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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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Leatherman’s Best Tools on Sale: Save on Iconic Multitools

When something goes wrong, you want a Leatherman in your hand. From cutting wood to fixing tents and repairing cars, Leatherman multitools have a long history of saving lives — and for good reason.

No matter your outdoor activity, a Leatherman likely has a purpose for you. We’ve used Leatherman multitools for decades and swear by them.

Seriously, from the multitool’s high-quality 420HC blade steel to its tried-and-true pliers, a Leatherman can fix a ton of things. We outlined 16 here, and that’s just a start.

Carry one on your next camping trip and never turn back. Click the link to shop the full sale or see our top four choices below.

Check out the entire Leatherman sale

Leatherman FREE P2: $105 ($15 Off)

If we had to buy just one Leatherman, this would probably be it. The FREE P2 has most of the tools you need (19 in all, including needlenose pliers with wire cutters, a knife, scissors, a can opener, and screwdrivers).

But at 7.6 ounces, it’s light enough to not be very cumbersome to carry. And with magnetic closure and single-handed opening, it’s among the most advanced multitools.

Check It Out

Leatherman FREE K2X: $70 ($10 Off)

The FREE K2X is more of a knife than a multitool. But for EDC use, it packs a pry tool, package opener, awl, bottle opener, and Phillips-head, medium, and extra-small screwdrivers right into the handle. At $70 on sale, you can get the K2X (with a partially serrated blade) or K2 (straight-edge blade).

Check It Out

Leatherman Wave+: $90 ($10 Off)

The Wave is the best-selling multitool, period. It’s been around a long time and consistently has proven its value in countless circumstances. With 18 versatile tools and a weight of 8.5 ounces, it’s the perfect companion for your pack or glove box. Get one now and save a few bucks.

Check It Out

Leatherman FREE P4: $125 ($15 Off)

This one-handed opening multitool might be the premier model available on the market today. It has 21 tools, including two blades and a saw. If you can’t get it done with the P4, it’s likely going to take a full toolbox.

So if you’re considering one of the bigger multitools with many capabilities, it’s a great time to score one at a modest discount.

Check It Out

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Survival Gear: 10 Items to Survive

The ideal equipment in your knapsack can actually conserve your life. What survival equipment should you bring?

Surviving in the wild —– no matter the area or the time of year —– depends more on human wit than the equipment you have in your pack. All survival professionals still suggest putting together an emergency situation set of devices to remain with you at all times in the wilderness.

( This short article initially released in 2007. It has actually been upgraded for 2020.)

Indeed, if you’’ re lost or hurt, the best equipment can imply the distinction in between a comfy night invested outdoors and a cold one. Products like a whistle or a signal mirror can modify fate to release rescue rather of desertion.

We spoke with survival specialists for guidance and leading equipment choices for survival circumstances. Keep reading for their suggestions.

.Survival Gear to Save Your Life.

A survival package is something most hunters, explorers, and hikers will never ever burst. It will being in the bottom of a knapsack, possibly for several years, framed in a water resistant vessel of some sort, light-weight and out of the method.

The leanest survival packages are kept in Altoids tins and so forth, and they consist of simply the bare backwoods basics: matches, firestarters, fishing line, a small compass, water filtration tablets, a whistle, a little rescue mirror, and so on.

““ As far as survival equipment goes, it actually depends upon the area you have readily available, just how much weight you can conveniently bring, and how far you prepare to endeavor,” ” stated Mike Forti, a graduate of the United States Air Force Survival School .

““ In truth, a knapsack filled with outdoor camping equipment is just a big ‘‘ survival set ’ developed for a prolonged and comfy remain in the wilderness. A much smaller sized variation of this may include a tobacco tin with fairly couple of products firmly crammed in.””

. Doug Ritter, Survivalist Website Equipped to Survive.

Developed by Doug Ritter, creator of the survivalist site Equipped to Survive , the Pocket Survival Pack is an industrial alternative for individuals who pick to take the minimalist path.

Made by Survive Outdoors Longer, this wallet-size package of mini multiuse survival products resembles any emergency situation set. It can assist lost or hurt explorers signal helicopters and airplanes, begin fires, boil water, melt snow for water, catch fish, browse through the woods, trap little animals, carry out basic emergency treatment, and repair work harmed equipment.

The set consists of duct tape, a pencil, security pins, a stitching needle, nylon thread, aluminum foil, a compass, fish hooks and sinkers, a magnifying lens, intertwined nylon cable, stainless-steel wire, a scalpel blade, a signal mirror, a firestarter, tinder, water resistant paper, a whistle, and a water resistant training sheet on the products.

All these products squeeze into a water resistant container, and the entire 4-ounce package costs $41.

.Mike Forti, United States Air Force Survival School.

But minimalist sets have constraints, Forti stated: ““ They can offer the bare fundamentals for an unpleasant, short-duration stay.””

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His set of option is a bit bigger and bulkier, however not overbearingly so. It can be endured a belt in a pouch and consists of adequate equipment to make a longer ““ unintended wilderness trip” ” survivable with some degree of standard convenience.

When putting together a set for any journey, Forti takes something he calls the ““ guideline of 3’s ” into account. This handy standard presumes that you can pass away in 3 hours when exposed to bad weather condition, in 3 days from thirst, and in 3 weeks from absence of food.

