Since 1980, Benchmade has made some of the most iconic and lasting knives. The proud American-bred company focuses on innovation, customer needs, and bringing the highest quality products to the world. Benchmade has always been and will continue to produce some of the best knives in the industry.
Producing some of the best knives means setting a high standard of knife-making and utilization. With the Benchmade Weekender 317-1 being released, I’ve gotten a chance to put this knife to the test. I’ll review the Benchmade Weekender’s pros and cons with a candid review of each aspect of this special pocket knife.
- Overall Length: 7.05”
- Blade Thickness: 0.08”
- Blade Grind: Flat
- Blade Finish: Stonewash
- Edge Type: Plain
- Handle Length: 4.08”
- Handle Width: 1.02”
- Handle Thickness: 0.55”
- Weight: 3.50 oz.
The Weekender is offered in two models; one with micarta handles and one with G-10 handle scales. Both options give this knife a great look and feel. Though the micarta will stain over time, it offers solid and bold construction. With either of the handle materials, they both handled exceptionally well in any condition. If I had to choose which I preferred, though, I would choose the olive drab micarta with orange pivot collars; the aesthetics are classic, my grip is good even when the material is wet, and the patina the micarta will gain over time with use is especially attractive to me.
A knife can look as great as the next, but what it feels like in the hands is what matters. This brings us to the ergonomics of the Benchmade Weekender. Whether right- or left-handed, the Weekender feels incredible. The contours are only on the blade side, where my fingers rest when using the knife. The backside is unique in that it is almost entirely flat. As far as the exact reason for this design choice, I can’t say, but interestingly enough, it feels excellent in the palm. Additionally, if you want to keep this knife out on the table, the backside keeps it stable and won’t fall over. Overall, a great and comfortable fit for any size hands!
The Weekender is featured to be, “For weekend escapes to nature…that has everything you need for basic camping chores.” While this is true, it is unfortunate that the only way to carry this knife is deep in my pocket or thrown into a bag. I would’ve loved to see a pocket clip added to this model for easy access or even a lanyard hole to attach it where I’d like. The flat backside, I’d imagine then, is to leave the knife upright on a table when not in use, but I don’t leave my utility knives lying about; I keep them on my person. Even still, this knife feels great in my pocket, it’s not too heavy and fits quite well.
My big “but” with this point is that, at the end of the day, the Weekender was designed to be a specific style of knife. Like the Stockmans and Trapper knives of yore, the Weekender, too, lacks a pocket clip. If our grandfathers could go their whole lives without a pocket clip, we can as well. Plus, that leaves the Weekender truly ambidextrous (because when you have to use two hands to open a knife, you should be able to use either hand to use it) and maintains a minimalist aesthetic. Overall, the carry is a topic we could debate but it comes down to what the Weekender is: an ode to traditional pocket knives. And I think it’s achieved its goal.
As with all Benchmade knives, the stars of the show for this Benchmade folding knife are the blades (especially my personal favorite, the short blade). Both blades are made from CPM S30V, a premium steel that revolutionized the market upon its release in 2001. Since then, it’s been featured in such EDC workhorses as the Benchmade 940 Osborne and Spyderco Delica 4. CPM S30V is claimed to be one of the best all-around stainless blade steels available, and it certainly has qualities that check boxes among the knife community. This stainless steel offers the best toughness, hardness, wear resistance, and corrosion resistance for how easy it is to work from a manufacturer’s standpoint and sharpen as a user. CPM S30V is an excellent choice for the Weekender in particular because I see this knife as a tool that either goes with you for a week at camp, or stays in your pocket every single day as you go about your normal work and chores. In both cases, you need a knife you don’t have to worry about, and the rust-busting chromium content and off-the-charts edge retention give you blades that don’t rust and rarely need sharpening. I reckon you can do a week of near-constant use without needing to sharpen the Weekender.
The clip point blade performed beautifully in various tasks, from slicing fishing line, to chopping food around the campfire, to cutting larger pieces of tinder for the fire. As a fireside whittler, I appreciated the beautifully honed clip point blade to cut rougher shapes in my woodworking project. The stockier drop point blade is my favorite, though. It maneuvers beautifully in detail work. Where Benchmade excels in the design of the blades is that each is centered perfectly, and each is just as comfortable to use as the other. Each blade feels meant to operate separately from the other with ease; if the Weekender was the same except it only had the small blade, I wouldn’t even mind.
And then to top off the blade design, we have the bottle opener on the back for those of us who use our precious EDCs as cap lifters way too often (often with devastating consequences as we find out our blade can’t take it). While I’m nearly certain the Weekender’s blade can handle opening a bottle, I am glad I don’t have to find out and have this bottle opener tool instead.
My only qualm with the blade design is that it is underutilized. Despite the size difference, the overlap in function for the large and small blades leaves me wishing the designers of the Weekender had opted for a third, distinct tool to expand utility. Or maybe just a flat head screwdriver as part of the bottler opener arm. However, this is so far from a dealbreaker for me, as the Weekender is in the modern traditional knife camp more than it is in the multi-tool camp. If you’re looking to judge this slip joint pocket knife by Victorinox Swiss Army knife standards, then of course it will miss the mark. I see the Weekender as more of a pocket knife revival akin to the Benchmade Proper and knives from makers like Peña Knives and Jack Wolf Knives. But if Benchmade every decided to add more tools to the Weekender, I definitely would not complain.
While the Weekender looks like a rugged camping knife, it feels like it too. The best way to construct this specific design is with a slip joint lock and nail nicks. The tension of the slip joint is tight and I find myself using the hollow nail nick openers as grips for my fingers and not my nails. This is positive in my book because the detent makes it feel secure. If you need to pierce something, you don’t feel like the blade will buckle and bite your fingers. Having a safe knife is a significant priority for me, and this feels safe because of the tension.
The tension of the slip joint works well in the first and secondary for keeping your fingers safe, but overall getting the blades open could wear your fingertips down. If the tension on the springs were loosened a bit, then the blades would open with ease and with your nail, but this would compromise safety when closing. Overall, it feels safe to use even though it can be brutal to open.
In conclusion, the Weekender is a great knife to have while camping. It could handle all the tasks I could throw at it, from whittling/tinder for a fire to slicing any food I wanted to prepare. Sure, I wish there were a few changes, but I will keep this in my pocket for any weekend trips. As coveted as Benchmade is, the Weekender’s price accurately reflects what you’re getting. You’re getting excellent micarta/G-10 handles paired with a premium CPM S30V steel that you can trust. Plus, with Benchmade’s lifetime warranty, you can send back your Weekender for all the repairs, sharpening, or replacements you need. Like all knives that sport the butterfly, the Weekender will likely outlive you! With that cheery sentiment, I cannot recommend this spirited retelling of the classic pocket knife enough.
If you are simply a weekend getaway camper, beginning camper, or even proficient in the art of camping, or need a solid multi-tool around the home, then you cannot go wrong with the Weekender. While this is a sleek, rugged, and reliable outdoor knife, it is also perfect for around-the-house/yard chores for those weekend warriors. The ability to do all the basic camp or house chores in one tool was a great feeling. Complete with a bottle opener to crack open your reward for finishing your to-do list! This should be in everyone’s arsenal of pocket knives. If you haven’t had the opportunity to rely on a Benchmade knife, now is your chance! Deciding which model of the Weekender to choose from? Take a look at the micarta model and the G-10 model. Interested in other Benchmade products? We’ve got you covered! Check out our in-depth look at the Benchmade 940 Osborne on our blog and in the video below!