5 Types of Machetes and How to Use Them

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The machete is an extremely effective survival tool. It combines the chopping power of the hatchet with the finesse of the knife. There are many different styles of machetes designed for different tasks. Here are some of the basic types and their uses:

Article by Survival Cache contributing author Josh

1. Khukuri (aka. Kukri)

Khukuri Kukri MacheteThe Kukri, more a large knife than a machete, was created by the Gurkhas of Nepal and is carried by their army and used by their people as a general-use tool and weapon. The kukri is an amazing multi-tasker. The big heavy end provides chopping force close to that of the hatchet, and the sharp inner curve gives great control for finer tasks. (Cold Steel makes a great Kukri)

Bolo Machete

2. Bolo

The bolo machete was created in South America, and is used in the Philippines, Indonesia, and Cuba. The bolo is a heavy duty tool used for brush clearing and light chopping in the field.  (Gerber makes a great Machete for under $20)

Parang Golok Machete3. Parang (aka Golok)

The parang machete is my personal favorite. It was designed in conjunction with the British Army. It has excellent edge retention, and a great feel. When you hold it seems to become part of your arm.

Panga Machete4. Panga

The panga machete originated in Africa where it has been used in many conflicts. The panga, parang, bolo, and kukri all have the weight focused on the end of the blade where it provides more chopping force. The panga can be use effectively for slashing through light underbrush.

Heavy Machete5. Heavy

The heavy machete is the heavyweight of our lineup, with chopping force greater than that of a hatchet the heavy machete can do some serious damage to solid wood.

Survival Applications

The machete has numerous survival applications from brush clearing, to wood chopping, quartering game, and even defensive purposes if it ever came to that. I keep one lashed to my Bug Out Bag in addition to a hatchet to cover any chopping needs I may have. They can be used for just about anything.

What Do You Use?

What type of machete do you use? Or if you are planning on buying one, tell us what type you chose and why it meets your needs.

Visit Our New Survival Gear Store – Forge Survival Supply

Top Photo by: Rachel Strohm

{ 104 comments… read them below or add one }

caine30 June 6, 2010 at 4:34 am

great reading Josh the kukri is one of my favs. one thing about it is a true one that they cattied is kind of like the Katana was of ancient japan its handed down from father to son and cared for with an almost fanatical kind of way they will do anything to protect that blade just a little something eles

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Seth wahle June 11, 2011 at 11:01 pm

If you want just a cheap get it done machete or camp hatchet walmart has some crap ones for 10$ each they are made of some sort of sorfter metal and do t keep an edge for shit but there cheap and will do what you need if you don’t mind sharpening them pretty much constantly

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zschell June 6, 2010 at 12:20 pm

I have a kukri. I like the fact that it is a little shorter than the others (except maybe the heavy), making it more maneuverable. Plus, you could split a zombie's (or human's) skull with one in a pinch.

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Josh June 6, 2010 at 7:52 pm

In reply to both of you, I do like the kukri the times Ive gotten to use it. I choose the parang because its one that i actually own. I know that kukris have been used in beheadings/ executions in as recent times as the 70's.

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Lucas_SurvCache June 8, 2010 at 5:12 pm

Great Article Josh.

I have no idea how far behind the curve I was on machetes. I've got a cheap one from the military supply store but I should really invest in a good one.

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Josh June 8, 2010 at 6:55 pm

Yeah, I have a bunch of cheap ones, but every time I use a good quality one I realize how much I want something I can stake my life on if ever the time comes, but other priorities take precedence.

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caine30 June 9, 2010 at 1:28 am

one thing i like about macheties is you can make one if you have the time and the forge and files which i do lol i have made 13 of them so far and gave them out to my friends

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Montezuma1775 June 8, 2010 at 9:06 pm

I know nothing about machetes…, but… I like the Parang, because it has the coolest sounding name. :)

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Siphran October 20, 2010 at 11:51 pm

Of course it does, its Malaysian xD
But it works really well too, I dont personally own one, but i go back to Malaysia every summer, many jobs there i get to use parang.

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Josh October 29, 2010 at 6:51 pm

Cool!

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Dan June 9, 2010 at 1:52 am

Those cold stone kukris you loinked to aren't really kukris at all. They're just kukri shaped machetes. Real ones are a lot heavier and kind of bridge the gap between hatchets and traditional machetes, able to do the work of both, but not quite as well as either of them. I'd never remove overgrowth growth with a hatchet, and I definitely wouldn't split wood with a machete, but I've done both with a kukri (though I prefer my woodsman's pal for clearing brush). Be careful what you buy, that product isn't able to do what it's name implies.

