The Best Survival Machete

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My husband and I love adventure so much; it could easily be our middle name. Being nature and adventure lovers, we make sure to spend any time that we get free from work exploring and admiring the wilderness.

But the tricky thing about wilderness is that sometimes, in unoccupied places, it’s possible for you to get lost or for you to get stranded alone. When hiking or exploring, we prefer to roam around places far from the daily hustle bustle, making it difficult to ask for help in case we need it.

Best Survival Machete Comparisons

Model

Weight

Blade

Warranty

Prices

Our Ratings

Condor Tools & Knives

2.5 pounds

5mm-1075 High Carbon Steel

30 Days Warranty

$$$$

Gil Hibben

2.8 pounds

440 Stainless Steel

30 Days Warranty

$$$$$

Ontario Knife

1.5 pounds

Made of 1095 Carbon Steel

30 Days Warranty

$$

1.2 pounds​

High Carbon Steel

Manufacturer Warranty

$

1.7 pounds

Carbon Steel Blade

30 Days Warranty

$$$

Surely, being in the best physical state might help us survive, but there is only so much a human body can do. We’d definitely need the best survival machete around to help us just in case of a crisis.

Things to Look for When Buying the Best Machete for Survival

Handle

When searching for the best survival knife/machete, you’ll come across various types of handles. Wooden handles will stay warm in your hand and provide you with a good grip, but they might crack when they come in contact with water. Plastic on the other hand, does not crack but might become slippery when exposed to water.

Another famous type of handle is the Micarta handle; known for its strength, comfort and being super easy to grip. Surely, if you travel around water bodies, you might not want to pick wooden or plastic handles, but if you don’t, purchasing wooden/plastic handles, being cheaper than Micarta, can save you money.

Blade Material

Machetes are usually made out of either stainless steel, carbon steel or carbon stainless steel. Here too, you need to consider the type of environment you’ll be exploring. If it is a wetland, then you might want to opt for blades made out of stainless steel as they are less prone to rusts.

But if you are not, carbon steel might be best for you as it is cheaper, and more durable. However, if you are unsure of the type of environment you’ll expose yourself to, carbon stainless steel is the best (but slightly expensive) bet as it combines the best of stainless and carbon steel.

Tang

As you are trying to buy the best survival machete, you might want to opt for a knife that has full tang construction rather than partial tang construction. A full tang construction means that the blade extends the entire length of the knife, and can be found inside the handle as well. Full tang ensures optimum strength and durability and is more effective for digging than partial tang, but it can be more expensive.

Weight

While bulky machetes may provide more efficient chopping, they can be difficult to carry around in comparison to lightweight machetes. Choose a machete with a suitable weight considering the length of your journey.

Popular Styles of Survival Machete

Kukri

This type of machete is known for being the Nepalese Ghurkha’s choice of weaponry. Given an excellent self-defense rating, Kukri is known to efficiently chop off vines, branches or even limbs. Its spear point tip can also be used as a more detailed carver. It is one of the best survival machetes and among the most versatile around. Its full tang construction makes it a robust and durable product.

Parang

Survival Parang is much less bulkier than the actual Parang used in Southeast Asia to cut down crops. While it is modelled after the actual Parang, survival Parang is much more compact, conventional and portable. Its hooked blade prevents it from getting stuck in the things it is used to chop off.

Bolo

Bolo machetes are designed for brute chopping and slashing. Although it can get a little heavy, it boasts an excellent self-defence rating amongst its users. Its true spear point is versatile in the sense that you can use it to break coconuts or cut down a whole tree. It also has a full tang construction.

Panga

This type of machete has a weighted end that is perfect for intense striking power. However, as it does not have a direct spear-point, it is not the most apt for self-defence. Panga can be used to chop down woods, brush and even trees. If you are the type that likes to hike long distances, this might not be the product for you as it is quite heavy.

Latin

Latin survival machetes are known for being used by the US Military. This machete is ideal for anyone who is planning to explore deciduous forest areas and travel through underbrush as it is an excellent hacker for anything that is under 3 feet. Like the Kukri, the Latin machete also has a full tang construction.

