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Survival is a skill that has to be developed. It’s not just all about knowing how to start a fire or find water, though that’s a big part of it no doubt. It’s also about having the right tools on hand so that you can stay alive if you find yourself in one of those dog-eat-dog situations. Whether it’s bushwhacking through the Amazon, fighting off angry predators, or prepping for Armageddon a machete is one of those all-rounder tools that you can’t go wrong with.
We have put together a list of some of the best survival machetes out there for all budgets put together through our own personal use, talk with friends and research.
Best Survival Machetes
So here we are with our list of best survival machetes
- Parang Machete – Best Overall
- Yoshimi Survival Machete – Best Heavy Duty
- Dave Young Survival Machete – Best Tactical
- Schrade Kukri Machete – Best Machete Blade
- UST ParaCuda FS Machete – Best Portable Machete
- Machete Sawback – Best Budget Machete
- Engineer Bolo Machete – Best For Brush Clearing
1. Parang Machete by Condor
Best Overall Survival Machete
Dimensions: 26” L x 3.5” W x 1.75” H
Weight: 1 lb
Material: Carbon steel blade and hardwood handle
Pros: Lightweight, nice blade design, ergonomic handle
Cons: It’s feels heavier than advertised
Description: Top of our list and taking the first spot which we take to be one of the best machetes you can get is a 1075 high carbon steel curved blade that is a bit thinner than most designs you would normally see; which is exactly why we like it as it holds like a long sword, allowing you to slice, dice and wield with a surprising amount of dexterity.
The handle is made from hardwood and is ergonomically designed to allow for a firm grip and comfort. It has 108 sculpted vents with an epoxy black powder finish on the blade which gives it a darker look than your traditional steel blade.
Condor blades are made in Germany and have a history of craftsmanship in their blade making. Though this machete though may look strange it wields like no others. The long length and curve allow you to tackle larger brush, tall grass and undergrowth like butter.
2. Yoshimi Survival Machete by Condor
Best Heavy Duty
Dimensions: 34.5 x 5 x 3.5
Weight: 3 Pounds
Material: High carbon steel
Pros: Sexy looking blade, great to wield, full-tang construction
Cons: A little expensive, heavy
Description: The Yoshimi survival machete is made from high carbon which makes it tougher than traditional stainless steel. This is quite a long blade and so might not work for a go-bag, but is perfect if you’re looking to cut brambles and tall grass as its great for slashing, chopping and even battoning.
This is a full tang blade that comes with a Tanto Point made by the same company that made our first pick Condor. They have a huge selection of blades for pretty much every type of outdoor situation. They go back to the mid 18th century Germany, but have since been making their blades out of El Salvador.
If we are talking about lightness and portability, it might not be your first choice as it’s a bit big and heavy. This machete is not really made to be thrown in a backpack as its a bit over the top for that type of use. If are looking for to scare away bad guys or if you are a blade collector as this thing is as beautiful as it is terrifying. The longer blade makes the machete feel more like a sword more than anything as it comes in at a whopping 3 feet! With a sleek feel and aesthetic you are going to feel more like a ninja rather than a prepper.
3. Dave Young Survival Machete by Luna Tech
Best Tactical Machete
Dimensions: 1 x 29 x 5.6
Weight: 3.84 pounds
Pros: Versatile, slip-resistant handle, comes with a sheath, carbide tip, beast mode
Cons: A bit heavy and massive
Description: This bad boy is a beast. The blade is a thick one coming in at .14″ which is actually nearly twice as thick as the previous machetes. You can saw, cut, slash, and puncture with this thing. Above the grip is a hook that can serve as an opener, the backside of the knife blade has jagged teeth for a saw and there is a carbide tip so that it can puncture and get through whatever it needs to.
The machete was designed by Dave Young Survival System and ARMA Training who teaches survival training so you know it was made by people who know their stuff. It was specifically made as a survival machete for military personnel and police forces in mind, in that the team was looking to create a blade that could be used in a variety of circumstances.
The machete comes with a strong durable plastic diamond molded gripped handle, that also has a sheath. The tip of the blade is a carbide tip (70 HRC) so it can be used to break glass without a problem. The blade is, however, on the heavier side especially in comparison with our top pick. You really need to handle this thing with care, it’s big, thick, heavy, and wide. Not for the faint of heart.