Just my two cents

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Lucas_SurvCache June 9, 2010 at 5:45 am

Dan,

Thanks for the heads up. I want all of our readers to speak up if there is something the rest of us should know about any gear we discuss.

Would it be better if I linked to the Ka-Bar?

Something like this: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00140QFHM?ie=UT…

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caine30 June 12, 2010 at 3:41 am
Barry January 16, 2012 at 11:30 am

Ontario knife company makes a usmc spec machete that can’t be beat

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OneEyedRoss June 9, 2010 at 3:46 pm

The kukri I use I purchased from Sarco for about $20, shipped. I had to spend time with a file and stone to put an edge on it, but it's great, heavy and useful.

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caine30 June 11, 2010 at 11:43 pm

some tribes still use them in rituals and sacrafices. they do and will lob off a body part well. even better if you can get someone to teach you the martial art that goes with it.

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Michael June 12, 2010 at 5:38 am

LOL… I'm pretty handy with axes, I think I'll stick with those. I've used a Machetes a couple of times and was never very comfortable with them.

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caine30 June 12, 2010 at 5:00 pm

Josh,

i found a good style for you to look at it has the saw and the heavy blade and its a gerber lol. here it is have a look at it:
http://www.amazon.com/Gerber-22-41576-Gator-Mache…

I am as you may have figured out a big fan of the Gerber gear.

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Josh June 13, 2010 at 11:59 am

Caine,

I do like that Gerber gator, although I have only used the 10 inch blade, not the full 22". The reviewer here http://m4040.com/Knifemaking/REVIEWS/FieldBladeRe… seems to like it quite a bit.

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caine30 June 13, 2010 at 3:13 pm

i used the 22" on a few times my second in comand has one its not bad the weight is good and the saw on the back of the blade works really well he keeps his starpped to his back at all times while in the woods there is nothing he cant do with it and its a good short sword for when we get in the mood to practice with them i use two kind of mid grade ones and that is only if i go for just a day or two i could not see lugging those around for a couple of weeks

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RudeBoy August 3, 2010 at 8:12 pm

I would avoid Gerber products especially the machetes. The Gerber machete doesnt have a full tang. Heavy use will destroy it in no time. Even better it flies off the handle and hurts you or someone else! Machetes are generally very poorly made tools made for light work. I recommend the Woodsmans Pal. Great design, infinitely useful, and well made.

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Bruce July 21, 2010 at 7:08 pm

I live in hornepayne ontario Canada and the bolo machatty I bought and sharpend comes in very handy in any situation I have fallen into I may only be 13 years old but in hornepayne I think every kid owned a knife at one point me more than others

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MikeLaws July 30, 2010 at 3:00 pm

I just picked up the SOGfari as a cheap "starter" machete from amazon.com for 22.31.

So far so good, though I did nik the blade on a rock that was in the midst of some brush.
http://www.amazon.com/SOG-Specialty-Knives-MC-02-…

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Josh July 30, 2010 at 4:56 pm

Looks good, I am interested to see how the sawback works.

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MikeLaws July 30, 2010 at 5:08 pm

It's a bit awkward at first, but once you get used to holding it and sawing it works just fine.

Not my ideal saw, but would work well in the event you have no other saw.

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Josh July 30, 2010 at 5:17 pm

If you are ever in the market for a machete with a more agile saw take a look at http://www.amazon.com/Gerber-22-41576-Gator-Mache…

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RudeBoy August 3, 2010 at 8:16 pm

Josh, did you read the reviews on the link yoou posted? Not a full tang blade, lousy construction, etc? Gerber has gone down hill as a brand. I highly recommend people avoid their products.

RudeBoy_UrbSurv August 3, 2010 at 10:53 pm

Any fixed blade knife worth anything really has to be full tang. Dont you want a piece of survival gear to be able to stand up to hard use? I mean by virtue of the name of this website doesnt that mean your life could depend on it? I require all my equiment to be robust, heavy duty, multi use tools. Not all of Gerber products may be bad but a few of their products most certainly are. Products that can easily seriously injure a user or bystander while using the tool in a manner consistent with its prescribed usage, products that people depend on. That to me is the mark of a company in decline and a company that a survival website should think twice about recommending the products of.
Thanks for the response! D
RB

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Josh August 4, 2010 at 10:27 pm

Well said.

