Survival machetes come in a wide variety, sizes and shapes. They mostly serve the same purpose, but knowing the difference between them could help you find the one that feels best in your arm. To help you choose your best survival machete, we will discuss all the essential details you need to know before buying a machete for survival. And, we will also provide you with a list of our top picks of high rated survival machetes on Amazon.
But if you are not only interested in these types of machetes, we’ve got your back! This post is only part of a series of articles meant to bring forward all you need to know about machetes and their uses. Thus, you can go further and get informed about the overall best machete or the best machete for clearing brush in order to have a complete view of all that’s out there.
Finding the best survival machete may seem like a pretty straight forward process, but there are many types of blades available from different manufacturers. Each of them has their own pros and cons. Thus, you need to take into account what type of situations you anticipate you might be using your machete in.
- 1 What are The Best Types of Survival Machetes?
- 2 What Is The Best Steel For A Survival Machete?
- 3 What Is The Best Handle For A Survival Machete?
- 4 How to Choose the Best Survival Machete?
- 5 What Is The Best Survival Machete On Amazon In 2019?
- 5.1 Gerber Gator Sawback 18-inch Machete
- 5.2 Fiskars 29 Inch Machete Axe
- 5.3 CRKT Halfachance Parang K920KKP Machete
- 5.4 Gerber Bear Grylls Parang Machete
- 5.5 Ontario SP8 Survival Machete
- 5.6 SOG SOGfari Kukri 12- inch Machete
- 5.7 Cold Steel 97KMS Kukri Machete
- 5.8 Condor Tool and Knife 15-Inch Bolo Machete
- 5.9 Condor Tool and Knife 14-Inch Golok Machete
What are The Best Types of Survival Machetes?
The best type of survival machete depends on what you intend to use your machete for. Throughout history, many different created their versions of machete to help in agriculture and survival.
Ultimately, each type of machete is based off the tradition of their origin. Thus, the type of survival machete you choose largely depends on your personal preference and what you intend to use the machete for. Here are the best types of survival machetes:
6 Types of Great Survival Machetes
Parang machetes are commonly used in Indonesia and Malaysia. Survival Parang machetes are much less bulkier than the actual Parang machetes used in Southeast Asia to cut down crops. Even though the survival Parang machete is modeled after the actual Parang machete, it is more portable, convectional and compact. It comes with a hooked blade to prevent it from getting stuck in things it used to chop off.
The Golok machetes originated from Southeast Asia. They resemble the Parang machetes due to their curved look. These survival machetes have thick blades and very strong and ideal for cutting through thick brush.
Kukri is basically a knife from Nepal, but it closely resembles a machete. It is also called the Nepalese Ghurkha’s weapon of choice. Kukri survival machetes are very versatile have a spear point tip that works well as a carver. They also come with a full tang making them highly durable and strong. The kukri machete is rated as one of the best survival machete and among the most versatile around.
These are some of the most common survival machetes. They are also known as bush machetes are characterized by a straight-backed blade. Latin machetes are popularly known for being used by the US military.
These survival machetes are a perfect option for anyone planning to explore deciduous forest areas or travel through underbrush. This is because these machetes are ideal for hacking anything that is less than 3 feet. Like the Kukri survival machetes, these machetes also have a full tang construction.
The Panga machetes are believed to have originated from Africa. These machetes are easily recognizable due to their broader blade curvature at the tip part towards the midsection. They have a weighted end that is ideal for intense striking power.
However, since Panga machetes do not have a direct spear-point, they are not ideal for self-defense. Panga machetes are commonly used to brush and even trees as well as chop wood. If you like to hike long distances, then this might not be a product for as it is quite heavy.
The bolo machete is an excellent all-round survival machete. It comes with a rounded shape that adds strength for tough tasks, but its blade is still thin enough for lighter work. Bolo machetes can be used for slashing and chopping. Even though they can get a little heavy, they have a high self-defense rating amongst its users. Bolo machetes have a true spear point that is versatile in the sense that you can use it for cutting down a whole tree or breaking coconuts. Bolo survival machetes come with a full tang for maximum durability and strength.
What Is The Best Steel For A Survival Machete?
