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Best Survival Machete

Last Updated: January 21, 2020
Terry Daine
Product Review by Terry Daine

A machete is the ideal survival tool. When you are stuck in the wilderness or jungle-like terrain, a machete can help you to get out of a difficult situation.

They’re essential if you are planning on being in the wilderness for days on end, and we’re here to help you find the best survival machete for you.

When choosing the best survival machete, there are several different factors to consider, but it is crucial that your machete is tough enough to help you no matter what challenge you face.

Sometimes, the human body can only withstand so much, and a tool like a machete can be an ideal way to assist you against the elements.

With so many various machetes available on the market, however, it can be confusing to know which one to opt for.

That’s why we’ve narrowed down five of the best survival machetes to help you make an informed decision.

Our Reviews
1

SOGFari Survival Machete

The SOGFari Survival Machete is an ideal survival tool as it is suited to a variety of situations, measuring at 16 inches in length overall, with a 10-inch blade.

It is a full tang stainless steel blade, designed to not only chop wood, but also to help you build shelters and harvest crops. This is due to its standout feature – it is actually a 2-in-1 Machete and Wood Saw.

This gives it multiple uses, and you are guaranteed versatility with this option, but bear in mind the stainless steel material may not be the toughest against harsh conditions.

The Kraton handle is not only slip-proof and rubber-like for a secure grip, but it also has an extended spiked tang, which allows you to pound and scrape if necessary. In addition to this, the handle has lanyard holes to make your grip feel even sturdier.

For a budget-friendly option, you can still expect high-quality performance and reliability with this machete. However, the sheath does let the overall quality of the product down. The nylon material seems cheap in comparison to the rest of the tool, so it is worth considering whether this would be an issue for you, as a high-quality sheath is essential for durability.

Pros

  • 2-in-1 Machete and Wood Saw provides versatility
  • Budget-friendly
  • Slip-proof handle with extended spiked tang

Cons

  • Low-quality sheath
2

Kershaw Camp 18 (1074) Camp Series Machete

Made from high-carbon, non-stainless steel, this powerful machete is designed to be long-lasting in any survival situation.

The black powder coat finish not only gives it a slick look, but also adds to the durability of the blade, which is essential if you are investing in this survival tool.

The full tang handle is conveniently wrapped in a rubber mold, which allows for a secure grip regardless of the conditions. It is also fitted with a handguard at the front and back to minimize slipping during rough use. You can also be assured that the sheath is highly protective, and it includes nylon straps for extra convenience.

Measuring at 18 inches, it is a long blade and is also quite thick in design as well. Despite this, it is relatively lightweight and easy to carry. Although the knife is specifically built for camping, it would be an excellent tool in a variety of survival situations.

If you are looking for the perfect blend of a lightweight blade that is easy to swing and can cut through the toughest terrain, the Kershaw Camp Machete is a great budget-friendly option. However, some customers have noted that its uses may be restricted to heavy-duty chopping, and that it is too big to be an excellent slicer for smaller branches.

Pros

  • High-carbon steel makes it more durable
  • Relatively lightweight despite its size
  • Great for heavy-duty chopping

Cons

  • Not the best for chopping smaller branches
3

CRKT Chanceinhell Fixed Blade Machete

This is a fairly thick knife, with an overall length of 17.88 inches and a 12-inch length blade, weighing 1lb 4oz. However, considering its size, it has a lightweight feel, so you can expect it to be easy to transport with you when in a survival situation.

As it is made from carbon steel with a black powder coat, the blade is built to be extremely durable, even in the harshest environments. When it comes to survival gear, this is an essential feature, as you never know what obstacles you may encounter. Due to its carbon steel design, it’s not difficult to sharpen even after excessive use.

Unique to this machete is the handle design. The machete is designed by award-winning custom knife-maker Ken Onion, and the shape of the handle is stylistic of his work, as it features a lot of swooping and curving indents. This makes it easier to grip than a straight handle and reduces hand fatigue. It is made from an injection molded thermoplastic rubber and is around an inch thick, which prevents slipping and provides ample support for you.

