Beginner or experienced, perhaps one of the first items to tick off your camping essential list is probably a machete! And we agree that buying a machete, especially for the first time can be a little intimidating.
But, do not worry; we have tested some of the most popular machetes out there to help you buy the best camping machete! However, before we go on any further, let’s take you through the basics of a machete and explain why exactly is it needed for camping.
So, a machete is a sharp sword-like knife with a thick blade typically over 10 inches long used for a variety of purposes. Although used traditionally for farming activities, these big knives really help in camping too.
Be it clearing brush at the camping site, cutting wood to build a shelter, chopping firewood, chopping food, and protecting yourself against wild animals – yes you guessed it, machetes do come to your rescue.
Now, let’s get going with the list of best machetes and their reviews!
Best Survival & Bushcraft Camping Machetes Comparison Table
|Kershaw Camp 14 Inch Camping Machete
|• 14 inches blade 20 inches overall
• High-performing blade
|Gerber Gator 18 Inch Machete For Bushcraft Camping
|• 18 inches blade and 25.7 inches overall
• Double sided blade including saw
|KA-BAR 2-1249-9 Kukri Machete For Survival Camping
|• 11.5 inches blade and 17 inches overall
• Paper-cutting sharpness blade
|SOG SOGfari 18 Inches Double Sided Machete
|• 18 inches blade and 29.95 inches overall
• Saw in the back
|CRKT 14 Inches Halfachance Fixed Blade Parang Machete
|• 14 inches blade and 19.5 inches overall
• Double injection molded handle
Reviews Of The Best Machetes For Camping
#1 – Kershaw Camp 14 Inch Camping Machete
- Blade material: 65 Mn spring steel
- Handle material: Rubber
- Blade length: 14 inches
- Overall length: 20 inches
- Weight: 1.9 pounds
- Tang: Full
Starting off the camping machete review with our best pick Camp 14 Inch Kershaw Machete, which is one of the greatest offerings from the Kershaw Camp series. If we start with the appearance, this handsome beast of a machete is such a treat to the eyes!
The blade is made from 65 Mn steel and it is on the thicker side. The edge is sharp enough out of the box and it does bite deep into the wood. Overall, the blade is decently sharpened and is suitable for heavy chopping.
Besides, the textured rubber handle provides excellent grip and great comfort. Out of the sheath, the black powder coat finish of the blades does provide a very striking look. It is a two-piece hard plastic case with adjustable nylon straps.
Also, you can run a lanyard in the drilled handle to ease your carrying and increase your safety level. It does make a rattling sound once inside the sheath, but we are not really complaining!
Kershaw machete is one of the best machetes for camping and perfectly fit for any outdoor tasks such as survival, hunting, etc. We highly recommend this powerful outdoor machete to cut, hack, chop, split, slash, scrape, or anything you want!
- Durable materials
- Ergonomic handle
- High-performance blade
- Good for outdoor and survival
- Heavier than others
#2 – Gerber Gator 18 Inch Machete For Bushcraft Camping
- Blade material: High carbon stainless steel
- Handle material: Gator grip overmold
- Sheath material: Nylon
- Blade length: 18 inches
- Overall length: 25.7 inches
- Weight: 1.12 pounds
- Tang: Full
Gerber Gear has been in the knife business since 1939 and over the years, the brand has bagged the reputation of making ergonomic and high-quality tools. And our runners-up choice 18 Inch Gerber Gator machete is no exception.
Featuring Gerber’s trademark gator grip handle, this machete ensures a slip-free experience. This dual-faced machete has a 15-inch sharp blade made of black oxide-coated steel on one side and an 18-inch serrated saw on the other.
It is huge plus provided the saw can help you cut through small trees, and branches at ease while you can use the blade for chopping. It comes with a nylon sheath for enhanced protection while carrying it.
Overall, this top-rated machete gets a big thumb up from us and definitely passes as one of the best bushcraft machetes. And the affordable price of the Gerber Gator machete will definitely help you choose it for your next camping trip.
- Solid construction and grip
- Double-sided blade including saw
- Budget machete for bushcraft camp
- Blade is corrosion-resistant
- The blade is slightly thinner
#3 – KA-BAR 2-1249-9 Kukri Machete For Survival Camping
- Blade material: Carbon steel
- Handle material: Kraton G rubber
- Sheath material: Cordura fabric
- Blade length: 11.5 inches
- Overall length: 17 inches
- Weight: 1.30 pounds
- Tang: Full
We have to give it to KA-BAR Kukri 2-1249-9 for this absolutely beautiful, durable, and comfortable machete. Kukri machetes have a quite unique shape (extra curve on the blade) and are normally smaller in size than other types of machetes.
