Last Updated: April 14, 2020

Best Survival Machete in 2020

Tools have been tantamount to survival since early man used a combination of antler, bone, and sharp stones to hunt, forage, blaze trails, and fend off enemies. Tools evolved over thousands of years, and by the 9th millennium, humans discovered metal, a game-changer in the history of tools. Fast forward to the 18th century. Iron smelting and metalwork enabled manufacturers to produce sheets of metal to create razor-sharp edges for tools. By 1845, a manufacturer called the Collins Company in Connecticut, USA sold the first modern machete and followed up by exporting them to various parts of the world for everything from agriculture to weapons.


At A Glance: Top 4 Survival Machetes


Today, catastrophe preppers, survivalists, and outdoor adventurers prize the machete as the ultimate survival tool to have in your survival backpack. A machete is like a combination of a survival knife and an ax with the blade edge as a cutter and the weighted upper blade giving you force to chop. It allows you to slash, chop, split, hammer, and more. Machetes come in many styles from the bolo to the billhook with different features and functions. Let our collection of the best survival machetes help you find the right one to add to your survival gear.

Top Product Overview

Condor Tool & Knife, Parang Machete, 17-1/2in Blade, Hardwood Handle with Sheath
  • durable and flexible
  • lightweight and well-balanced
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Kershaw Camp 18 (1074) Camp Series Machete; 18” 65Mn Steel Fixed Blade with Black Powdercoat Finish and Rubber Overmold Handle; Includes Molded Sheath with Nylon Straps And Lash Points; 2 lb. 14 oz
Best for Heavy Work
  • strong 65N steel with carbon content
  • secure-grip handle
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Genuine Gurkha 6' Blade Panawal Ankhola Kukri Rose Wooden Handle-Hand Made Knife- Knives in Nepal
  • strong 5160 high-carbon steel
  • lightweight
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SOG Machete with Sheath - SOGFari Survival Machete and Camping Machete w/ 10 Inch Full Tang Machete Tanto Blade and Saw Machete Back (MC04-N), Black, One Size
Best for Versatility
  • strong 3Cr13 stainless steel
  • two-sided fixed blade
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KA-BAR 2-1249-9 Kukri
  • strong carbon steel blade
  • comfortable ergonomic handle
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Gerber Bear Grylls Parang Machete [31-002289]
Best for Hiking and Camping
  • tough carbon steel blade
  • ergonomic rubber grip
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Condor Tool & Knife, Engineer Bolo Machete, 15in Blade, Hardwood Handle with Sheath
  • extra-thick blade for dense vegetation
  • hidden brass rivets for extra strength
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Ontario Knife Company 6120 1-18SBK Machete Sawback
  • strong sawback blade
  • steel construction rivets
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Condor Tool & Knife, Warlock Machete Knife, 12-1/2in Blade, Micarta Handle with Sheath
  • good multi-purpose tool
  • sharp tip for piercing and stabbing
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Schrade SCHKM1 19.7in Kukri Machete with 13.3in Stainless Steel Blade and Safe-T-Grip Handle for Outdoor Survival, Camping and Bushcraft
  • sturdy 3Cr13 stainless steel
  • lightweight
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Best Survival Machetes


Condor Parang Machete

Condor Tool & Knife, Parang Machete, 17-1/2in Blade, Hardwood Handle with Sheath

The Condor Parang Machete features a 17.5 inch blade made of heavy duty1075 high carbon steel. It’s coated in a black powder epoxy making it flexible yet durable for a powerful, long-lasting tool. The curved blade lets you easily cut through vines, brush, and small trees to get rid of vegetation and set up camp almost anywhere in a few strokes. Also, use it for defense against dangerous animals.

Amazingly, the Condor Parang only weighs one pound so wrist fatigue is minimized. The blade is full-tang meaning it runs through the handle. This gives the machete good balance for heavy-duty use. The blade is about a quarter of an inch thick at the handle and thins to the point. The hardwood handle is ergonomically designed for control and comfort and has a hole for a lanyard. A black leather belt sheath protects the blade when not in use.

Although the blade is slightly thinner than some, the Condor Parang holds its own when cutting through thick brush.

Pros

  • durable and flexible
  • lightweight and well-balanced
  • ergonomic handle

Cons

  • thinner blade than some
  • report of piece of handle breaking off
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Best for Heavy Work

Kershaw Camp 18 1074 Machete

Kershaw Camp 18 (1074) Camp Series Machete; 18” 65Mn Steel Fixed Blade with Black Powdercoat Finish and Rubber Overmold Handle; Includes Molded Sheath with Nylon Straps And Lash Points; 2 lb. 14 oz

The Kershaw 1074 Camp 18 Series machete sports an 18-inch 65 MN steel fixed blade with a black powder-coated finish. This type of steel has excellent wear resistance. The carbon content gives the full-tang blade a high degree of strength and hardness for hard use applications. The blade is 5.08 mm thick and the total weight of the machete is 2.6 lbs.

A perfect companion in deep jungles, at camps, and on farms, the Camp 18 makes light work of clearing brush and removing small trees. You get a secure grip even in soggy, humid conditions with the solid polymer handle wrapped with textured overmold.
The handle’s built-in guard has a lanyard hole in both the front and back.

The Camp 18 comes with sturdy nylon straps and a molded sheath.

Pros

  • strong 65N steel with carbon content
  • secure-grip handle

Cons

  • report of blade coating eroding
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Genuine Gurkha Kukri Knife

Genuine Gurkha 6' Blade Panawal Ankhola Kukri Rose Wooden Handle-Hand Made Knife- Knives in Nepal

Handmade in Nepal, the Gurkha Kukri has a thin 10-inch extra-strong full-tang blade made of 5160 high-grade carbon steel. This machete has a 10mm thick blade that weighs only 1.98 lbs. The durable handle is made of rosewood.

The quality of the steel used in crafting the Gurkha Kukri makes it easy to sharpen and stay sharp. It’s lightweight and comfortable to carry and a favorite among campers, hikers, and survivalists. It comes with a cotton-lined buffalo skin, leather sheath for protection and easy access. Two smaller utility knives are included with your purchase.

The Gurkha Kukri is hand-forged by Kami/Biswakarma castes, masters of the art of kukri-making.

Pros

  • strong 5160 high-carbon steel
  • lightweight
  • cotton-lined sheath

Cons

  • reports of crack on handle
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Best for Versatility

SOGFari Survival Machete

SOG Machete with Sheath - SOGFari Survival Machete and Camping Machete w/ 10 Inch Full Tang Machete Tanto Blade and Saw Machete Back (MC04-N), Black, One Size

The SOGFari Survival Machete is a 2-in-1machete and wood saw. The 10-inch full-tang black blade has a straight edge on one side, a serrated edge on the other, and a strong tip for piercing. The saw teeth cut extra-deep for clearing jungle vines and small trees. The blade holds an edge and is easy to sharpen.

The two-sided fixed blade of this machete is fashioned of strong and durable 3Cr13 stainless steel with a handle of nonslip black Kraton. An extended spike tang on the handle makes it suitable for scraping and pounding. It’s versatile for many tasks from building shelter in a survival situation to harvesting crops.

The SOGFari measures 16 inches in total length and is lightweight at 13.5 ounces. It comes with a sturdy ballistic nylon sheath with a belt loop.

Pros

  • strong 3Cr13 stainless steel
  • two-sided fixed blade
  • serrated edge for sawing

Cons

  • doesn't fit well in sheath
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Best Value

KA BAR 2-1249-9 Kukri Machete

KA-BAR 2-1249-9 Kukri

The KA BAR company is known for high-quality products and the Kukri-style KA BAR 2-1249-9 Machete is no exception. The heavy duty carbon steel blade measures 11 and 1/2 inches and is lightweight at 1.7 lbs. Imported from Taiwan, the KA BAR is excellent for clearing campsites and more. The Kragon G thermoplastic elastomer non-slip handle is ergonomically designed and comfortable to carry.

The KA BAR Kukri is a powerful tool that chops wood and brush without strenuous effort. It comes with a black leather sheath combined with Cordura.

Pros

  • strong carbon steel blade
  • comfortable ergonomic handle

Cons

  • blade curve makes sharpening difficult
  • leather sheath is a bit flimsy
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Best for Hiking and Camping

Gerber Bear Grylls Parang Machete

Gerber Bear Grylls Parang Machete [31-002289]

With strong striking power, the Gerber Bear Grylls Parang is a traditional-style machete with a tough as nails carbon steel blade. It’s a great survival tool that cuts through heavy duty brush, trees, and other material with just a few strokes. It’s lightweight at 1.7 lbs so you can clear trails and campsites effortlessly.

The blade length is 13.5 inches and the overall length is 19.5 inches. The parang-style blade is easy to sharpen and corrosion-resistant. Full-tang construction gives it strength and durability. You won’t have to worry about sweaty palms with the ergonomic textured rubber grip.

The Gerber Bear Grylls is an excellent choice for serious campers and survivors. It comes with a military-grade mildew-resistant nylon sheath and lanyard cord. Also included is a Bear Grylls pocket survival guide and a limited lifetime warranty.

Pros

  • tough carbon steel blade
  • ergonomic rubber grip
  • limited lifetime warranty

Cons

  • reports of blade chipping
  • flimsy strap on sheath
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Condor Tool & Knife Bolo Machete

Condor Tool & Knife, Engineer Bolo Machete, 15in Blade, Hardwood Handle with Sheath

The exceptionally sharp Condor Bolo Machete has a 15-inch blade made of 5mm-1075 high carbon steel. The extra-thick (3/16-1/4) blade will slice through dense limbs and brush. Brass rivets that you can’t see add even more strength to the blade. The smooth, wooden handle is comfortable to hold but isn’t textured for gripping with sweaty hands.

At 2.54 lbs, the Condor Bolo is a bit heavier than some other machetes, but it maintains a sharp edge and is quite durable. The tip is also super-sharp for piercing. The full-tang construction gives it good balance. Overall, it’s well-made and powerful.

Pros

  • extra-thick blade for dense vegetation
  • hidden brass rivets for extra strength
  • blade maintains a sharp edge

Cons

  • a bit heavy
  • handle not textured for grip
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Ontario Knife Company 6120-1-185BK Machete Sawback

Ontario Knife Company 6120 1-18SBK Machete Sawback

The Ontario Sawback has an 18-inch carbon blade with a zinc finish. The flat-grind blade has a thickness of 0.12 inches and has straight cut saw teeth. With an overall length of 24 inches, it weighs in light at 1 lb and 5.3 ozs.

The full-tang construction gives good balance and steel compression rivets provide this machete with extra strength. The Ontario Sawback is a good addition to your survival kit and bug out bag. The handle is tough molded plastic. No sheath is included.

The Ontario Knife Company has been manufacturing machetes under U.S. government specifications for more than 60 years with the same quality expected by U.S. troops.

Pros

  • strong sawback blade
  • steel construction rivets
  • made by a reputable company

Cons

  • plastic handle not well set
  • no sheath included
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Condor Tool& Knife Warlock Machete Knife

Condor Tool & Knife, Warlock Machete Knife, 12-1/2in Blade, Micarta Handle with Sheath

The Condor Warlock has a 12.5-inch blade made of 1075 high carbon steel with a thickness of 5.0mm. The blade is coated with black epoxy powder. The micarta handle is ergonomic for comfort and a good grip even in wet conditions. The full-tang Warlock has an overall length of 19.5 inches and it weighs 2.07 lbs.

The Warlock is mainly designed for chopping, but it’s also a good multi-purpose tool. Use it to cut wood, clear brush, skin fish and other game. The sharp tip, good for piercing and stabbing make it a good defense weapon. This machete is good for camping and as an addition to your home survival kit.

Pros

  • good multi-purpose tool
  • sharp tip for piercing and stabbing
  • ergonomic micarta handle

Cons

  • heavier than some other survival machetes
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Schrade SCHKM 1 Kukri Machete

Schrade SCHKM1 19.7in Kukri Machete with 13.3in Stainless Steel Blade and Safe-T-Grip Handle for Outdoor Survival, Camping and Bushcraft

The Schrade Kukri Machete has a 13.3-inch blade made of sturdy 3Cr13 stainless steel with a powder coating and a safety grip handle. The overall length is 19.7 inches and it’s lightweight at 1 lb 6.6 ozs. The full-tang blade is approximately a quarter of an inch thick.

The Schrade comes with a polyester sheath with a removable shoulder pouch, shoulder strap, belt loop, and leg strap making it the ideal cutting tool. A front quillon ensures that the blade will not slip. It features a ferro rod, sharping stone, and lanyard hole and is ideal as a camping and survival tool.

Pros

  • sturdy 3Cr13 stainless steel
  • lightweight
  • includes ferro rod and sharpening stone

Cons

  • a few reports of breakage
  • sheath needs to be stiffer
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What to Look For

A good survival machete can serve a lot of purposes in clearing land, chopping wood, cleaning fish and game and preparing food to cook. A sharp tip on a machete can protect you against vicious wildlife and predators. Survivalists use machetes for safety while hiking and camping and store one away in case of a doomsday event. Features to consider when shopping for a machete include blade material, weight, tang, and the type of handle.

Blade Material

Strong blade material is important when selecting a machete. You want something that is durable and won’t break down when you need it the most. Carbon steel is stronger than stainless steel but isn’t rust-resistant, so it may not be the best choice for rainforest jungles and wet places. Stainless steel is more rust-resistant thanks to the additives that form an oxidized layer on the surface. Several of the survival machetes in our collection use high carbon steel, a combination of both for strength and rust-resistance.

Tang

Look for full-tang for the best survival machete. Since the blade extends the entire length including the handle, a full-tang machete is stronger and better balanced than half-tang or rat-tail tang.

Weight

If you plan to do a lot of heavy-duty work like chopping and clearing dense vegetation, a heavier machete may be more efficient. But if you are an avid outdoorsman, lightweight is better for carrying. Consider purchasing a lightweight machete for camping and hiking, and a heavier one to keep in your survival kit for catastrophes.

Handle

A good handle is an important component of a survival machete. It needs to be strong and have a good grip. An ergonomically-designed handle is comfortable to hold. Smooth, wooden handles are comfortable, but textured materials may give you a better grip. Wooden handles may also tend to rot around a lot of water. Plastic handles can be durable but may be slippery, especially when wet.

Our Picks

The following are our picks for the best machetes to help you survive in the wilderness!

Best for Heavy Work

The Kershaw 1074 Camp 18 machete is made of 65MN stainless steel with carbon content for hard use applications. The polymer handle with textured overmold gives a good grip even when wet.

Best for Hiking and Camping

The lightweight Gerber Bear Grylls with a 13.5-inch carbon steel blade clears trails and campsites with ease. A textured rubber handle gives good grip.

Best for Versatility

The SOGFair Survival Machete with a 10-inch full tang blade of 3Cr13 stainless steel has a straight edge on one side, a saw edge on the other, and an extended spiked tang on the handle for pounding. It’s suitable for a variety of tasks including sawing, cutting, and piercing.

Best Value

Priced under $60, the KA-BAR 2-1249-9 Survival Machete is a high-quality product with a blade made of strong carbon steel and an ergonomically-designed handle.