Now, to know which steel is the best for a survival machete, you need to consider the type of environment you will be exploring. Survival machetes are usually made out of three major types of steels: Carbon stainless steel, carbon steel and stainless steel. Each of these types of steels has its own pros and cons as discussed below.
Survival Machete Steel Types
- Carbon Steel
Carbon steel has been used in machete manufacturing for a long time. It is an alloy of carbon and iron. The addition of carbon makes the iron strong and allows the blade to retain its cutting edge for longer. However, since carbon steel is very strong, it harder to re-sharpen. Carbon steel survival machetes are cheaper than stainless steel machetes and need to be oiled regularly to prevent the blade from rusting. Since carbon steel is cheaper and stronger, it is commonly found in most survival machetes.
- Stainless Steel
Stainless steel is an ally of carbon steel with chromium and nickel added in. The addition of chromium and nickel creates a protective layer that prevents the steel from rusting. Stainless steel generally requires little to no maintenance as it is resistant to rust. Since stainless steel is soft, machetes made from the metal cannot hold their edge for long and need to be sharpened more frequently. However, they are easier to sharpen when compared to those made from carbon steel. Stainless steel machetes are costly than carbon steel machetes and are usually found in more decorative blades.
- High Carbon Stainless Steel
High carbon stainless steel has been developed to combine the best characteristics of carbon steel and stainless steel. Survival machetes made using high carbon stainless steel have the benefits of a strong blade that retains its sharpness for long, combined with the rust resistant benefits of stainless steel. Survival machetes made out of high carbon stainless steel are more costly, but are an ideal option for survival purposes.
Thus, if you are wondering which the best steel for survival machetes is, the answer is high carbon stainless steel as it combines the benefits of carbon steel and stainless steel.
What Is The Best Handle For A Survival Machete?
The handles of survival machetes can be made of many different materials. The best handle for a survival machete is the one that gives you a good secure grip and cannot get slippery when you start sweating or in wet weather conditions. A strong grip means the machete will serve your purpose well, hut how do you decide which handle will do that for you?
Handles made of steel are long lasting but may slip away especially in wet conditions or if you are sweating. Handles made of rubber can offer you a firm clutch but they usually become brittle over time and are not long lasting. Plastic or rubber handles are ideal for all kinds of outdoor conditions. Handles made of hardwood like the Tramontina and Condor machetes will give you a good secure grip, but they may also get slippery in wet weather conditions or when you are sweating.
Thus, the best handle for a survival machete is the one that has the combination of any such materials which resist slipping and gives you a strong grip at the same time. One of the most famous types of handles is the Micarta handle. Micarta handles are known for their comfort, strength and being super easy to grip. If you will be traveling around water bodies or working in wet weather conditions you should consider a Micarta handle. But if you don’t, buying plastic or wooden handles may be cheaper than Micarta and can save you money.
To effectively choose the best handle for your survival machete, consider trying a few machetes before making your purchase.
How to Choose the Best Survival Machete?
To choose the best survival machete, you need to take into account aspects of a machete. To do this correctly, you need to be specific about why you need the machete. This makes it easier for you to select the right blade, let alone the machete. Honestly, this should be your starting point and you must not deviate from it. Here are some of the things you should consider when choosing the best machete:
Important Features of a Great Survival Machete
To start with, you must choose a machete of the right size. Note that a machete that is above 22 inches is not recommended for the average person. Most survival machetes range from 14 to 24 inches in length. The longer the blade is, the more strength you will use to swing it. This is something you need to take into consideration when looking for the best survival machete.
If you want a machete as portable as a camping hatchet, you would want to go for smaller sized machete. Similarly, if you want a machete for cutting down grass at a faster rate, then you should go for a longer machete, though it may be hard to carry around.
Consider the Weight
In addition to size, you need to consider the weight of your survival machete. Weight is important when you have to hold the machete for an extended period of time and when you have to chop or cut heavy , dense vegetation. The best survival machete has a good weight to size ratio, and still feels relatively lightweight in your hands or on your belt, depending on whether you need the machete for heavy or light cutting tasks.
Full Tang for Strength
When choosing your survival machete, you might want to choose one that has full tang construction rather than a partial tan construction. A full tang means that the blade extends to the entire length of the machete, and can be found inside the handle too. A full tang construction ensures maximum strength and durability and is ideal if you will be using the machete for digging.