The sheath is made from nylon and comes with a belt loop to provide easy access to your machete. The Velcro belt loop can either be left dangling or placed snugly against the belt, giving you the freedom to change this at your convenience.

Despite being built for heavy-duty purposes, it is worth noting that the thickness of the blade and its powder coat can cause a weaker chop. Depending on the environment you are planning to be in, a thinner blade may be more appropriate for you, but overall it is a robust knife suitable for surviving tough situations.

Pros

  • Carbon steel blade with black powder coat for durability
  • Easy to sharpen when necessary
  • Handle design prevents slipping and hand fatigue

Cons

  • Thick blade can affect the quality of a chop
4

Gerber Bear Grylls Parang Machete

This machete comes with a curved parang-style blade, which means it is built for heavy chopping and ideal for wooded environments.

It would also work well in camping and hiking situations. The blade angle, however, means you would typically get a better swing than that of a straight blade machete, so bear this in mind if you are new to curved blades.

The blade is initially sharp out of the box, so you are good to go straight away without the need for sharpening. It is a full tang carbon blade, measuring at 13.5 inches long, and is notably very thin, at 1/8th of an inch wide. This makes it a great choice for light chopping, or for use in hard to reach areas.

The handle is made from orange plastic and wrapped in a rubber over-molded grip. Some users have noted that it has ridges that may dig into the skin, so bear in mind that it may need extra cover if you find this is irritating.

It is worth considering how aesthetically pleasing you want your machete to be, however, as some customers have found that the orange plastic gives it a toy-like appearance. It can be hard to feel like a true survival expert if your gear feels like it doesn’t look particularly intimidating.

In addition to this, the machete comes with a lightweight nylon sheath, which is durable against rough use and various survival environments. However, some users claim that is doesn’t feel high-quality compared to other sheaths. Due to its contoured design, it is also more difficult to draw the machete from the sheath.

Pros

  • Thin blade is ideal for light chopping
  • Curved parang-style blade for a smoother swing
  • Ideal for wooded environments

Cons

  • Orange plastic handle can look toy-like
  • Sheath isn't very high quality
  • Difficult to draw machete from the sheath
5

Schrade SCHKM1 Kukri Machete

With an overall length of 19.7 inches and a blade length of 13.3 inches, the Schrade SCHKM1 Kukri Machete is not to be messed with.

Constructed with a full tang fixed blade, it weighs in at 1lb 6.6 oz, so it is considerably heavy and built for intensive use.

Due to its large size and weight, it is a versatile tool and would work great in any survival kit. It can be used to cut down trees and create pathways, or even to make a fire. Built from powder-coated stainless steel, it can also withstand continual high-impact use without too much damage, making it a durable and sturdy choice. However, this does mean it is harder to sharpen than carbon steel blades and is not as tough overall.

A bonus of this machete is the carrying options that it features. You can choose to strap this machete to your leg, or sling it on your back, as well as hooking it up to your belt. This makes your survival expedition a lot more convenient, as it is not always smart to keep the knife on your belt.

The handle has a Safe-T Grip and small lines throughout it to improve your overall grip. It is also wide at the bottom to support your hand better and to prevent slipping regardless of the weather. This sturdy handle gives you the best opportunity to use all your strength when striking, rather than focusing on keeping tight hold of a flimsily designed handle.

Unlike many of its competitors, Schrade’s Kukri Machete also comes with additional items for you to use during survival. They include a Ferro Rod, to help you start fires, and a sharpening stone, to sharpen your knife when necessary.

These added features can make this machete an attractive choice, as you will be essentially getting more for your money. However, it is certainly not the most lightweight machete on the market making it more challenging to use in hard-to-reach areas, or to disguise from potential enemies.

Pros

  • Supportive and robust handle to help your grip
  • Three carrying options for your convenience
  • Comes with Ferro Rod and sharpening stone to assist survival
  • Durable stainless-steel blade

Cons

  • Not lightweight
  • Stainless-steel blade is more difficult to sharpen

Lightweight vs. Heavy

Both lightweight and heavier machetes have their pros and cons. If you opt for a lighter machete, it will be easier to carry around with you, so for long periods of survival this may be for a suitable choice.