4. Schrade SCHKM1 Kukri Machete
Best Machete Blade
Dimensions: 19.7″ L
Weight: 1.6 lbs
Material: 3Cr13 Powder Coated Stainless Steel, rubber handle
Pros: Easy to use, Comes with a ferro rod and sharpening stone
Cons: Sheath is a bit cheap
Description: The Schrade Kukri Machete is quite a bit smaller and lighter than many of the machetes on this list with a blade length of 13.5 in. For this reason, it actually will be perfect for those looking to use it for a bug out bag or to take it with you into the wild, as its easier to be tossed in your bag or thrown over your shoulder without it being in the way
It’s nice that the machete comes with a bit of extra kit, including a shoulder pouch, shoulder strap, as well as a leg strap so you can carry it in different ways.
The style of the machete is actually a rendition of the type of machetes used primarily by the local Nepalese people which is actually still widely used today. It was originally made famous by the Gurkhas of Nepal who fought alongside the British in World War I & II. If you want a bit of style along with portability this might do it!
5. UST ParaCuda FS Machete with Fire Starter
Best Portable Machete
Dimensions: 16.3″ L x 2″ W x 1″ D
Weight: 10 ounces
Material: paracord handle with a steel blade
Pros: Features cutting blade with sawteeth, Full-tang construction, Firestarter for convenience
Cons: The grip reduces when the paracord is removed
Description: The blade has a full-tang construction and the grip is wrapped in paracord which gives it a slightly odd hold. The frontside of the blade is quite straight for a machete with the backside that has some short fat sawteeth. The blade has a black oxide finish that prevents rust and gives it a nice look.
The unique handle and paracord are what separates it from the rest, for better or worse, but for the price point, there really is no use in complaining, as it is very reasonable.
This machete is actually very light coming in at 10oz, but it is also much smaller than the rest, coming in at 16 inches. It is big enough to do some heavy duty chopping yet small enough that you would be able to take it with you anywhere as well as use it as a knife.
This machete works well in a range of environments which makes it ideal for survival and emergency planning whether your hunting, fishing, camping or are going to take it out on wilderness trips, as it is small and light its a good fit for those on the move.
6. Machete Sawback by Ontario Knife Company 6120 1-18SBK
Best Budget Machete
Dimensions: 18 inches blade and 24 inches overall length
Weight: 1 lb
Material: carbon with a zinc finish for the blade. Plastic handle
Pros: Versatile, Affordable, Good grip
Cons: Does not come with a sheath
Description: Ontario Knife Company is a blade that comes from upstate New York, USA that has been making blades since 1889. This machete features an 18 inches carbon blade finished with zinc that makes it extra durable and helps prevents corrosion.
The machete features steel compression rivets and full-tang construction. The machete has a molded plastic handle, a serrated back edge and a curved front edge. This blade is thick making the saw back quite capable of sawing through thicker branches and material.
This machete is a basic budget option and does have that feel. The plastic handle feels a bit cheap, but for the price point it’s a steal for anyone buying on a budget.
7. Engineer Bolo Machete, Condor Tools and Knife
Best For Brush Clearing
Dimensions: 15” blade
Weight: 2.54 Pounds
Materials: Carbon steel blade
Pros: Leather sheath, hardwood handle, full-tang construction
Cons: Handle can get slick, feels heavy
Description: The machete has a carbon steel 15-inch blade built with 5mm-1075 high carbon steel that has a Condor classic blade finish. Condor uses 1075 German steel for
This blade is a full-tang construction, like pretty much all machetes, with a thick 3/16 in blade with a brown hardwood handle. This guy has great ratings everywhere you look except that it is surprisingly heavy and will wear you out if you aren’t built like Arnold, or if you intend to do huge amounts of trail clearing.
This machete is heavy-duty. It’s thick and broad enough to allow you to even cut small pieces of firewood and in that way can be a perfect substitute for a hatchet or even a small axe.
Buyers Guide For Finding a Survival Machete
What is a Machete?
First off let’s talk about what a machete actually means. A machete is a broad-shaped sword that measures between 12-18 inches. Machetes come from the Spanish language macho though pretty much every indigenous local culture around the world uses some form or broadsword, usually for agricultural or jungle clearing purposes.
As the machete was so widely used in local cultures for survival and everyday uses it became the most often used weapon of the people, in both self-defense and in armed resistance.
For instance: in Nepal they have the karakuri, in Thailand the nep, and in Indonesia the golok. Though they vary in appearances they are all a form of a long broadsword.