Is it Sharp?
Of course, it is recommendable that you should a machete with a razor sharp cutting edge as it will be easy to cut through dense vegetation and tree branches. Most survival machetes have an incredibly sharp edge. However, it is common industry practices for many manufacturers to have their machetes undergo a primary grind at the factory. This means that the blade may not be as sharp straight out of the box, but once you sharpen it with a good sharpening stone, it will regain its razor sharp cutting edge.
Sheath for Safety
A sheath is needed to cover the sharp blade of your survival machete. Without it, you may accidentally get injured when you least expect. The sheath makes your machete less threating and safe to carry around on your waist. If you plan on visiting a humid location, the synthetic sheath can resist moisture much better. Nylon is the most commonly used materials, but there are others that are made out of leather or Cardura which looks more heavy duty. Having no sheath is insanity. Be sure the sheath you choose is sturdy.
What Is The Best Survival Machete On Amazon In 2019?
Gerber Gator Sawback 18-inch Machete
The Gerber Gator Saw back 18-inch Machete is one of top rated machete for survivalists and enthusiasts alike. The blade is made of high carbon steel for enhanced durability and long lasting sharpness. The blade also has excellent corrosion and rust resistant properties.
Unlike most survival machetes, the Gerber Gator‘s blade is not full tang, which means it does not extend all the way through the handle. The blade extend about 1-1/2 inches into the handle and is bolted on by two allen wrenches.
The Gerber Gator’s handle features a hollow plastic shell with a molded-on rubber coating. This makes the handle feel comfortable to hold for long while the alligator skin pattern ensures a firm grip and prevent possible slippage. The machete also comes with a sheath in a nylon case for a secure carry.
The Gerber Gator Machete comes with an 18-inch high performance saw blade and a 15-inch fine-edge on one side. The saw blade allows you to cut through solid wood and since its teeth are angled, it does not bind in the wood as you work your way through. The blade arrives sharp and holds its well. The weight of this survival machete makes it easy to heft while the blade length allows you to work on larger pieces and it is rigid enough, which means that it will not flex under pressure.
Pros & Cons of the Gerber Gator 18-inch Sawback Machete
- Comfortable grip design makes the blade easy to handle
- Good point on the tip of the blade allows you start drill holes in your fireboard
- Incredibly sharp blade that maintains its sharpness for long
- The blade is forged from high carbon stainless for maximum durability, strength and long lasting sharpness
- It comes with a nylon sheath
- The long blade length allows you to work on large pieces
- The handle is oddly long and the butt extension does not stick out very far
- The blade is not full tang
- Some users complained that the allen screws were loose on arrival and needed tightening
Fiskars 29 Inch Machete Axe
The Fiskars 29 Inch Machete Axe is designed for ultra-fast powerful performance. It comes with an 18-inch blade for cutting tree branches and palms, chopping roots, clearing thick brush among other multiple uses. The axe-like blade allows for powerful, controlled chopping and splitting. The curve blade also provides a pull-cutting perfect for clearing vines and removing suckers. The blade comes with an ultra-sharp tip for push-cutting and chiseling action.
The Fiskars 29 Inch Machete Axe comes with a comfortable performance handle design with a beautiful texture pattern that allows you to choke up for precision work. For general use, grip the handle in the middle and to swing with maximum force, grip the handle at the end. The handle extends the swing arc by about 5 inches to allow you to put some power behind your swings.
The sheath of this machete feels tough and well made. The inside is a smooth synthetic material while the outside is made of medium weight, foam-backed nylon. The sheath helps to protect the blade while it is being stored. Overall, the Fiskars 29 Inch Machete Axe is well made and is a perfect option for people looking for a long lasting machete.
Pros & Cons of the Fiskars 29 Inch Machete Axe
- 18-inch blade for performing multiple tasks, including cutting palms and branches, chopping roots and clearing thick brush
- The blade has an axe-like head for maximum power and controlled chopped and splitting
- The blade is forged from hardened steel for maximum durability and superb performance
- Comes with a comfortable high performance handle that makes it easy to handle the machete
- Comes with a sheath
- The machete’s sheath does not have a belt loop and cannot be opened or closed without using both hands
CRKT Halfachance Parang K920KKP Machete
Designed by Ken Onion, the CRKT Halfachance Parang K920KKP Machete is specially built for hard use, making it an ideal option f or most survivalists. The machete boasts a carbon steel blade with a black powder that makes it durable even in the most extreme environments.
