and sausage. Do it yourself once, and the knife pays for itself.

Obviously, you need other tools too, like a meat grinder and sausage packer. But these things all pay for themselves over years of use and animals processed.

Avid hunters who fill freezers in the fall will likely enjoy a high-end knife like this season after season. And yes, you can use a much cheaper knife to do the job, keeping a butcher’s steel at the ready.

But if you enjoy a finely crafted tool and have the budget to buy one, I expect the Meatcrafter will do its job flawlessly for years to come.

The post Meatcrafter: Benchmade Blade Is Highly Functional Work of Art appeared first on GearJunkie.

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15 Hunting And Fishing Safety Tips

If you are anything like me, you spend a good amount of your free time hunting and fishing. It is an excellent way to enjoy nature, develop a skill, and put meat in the freezer. But how do you make sure you’re safe? Here are some tips!

Having a Safe Hunting and Fishing Trip

I love taking my son out to catch some bass or hunt squirrels. Opening day of deer season is an annual holiday for us. However, there are many dangers to both activities.

People get hurt or killed every year because they are either careless or don’t know enough about safety strategies. In this article, we will cover how to be safe any time you head out to bag some game or hook that big one.

1. Go in Groups if Possible

One of the biggest mistakes people make is heading into the wilderness by themselves. If you get hurt or lost by yourself, there’s a chance you might not make it home alive. Even having one additional person with you significantly increases your odds of survival.

That being said, be selective about who you take. Taking a small child with you does not count. Also, everyone knows that one person that seems reckless all the time. It’s probably not a great choice to bring along someone like that. Instead, take someone that you would trust with your life.

2. Know Where Everyone Is Located

One risk when hunting or fishing is accidentally hurting your buddy. This risk is higher for hunting but applies to both activities.

If you are hunting with a bow or firearm, it would be easy to accidentally shoot someone else in your party. If you are going to split up, have a plan for where each of you will be. Never fire in that direction.

If you are hunting, it is always best to wear hunter orange so you can see each other at a distance. This is required during certain seasons in certain states.

If you are fishing in close proximity to other anglers, it could be easy to accidentally hook someone behind or beside you.

Also, if you know where everyone is you can keep an eye on each other. If someone in your party gets hurt or injured and you know where they are, you will be more likely to notice.

3. Know Your Area

One of the biggest risks with any activity in the wilderness is getting lost. Many people are fine with hunting or fishing in areas with which they are not familiar.

Keep in mind that many of these locations do not have cell phone reception. I suggest that you always scout your area in advance so you can identify landmarks. In addition, always have a map and compass with you and know how to use them.

I have personally gotten lost in an area I have hunted since I was a teenager. The brush had all grown up since the previous year, and nothing was recognizable. Luckily, I was able to get my bearings and still enjoy the hunt.

Not everyone is so lucky. You should also make sure at least one other person knows exactly where you will be and when you should be home.

4. Dress Appropriately

This may sound like common sense, but you would be surprised what I have seen. When you go hunting or fishing, be ready for the weather. Dress in layers so you can adjust to changes in temperature.

Always check the forecast before you go. If there is any chance of rain, be sure to have rain gear. The primary risk is hypothermia. More people die in the wilderness from hypothermia than any other cause.

This is when your internal body temperature drops below 95F. I have been hypothermic several times, and it is not fun. Cold weather is a risk but getting wet is a killer. Your body temperature drops 20 times faster when wet than when dry.

In addition, make sure you have appropriate footwear. Any time I am in the wild I wear a boot with good ankle support that will grip the terrain.

5. Watch Your Footing and Balance

Tripping or slipping and falling is the biggest cause of injuries in the wild. It is so easy to twist an ankle or slip on wet leaves. You can easily break your ankle, injure your knee, or hit your head. Even on flat terrain, this type of injury is very common.

Always pay attention to where you are placing your feet. Take the safest path, even if it is not the quickest or easiest. Avoid loose debris like leaves and rocks if possible. Try to keep multiple points of contact with a walking stick or by grabbing sturdy trees.

If you are wading, pay special attention to the current, depth of water, and footing. Several years ago, I was trout fishing in a swift river with waders. I was walking downstream towards a new spot and started to step into a deeper hole.