““ These are not absolute timeframes, however they are simple to bear in mind and are for that reason good standards,” ” he stated. “ For this factor, the majority of survival sets do not consist of Twinkies and juice boxes.””

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Instead, Forti’’ s equipment worries rescue and defense from the aspects. His No. 1 piece of survival equipment is a knife, particularly something big like a machete. ““ An excellent knife can be a survival package unto itself, ” he stated.

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From slicing branches and trees for a shelter to making from a bow drill for a fire to whittling a snare, a knife in the hands of a well-informed person, Forti stated, is the crucial product in a set.

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Perhaps suddenly, product No. 2 on Forti ’ s list is a mobile phone. “ The easy truth is that cellular phones conserve lives, ” he stated. “They can turn a survival legend into a non-event. ”

. “Todd Smith, Outdoor Life Magazine.

In a comparable vein, Todd Smith, previous editor-in-chief of Outdoor Life publication , worries rescue in emergency situation wilderness circumstances by means of fast interaction with the outdoors world.

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In addition to a mobile phone, Smith advises individual locator beacons( PLBs), which are basically emergency situation radio signal gadgets that interact with satellites( and therefore rescue workers) from anywhere on the world.

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Editor’s note: Since this short article initially released, PLBs have actually developed considerably. Today, items like the Garmin inReach and SPOT X enable outstanding interaction from nearly anywhere on the world.

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He stated PLBs are an outstanding financial investment for those intending on investing a great deal of time in the backcountry, particularly individuals who go solo.

At the push of a button, PLBs send your position through GPS collaborates to search-and-rescue centers, who might have the ability to then begin a search procedure within minutes.

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PLBs have actually started countless saves. Do not rely on others for aid. Your very first objective ought to constantly be self-rescue, with PLBs as a last-resort safeguard.

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Beyond PLBs, Smith stated a survival set need to consist of products like a map of the location, a compass, an area blanket, emergency treatment, a flashlight or headlamp, and fire-starting products. He advises keeping the important things physically connected to your body in a pouch on your belt.

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Gear requires to be tailored for each journey, Smith included. “ I inform individuals to make a standard survival package, however then include equipment proper for where you ’ re going, be it the ocean, the desert, the tropics, the arctic, the mountains “, or any other environment. ”

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Even individuals driving through the Rocky Mountains, Smith stated, must have a survival package in their vehicle . It needs to consist of a sleeping bag, warm additional clothes, food, water, and charged-up cellular phones.

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“ Have a tactical plan in location anytime you ’ re in the wilderness, ” Smith stated. “ You can be gotten ready for almost anything. ”

. Advised Survival Kits: Top 10 Essentials.

To cut a survival package to its leading 10 basics is to expose the “utmost required products for advertisement hoc shelter, heat,”interaction, navigation, and nourishment in the deep backwoods. Here are 3 survivalists ’ lean lists of equipment you ought to not lack in any wilderness scenario.

. Doug Ritter, Equipped to Survive. Heatsheets area blanket . Gloves. Chlorine dioxide water-purification tablets. Intertwined nylon line. Whistle. Lighter. Waterproof matches . Tinder( for fire-starting).Signal mirror.Individual locator beacon( PLB). Mike Forti, United States Air Force Survival School. Big knife( machete or hatchet). Cellular phone. BIC lighter . 9 x 12-foot plastic painter’s tarpaulin (0.35 mm thick). Mylar survival blanket . Mini LED flashlight. Water-purification tablets. Water container of some sort. Little roll of fishing line or floss .$ 50 expense( “ After a couple of days lost in the woods consuming bugs, it would be a genuine pity to emerge beside a 7-Eleven and have no cash for food, ” Forti stated.). Todd Smith, Outdoor Life Magazine. Personal locator beacon ( PLB) or mobile phone. Map of location. Compass Small first-aid package . Water bottle . Flashlight/headlamp. Lighter and firestarters. Area blanket/bivy sack.Whistle. Signal mirror. Survival Technology Updates: 2020.

Personal locator beacons: These are smaller sized, inexpensive, trustworthy, and provide numerous brand-new functions.Business like SPOT, Garmin,and Somewear now provide items that publish practically real-time tracks of travelers away the grid.

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The SPOT Gen3 , for&example&, costs as low as$ 150&and allows users to send out basic, pre-programmed messages(” all OK,”” send out aid,” and so on) to good friends&and household or start rescue through a first-responder network. And the SPOT X 2-Way enables and has a keyboard for total two-way messaging.

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&Satellite messaging: Sending text by means of satellite phone has actually gotten cost effective. Garmin ’ s inReach SE , a satellite-based GPS communicator, costs$ 300. And for$ 50 each month, it provides unrestricted texting from nearly anywhere in the world.

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Cellphones: Cellphones are still not 100% trusted in the backcountry. Service protection and the effectiveness of mobile phones, even in remote locations, are impressive. Lots of travelers bring them as cams, and they work excellent as GPSand electronic compass navigation.

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Today, the majority of them likewise work as flashlights. Regardless, they are useless if the battery is dead, so strategy appropriately.

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