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RudeBoy August 2, 2010 at 4:29 pm

Steel wool and a 9volt battery. Rub the battery across the steel wool and presto! Fire.
Also, I just wrap cotton twine around newsprint and cover with wix. Pretty easy.

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Josh August 7, 2010 at 8:16 am

Part of what makes the site so great is the commenting community. Thank you for offering your incite.

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Valcain August 24, 2010 at 7:00 pm

Never EVER buy that cheat machete from wal-mart, way too thin. Bad sheath to.

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Josh October 29, 2010 at 6:57 pm

I found that out the hard way. It was my first machete and while using it in the aftermath of an extremely bad ice storm the beginning of this year the handle shattered and the blade managed to slice my leg.

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Mike August 30, 2010 at 8:03 pm

I have a machete that I bought over 40 years ago when I was 12 years old. Very plain with an 18 inch blade made in Sheffield England. My Dad was a machinist and ground it to razor sharpness for me. I have used it for over 40 years on camping trips, tree prunings, brush clearings, etc.
It is the best, most useful tool that I have ever owned! Recently, I picked up a Tramontina bolo machete that I plan to use for light duty, abusive work. Costing only $6 it seems to be an incredible bargain, but it will never replace my English machete.

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Josh October 29, 2010 at 7:01 pm

Thats really cool, I hope it becomes something that can be passed down as an heirloom of sorts. Sheffield has quite the reputation in the knife making community, it is the location of the factory that first mass produced bowie knives, Fairburn-Sykes knives, and a small factory that engineered parts for John Browning.

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wes harrelson September 21, 2010 at 9:22 pm

my brother is a missionary in honduras and i bought one down there . it is long 30" blade and is a razor. also , if you are looking for a martial art that works well for machette , fillipino escrima stick fighting works well .

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Josh October 29, 2010 at 7:02 pm

Neat.

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W.T. September 23, 2010 at 7:08 pm

A machete is basically a chopping tool although the parang is designed for both delicate woodworking and chopping. But one of the great misconceptions about tangs (full tang, stick tang etc.) is the idea that simply having one sort of tang or another is all one needs to know concerning strength. But that is not entirely true. A full tang blade that is poorly tempered (the steel remains too brittle for persistent chopping) is just as fragile as a blade with a half-tang or no tang at all. Proper heat treatment, tempering (usually differential tempering) is paramount if one is going to have a sufficiently strong and stable blade. Those comments about full tang vs stick tang often come from people who perhaps do not understand the finer points of metallurgy. A full tang is good only if it's been tempered correctly. Poorly tempered blades are often dangerous and fragile, full tang or otherwise.

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Josh October 29, 2010 at 7:05 pm

Good point. When I forge knives I coat the tang and spine with clay during the tempering process to allow the handle to have more spring when chopping and batoning .

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Kevinthenurse September 27, 2010 at 9:51 pm

I'm a bit partial to my "Woodsman's Pal". Grandpa had one and seemed to have a couple of advantages over a machete. As long as you didn't chop yourself in the head. Maybe I'm a sentimental traditionalist……

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Josh October 29, 2010 at 7:07 pm

Not at all , I have wanted to pick up one of those for quite some time but funds are costantly being appropriated elsewhere.

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Josh October 29, 2010 at 6:52 pm

You sound like my Mom did when I got my first knife. LOL.

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Roman Redna November 6, 2010 at 9:23 pm

Also the forward curve of the Khukuri adds an immense amount of power to your strike compared to the other machetes/short swords. (Chopping through walls/doors/asshole-has-a-shield)

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alan November 19, 2010 at 8:28 pm

I went with the Ka-Bar Cutlass, mostly for the Ka-Bar name…my Ka-Bar I had when I was in the Corps, although it became rusted and corroded with our many surf entries and exits, always cut whatever I needed to cut…we'll see with this machete.

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Chefbear58 December 1, 2010 at 11:24 pm

My personal choice for carry on my pack is a Vietnam Era US Army issue machette, kind of like a cross between the bolo and panga. its pretty comfortable in the hand and holds an edge well, you can pick them up pretty cheap and I would recommend a different sheath than they come with, I had one custom made out of high density plastic that is vacuum molded to the blade (I have one for my Cold Steel Bushman to).

