The machete has long had a place as an almost classic survival tool. It can be used as a deadly weapon to defend yourself, but more importantly, it can be a very useful survival tool.
Plus, many of us have seen movies where a bad guy henchman uses a machete as his favored weapon, so there’s a natural urge to want to own a machete even if you don’t plan on using it in your survival kit.
But with the many other survival tools on the market, a machete may not seem very useful after all. Granted, a machete is an invaluable tool to have if you are in a jungle or rainforest environment, as it can hack through the thick undergrowth. But in North America, the machete may seem rather out of place. This can especially seem true once you consider how a good military Ka-Bar or Bowie knife, a handsaw or a hatchet (or an ax) can come into play and fulfill more specific roles than the machete.
But a machete can be quite versatile.
Let’s look at the pros and cons of including a machete in your North American survival kit, and then you can make the call if it’s the right tool for you to have.
First of all, the machete is becoming increasingly popular as a versatile tool to have when you camp. It is an excellent tool for clearing brush as you hike through forests and up and down hills, just as it is used to hack through the jungle in tropical climates.
It is also an excellent tool for chopping wood. Yes, you could just as easily use an ax, but a machete is also the right tool for the job as long as you have a rock or something hard to strike the back edge of the machete as you chop through the wood.
A machete is also an excellent self-defense weapon, particularly against aggressive wild game. An ax may be too large to wield quickly, and a knife too short to make much of an impact. A machete puts much distance between you and the animal. Plus, it’s very threatening to other people who may attack you for whatever reason. And beyond threatening, a machete is also undeniably deadly.
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Additional uses where a machete may come in handy are to clean wild game and fish, or to carve into wood.
So far, the machete seems to be the perfect accessory to have while outdoors on a camping or hiking trip. But when all is said and done, there are also some cons you’ll want to know about, too. For instance, all of the roles of the machete that we discussed can be easily fulfilled by smaller items, such as a strong, fixed-blade knife, a handsaw and an ax.
An ax is the best tool for chopping wood, as it can be done without any other materials (knives and machetes require you to strike the back of the blade with a stick or a rock as you dive the blade into the wood). A handsaw and a hatchet can also be used to chop wood, and they are much smaller and easier to carry around with you.
A fixed blade knife is also a better tool for cleaning fish, as it is smaller and will give you more precision. And as a self-defense weapon, a hatchet or a knife may not give you as much distance as a machete, but they are still smaller and thus you’ll be able to make faster strikes.
And as an added benefit, knives and hatchets are small, compact and you’ll forget that you’re carrying them if you choose to hook one onto your belt. On the other hand, most machetes are large and bulky and can wear you down as you hike with their large weight and size.
So, what do you think? Is a machete worth having in a survival situation? Share your thoughts in the section below: