Donít Buy Cheap Machete!

Published: 17th January 2012
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I was with a friend hiking in the California hills recently. Taking pride in being prepared, he pulled out an old sheet metal machete. He decided to test the blade on a tree in the middle of our hike. When he swung and hit the tree, it bounded right back at him barely scratching the surface. It just goes to show, a cheap machete just canít compare with a high quality one. Current innovations in machete design have created a much more functional and high performance tool. A more expensive machete is constructed with quality materials that are more durable and resistant to wear and tear.

For example, take the wooden handle that older machetes are made of. The handle can crack from shock absorption. And if you happen to drop it in water, you better dry it quick or the wood will rot due to moister. Todayís machete handle comes in a variety of materials such as resin base carbon fiber, fiber glass, and polymers. The synthetic materials are stronger and water proof, an excellent candidate for machete handle. But, be careful when buying machete with synthetic handle. Make sure that the machete you buy doesnít have a thin metal spine, also known as a rat tail tang. The thin handle is not durable as a machete with a full metal handle, better known as a full tang. You can tell a rat tail by the way the handle is molded around the metal. Molded handle machetes are dangerous because they tend to loosen up from use. If that happens, you have a wobbly handle on a sharp blade, not a good combination.

Blade quality is also a must have if youíre going to do some serious outdoor venturing. A dull, flimsy, sheet metal blade will not assist you with the wide variety of tasks that you may encounter in the wilderness. Donít get me wrong; it may work well for chopping thin vegetation and doing small tasks. But what about the heavier tasks such as cutting thick branches in your path, gathering fire wood, digging, and building shelter? A quality machete is made of heat treated high carbon spring steel. This type of metal is more rigid, durable, and heavier to provide for maximum cutting power. Carbon steel blade retains a sharp cutting edge while taking on the heaviest of abuses. Iíve seen quality machete cut through thick branches and after cut through paper with ease like a razor blade. On the extreme side, treated carbon steel blade can cut through sheet metal, metal pipe, and even cement brick with little to no damage to the blade itself. Now thatís what you want beside you in the wild!

Some cheap machete may or may not come with a sheath (blade holster). Sheaths are typically made of nylon, leather, or wood. The nylon sheath will rip, the leather ones will rot if exposed to prolong moister or water and the wooden sheath can rot and crack over time. A good machete comes with a synthetic sheath made of some type of plastic, kydex. The plastic sheath provides protection from the sharp blade and it is highly resistant to the elements. Also, it is flexible and sturdy enough to provide excellent comfort. The plastic sheath wonít rip, rot, or crack. If you lost one in a jungle, your grand kid may find it one day because it will be there for decades, if not, hundreds of years.

The outdoors can be unforgiving and a deadly place if you are not prepared. If your survival depends on your equipment, then have the best in quality and performance. An outdated cheap machete that goes blunt on you after a few cuts is going to waste your time and maybe cost you your life. Buy a quality machete once that works well and lasts a life time. For more information www.outboundblade.com


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