For my vehicle kit I have a Cold Steel that is the same blade as the "heavy", but it has a 3' handle, I have always heard this type called a "cane axe" but I don't remember what they call it off the top of my head. This thing makes clearing brush, taking down small trees and butchering deer into "primal's" a breeze!

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Chefbear58 December 17, 2010 at 3:11 pm

Old Scout, have you seen the Cold Steel "Bushman"? I have one and it's great for the improvised spear! It's a single piece of carbon steel, the handle is hollow and has a small hole near the opening (where the pommel would be on a sword) that can be used for securing the knife to a handle, I have used screws and even a carved "pin" made out of deer bone. The only drawbacks I can find with this knife is the lack of a hilt (could be real easy for your hand to slide up the blade if the handle gets wet) and the sheath that comes from Cold Steel is garbage! I had one made out of vacuum compressed high density plastic that even keeps the blade dry (found that out when my girl and I "dumped" into a river because of a hidden "strainer" on a canoe trip!).

Good point about the US entrenching tool, I have a Vietnam issue folder that has one side sharpened. I have used it as a hatchet on camping trips with the Boy Scouts. Just about anything made out of decent metal, that will hold an edge, can be sharpened in a pinch.

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ruger110 January 3, 2011 at 11:04 am

I had one of them cheap machetes you can buy in the camping dept. at the local wal-mart, the brand name was coughlans, I'm sure most of you are familiar with some of their products in the familiar green packaging, some are quite useful while others like their machete are cheap to the point of being dangerous. the sheath gave me trouble right from the beginning, it wouldnt stay fastened then I tripped on a tree root while hiking and even though I stayed on my feet the machete flew right out of the sheath that was tied to my pack and the handle broke. later that evening while hacking bark off of a downed tree for kindling the blade snapped off and barely missed my shin. from the time I opened it to the time it was rendered worthless was about 8 hours.
Now I'm in the market for a good reasonably priced machete, I've done some research and I'm leaning toward a Gerber Gator( with the recall issue corrected of course).

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SurvingJerry January 3, 2011 at 12:26 pm

I steer clear of their (Coughlan’s) embarrassingly crappy stuff. I don’t understand why they even bother with some of it. I’m all for finding a good value, but relying on garbage gives a false sense of security.

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Dave H. January 16, 2011 at 5:47 pm

I carried an issued GI machete while serving as a Gunner on UH1N Huey and later on MH-53 Pave Low. I actually had to be lowered on a hoist to prune tree branches in a very tight LZ in Panama. We also used the machetes to quickly chop a cargo strap that secured a rope ladder that became entagled in jungle vegetation. The GI machete sheath w/ built in sharpener is superior to anything else I have seen. I currently prefer to carry the "heavy" machete on my ATV as it doubles as a shovel. YMMV.

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Chefbear58 December 4, 2011 at 5:58 pm

Thanks for your sevice in Panama, myself and my family litterally owe our lives to the men & women of our military who came to our aid in '89!

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Privateer73 January 16, 2011 at 8:16 pm

I carry a large mexican machete in a saddle leather scabbard I picked up in Del Rio for $10 US it is hand made frome some really good steel and holds a edge really well, looks similar to a parang but almost 30" of blade with a abs rivited handle. I also carry a Kukuri I forged from a leaf spring and fallow horn it works for butchering and light woodwork.

Cheers

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T.Rapier February 12, 2011 at 8:59 pm

I also have one in my BOB , darn handy tool wherever you live .

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MO2112 February 21, 2011 at 7:38 pm

People put WAY too much faith into machetes.. they're nice to have (I'll be adding one to my collection o' blades soon) however, they are not necessary and should never be thought of primarily. Most are cheap and bend easily, unless you have too much money and spend a couple hundred bones on one. In a realistic survival situation, I'd personally much rather have a good crowbar.

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Josh February 25, 2011 at 3:39 pm

You are correct, they are not primary wood cutting tools, but when you just need to limb a branch, or split kindling they work fine. If I could only have one tool to survive with it would be a large bowie like a Kershaw Outcast, or Parry Blade, IMHO.

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NickThompson February 24, 2011 at 9:37 am

Cold Steel Machetes are the best. I own 2 kurkis and they are some of the best machetes I've ever owned! A kurki will last you as long as you need it too.

