Hardcore hunters who hike miles into the backcountry to escape other hunters and find unpressured animals put a premium on shaving weight and saving space. If you’re the kind of backpack hunter who shaves ounces by hacking off your toothbrush handle or wearing the same pair of underwear for a week, Benchmade’s new Altitude knife is what you’re looking for.
The ultralight Altitude is about as simple as it gets but it retains the details and craftsmanship needed in a quality hunting knife. Think of it as a lean, mean, endurance athlete instead of a thick-necked linebacker. It reduces both weight and space by losing an attached handle. The lack of screws or rivets also helps in this department. With the blade and handle comprised of a single piece of metal, there’s no moving parts that will fail or break. As with all Benchmade knives, the blade is razor-sharp and holds its edge well. It may take a while to get used to how light the Altitude is and how the thin handle feels, but after using it, the MeatEater crew agreed that this knife is a keeper.
Keep in mind the Altitude isn’t just for hunters obsessed with counting ounces. I stash one in my pack at all times, even on small game hunts close to home, as an insurance policy against a dull blade or lost knife. But it’s so light and compact I do have to check now and then to make sure it’s still there.