Being A Responsible Machete Owner

Getting the most out of your machete

To get the best out of your machete you should take proper care of it regularly. As machetes are made out of metal, they are prone to rusting. Thus, once you get the best survival machete you should try to keep your survival machete as dry as possible.

Even if it does get wet, you might want to wipe it with a light knife mineral oil to protect it from excess moisture. No matter how durable the machete, its blade can dull over time. If you want to achieve the sharpest cut, you should sharpen the machete’s blade habitually.

Safety First

When swinging a machete, your body exerts a lot of force through your hands. To make sure that the machete doesn’t go flying off, you’ll likely be gripping it tightly. In this case, the constant friction between the handle and your hand can give you abrasions.

To save yourself from any discomfort, you might want to wear light gloves, if not work gloves, to protect yourself against reverberation or cuts. It is best to be cautious when swinging a sharp tool as a survival machete as the angle people normally swing at can slice through the weakest part of your thighs very easily.

You should also be careful when you are inserting your machete inside the sheath. It might be best for you to insert the knife with the cutting edge facing the fold instead of the stitches. The sharp blade can slice through the stitching and can cut your fingers.

Survival Machete Reviews

Condor Tools & Knives Warlock Machete Knife, 12 1/2-Inch


  • 19.5 x 1.5 x 1.8 inches
  • 2.5 pounds
  • 66 sculpted vents
  • 5mm-1075 high carbon steel
  • Micarta handle
  • Epoxy black powder coating blade finish

With a full tang construction and an epoxy black powder coating blade finish, this machete is one of the most rugged looking survival machetes around. Although it might be a bit more expensive than other products, its high durability makes it worth the price. Get manufacturer’s warranty upon request.

This survival knife might be ideal for you if you are the type of person who goes into the wild frequently as it can chop any thick vine, bushes, or split logs that you might find blocking your way.

At 2.5 pounds, this machete is sturdily made and is also less prone to get stuck while chopping. Its construction features 5mm-075 high carbon steel and 66 sculpted vents. This Condor product also has a ‘Micarta’ handle, known for its ultra grip and high comfort. Even its sheath, made out of leather, is of high quality.

PROS

  • Full tang construction
  • Leather sheath
  • Can chop thick vines, bushes or split logs
  • Sharp
  • Highly durable
  • Heavy duty; sturdily made
  • Less prone to get stuck while chopping
  • Comfortable ‘Micarta’ handle

CONS

  • Might be a bit heavier on the top
  • Sleeve might be a bit loose

Gil Hibben IV Combat Machete Blade Knife


  • 17.7 x 1.8 x 4.3 inches
  • 2.8 pounds
  • Solid hardwood handle
  • Top grain leather sheath
  • 440 stainless steel

This machete is popular for its 440 stainless steel. It also comes with a highly durable top grain leather sheath. It is a very strong and sharp knife that will come in handy especially when you have to chop thick vines or baton woods. This machete can even chop bushes very efficiently. It only requires minimal amount of strokes to chop through an item and is very efficient – saving you both time and energy.

Its solid hardwood handle gives it a non slip grip, making it easier for you to chop down the item that is obstructing your way. Another feature that sets this knife apart from others is that it is easy to maintain – a simple diamond sharpener can do the trick! If you are the type that is really into the aesthetics of machetes, this just might be the product for you.

PROS

  • Easy to maintain
  • No slip
  • Easily chops through branches
  • Minimal strokes required
  • Durable
  • Sharp
  • Heavy duty
  • Constructed from 440 stainless steel

CONS

  • Pommel might twist and loosen
  • Sheath might not be a perfect fit

Ontario SP8 Machete (Black)


  • 17.9 x 3.8 x 1.9 inches
  • 1.5 pounds
  • Made of 1095 Carbon Steel
  • 10 inch plain edge blade
  • USA made

Designed specifically for military, sporting and rescue use, Ontario’s SP8 might be the perfect tool for your survival kit. It is suitable for people who like to trek/hike long distances as it is lightweight and conventional. My husband especially loved this practical feature because it was so comfortable to carry around.