However, a heavier, thicker machete blade will cut through bushes quicker and more efficiently.

When determining which weight would be best, consider the length of time you will be out in the wilderness, and the environment itself.

If you’re unsure whether to go light or heavy with your machete, aim for something in-between if possible. Getting the balance right is crucial, as choosing the wrong weight can impact the whole efficiency of the tool.

A Sharp Blade

Having a sharp blade is essential when you are in a survival scenario, as it will make any necessary escapes a lot easier.

Ideally, you’ll need a machete that built sharp, but that stays sharp as well. If it is easily worn down, it will require regular sharpening, which means your energy being exerted there instead of on surviving.

Usually, more expensive models tend to be sharper, but there are many good quality budget-friendly options available. You could buy a sharpener with this as well if you find that it would be suitable for you.

Long vs. Short Blades

Longer blades are typically better for fighting off animals or potential enemies due to their increased length.

A longer blade gives you more room to protect yourself, and could mean the difference between life or death.

The longer your machete is, the more it will be able to cut in one swing. This is useful to think about in terms of convenience, as it will require less energy than a shorter blade where you may need to swing a few times.

However, a shorter blade will not only be more convenient in hard to reach places, but it will also be easier to carry around, which is worth noting if you plan on being outdoors for a long time.

Generally, blades range from 14-24 inches long, so think about your environment and duration of survival when deciding which end of the spectrum suits you.

Durable Material

When choosing a suitable blade, it is worth knowing that there are typically two kinds of steel used to make machetes: Carbon Steel and Stainless Steel.

Carbon steel is typically more robust than stainless steel, and blades made from this retain their sharpness for longer.

However, it will rust easier than stainless steel, meaning it will need to well-maintained. You can look after a carbon steel blade through regular cleaning and using oil to wipe the blade.

Stainless steel doesn’t rust, therefore requiring far less maintenance.

Despite it not being the toughest material, it can also withstand water due to its ‘stainless’ design, so this may be a better option for you if you are going to be in a wet environment.

However, it is harder to sharpen, and is typically a lot more brittle than high-carbon steel.

It’s essential that your blade also has a sheath, which will be used to cover it up. It would be incredibly dangerous to not have a sheath for your machete, especially in an environment that you aren’t familiar with.

A high-quality sheath should be sturdy, and a synthetic sheath that resists moisture well is a sensible choice if you are visiting a humid area.

A Firm Grip

As machetes are used for tasks such as chopping and hacking, they are often constructed in what’s known as ‘full tang.’ Full tang means that the metal part of the blade goes through the handle.

This is the most durable construction of a blade, as it will not separate from the handle during extensive or particularly rough use. A full tang blade is heavy-duty, and therefore ideal for survival purposes.

It is also vital that you can have a secure grip over the handle. The material of the handle is the key to this, as wooden handles may give you a firm grip, but are more likely to shatter in water.

Plastic, however, although it is slippery in water, is less likely to crack against water, so bear this in mind depending on the environment you are going to be in.

Recap

While there are plenty of factors to consider when choosing the best machete for survival, I believe the Kershaw Camp 18 (1074) Camp Series Machete works well against any potential survival challenges.

Its lightweight feel combined with a sturdy carbon steel blade means you can get an accurate and clean swing, while still getting great results against rough terrain.

In a survival situation, you need to make sure your machete won’t let you down against a heavy-duty task. Kershaw’s 18-inch machete will give you peace of mind throughout your survival expedition that it will get the job done.

Working on your survival skills is crucial to succeeding in any scenario, but having the best survival machete on hand will give you the extra support you need for those difficult situations.

We hope our review of the best survival machete has given you some clarity and helped you make your decision. It can be a struggle to find the best fit for you, but it will be worth it if you are serious about survival, just like we are.

Please let us know your thoughts in the comments below, and if you have any ideas for future reviews or topics, we’d love to hear them!

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