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Our modern view of machetes in the West is one that is based on an expectation of what they are, instead of what they are actually used for.
Many people who hear the word ‘Machete’ think of films and the protagonists of those films, like Rambo or the titular character from Machete, Machete.
In these movies, these tools are often depicted as weapons of war.
However, that is simply not the case.
If you go to countries where machetes are used regularly, then you will not find a super-buff super-soldier using one, but in actuality a simple farmer or a local person using the tool to clear crops and trees from their land.
These tools are so useful and versatile, being the tool of choice when making your way through incredibly rugged and wild places.
Considering how important they are in these situations, it is also important that you get the right one for that use.
Therefore, we have decided to create a list of the 6 best machetes out there so you can decide which one is best for you.
The Gerber Gator Machete is a staple of any outdoorsman's kit.
It’s a heavy-duty, no-nonsense tool with a total length of 25 inches with a 15-inch sharp and fine blade on one side and an 18-inch saw blade on the other.
The extremely heavy-duty blade can handle anything from cutting through tree branches to delicately chopping up rope.
Its rubberized handle and sturdy sheath make it a great tool for camping, hunting, or any other outdoor tasks.
Its non-traditional blade shape is intended to give you a more efficient cutting style than a traditional machete, while its ergonomic shape makes it easy to use one-handed, being slimmer and easier to wield.
The Gerber Gator Machete is made from high carbon steel and is able to resist extreme wear and tear, meaning you can use it for many years without needing to replace it.
The tang of the blade is also quite thick in order to counter the fact that the back is actually another blade in and of itself, a saw blade.
Having a saw blade while in the deep woods or trying to clear-cut up thick wood is a perfect accompaniment and makes the experience all the better.
The one issue with the Gerber isn’t really all that much of an issue at all, but it can wear on people.
Due to its shape, it doesn’t carry as much weight on the blade as other machetes do.
Therefore, when swinging the Gerber, it may not carry as much force in a single swing.
However, given its sharpness and utility, this should not be a problem at all.
The CRKT Halfachance Parang Machete is a top-quality chopping tool that can handle anything you throw at it.
It’s made from high-carbon steel, and the blade is double-ground, giving it a strong and super-sharp edge.
The handle of the Halfachance Parang Machete is made from an extremely durable polymer, which makes it extremely lightweight while still being extremely durable.
When we say lightweight as well, this blade is among the lightest, which is a particular bonus when carrying all your equipment with you in the bush.
The Halfachance Parang Machete features a versatile wrist lanyard sheath that lets you carry it easily and securely, and the handle can be worn with a glove without hampering its effectiveness, thanks to the finger grooves.
The shape of the blade is a bit deeper than most blades, and it resembles more the medieval falchion than a machete.
Yet, this makes it perfect for cutting through thick trees and brush and, even with its lightweight, it comes down hard and fast on those troublesome wooded pathways.
The one issue with the blade is length and, again, it isn’t that big of an issue.
The length of the blade is only around 14 inches and the total length of the machete is around 19.50 inches.
This means that it is a little on the short side and if you need to clear brush just out of reach, then it isn’t ideal.
This affects the handle too, as – even though it is incredibly ergonomic – having a shorter handle affects how much force you can apply to the blade, and it may be necessary at times to use two hands to clear the path ahead of a particularly woody brush.
The Kershaw Camp 18 (1074) Camp Series Machete is a dependable and durable machete that can handle anything you throw its way.
It’s made from stainless steel, with the full tang of the blade running the length of the handle.
The weight and length of the Camp 18 will make it easy to wield, and the low-elevation drop point design is ideal for handling tougher vegetation like thorns and branches.
The Camp 18’s large, rubberized handle provides a great grip, even when it’s wet, and its handle is wrapped with a cord for a secure hold, and it is contoured to make sure you never lose your grip.
The Camp 18 also comes with a heavy-duty nylon sheath that will protect your blade from damage and allow you to carry it safely.
While its length is about average, with the total blade length sitting at about 18 inches, the blade itself is a balanced weight (sitting at around 2.14 pounds).
This means that the force you can bring down the blade on wood is greater than most other blades, which is perfect for hacking through vegetation.
As with previous blades on this list, the issues with this blade are fairly minor, with it mostly revolving around the shape.
The shape of the Camp 18 is more comparable to a knife, rather than a machete.
Most people won’t see this as an issue, but a knife’s and machete’s shape dictates how well they will perform at a job.
A machete’s shape is mainly to be used for cutting through vegetation, which a knife’s shape may not be the best for.
Some may also have a problem with the weight. Being 2.6 pounds, it is a little bit heavier than most machetes, so if you already think you’ll be over-encumbered for your trip without this machete, maybe go for a lighter model.
The Hooyman Bush Machete is an extremely durable and dependable machete.
Made from stainless steel, it resists wear and tear as well as being corrosion resistant and is well-built to handle even the toughest of tasks.
Its 21-inch blade is light but packs a punch, ensuring you get maximum cutting power and control.
The Bush Machete’s full tang runs the entire length of the handle, and its handle is made from sturdy polypropylene.
