Machetes are typified by having a cleaver-like knife with a long thin blade, and they really do come into their own in situations where you might need to cut back undergrowth, vines, and grass or small limbs from trees to make a clearing. They're the ideal knife for survival-style camping trips and expeditions or for anyone headed into rough jungle conditions. A machete provides a sharp, precise and effective way to hack away at dense vegetation and is the ideal tool for quickly clearing away scrub.
Generally speaking, the majority of machete's measure anywhere in length from 12 to 36 inches long so they are larger than a regular survival knife. They also vary in thickness from 0.1 to 0.25 inches on average and are designed with a handle that's just the right size enabling the user to hold and hack with just the one hand effectively.
The word itself is derived from the Spanish for "Macho" meaning strong male, but the word "matchet" in English is also a derivative of what has today been labeled the machete and would have resembled a sword or cutlass when it was used centuries ago.
With so much choice available and with seemingly endless types of Machete available to purchase these days, we've hand-picked three of the best machetes that will make all of those chopping tasks a total breeze. Whether you are hiking, backpacking, trekking through the jungle, on a survival weekend or doing some undergrowth clearing at home, our three recommendations are worth a closer inspection.
Gerber Bear Grylls Parang Machete
You don't need to be a fan of survival style expeditions to know who Bear Grylls is. He's gained even more notoriety in recent years for putting A-list celebs through their paces in a series of wilderness-style weekend adventures televised primarily in the US and UK. This former British SAS servicemen and all-round survival expert certainly knows a thing or two about exploration and adventure so you can expect any machete carrying his name to be a useful and effective tool.
He's gone for a parang-style machete with an angled blade made from high carbon steel which is both durable and corrosion resistant as well as being easy to maintain and sharpen. The parang is the modern-day equivalent to the machete used by traditional jungle tribesmen. Due to its heavy blade and composition it deftly and quickly cuts through branches and vines.
Known as a full tang construction, the blade length itself is 13.5-inches while the knife overall is 19.5-inches. With a rubberized ergonomic grip handle, it's easy to control and operate, and it comes with a military grade nylon sheath to protect your machete when not in use which is itself lightweight and also mildew resistant. A lanyard cord is also supplied along with a pocket guide from Bear packed with his unique survival essentials.
- Angled blade
- High carbon steel
- Corrosion resistant
- Easy to sharpen
- Durable and dependable
- Ergonomic textured rubber handle
- Military grade nylon sheaf
- Survival-style pocket guide
Blade prone to bending
Kershaw Camp 18-inch Camp Series Machete
Kershaw as a brand is associated with exceptional every day carry and has successfully dominated the folding pocket knife category. This foray into bigger knives with their Camp Series features this exceptional 18-inch machete which as you'd expect from this popular brand, combines top-notch materials with dedicated craftsmanship. This Camp Series machete is the perfect tool for hacking, splitting, slashing and scraping a wide variety of materials. With a contoured and ergonomically designed handle as well as a pre-drilled lanyard hole, it's comfortable to use, well balanced and is constructed to be tough and wear resistant.
Made from 65Mn steel and finished with black powder coat it looks every inch as good as it performs. Measuring 24 inches overall with an 18 inch blade, it's perfect for tackling the toughest chores in camp or generally outdoors. It features a fixed blade, full tang construction and conveniently features a built-in hand guard. It provides a stable and firm grip in hand due to that non-slip textured rubber over mold. It's also supplied with a molded sheath which has been designed with lash points and nylon straps to protect the blade when not in use.
- Strong and durable
- Fixed-blade construction
- Comfortable to carry
- Ergonomic textured handle
- Versatile operation
- High-performance steel
- Excellent wear resistance
Carbon steel is quite brittle
SOG 18-inch SOGfari Machete
With a reputation for producing high-quality and useful tools, our next best machete recommendation comes from SOG Specialty Knives and Tools and is the 18-inch SOGfari Machete. Made from 3CR13 high carbon steel, it's finished with a black carbon coating and is an 18-inch fixed saw blade in the machete style. It's excellent for accompanying you on survival style trips or camping weekends where you might need to clear trails and hack back undergrowth.
The handle has been ergonomically contoured and is made from Kraton rubber to be comfortable and to feel well balanced when using. The handle itself is non-slip and features a lanyard at the base. Also included with your purchase from SOG is a black nylon sheath with a hook and loop closure as well as a belt attachment so that you can see keep your machete safe by your side at all times. A useful and versatile tool, the manufacturer even offers a limited lifetime warranty, so if you are looking for a robust tool, this is worth considering.
- Comfortable and easy to use
- Inexpensive purchase
- Fixed blade construction
- Pre-drilled lanyard hole
- Black nylon sheath included
- Limited lifetime warranty
- Non-slip and weather resistant handle
Blade prone to chipping
From breaking open coconuts to cutting back sugar cane. From tackling a whole host of agricultural products to dealing with tasks which require cutting, chopping or slashing. A machete, as opposed to a survival ax, could well be your life saving best friend out in the wilderness. A machete isn't just useful out in the field though. Even if you are closer to home and just need to hack back an overgrown back garden, a machete will stand you in good stead. All three of our recommendations today are inexpensive, reliable and also offer well-balanced operation with ergonomically designed handles for effortless and confident deployment.
If you love the outdoors, then you will love these machetes. Our personal favorite is the Gerber Bear Grylls Parang Machete. While it might be the smallest of today's blades, it's corrosion resistant, easy to sharpen and it looks and performs great. Plus as an added bonus you get access to all of Bear's top survival tips and SAS insider knowledge.