With a modern ergonomic handle and a traditional Southeast Asia blade shape, this Parang survival machete gives you maximum cutting power with minimal fatigue. The handle is shaped in such a way that it will not slip from your hand whether you start sweating or are working in wet conditions. There 5 lanyard hole pins in the handle that allow you choose where and how to attach a safety lanyard.
The blade of this Parang survival machete is a full 1/10 inches thick forged from high carbon and is very easy to sharpen. Given that the blade is only 14 inches long, means that the Halfachance crams its 20.4oz in a very compact package. The machete has a weighted forward feel, but it feels quite responsive and well balanced in hand.
The CRKT Halfachance Parang K920KKP Machete comes with a high quality sheath. The outer layer of the sheath is made of high quality ballistic nylon. The entire sheath is lined in a fairly hard yet flexible plastic. There is a nice CRKT logo badge on the outside, which makes the attractive without being overstated.
Pros & Cons of the CRKT Halfachance Parang K920KKP
- Ultra sharp cutting that maintains sharpness for long
- Modern ergonomic handle for maximum comfort and minimal hand fatigue
- Reinforced nylon sheath with a unique Velcro belt loop system
- High quality Sheath to protect the blade
- Carbon steel blade with a blade powder coat that makes the knife durable in extreme environments
- The blade is forged from high quality carbon steel for enhanced durability
- Multiple lanyard holes in the handle so you can attach a safety lanyard easily
- Not as sharp and should be sharpened with a stone for an incredibly sharp cutting edge
Gerber Bear Grylls Parang Machete
The Gerber Bear Grylls Parang Machete is a perfect survival machete for those looking for a perfect balance between quality and affordability. Its design features all the machete aspects that were perfected through centuries of use by the Malaysian bush crafters and indigenous people, but combined with modern materials and designs.
The machete comes with a heavy angled blade that slices through brush and branches in your way. The blade is forged using high quality carbon steel for enhanced durability and sharpness. The machete also comes with a nylon sheath for safety storage. The handle is made of textured rubber for maximum comfort and gripping power.
Pros & Cons of the Gerber Bear Grylls Parang Machete
- Comes with an angled blade for clearing brush and tree branches
- The blade is forged from high quality carbon steel for enhanced strength, incredible sharpness and excellent corrosion resistance properties
- The ergonomic textured rubber handle reduces slippage and enhances comfort
- Light weight nylon sheath for safety storage
- Long blade size of 19.5 inches
- Lanyard cord acts as guard and enhances grip security
- Excellent size and weight distribution
- Incredibly sharp blade
- Some users complained the blade became bent after prolonged use
- Blade can break off if you use it cut hard wood
Ontario SP8 Survival Machete
The Ontario SP8 Machete is another top rated survival machete on amazon. Its blade is forged using the 1095 carbon steel for maximum strength and durability. The high quality carbon steel gives the Ontario SP8 Machete excellent rust and corrosion resistance properties. The saw back of this survival machete is authentic and can be used to cut different woods.
The fact is made of carbon means that it can maintain it cutting edge for longer. The blade also features a full tang construction and is hardened to 57 -59 HRC for maximum durability and long lasting sharpness. The full tang also makes the machete strong and easy to handle.
The Ontario SP8 Machete boasts a Kraton handle that is comfortable to hold for long. The handle also feature well lined finger grooves for a secure grip. There is also a piped lanyard hole in the handle for safety storage. Like most survival machete, the Ontario SP8 Machete comes with a leather cordura sheath for safe transportation and storage.
Pros & Cons of the Ontario SP8 Machete
- Full tang blade that is hardened to 57-59 HRC
- Blade is forged from 1095 carbon steel for maximum strength and longevity
- Leather cordura sheath for safe storage
- Kraton handle with finger grooves to resist elements and ensure a secure grip
- Incredibly sharp cutting edge
- Epoxy textured and powder coated steel blade
- The blade requires sharpening immediately after purchase
- The weight of the machete makes it impractical for hiking or backwoods use
SOG SOGfari Kukri 12- inch Machete
The SOG Kukri 12-Inch Survival Machete comes with a 12-inch high carbon steel blade with a saw back for clearing trails and brush. Crafted from high quality material, this unique survival machete is guaranteed to last a life time. The high carbon steel gives the blade excellent strength and corrosion resistant properties.