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Nismoron February 24, 2011 at 8:11 pm

I carry a real Kukri myself. Kukris from Nepal are often made from truck leaf springs and carry some real heft to them. I can cut brush, chop firewood, and split skulls if needed. I also have a vintage Collins & Co machette that excels at cutting light grass and brush, but the Kukri beats it at everyting else. If the SHTF, I would carry the Kukri and the machette would be left behind for the looters.

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survival kid March 1, 2011 at 8:01 pm

panga is the best

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Steve March 2, 2011 at 3:27 pm

Has anyone tried the SPEC machette from OKW? Bit short but packs well. Carried it on elk hunts and loved it

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threehawks March 28, 2011 at 2:13 pm

I use a saw and a hatchet. I love Gerber's products.

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T.Rapier April 9, 2011 at 6:47 pm

The shape of the Kukri looks interesting , never handled one and wonder what the impact on your wrist is like because of the downward curve ?

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wyzyrdap April 16, 2011 at 11:43 am

I have a Cold Steel kukri, that has been very good at brush-clearing (I don't live anywhere near a jungle). My new favorite, as an all-around tool, though, is the Meyerco sawback I picked up last year.
Holds a great edge, the sawback is thin enough not to be a total joke, and the spear-point could have its uses in an altercation. Mostly, I like the handguard. About 25 years ago I broke 3 fingers and a knuckle in a moment of stupidity, and a bit of protection could be good in a survival situation.

Think of the overall design as a "21st Century pirate cutlass"

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jason May 6, 2011 at 8:13 am

I found an a Kukri…as I have not purchased it yet (though I plan to), I cannot comment on they quality. Ontario blades makes the Survival Gurkha Kukri; it's made from carbon steel ( I would never purchase stainless) and runs approx. $53. Bonus is that it's manufactured from American Steel… I don't know of many manufacturers making blades in America anymore, this includes the staples like Gerber, Smith &Wesson, Browning, SOG, Remington.

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T.Rapier May 9, 2011 at 9:59 pm

when you do get it and test it out , please let us know how you like it . I have a cold steel heavy machete instead of a hatchet . It works good for that . The kukri I am curious about and would like to see how it performs as a heavy chopper on wood in case I ever have to replace the one I have as they make a heavy kukri .

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steven May 24, 2011 at 11:03 am

i used to have the heavy machete, i once used it to cut down about a ten year old tree. it works well but for a weapon it has it's drawbacks. it doesn't come with a sheath and it's shorter then others I've seen. and after cutting down the tree i realized how bad the handle is, it's far too large and isn't comfortable at all.

i ended up buying this when i moved and thought the cost and time to ship my old one down was too much of a hassle. http://www.amazon.com/Tactical-Machete-Black-Tita…

it is very sharp and would be a good weapon. but it's not as strong as the heavy. it could cut down brush well but not anything large. one other thing is that when i got it the very tip (1/4") was bent and broke off when i tried to fix it. good thing people hardly use the tips of machetes in combat.

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old O'possum August 13, 2011 at 5:03 am

I'v used a cold steel Panga style machete- occasionally as my only tool on survival training trips. It has performed extremely well in all circumstances, and in a variety of environments. In maine- the land where the axe is king the panga is is still my go to tool. It may take a bit more work to fell a tree with it, but with the proper understanding of the sabering tech there is really nothing that it can't cut down- It is definitely a tool I would recommend to anyone especially to the inexperienced- The learning curve for a panga blade is much quicker than with a more advanced chopper such as a kukri.

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Steven1381 October 24, 2011 at 7:33 pm

I have two different types of machetes that I use now (have had about seven or eight but the others broke or couldnd keep an edge). My first and what I would call brush or bamboo clearing machete is actually a converted Japanese sword. I had it shaved down to 24" full length (from the bottom) and had the lower 4" of blade squared, a friend of mine covered the bottom in leather, and I had a shipmate of mine used 550 paracord to wrap the handle to fit my hand. It is a true Japanese sword, i would not suggest trying it with a cheap decorative piece. It is sharp as a razor and I have actually tested it while hunting to clear a shooting lane through wild bamboo. My second one is a heavy machete for chopping or heavy duty tree type clearing. I also have three "heavy duty knives" and they might be something that everyone wants to look into they are basically machetes with nine inch blades and have many utilitarian uses. I once again removed the cheap handles then practiced my leather working skills and small line working to make my own personalized grips.