Having this versatile and top-quality Kukri machete on camping trips for clearing a campsite, cutting small branches, or chopping down weeds. And let us tell you, if you are looking for the best survival machete for camping, this might be the one!
What really sets this apart from other machetes is its blade. Made from 1085 carbon steel, renowned for its toughness, and its built provides great balance and paper-cutting sharpness. The blades are also coated in black powder to prevent rusting.
This machete knife’s big handle is also quite sturdy and comfortable. Made from Kraton G, the lightly textured handle provides a great grip even if you have wet/sweaty palms. There is also a hole for slip rope to further tighten your grip, which is great!
The sheath also has a heavy-duty build that is made from black leather and military-quality Cordura fabric. It holds the machete perfectly and you can easily fasten the sheath to your belt.
There is also an additional loop at the end, which allows you to attach it to your leg. Don’t miss this high-end camping machete!
- Ergonomic design
- Corrosion-resistant sharp blade
- Great handle grip and sheath
- Easily cuts through saplings and branches
- Slightly shorter blade, might not be ideal for batoning
#4 – SOG SOGfari 18 Inches Double Sided Machete
- Blade material: 3CR13 stainless steel
- Handle material: Kraton rubber
- Sheath material: Nylon
- Blade length: 18 inches
- Overall length: 29.95 inches
- Weight: 0.98 pound
- Tang: Full
Up next, SOG SOGfari Double Edge Machete, and this one is built for great durability and performance. The brand promises of having crafted this monstrous machete with the highest quality materials and yes, we can vouch for it!
On first look, it is very evident that this machete has been made keeping safety and ease of use at priority. The handle is made from synthetic Kraton rubber that is slip-free and it very comfortably fits in your hands. The handle is also heat and weather-resistant, so you do not even have to wear gloves.
The blades are made from 3CR13 stainless steel, which is considered to be a great material for knives because of their ability to sustain edges. This gives this machete a great hardness level and also makes it very easy to sharpen.
Besides the front blade, the saw in the back is also pretty solid, and in all honesty, this is better than other available machete saws. Its full tang machete extends through the end allowing you to pound and scrape with no issues.
We believe, having this MC-02 SOGfari 18-inch machete, you can make a camping trip easier and more comfortable. It comes with a nylon sheath of decent construction.
- Saw cuts well
- Lightweight machete
- Great sharpness out of the box
- Great grip with extended spiked tang
- The quality of the sheath could be improved
#5 – CRKT 14 Inches Halfachance Fixed Blade Parang Machete
- Blade material: 65 Mn Carbon steel
- Handle material: Polypropylene over mold
- Sheath material: Nylon
- Blade length: 14 inches
- Overall length: 19.5 inches
- Weight: 1.25 pounds
- Tang: Full
We will wrap up the review with the CRKT Halfachance Parang Machete. This sturdy parang machete is designed to sustain in the most extreme of environments and make it ideal for camping, survival, and hunting.
It is a Ken Onion in Kaneohe, Hawaii designed machete. Built with a thick, powder-coated carbon steel blade, this machete is extremely durable, even if you are chopping through thick brushes and branches.
K920KKP CRKT machete features a double injection molded handle that enhances comfort and grip. There are multiple holes for varied grip options. The machete comes with a nylon sheath to make the carrying comfortable.
This machete is weighted perfectly, making it a good machete for camping at a wallet-friendly range.
- Ergonomically designed
- Great finish and overall great quality blade
- High quality reinforced nylon sheath
- Football textured handle for excellent grip
- May create discomfort for handling curve
Buying Guide Of Best Camping Machetes
The use of machetes is truly universal, no doubt, but you will be taken by surprise by the different types of machetes that are available. The type of machete dictates its size and shape, and even its name! Some of the common types are-
As fascinating as the name sounds, this machete originating from Nepal is probably the most popular type used across the world.
They are known for their unique design with a pointed tip, which is helpful for self-defense. And the curved front is useful in batoning wood, trimming bushes, making them great for camping.
Hailing from the Philippines, this leaf-shaped machete is known for its great cutting power. For that very reason, they are great for hunting and slaughtering.
This type of machete is widely used in countries across Southeast Asia and even in the United States.
Bolo machetes have a bulge towards the tip, which makes them good for agricultural use, especially in chopping narrow row crops. They are also used for hunting and self-defense.
Another machete originating from Southeast Asia, the distinguishable feature of the Parang is its relatively longer and curvier design. They are great for slicing through dense vegetation and thick wood.
Also Read: How machetes differ from knives and swords
One of the most important considerations while selecting a machete is undoubtedly its blade material. Machete blades are most commonly made of stainless steel and carbon steel, however, the use of high carbon stainless steel is also on the rise.