Unlike other machetes that you may find in the market, Ontario SP8 has proper blade geometry that is made for chopping and battening and its tip does not snap off easily. Therefore, you can even say that it is safer than other machetes.

Made in the USA itself, it is also known for its high quality and high durability. It is made out of 1095 carbon steel and also comes with a tough sheath. It also has a non slip handle that is easy to grip for a long period of time.

PROS

  • Robust sheath
  • Designed for military, sporting, and rescue use
  • No slip grip
  • Highly durable
  • High quality; USA made
  • Comfortable to wear and carry around
  • Can strip branches with minimal strokes

CONS

  • The saw might become clogged on thick wood

Gerber Bear Grylls Parang Machete [31-002289]


  • 25.5 x 6 x 1.5 inches
  • 1.2 pounds
  • Full tang construction
  • Ergonomic textured rubber grip
  • Lanyard cord
  • Robust high carbon steel blade

This knife might be perfect for you if you have a tight budget and are looking for a machete that is of good quality. At just 1.2 pounds, it is very lightweight and is ideal for long hiking trails. Made with a robust high carbon steel blade, this machete is also known to be highly durable. One of the reasons why people love this survival machete is because it is military grade, and therefore of a high quality.

Its full tang construction also makes it highly durable. This product also features a lanyard cord and an Ergonomic textured rubber grip which provides enhanced grip security. I especially love this ‘non-slip’ aspect of the machete because it makes it easier for my constantly sweaty hands to grip properly and comfortably without using too much of force.

Its angled blade makes it ideal for cutting vines or limbs. It is also easy to sharpen and mildew resistant. One unique feature about this product is that its packaging comes with SOS instructions, which only enhances your survival capability.

PROS

  • Angled blade
  • Affordable
  • Comfortable
  • Easy to sharpen
  • Corrosion resistant
  • High quality
  • Lightweight
  • Military grade
  • Mildew resistant
  • Highly durable
  • Non slip
  • Enhanced grip security

CONS

  • 1/8 inch thick blade; Might not cut through Split/ Baton wood

Ka-Bar 2-1249-9 Kukri


  • 17.4 x 4.6 x 2.4 inches
  • 1.7 pounds
  • 100% Synthetic
  • Ergonomic Kragon G thermoplastic elastomer handle
  • Black leather/Cordura combination sheath

This is one of the highest rated machetes for survival in the market. It is 100% synthetic and its Ergonomic Kragon G thermoplastic elastomer handle gives you a non-slip and comfortable grip. Its sheath, along with the actual knife itself, is also known for its durability as it is made from a combination of black leather and Cordura. It is imported and is of high quality.

Ka-Bar Kukri is easy to strap to your body and the weighted down blade manages to give you that smooth and efficient cut. This feature is especially beneficial for you when you are travelling through underbrush as when the machete is safely secured to your leg, it can streamline your gear and help you navigate your way much more easily.

The blade is also very sharp. The drilled handle for a small slip rope prevents the knife from falling out of your hands. The hook design on the back of the handle also helps you to retain control of your knife and reduces fatigue while holding the blade still.

PROS

  • Imported
  • High quality
  • Highly durable
  • Non slip grip
  • Excels at chopping and basic field use
  • Easy to strap to your body
  • Blade is weighted down
  • Very sharp

CONS

  • Cannot be thrown
  • Small diameter handle
  • Minor inconsistency in the sheath leather

Which One Would I Recommend?

After having carefully evaluated the various types of survival machetes, I think that the Gerber Bear Grylls Parang Machete is the best one. Not only is it super affordable, it is also lightweight and perfect for my husband and I as we love hiking great distances. Another reason why I chose this particular machete as the winner is because it is one of the few top rated machetes that are of a high military grade quality.

It is also mildew resistant, easy to sharpen and it has an Ergonomic textured rubber grip which provides maximum grip. Plus, it has an angled blade for efficient chopping of vines and branches. Do you think this is the best machete for survival?

About the author

Gus Clark

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