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COMMANDO_EITAN November 7, 2011 at 7:29 pm

I personally prefer the kukri style. I have been using the Cold Steel model for several years and I am amazed with it's durability and edge retention. I just ordered a kukri by Big Bohica so we will see how it compares.

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Robert November 23, 2011 at 4:05 pm

12+ years ago I purchased a saw back standard style machette made by Ontario knife Co. Full tang is an understatment. The tang is as wide as the handle. I have used it quite a bit everything from backpacking to yard work. It was inexpensive (around $15) and American made (big + in my book) I do like the Gerber/Cold Steel/SOG varities, but when it came to bang for the buck Ontario couldn't be beat. The downside is the "saw back" is about worthless as a saw, can't get much of a grip for saw purposes.

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Cordelia December 4, 2011 at 8:33 am

why tie your knife to a stick when you can just sharpen the stick?

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Chefbear58 December 4, 2011 at 5:53 pm

A sharpened stick would likely prove largely inefective against an animal such as a bear. Their hides are really thick and extremely tough compared to animals like deer. If I had nothing but basically a sharpened stick, I would temper the end in a fire, get it as sharp as possible, engage the animal at a distance and hope for the best

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TED December 23, 2011 at 12:57 pm

I have used a machete in the 1960s to cut trails through jungles, I HAD A MILITARY ISSUE MADE BY ONTARIO This blade kept an edge all week long unless you hit rocks then you were back to the stone to get the nick out.I used this for a year and still use it around house and camp.It survived everything I hit a rock and the tip broke off 3 inches.Well a little time at the grinder and the tip was back and my ONTARIO was ready to serve me the rest of my life.I ALWAYS WONDERED ABOUT THIER WARENTEE. I cant tell you what is best for you but i can still depend on mine.

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Casper January 20, 2012 at 7:16 pm

I have the Ontario Kukri and LOVE it!
US steel, great handle, etc.
I went to SMKW and handled them all, K-bar was good but jap steel, Cold Steel had a crappy handle. The rest were cheap imitations.
I trust my life to my Ontario Kukri, it will go to my grandchildren, only complaint if any is the sheath will need to be replaced long before the Kukri.
PS. some awsome sheath ideas on yahoo images- Kukri

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Guest February 16, 2012 at 11:10 pm

It's used for cutting sugar cane.

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AKA March 3, 2012 at 10:27 pm

croval

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AKA March 3, 2012 at 11:05 pm

*crovel

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Woodsranger March 19, 2012 at 7:00 pm

I carry a Cold Steel Kuhkhri machete and a scanvik fixed blade knike for woods ranging on my belt. Both are light weight and handy for any camp or survival task. For fall or winter a 3/4 axe and Buck saw for a base camp or longer trip on my pack. Haven't had to bust through ice with a 3/4 axe to get to water in Virginia, but it does better on frozen wood than a saw. As to an entrenching tool I use a folding Gi shovel and it goes in my pack. For Truck Camp a regular shovel. As to self defense the presence of the kuhkri and fixed blade are enough of a deterent for 1 or 2 trouble makers. My concealed carry Glock is for anything the other can't handle, 2 or 4 legged.

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First Lieutenant X September 15, 2012 at 7:14 pm

I got a…a.a.. I rely don't know what I got it LOOKS like one I saw in a surplus store, but it's a great machete!

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jordeaux504 November 6, 2012 at 8:20 am

The "Woodsman's Pal" will out perform any machete out there. It's got the handling of a machete but the power of an axe. It has multiple uses unlike the one dimensional everyday machete.

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bizarrebre November 14, 2012 at 2:33 pm

I have Bolo machete brought to me from Honduras, Central America. I love it, but plan on also getting one from Cold Steel soon.

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Rofo January 4, 2013 at 5:10 am

I personaly use a Panga. Fits my needs just fine and I find it estheticaly pleasant to.

Does enought damage to wood to be used for choping if you forget the hachet, sharp enought to clean bushes and light enought to move decently fast with some training.

Oh, and I personaly witnessed that it's also good as a weapon to defend yourself (no wonder they used it on conflicts in Africa): I once had a bad ecounter with a boar and he charged. I had to resort using the machate as I have no firearms. All I can say is that a single chop on his "upper" neck came this close of choping the boar's head of.