The water was already pretty high, but when I turned to face the current it hit my chest and went up over my waders. They were instantly filled, and I had to swim to shore with my waders full. I could have easily drowned if I was not a stronger swimmer.

6. Weapon Safety

Most of these rules you probably learned in your hunter’s safety course, but let’s review.

Always treat your weapon as if it is loaded even if you know it is not.
Never point a weapon at anything you do not intend to kill.
Always know what or who is behind your target.
Always point your weapon up or down until you are ready to aim.
Keep your safety on until you are ready to fire.
Clearly identify your target before you take aim.
Inspect and maintain your weapon before and after each use. This means checking the barrel for debris on a firearm and checking the bowstring for frays on a bow.
If you notice anything about the general function of the weapon that seems off during use, immediately stop and inspect the issue or take it to a professional.

7. Boating Safety

Using a canoe, kayak, or motorboat for hunting or fishing is very common. However, it does provide its own set of risks.

First and foremost, always wear your lifejacket. Keep an eye out for obstructions or other people in the water. Never overload your boat and be sure to balance the weight. This makes a huge difference in your ability to control the boat.

Stay seated if at all possibly. Standing up drastically increases the odds of tipping the boat.

Know the water level of rivers and do not go if the water is too high or too low. I have been running a canoe down our local river since I was six years old. I have never had an issue and certainly never flipped a canoe.

A few years back I decided to risk it when the water level was especially high. I ended up flipping the canoe three times that day. I could have easily been pinned against a root wad if I had not been luckier, and I have not made that mistake again.

8. Knife Safety

Hunting and fishing typically require the use of a knife. Always cut away from yourself when cleaning an animal. Keep your knife razor sharp so you do not have to struggle to get through your cut.

If it would be helpful to use another person to clean your animal, do it. Often, a second set of hands can make a big difference.

Other Tips


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A post shared by Duct-Aid (@duct_aid) on May 8, 2020 at 2:28pm PDT

Always take a first aid kit with you and adjust the contents for whatever needs you may have.
When using a tree stand, never climb with your weapon. Instead, tie on a pull cord, climb the tree, and pull it up when seated. Also, use a harness when you get seated so you cannot fall out of the tree. A family friend fell from a 30-foot tall stand a few years ago and almost did not survive.
Be mindful of the sun. Fishing and hunting can expose you to sun and heat all day in some cases. This can lead to heatstroke or dehydration. Take plenty of drinking water and sunscreen.
When hunting or fishing in cold conditions, bring supplies. I like to have a change of clothes, an emergency blanket, and a way to start a fire.
If you get wet, make sure you have supplies to avoid hypothermia.
If you hunt or fish before sunrise or coming in after sunrise, always take a flashlight or headlamp. Many people get lost in the woods because they assume that they can find their way in the dark without a light.
When fishing with barbed hooks, someone might get a hook embedded in their skin or flesh. Never try to pull out a hook. Always cut the line and leave the hook in place while you seek medical help.

Most of what we included in this article is common sense. However, it is very common for hunters and angler to get complacent. The last thing you want is to ruin your experience because someone was not safe.

Take a minute to review these tips before you head out. You will enjoy your trip much more knowing you are being as safe as possible.

Do you have other hunting and fishing tips to add on our list? Let us know in the comments section!

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The Best Outdoor Gear Comes from This Hunting Brand

Growing up in the Midwest, I constantly considered searching as a lazy male’’ s sport, one where you were restricted to a tree stand or a blind and didn’’ t relocation much. After taking up bowhunting for elk, deer, and antelope over the previous 2 years where I now live, in New Mexico, I understand I couldn’’ t have actually been more incorrect.

Western big-game searching is among the most physically tough activities I’’ ve ever done. Almost all your time is invested off-trail, and you’’ re in some cases needed to run up hillsides and pass through ridgelines while bring a lots of equipment, frequently in nasty weather condition.