The Bush Machete’s handle is extremely comfortable to hold and features finger grooves to keep your hand from slipping during use.
In fact, it incorporates Hooyman’s signature NO-SLIP H-GRIP handle which will still have a grip on it, even in the worst weather.
The other thing about the handle is that it is a full seven inches, but has finger grooves on it.
This means that most hand sizes are accommodated for, with smaller hands using the finger grips near the blade and bigger hands using the full length.
Comfortable in design and built with quality materials, the Bush Machete is a great choice for anyone who requires a high-quality machete.
The one issue people might find with the Bush machete is actually tied to one of its best features.
The blade is all round designed to be durable and useful in any adverse conditions, but this means that the handle is not the most comfortable material for sustained use.
Once you have gotten used to using it, it is fine, but until that point, it can be a little uncomfortable.
The Tramontina Machete is an all-purpose tool that is ideal for everyday use.
Made from high-carbon steel, it’s durable and can handle even the toughest of tasks.
It has an 18-inch blade that has been made traditionally in a way you find common in South America.
This gives it an extremely sharp edge and makes it perfect for handling vegetation, which was taken into consideration by the manufacturers, who are from Brazil.
In fact, out of all the machetes on this list, this one has the easiest time chopping, specifically, wood.
The handle of the Machete is made from sturdy and durable wood, giving it a natural look and feel, and its ergonomic shape is designed to slip easily into anyone’s hand.
One of the best things about the wooden handle is that it is durable, lasting for years at a time.
When the handle does finally break, it will be easy to replace.
One of the best features of this fairly traditional machete is its weight.
It only weighs 1.2 pounds in total, making it incredibly light.
Combined with its cutting power, it’s no wonder people turn to this machete when they want to go into the wilderness.
Comfort is the main issue with Tramontina. As you can imagine, this tool puts everything into durability, purpose, and use.
Comfort comes in dead last for consideration.
The wooden handle can be especially harsh on the hand and while your hand will eventually adapt to its hard nature, many put tape around it to stop this from happening.
The Condor Golok machetes are made from incredibly heavy-duty carbon steel.
This is a high carbon tool steel that is known for its strength and ability to hold an edge, even in the wettest and thickest of jungle areas.
Along with the durability of the blade itself, a black powder epoxy is added to the finish, which brings more protection to the blade and stops rust build-up.
This means that you will get many years of use out of it, especially if you get it regularly sharpened.
The blade of the Golok is only 14 inches long and the entire machete is only 19 inches, making it quite small.
Yet, this tool still packs quite a punch, making it an ideal tool for clearing large amounts of land, while still being easy to carry in a backpack.
This machete also has a wooden walnut grip, adding an authentic feel to using it.
This grip helps you hold on to it better, rather than just your bare hand.
The Golok is also extremely lightweight, so you don’t have to worry about fatigued arms when you are clearing a large amount of land.
However, as always, there is a downside. Once again, comfort is not really considered.
Everything about this blade is designed for harsh conditions in the Indonesian rainforest, not a nice stroll.
The hardwood used in the handle is always going tough and strong, but also tough on the hands.
Many people use wraps around the handle to sort this and the hands do eventually get used to this, but it is still an inconvenience for casual users.
When you are out in the bush, the forests of the world, or in any wild place that means you are totally on your own, then you need to make sure your most valuable piece of equipment is working at all times.
For most situations, the most important piece of equipment is the machete (or knife) that they carry.
However, in order to get the best machete for the job, you need to know the criteria that will give you the best machete.
As such, we have settled on a few different things that determine whether or not the machete is fit for the job.
The machete has to be made of the right material. If you make a machete out of just some old scrap metal, it will fall apart within a week.
However, if you make it out of carbon steel, it will last a lifetime.
The other thing about the material is whether it is resistant to the elements.
Rust can form quickly and ruin a blade, especially in the wild, so you want the material to resist rust as much as possible.
The length of the machete is very important, even if it may not seem like it.
The blade should not be so long as to be cumbersome, as it will get caught on trees or brush, however, you also do not want the blade to be so short that you cannot work through various vegetation areas.
Weight is equally important. Weight determines how much force you can bring to bear during a swing of the blade, and it also determines how heavy it will be to carry for long distances.
Grip is key when wielding a sharpened tool that could potentially cause harm if safety measures aren’t considered.
You need the handle to be easy to hold and to feel like you have a firm grip on it. Comfort is also necessary.
You will be using and holding a machete for a long time, a very long time.
If you start getting sore from a little use, then maybe it isn’t the right machete for you.
Here is the most commonly asked question when it comes to machetes.
One of the most important items you can have when you are trapped in a wild place is a knife.
It makes everything easier: collecting wood, stripping bark, hunting, fishing, collecting food, building a shelter, the list goes on.
A machete is basically a large knife with added weight and length, which means that it can do all that, but also help you move through a forest easier.
The best machete has to be the best machete for you.
Whether that be a short, but comfortable machete, a heavy, but powerful machete, or, a machete that is all round average, but – due to that – is really useful in most situations, then that is fine.
Just make sure you are picking your best machete and if you can’t decide, use the criteria from this list or try one of our best machetes. You may just find one you like.
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