To sum things up, in my opinion, it's a good all-around machete and a good choice if you a beginner who still doesn't have a particular preference

Safe travels

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JeffSocrates April 4, 2013 at 5:16 pm

GINUNTING – Used by Filipinos for breaking brush and is standard issue for their Marines Forced Recon Units. AWESOME!!!

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Buzz Sawyer April 9, 2013 at 3:47 pm

BRKT Grasso Bolo I, II, or II. I like the III because it's weight forward design makes it the best chopper. Chops as good as a Kukri or hatchet. Easier for battoning than a Kukri. I have my multi tool and Bravo one for smaller tasks, but if I didn't the Grasso Bolo can be used for detailed work if need be. I can use it like an Ulu when I need to. I'd hate to have to, but with the broad blade it could be used as a spade. All around my favorite big blade ever. The I and II might better serve some people due to size/strength issues. The smaller two might also be better as defensive blades because of the weight/balance of the shorter blades. But for me. The Grasso Bolo III is the all around winner. It's so good for so many tasks that it allows me to carry fewer tools. Just my opinion of course.

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Red April 14, 2013 at 8:58 am

The bolo wasn't created in South America. Filipinos were already using bolos even before native south americans started using metal tools and before the arrival of the Spaniards in the Philippines.

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Michael447 April 30, 2013 at 7:55 am

My personal favorite is a WW2 Marine Corps bolo. These were issued to Navy Corpsmen attached to Marine units in the Pacific Theater. They are an exceptionally heavy blade, that is rounded on the end. They were issued so that Corpsmen could chop litter poles from available vegetation. It is basically only a chopping tool, but extremely well made one. You can split firewood with ease.

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wireless laser mouse August 7, 2013 at 10:20 am

I do not know whether it’s just me or if everybody else encountering problems with your blog. It appears as though some of the written text on your posts are running off the screen. Can someone else please provide feedback and let me know if this is happening to them as well? This could be a issue with my browser because I’ve had this happen
before. Kudos

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Ted Woodworker August 9, 2013 at 12:05 pm

Wow, cool info. Where to by all these machetes?

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Guest October 4, 2013 at 6:05 pm

where to "buy" ???

most were Cold Steel, but one was Condor – they're my preferred.

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Guest August 16, 2013 at 3:39 pm

After using many different types of machetes and survival blades, I have settled on the Hibbins MkIV. I don't think I will ever look further for an all-around wilderness survival blade. This thing is made of truck-spring steel, 1/4" thick, about 4 lbs of hi carbon steel which holds a razor blade edge almost no matter what you do to it. I've used it to clear campsites,, split logs, hammer tent stakes, poke the fire and dress larger game, in addition to normal campsite knife uses. I wrapped the tang handle with 12ft of paracord, covered by 10ft of duct tape. Makes an effective grip/shock reducer and affords me those handy items if I need them. This blade is remarkable in that it seems completely indestructible. I can make sparks with it by striking it on several grades of rocks, too. I sure would grab it in time of full-contact self-defense encounters. My buddy borrowed mine and said he fried an egg on it over the campfire. No visible damage to my blade. I can drop wrist-thick trees with 2 or 3 well placed blows. Used it to make a TeePee shelter (with old Tyvek sheets) and it saved lots of time. I usually carry several blades into the wilderness, but if I had to limited myself to one, it would be the Hibbins. I paid $60 for mine, new with a sheath. Then they got popular (because Hibbins went and named them after Rambo) and the price nearly doubled.

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Guest October 4, 2013 at 5:57 pm

after doing some research and learning all about how the Gurkhas are pretty much the "biggest" bad *sses on the planet and all the history/traditions behind the Kukri blades I was pretty much sold, but then my half-Chickasaw wife insisted that moving through the woods was more about working with them, not bending them to your will or something + machetes leave a very, very obvious trail to follow and we already had a 'hawk, so I settled for a decent knife to match it instead. That said, machetes are a great way to go and if you're looking for a weapon then you could do worse than either that or the Panga. Remember the Rwanda genocide of the early '90s? 1,000,000 victims by way of that blade, just saying…

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Jeremy M. October 14, 2013 at 7:45 am

My personal machete is the Golok from Condor Tool & Knife. I had never had such a heavy machete before so the weight took a little getting used to. The blade and handle are very stout and solid, when you swing this machete you can let the weight do a lot of the work for you. The best quality I have ever handled, and a fair price I think.

