The Best Survival Machete

| October 13, 2013 |

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Machetes are a tool that fits a specific purpose and for that purpose there is no substitute. There is really no better tool for bush whacking than a machete. Trudging through the deep forest is an exhausting experience and having a machete is what separates success and exhaustion. A machete is somewhat of a mixture between axe and knife, capable of hacking through limbs and cutting like any knife. Machetes have found their way into nearly every culture in the world, and for good reason. The machete is an incredibly efficient tool that saves time and effort in working.

A machete makes clearing an area to set up camp possible. A machete is also a silent weapon perfect for dealing with pests like venomous snakes. Machetes are lightweight pieces of kit that are easily strapped to a pack or worn on a belt. Machetes make building shelters much easier than knifes, allowing you the chop at much thicker logs for notching or sharpening the bottoms into points.

As a self-defense weapon it’s much better than a knife. The longer reach is the first clear advantage. Machetes also give you the ability to hack and chop which is something a knife isn’t very capable of. A machete is much better suited for fending off animals like wild dogs and finishing off animals trapped in a snare that are bound to be distressed and angry.

A good machete needs to have a blade between 14 to 24 inches, any longer and the blade can become unwieldy, any shorter and you lose a lot of effectiveness when it comes to hacking. A machete needs to be able to be wielded one handed, but again heavy enough to slam and hack through brush. The machete cannot bend or wobble to much of your run the risk of the blade glancing off something and striking you.

Now there are two kinds of machetes, the gardening machete and the outdoor/survival machete. The difference is of course strength and quality. A gardening machete runs less than ten bucks and will have a lot of bend and give to it. These blades are super lightweight and only used for minimal brush clearing. These cheap machetes are really made for thick weeds, not any kind of underbrush you might face in the forests or jungles of the world.

The blade should also be made of quality steel so you can chop through smaller trees, or cut firewood. I’ve used my machete like a hatchet a few times, and was glad I purchased a quality model. A few quality models I suggest are:

ontario machete

Ontario Military Machete

This is the classic military machete. Ontario is the same company that produces the KA BAR for the United States Marine Corps. The Ontario Military Machete has been in use by the United States Military for over sixty years. I carried one of these machetes in Afghanistan for seven months and saw heavy use with little maintenance.

The machete is the perfect weight to hack and chop, while still being light enough to be used one handed and be easy to carry. The blade in a 1095 carbon steel, which may not be a scalpel, but it doesn’t have to be. The steel is tough and from personal experience I can attest to its ability to resist chipping and breaking. Has hardness between 50 and 55. The blade is 18 inches and the machete is 24 inches overall.

The machete is very Spartan, and is boiled down to the necessities. You won’t find molded rubber grips, reverse hook blades, or any kind of fancy hand guard. This is a plain Jane machete that works, and works well.

Golok Machete

Golok Machete

The Golok machete is made by Condor, a company whose knives and machetes have developed a good reputation in the United States. The Golok’s odd name comes from its Indonesian design. Both the blade and the handle feature very distinct curves. The curved handle is not only for comfort but to increase the leverage for hacking and slashing. The curved blade has most of the weight in the end, again making the hacking and slashing motion much more efficient.

The Golok is very comfortable to swing the curves really give it some cutting power. The hardwood handles are incredibly strong. The blade is a little over 14 inches long, with a total length of 20 inches, making this a very compact machete. The blade is made from 1075 steel, which won’t hold an edge like 1095, but it is a whole lot tougher.  The Golok is a perfect pack blade.

perang machete

Gerber Parang Machete

The Parang machete is designed in part by survival expert Bear Grylls. Even without Bear Grylls name on it, the Gerber name is enough for me. Gerber has built a great reputation with outdoorsman, the military, and firefighters for building tough and dependable tools. They have been building, knives, multi tools, saws, axes, and more for decades now and have been incredibly successful.

The Parang is no different. I love the Parang due to its design. This isn’t the average looking machete; above the handle the blade has a sharp curve to help maximize controllability and your swing’s leverage. The upper end of the blade is where most of the weight is packed, making it a great tool for hacking at thick branches.

The grip features aggressive grip patterns that making holding the tool with wet or gloved hands easy. The full tang design increases the durability significantly. Of course it’s corrosion resistant and easy to sharpen. The machete is very ergonomically inclined and very easy to handle. The works hold a great edge with its high carbon design. The oddly named Parang is a great addition to the Gerber line of machetes.


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