I've owned many different brands over the years and most have seen very hard use. I can tell you that right now in my eyes benchmade is second to none but also outside your price range. I have a presidio auto folder that is in my bug out/ field kit. I have a new gerber rescue knife that is my daily carry right now, it was free so we'll see how it holds up. I have a CRKT M-16 that has been around for awhile and has seen some real hard use on several deployments( the edge is a little rough now but tip is still good and the parts are not loose. To give you an idea of how much use its had the bluing on the blade is almost gone. I also have a SOG trident that was given to me. I haven't beat on it to much yet but doesn't seem real well built. Glad I didn't pay for it.
As far as fixed blade goes I'm a K-Bar guy I have a tanto that has been to hell and back(Fallujah is close enough right?) and has been beat badly. It has been used as a hammer, pry bar, can opener, shovel, and anything else you can think of. 20 min on a stone the edge is good as new even though the knife looks like a war relic. This is in my field bag as well and goes with me every time I deploy and every time I'm camping. I love this knife and if I had to pick one to be by my side this is it. No folder can ever compare to a 8 inch fixed blade.
I also always have a multi tool in my kit. I prefer leatherman for this over gerber by a long shot. Out of the past 4 I have had I've broken 3 beyond repair and the last one is in my tool box for odd stuff, however there are 4 leatherman's in my gear now. 1in the shooting bag 1 in each car and 1 in my field bag.
As you can see I like knifes abit and have put some hard use on them. Hope it helps.