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aji November 22, 2013 at 5:01 am

Hi there….i'm Indonesia just want to inform that in my country we dont used bolo instead we use Parang aka Golok. I believe golok or parang is a local name for them. Thanx

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Tactical22 December 9, 2013 at 7:00 am

I collect machetes and swords. I have 3 Katanas but I really love my machetes. They are made for whacking branches and vegetation. Try it with a sword. It won’t last long! I have a $111 kukri called a sirupate. It is over 2 foot long and hand made from spring steel from old trucks. I got all my machetes from amazon. Check out kukris made in Nepal. The BEST!! Get the 10″ British military issue one.

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Roger March 10, 2014 at 9:45 pm

I have several different machetes, but I prefer my Ka-bar Kukri machete (I have 3 and have given away others to family), mainly because IMO it's the best all-around blade style. At 17 inches overall, with a 11 1/2 inch long, 3/16 inch thick blade, it can do almost any cutting/chopping you might need to do! No knife/machete can out chop/cut an axe or saw, but skinning/field dressing with an axe or saw is quite difficult! A small neck knife is very good for skinning/field dressing, but doesn't wood very well! The answer is to carry all 3 (or 4) because no one cutting tool can do all tasks well and things get lost or broken, then you're SOL! (Unless you a very good blacksmith) If weight or space is a issue, then a neck knife is first, then the Kukri, and then the axe or saw depending on preserved need! Good Luck!

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Josh August 3, 2010 at 10:06 pm

It may not be full tang but it still out performs several other machetes I have handled. I have not used the Gerber for any serious chopping, all I really do with it is cleaning up small limbs and cutting back over grown foliage. It may easily be surpassed as a chopper, but the saw functions quite well for what it is, which is a light duty multi use tool.

Thank you for looking at other reviews and letting us know. I really appreciate readers telling us things like this so that I dont recommend bad gear.

I would not condemn the Gerber company as a whole for one bad product though, I am the proud owner of several Gerber knives and am very happy with the craftsmanship and quality they exhibit.

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Ben228 April 4, 2011 at 2:31 pm

Dead link

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Josh April 4, 2011 at 3:31 pm
Regulator5 July 17, 2011 at 1:09 pm

Arnis is the Filipino art form. It's not as common in the US as many of the other arts, but is effective. They start with sticks and machetes and then teach unarmed techniques.

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Doug November 6, 2011 at 7:11 pm

i bought one that looks identical to the one on your link. im not sure of the style name but i love it. i cleared brush with, chopped down small trees for pioneering projects, and it holds a very nice edge. the blade is 440 stainless steel. the only down side of it is the saw on the back side doesnt work very well

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Nobody April 21, 2012 at 6:26 am

escrima, kali, and aris are all Filipino martial arts. They vary somewhat in application, just like different forms of karate, but the basic principles are the same.

It is hard to find a good Filipino martial arts school; unfortunate because they have a lot to offer!

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Regulator5 April 22, 2012 at 12:04 am

I agree. I really enjoyed my short stint in Arnis. I liked the added style of "triangles" instead of the normal "circle" movements most arts employ. It adds another degree to style and can have the added benfit of confusion, especially when dealing with a novice in the business of martial combat.

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charlie September 28, 2012 at 9:00 pm

I also had one made in Sheffield. It was a great machete. The blade was just thick enough to stand up to hard use. I was hiking on the AT and it broke loose from my pack pack one day. It was only that evening when I was making camp that I realized it was gone. Next day I back tracked but never found it. I guess someone else found it and hope that they got some good use out of it. I have had many since then but yet to find one that was as good as that one.

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poorman March 9, 2013 at 7:27 am

The Gerber parang is my choice. You can pick one up for 40-45.00. Great blade.

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Mauro Lima August 22, 2013 at 7:24 pm

Don't forget those "things" on "The Descent" film. I still don't get the production didn't gave a simple big knife to the team. How someone could be a survival actor theses days treated that way.

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Benjamin Flaig July 21, 2014 at 11:24 am

Speaking as someone who owns one of those Cold Steel kukri machetes (they do use the word machete in the name), it may not be as heavy as the ones crafted by the ancient artisans in Nepal, but it still does excellent work. I used mine to cut down a palm tree about 12" in diameter in about 20 minutes. An axe or hatchet may have been faster, but it was still very impressive from such a small, lightweight tool. Do not hesitate to buy one of these machetes just because it's not 100% "authentic."

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