5 Types of Machetes and How to Use Them

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By Josh •  2 min read

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

5 Types of Machetes

Khukuri (aka. Kukri)

The 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)


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.

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.


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 used effectively for slashing through light underbrush.


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.

Top Photo by: Rachel Strohm


Josh is a Boy Scout and an avid outdoorsman. He specializes in knives (and other such tools), various knots & lashings, traditional skills such as blacksmithing & woodworking, bushcraft and fire starting. Read his full interview here.