The Best Machete For Survival

All of my outdoor enthusiasts and survivalist know that there are certain weapons that are imperative for survival and a machete is arguably one of the best. A machete serves as an all purpose tool that can be used for defense against wild animals, clearing twigs,plants and cutting wood.

What makes the machete such a great tool is that even with specific types of machetes they still all have their own, construction, features and applications that make each one of them unique. If you are on the hunt for the best machete available, stick around to see which one is just right for you.

Product

Best Use

Price

Rating

Ka-Bar 2-1249-9 Kukri

Chopping and Clearing Brush

$$

Gerber Bear Grylls Parang Machete

Multi-Purpose

$

Condor Golok Machete

Clearing Brush and Chopping 

$$

Hunting

$

SOG SOGfari

Brush Clearing

$

The Top 5 Machetes For Survival

Ka-Bar 2-1249-9 Kukri

Power

Reach

Quality

Our Rating

The Ka-Bar Kukri is a 100% synthetic machete that's made in taiwan and is made with carbon steel. Primarily made for clearing campsites and chopping weeds, its ergonomic thermoplastic handle allows you to firmly grip it so you can swing as fast and hard as you need to while avoiding accidental slips. The blade is 11 ½ inches thick and weighs 1.7 pounds.

  • Evenly balanced
  • Durable handle
  • Multi-purpose
  • Comfortable grip
  • Reduced portability because of the heavy blade

Gerber Bear Grylls Parang Machete

Power

Reach

Quality

Our Rating

The Gerber Bear Grylls Parang Machete is perfect for the survival enthusiast who will need to cut through branches and vines. Equipped with a carbon steel blade to increase strength and rubber grip for maximum comfort and reduced slipping, this machete is perfect for an all around survival weapon. It’s overall length is 19.5 inches, which makes it great for cutting down vegetation and it is 19.4 ounces (without sheath) which makes it lightweight and excellent for portability.

  • Very Durable
  • Affordable
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Easy to sharpen
  • Sheath included
  • Blade does not fit into the sheath very tightly
  • Blade sharpness could be better

Condor Golok Machete

Power

Reach

Quality

Our Rating

If you are looking for a machete that has a strong blade, while still being beautifully crafted and made for multiple uses, the Condor Golok Machete is a great option. With a 19 inch handle, this machetes primary uses are cutting through vegetation and can also be used to cut through wood without getting stuck. Perfectly made for the outdoorsman who truly enjoys activities such as building shelter and gathering vegetation.

  • 100% leather sheath included
  • Black powder epoxy finish
  • Strong high carbon steel blade
  • Handle easily rusts
  • The blade gets dull quickly

Cold Steel Kukri

Power

Reach

Quality

Our Rating

The Cold Steel Kukri is definitely one of the best in its class when it comes to portability, quality and cost. This blade is for the hardcore outdoor survivalist that will really be using their blade for a little bit of everything. The Cold Steel brand is known for its high quality products and never fails to deliver. Equipped with a blade that is 2.8mm thick and a loop at the top of the sheath for your belt and an eyelet for a string at the bottom so you can attach the sheath to your leg if you want as well.


  • Polypropylene handle for increased grip
  • Comes with a high quality sheath
  • Affordable
  • Forward balance increases strong swings
  • Edge may not hold well
  • Sheath is awkward to use at times

SOG SOGfari

Power

Reach

Quality

Our Rating

Professionally graded and made with stainless steel the SOG SOGfari is a great blade for anyone looking to do the normal survivalist activities like clearing brush, trailblazing and cutting through small branches. This machete is nothing to mess with as it has an 18 inch blade that is optimized for long reach and a kraton rubber handle that increases your grip. A must have for the arsenal.

  • Long blade for maximum reach
  • Rubber handle for a better grip
  • Sturdy
  • Does not come with a full tang, blade can move from side to side
  • Sheath is not made of the best quality
  • Saw could be stronger

What To Look For When Choosing The Best Machete For You

There are some key factors to look for when making your selection. Following this guide will help you in making the best decision.