Types of Blade Shapes
Machetes come in all shapes in size, and as we shall see later on, there are many varieties out there. Here are a few things to pay attention to:
Blade thickness -The thicker the blade the sturdier it will be, however that also means that it will be heavier so it will require more force to swing.
Blade curve – There are many variations of all the way from straight sword-like machetes to super curved. Straight machetes are better for chopping and slicing whereas curved blades are going to be better for cutting brush and grass.
Blade Tip – Some blades will be pointed while others are more rounded. Pointed tips aren’t really necessary unless you are going to use it for hunting, skinning or fishing.
What can you use a Machete For?
You can use a machete in many different environments and situations including:
- chopping wood
- clearing brush
- preparing food
- skinning game
- helping to build a shelter
- clearing trails
How you will use your machete will depend on the environment that you find yourself in. Whether it’s in the jungle, mountainous, forest, or desert there has been some variation of the machete that has been used and made-in virtually every part of the world as we shall later see.
Anatomy of a Machete
Tang – A tang of a machete is the shank of the blade that extends into and through its grip for purposes of attachment to the handle. Almost all machetes are full tang, which makes them stronger, more durable and less likely to break at the handle.
Blade – There are two sides to a blade, one usually flat and another curved which makes it easier to chop without it getting stuck.
Grip – The handle is usually made out of wood, plastic or other rubber. It is designed to fit the hand so you can hold it well and use your strength with ease on the blade. It also allows a firm grip for chopping .
Material – Machetes blades are usually made out of carbon steel or stainless steel. Carbon Steel is stronger and will rust easier if not taken care of properly.
Types – There are over 40 types on machete patterns currently used by the military in the world. These differ from country to country but some of these in use include: Bolo, Brushcutter, Clearing Knife, Espada Ropera, Golok, Kabar Mora, Kukri, Machete Corto-Marcial, Parang Tula, Panga, Pilum-lunge, Sawback Bowie or Bolo Machete.
We will briefly mention a few of the most widely used machetes.
What are the Differernt Types of Machete?
There are many different types of machetes including:
- Origin: Europe
- Features: Has a hooked blade
- Uses: For cutting views
- Origin: Philippines
- Features: Broad leaf like shaped
- Uses: For hunting
- Origin: Philippines
- Features: Compact and weighted with fatter end
- Uses: Cutting vegitation
- Origin: USA
- Features: Skinny long knife named after Jim Bowie
- Uses: Hunting and Wilderness Survival
- Origin: Latin America
- Features: Long and Striaght edged
- Uses: All purposes
- Origin: Spain
- Features: Long with fat hooked end
- Uses: Used for cutting sugar cane
- Origin: Africa
- Features: Long cutlass shape
- Uses: Cutting tall grass
- Origin: Centeral American
- Features: Sharp on both sides of the blade
- Uses: For cutting across large areas
- Origin: Nepal
- Features: Narrow curved short sword
- Uses: Every Day Use
- Origin: Africa
- Features: Thick long and fat swords
- Uses: Slicing and chopping vegetation
- Origin: Europe
- Features: Sloping down point
- Uses: Good for hunting and chopping
- Origin: Indonesia
- Features: Long curved blade
- Uses: Cutting through jungle
The main things to look out for when choosing one would be weight size and material.
Things to Look out for When Choosing a Survival Machete
You generally want a machete that’s lighter if you are going to be traveling, or on the go a lot especially if you are using it for a bug-out bag or are carrying it along with your other gear, however, if you are not planning on being very mobile with it, then bigger a bit heavier is better as it allows you to cut through bigger branches and clear wider area of brush.
There is a point of diminishing returns, in that, if the machete is too heavy, then your arm will tire out quickly, and you will be wishing you had a lighter machete. If it’s too light you will have to use more force to cut through the brush and may find that the blade will be prone to break easier, especially if you are trying to cut through thick brush and trees.
Having a good size blade will give you more leverage in your swing, allowing you the ability to use it in a variety of settings whether it’s hacking through timber, brush and undergrowth as well as for defense. If you are going to take it along with you or throw it in a bag better pick one that’s a bit smaller.
As we mentioned before, size does matter. The bigger the size the greater surface area you are able to clear.
Having a blade that is high carbon allows for more flexibility and reduces the shock. If you are using a stainless steel blade they are heavier, are harder to sharpen and will not absorb the shock as much.
The best survival machete will depend on your needs are and the outdoor environment in which you will find yourself in. To help you find the right survival machetes,