In all my days of mountain cycling, backcountry snowboarding, backpacking, and sport climbing, I’’ ve never ever done anything that’’ s so hard on clothes and devices, and by the very same token, I’’ ve never ever been as impressed with an equipment business as I am with Sitka , a searching brand name that makes high-end clothing and carries out. Its motto is ““ Turning clothes into equipment,” ” and its items live as much as that much better than anything I’’ ve used from a standard outside brand name.


 searching equipment for outdooors( Photo: Courtesy Bryan Rogala)


As somebody who originates from a nonhunting background, it got me thinking of the equipment I utilize regularly to trek, ski, and bike.The Sitka pieces I use searching have actually been a few of the best-performing clothing I ’ ve ever utilized in the outdoors, complete stop. And now I use them to do more than simply hunt. I bring my Cloudburst Jacket on every walking and reside in the Mountain Pant whether I ’ m outdoor camping or simply operating in the backyard. I ’ ve discovered the materials Sitka utilizes to be extremely long lasting, and I like that the business sweats the little information, like how loud a material is , so you can be as peaceful as possible while stalking video game. If you ’ re not into its basic camouflage appearance, a great deal of the coats and trousers are’now readily available in earth-tone solids that are a welcome departure from the extremely brilliant colors so prevalent in the outside market.


Even if you aren ’ t a hunter, there ’ s a lot to be gotten by utilizing devices and clothes developed to prosper in a few of the harshest conditions you ’ re most likely to discover yourself in outdoors. Here are 3 of my favorites.

. Mountain Pant($ 199 ).

 Sitka Gear( Photo: Courtesy Sitka)


This is among&the very best sets of trousers I ’ ve ever owned. I ’ m 6 feet 3 inches high, with long legs, so discovering trousers that fit has actually constantly been difficult, however these in shape completely. That ’ s partially thanks to the numerous sizing choices (I use a size 33 high) and their style: the efficiency fit is a bit slimmer than conventional treking trousers in order to decrease noise, perfect for strolling through the woods. I ’ ve used them in temperature levels varying from 25 to 75 degrees, and aside from being wind- and waterproof, the standout function is their toughness.’These trousers feature detachable knee pads( exceptionally helpful for searching), however the four-way-stretch woven polyester material itself deals with and withstands tears abuse extremely well. I ’ ve used them for various hunts in New Mexico over the previous 2 seasons, and they still look new. It ’ s uncommon to discover such a fitted, flexible set of trousers that can stand up to a lots of off-trail hiking in the Rockies, not to discuss crawling on your knees and hands. For this factor, they ’ ll work for almost any outside pursuit, consisting of climbing up or treking.


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. Mountain Hauler 4000&Pack($ 485).

Sitka Gear( Photo: Courtesy Sitka)


I got fortunate this year and filled my very first elk tag. It was an experience I ’ ll always remember, and one that was made profoundly much better by having this piece of equipment. My pals and I needed to loadout the meat over 2 and a half rough, trailless miles back to the truck, and the Mountain Hauler 4000 dealt with almost 100 pounds&of meat and antlers with ease. I ’ ve utilized many various&knapsacks created for heavy loads, however none might deal with weight like that. This one is expandable from 3,700 to 4,500 cubic inches and chock-full of hunting-specific functions like antler’straps and an internal load-hauling rack for a rear quarter. The convenience is what actually offered me: I didn ’ t understand you might bring that much weight and not be in discomfort. Anytime I require to bring a great deal of equipment along on a backpacking or ski-hut journey, I understand which load I ’ ll be getting.


Buy Now

. Kelvin Active Jacket($ 289).

 Sitka Gear (Photo: Courtesy Sitka)


Hunting, like backcountry snowboarding, is among those sports where having the ideal layers is vital. Preferably, you desire a midlayer that insulates when you ’ re standing still which breathes when you ’ re trucking uphill. This coat does both actually well. It ’ s filled with 80-gram Polartec Alpha insulation, which is utilized by a lot of&the very best brand names in the outside market since of its thermoregulating capabilities. I own comparable coats from other brand names, however information like brushed-fleece-lined hand-warmer pockets and the Polygiene odor-control treatment make this one of my favorites. It works as an excellent layer for ski trips, physical fitness laps at the resort, and even cold early mornings on the mtb.


Buy Now


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