Blade Length

Machetes are available in a wide range of lengths, starting at 10 inches and going all the way up to 28 inches. When choosing how long you want your blade to be you need to think about what is most important to you and what exactly will you be using your blade for.

If you are looking for portability and control it is better to go with a shorter blade. While those attributes do increase, you will not have the long range you need to do things such as, clearing plants and defending yourself from wild animals from a distance.If you are looking for sheer power and reach, you will want to go with a longer blade.

Portability will decrease with a longer blade but you will have much more swing power, can cut deeper and can cut from a distance. With that, you also run the risk of transportation and control being much more limited.

Blade Construction

A machete can be used as either a cutting or slicing tool. You again want to think about what you will be using your blade for and base your decision from that. If you will be chopping small trees or wood for activities like building shelters or gathering firewood you will want to go with a blade where the heaviest part is at the tip.

This will increase the impact.If you are looking to do more precision cutting, say if you are carving or slicing meat, it is better to go with a blade where the heaviest part is in the center, as it is closer to the handle and provides better control.

Blade Thickness

There are machetes that have thin spines and there are some with thicker spines. You can consider a thin blade to be about ⅛ inch thick. The ones with thinner spines are easier to control and are less heavy which allows you to quickly swing them if needed.

The downside of the thinner blades is that, if you are using it to cut through tougher objects like wood, and tree limbs, there is a possibility that the blade can break.Thicker spines do allow for you to achieve heavy duty chopping without really having to worry about your blade breaking. A thick blade is about a quarter of an inch thick and is best used for tasks you need to do up close, not anything that requires a fair amount of distance.

Blade Material

You will typically find that machetes are made from a few different materials, each material has its advantages and disadvantages. Once you figure out the best use for your machete you can make your decision accordingly.

1. Stainless Steel - Excellent if your budget is one of your big deciding factors in your choice. This material loses its edge pretty quickly so it's recommended to use it on softer objects, and it is ideal for wet weather as it does not rust quickly.

2. Carbon Steel - This material rusts a lot quicker than the others but is tough and ideal, especially in situations where you are repeatedly striking an object. It can hold its edge longer than stainless.High

3.Carbon Stainless Steel - This material has the best qualities from each stainless steel and carbon steel. It is rust resistant and extremely tough, the biggest downside is the expensive price.

Handle Construction

Something that is important but may be easily overlooked is the construction of the handle. If possible, you want to choose one that fits into your hand and that you can grip. Choosing a handle that's too big runs the risk of you swinging or chopping and the machete flying from your hand, and we both know that's not something you want happening. 

To prevent accidental slips you want to look for lanyard hole or a knuckle guard as it gives you a much better grip.

Handle Material

You will generally find that a machete’s handle is usually made from either wood or plastic. There are pros and cons to each. With a wooden handle you will maintain a better grip and you do not have to worry about it getting cold, but it is not ideal for rainy weather conditions because it can warp pretty easily.

A plastic handle will not warp if it is wet and it is inexpensive but will become slippery if it's wet. While expensive, the best type of handle you can have is the Micarta. It is made from plastic, fiberglass, canvas that is heat-treated and linen. It is very strong, provides an excellent grip and is super comfortable to hold.

Tang Design

The tang is the piece of the machete blade that locks the blade and the handle. Some of the best machetes will have a full tang that completely extends into the handle and is riveted into position increasing the overall power and durability.

The Different Types of Machetes and Their Best Uses

This specific machete is unique because of its leaf shaped blade. It is only sharpened on one side and is strong enough to cut through a rifle barrel.BillhookMainly meant for chopping around objects like tree trunks, this ancient agricultural tool is popular among charcoal makers for woodlot and coppicing management. This machete is also great for “snedding” which is stripping buds and side shoots from a branch.

The Bolo has most of its weight at the tip because it is mainly used for clearing vegetation. Very common to see in Southeastern Asia as it is used mostly as a farming tool. This style machete is also great for self-defense against wild animals as well because of its significant chopping power.