Carbon Steel is generally tougher and cheaper than stainless steel, but they are usually more prone to rusting and so might not be ideal wet conditions. Stainless steel is rust-resistant but softer than carbon steel and therefore its edges tend to dull quickly.
High Carbon Stainless steel combines rust-resistant properties along with the sharpness and toughness of carbon steel. So they are the best material for machetes that fit for camping, survival, and agriculture, although they are a tad bit more expensive.
One would normally think that the lighter a machete, the better it is; however, this is not really the case. In fact, thicker and heavier machetes have records of better performance.
We would recommend settling for a mid-range weight since it can distribute the load in a more balanced way when striking and also would not be very difficult to carry around.
Also Read: Complete summer camp list
Handle Material & Design
Handle material and design are two extremely crucial considerations when choosing a machete. Because a handle with bad material or design can cause fatigue of your hands, which can interrupt the performance.
You will find machete handles made of wood, stainless steel, rubber, molded plastic, leather, etc. Handle material is important because the comfort of holding the machete, its weight, and its grip depends on the material.
Each material has its own share of benefits and drawbacks. For instance, plastic and stainless steel handles can be slippery while rubber or textured, wooden, and leather handles provide better grip. Similarly, plastic handles might be easy to maintain while leather handles do require maintenance.
Have you wondered what are the best trampoline brands to pick for clearing brush or chopping wood during camping and survival situations? Here we’ve enlisted some of the top-performing popular machete brands.
Some of our favorite cool machete brands are Gerber Gear, Columbia River Knife & Tool (CRKT), Ka-Bar Kukri, Condor Tool & Knife, Tactical Master, SZCO Supplies, Ontario Knife, Condor Golok, Fiskars, Cold Steel, Gerber, SOG, LANSKY, Estwing, Schrade, and so on.
If you want to know more about the ins and outs of machetes, the following video might help you a lot.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the difference between a full-tang and a partial-tang machete?
Answer: If you have come this far into the article, chances are you are wondering what exactly is a tang, right?
Well, simply put, a tang is the hidden part of the blade that extends into the handle. You are likely to find a whole lot of different tang styles, but the most common ones are a full tang and a half tang.
A full tang is when the blade extends down right to the end of the handle. These types of knives provide excellent stability and are usually more robust in structure, making them an ideal survival tool.
The half or partial tang knives, on the other hand, have only a slight portion of the blade covered by the handle, which hampers their durability since the blade might come off loose.
So, which one should you choose? Although it comes down to the build of the machete really, it is always wiser to choose a full tang machete for camping purposes.
Q: Is folding machete good for camping?
Answer: Yes, it is a well-fitted and important item for camping such as beach trips. Although new still they are gaining popularity soon.
Q: Which sheath materials are good for machetes?
Answer: Well, you might know most machetes include durable sheath in their packages. Usually, good machete sheaths are made from leather and nylon.
Q: What is a good blade length for machetes?
Answer: This depends on the purpose of using the machete. Normally, machete blades run from 10 inches to 28 inches and there is no ideal length.
However, when it comes to camping, clearing heavy brush, and cutting small trees and woods are involved, blades between 14 to 18-inches are great.
Q: How do I sharpen my machete blade?
Answer: There are several types of machete sharpeners either manual or electric (or battery) operated you can use to sharpen the blade edges of your machete.
If you are a beginner, you can start with Mil Files. This simple tool comes in handy to even out the teeth of the saw and also restore the sharpness of the blade.
In case you are wondering, they are just like nail files, just bigger. You can also use grinders, and whetstones to sharpen your machete. And there are ways to sharpen the machete without traditional tools.
Q: How do I care for my machete?
Answer: It almost goes without saying that proper maintenance can lengthen the life of your machete. Constant exposure to moisture and improper storing can lead to corrosion of the blades. Some ways you can care for your machete:
- Wipe away moisture at the soonest
- Occasionally rub a coat of oil, preferably coconut oil over the blades
- Keep them sharpened to avoid dullness
- Keep them inside their sheaths
- Store in a dry place
Buying a machete is a big investment because imagine trying to chop down branches and brushes through a trail or at a campsite, and your big knife breaks in half? Or in the worst cases, you end up hurting yourself?
The above list of the best camping machetes consists of double-edged, Kukri, Parang, and other top machetes. You can choose any of these for greater performance when survival and bushcraft is concerned.
Just scroll up and buy the budget-friendly machete with a saw or one-blade machete that you have already read through our list. So, make your camping trip more easier and secure with the heavy-duty machete!
Joe is the founder and chief editor of PickOutdoorGear. He loves hiking, camping, fishing, hunting, and other outdoor activities. He will share his knowledge and experience here that he learned and still learning from the wilderness.