Though the machete may be difficult to sharpen, it maintains ultra-sharp cutting edge for long. The 12-inch blade with a saw back makes the machete ideal for a wide range of tasks including hunting, self-defence, preparing meals, harvesting crops, chopping wood, clearing brush among other uses.
The SOG Kukri 12-Inch Survival Machete boasts a Kraton rubber that is comfortable to hold and does not slip out hand. A spiked tang extends out of the back of the handle for scraping and pounding. There are even holes on the handle for mount lanyards.
Pros & Cons of the SOG Kukri 12-Inch Survival Machete
- Specially designed for adventure, exploration and survival
- Real working back saw with double ground teeth for deep cutting
- Excellent corrosion resistance properties
- 12-inch ultra-sharp blade for performing different tasks
- Kraton rubber handle for enhanced comfort and reduced slippage
- The blade is way too soft and can easily become bent
- Poor quality sheath
Cold Steel 97KMS Kukri Machete
The Cold Steel 97KMS Kukri Machete is a perfect option for survivalist looking for a reasonably priced high quality kukri machete. It comes with a 13-inch steel blade that is easy to sharpen. The stainless steel blade is sturdy and has good rust and corrosion resistance properties.
The machete comes with a durable Cor-Ex sheath for safety storage of the blade. The handle of the Cold Steel 97KMS Kukri Machete is made of polypropylene and is comfortable to hold for long. The machete offers distinctive weight forward balance for easy cutting of long vegetation.
Pros & Cons of the Cold Steel 97KMS Kukri Machete
- 13-inch stainless steel blade that is incredibly sharp
- Cor-Ex sheath for safe storage of the blade
- Weighted forward balance for quick cutting with every swing
- Durable polypropylene handle
- The cutting edge loses its sharpness and requires frequent sharpening
- Rubber handle can easily slip out of hand in wet conditions
Condor Tool and Knife 15-Inch Bolo Machete
The Condor Tool and Knife 15-Inch Bolo Machete is a superior quality survival machete with a heavy duty construction guaranteed to last a lifetime. The 15-inch blade is forged from 1075 high carbon steel to give maximum strength, durability and excellent corrosion resistant properties. The machete comes with an exquisite leather sheath to protect the blade.
This bolo survival machete comes with an awesome walnut handle that is beautifully curved to fit your grip perfectly. The 15-inch blade makes the machete ideal for a wide range of tasks including, : slashing through tall grass, slicing through a watermelon and chopping thick vegetation.
Pros & Cons of the Condor Tool and Knife 15-Inch Bolo Machete
- Beautiful wooden handle for a firm comfortable grip
- Thick blade with a pronounced taper
- Excellent corrosion and rust resistance properties
- Leather sheath to protect the blade
- Blade is forged from high carbon steel for maximum strength and durability
- Lanyard hole for hanging the machete
- It is expensive but this is due to its quality and durability
- Some customers may fear to buy because of its incredible sharpness
Condor Tool and Knife 14-Inch Golok Machete
The Condor Tool and Knife 14-Inch Golok Machete is one of Condor’s top sellers and is certainly a perfect option for most survivalists. Also, the machete boasts a gorgeous walnut handle that is specially curved to sit in your grip perfectly; making it feel like an extension of your arm.
The blade’s ancient design paired with a 14-inch length makes this Golok machete ideal for many different tasks. Thus, slashing through tall grass, chopping thick vegetation, clear brush or slicing watermelons can be achieved.
The machete comes with a thick high quality leather sheath for safe storage of the blade. The blade is covered in a jet black epoxy finish, giving the blade an almost sinister appeal.
Pros & Cons of the Condor Tool and Knife 14-Inch Golok Machete
- Extremely versatile
- Made from 1075 carbon steel for enhanced durability
- Leather sheath for easy storage of the blade
- Excellent corrosion and rust resistance properties
- Can be used for many different tasks
- Hard to draw from sheath