Mainly meant for chopping around objects like tree trunks, this ancient agricultural tool is popular among charcoal makers for woodlot and coppicing management. This machete is also great for “snedding” which is stripping buds and side shoots from a branch.

Probably one of the most popular machetes amongst survivalist, the Bowie has a clip point designed for skinning and makes an excellent utility blade.

This type of machete has a straight back blade and is categorized under an “all-purpose” because of it's ability to be used for a wide variety of uses. It is evenly balanced and portable.

Typically called the “corn knife” the cane style machete is made for cutting through corn stalks and cane style vegetation. The blade is hooked as it allows for the user to be able to pull the chopped cane from a plant that is standing.

This machete is sharpened on both sides to allow you to be able to cut while doing forehand and backhand swings.

Usually used as an agricultural tool, the golok is great for chopping down trees and wood because it has a primary grind, which prevents the blade from getting stuck when chopping.

Able to cut essentially every hard material, the hawkbill machete is focused on two different things. Effectively cutting vegetation and reaping it. The sharp point is for cutting while the curved inside is for reaping....

A heavy machete has a wide tip made for heavy duty work like chopping, and the tip is either dull or completely removed. It is a blend between a knife and an axe, and the cutting edge is completely flat which is not ideal if you are looking to do any sort of slicing that involves precision.

The Kukri has a unique design as each part of the blade is made for a different purpose. The tip is pointed and made for stabbing or piercing, the midsection is for heavy chopping and the end of the blade is made for carving.

Wonderfully made for cutting vegetation, the latin machete has a blade that is completely straight back and stout.

Also known as the Tapanga, this style machete has a deep midsection that is made for chopping and slicing. The front of the blade is upturned for precision cutting.

The parang is a short, thick blade that has a primary grind which helps avoid it from getting stuck in wood. They are usually evenly weighted or just slightly weighted.

Best Situations For A Machete 

For all my survivalist, we know that a machete can be used for a number of activities and can serve its purpose in multiple areas but what are the activities where a machete can really be of use?

  • Hunting - Probably the second best weapon to a rifle would be a machete. Us being survivalist and outdoorsman means that every time we step into the wild we run the risk of coming in contact with a wild animal. Whether we are looking for that animal or it runs into us, it’s always in your best interest to take the best safety precautions that you can.When you use a machete for hunting you can not only effectively protect yourself but you can also skin and slice your meal as well.
  • Clearing Vegetation - Another issue you will run into being in the wild will be tall grass, lots of vegetation and branches. A long blade is excellent for clearing these things with just a few swipes. Cutting vegetation will mean you’ll have food, cutting tall grass means you may spot things that you couldn’t before and cutting wood or branches means potentially you’ll have material for building shelter or even just a clear pathway to be able to effectively target your next meal.
  • Shaving - Believe it or not a machete makes a good grooming tool. You just want to make sure you are extra careful and have plenty of shaving cream.

What You Need To Protect Yourself While Wielding a Machete

The most important thing when wielding a machete is protecting yourself. In order to better protect yourself, there are a few things you should consider when purchasing a machete.

Quillion - A quillon is the crossguards on the handle of the machete that stops your hand from sliding around.

Knuckle Guard - A knuckle guard is an opening on the handle that allows you to fit your entire hand into and grip it while it protects your knuckles.

Conclusion

There are a number of machetes on the market and they can all be used for a number of things. Your choice will come down to a few things such as, your primary use, and your budget. Whether you are looking to chop wood, hunt for animals, or clear vegetation, there is a machete out there that is right for you.

Based on my personal experience the winner of this specific review would be Ka-Bar 2 Kukri. This decision is based off of this weapon being extremely diverse in the purposes it can serve while also being affordable as well. This decision is purely based from a survival standpoint, there may be another machete on this list that suits your needs perfectly.

About the Author Kyle Grey

Hey Everyone! My name is Kyle Grey and I am the guy behind outdoor intensity. I am an avid camper and have been camping for well over 10 years. Camping and the outdoors is something that I am super passionate about and because of that I decided to share my experience and knowledge that I have gained over the past 10 years.

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