Thanks for the review! I'm happy to see a step beyond a razor blade for wilderness equipment.
Benchmade makes several knives that are excellent of excellent quality at a fair price. I like the Axis lock very much. You can flick open most Axis lock knives by just pulling back on the lock-- the thumb stud isn't needed. Be careful reversing that process to close the knife one-handed-- you can remove your fingertips if they are hanging over the edge of the handle.
I carry a Benchmade Griptilian 551-ORG with a 3.5" 154CM blade and a bright orange handle every day. It is heavier than the 530 at 3.5oz, but I like the handle much better. The thinner blade of the 530 is probably better suited for food prep than the Griptilian.
And $70 for a life-time quality cutting tool is nothing. A Chris Reeves Serbenza folder goes for $330-$385 and there are endless examples for more expensive knives. Like any tool, you can see and feel the difference in quality and performance.
I think the real criteria for choosing a knife are quality of manufacture, blade steel, handle shape, and lock construction. There are many, many good quality knives out there and most of the differences come down to personal preference. Quality wise, a knife is no different than any other gear we buy-- cheap doesn't last and fails when needed the most, whether it is leaking rain gear or a stove that won't light, or knife that goes dull, won't open, rusts, etc, etc.
I think it is important to remove yourself from the emotional aspect of knives when choosing one. Most folk have far more dangerous knives in the kitchen drawer than you will ever see on the trail! Many paring knives are the same length as a common 3.5" folder.
Do check your local laws when choosing a pocket knife. For example, in Seattle there is a 3.5" limit on folding knives and fixed blades are illegal in any length. This is for normal carry-- there are exceptions if you have hunting or fishing gear and the license to go with, or tradesmen with fixed knives in a tool box. Locking blades aren't allowed in the UK, so keep local laws in mind when traveling.