Machetes Are All the Rage Right Now. Here’s the Best One to Put in Your Backpack
When you’re out and about in the outdoors, Ready Nutrition Readers, no doubt in the late Spring and in the Summer you have met with obstacles: stickers, thorn bushes, and creeping foliage. Although I’m not advocating carving out new wilderness trails in the manner of Lewis and Clark, there’s something to be said for taking “the path less traveled by,” to paraphrase Frost. If you have to “bust brush,” you could use more than a walking stick. This is where a good machete made by Gerber will come in handy.
I have one and consider it absolutely essential when I need to traverse through a heavily thicketed and thorn-infested area. The Gerber Machete
is 25” in length from the tip to the base of the handle, or pommel, if you prefer. The blade is 17” in length.
One of the best features is that the spine or back of the blade is a ripsaw,
and this is just over 15”. This last is pretty important, because that long length of saw blade with sharp, ripping teeth will allow you to cut thicker poles from fallen timber, such as needed for lean-to’s, tents, and hammock-ends.
The saw’s teeth are 3/16” in depth: just under a quarter of an inch. For busting brush, this is good for if you have a heavy load of a pack and you can’t go over or around a woody thorn bush. With this, you can cut it right off at the base, very quickly, and be done with it. The blade is burnished with an overcoat, whereas the edge is fine-honed with the blade sharpened its entire length and an edge-width of ¼”. The handle is rubberized with a tough polymer material and quite ergonomic. It has a rope handle for your wrist that loops through the machete’s handle for a backup.
The machete comes in a Cordura nylon sheath that is rigid, and it is riveted at the blade-edge with a thick seam that’s double stitched. The Velcro clasp that holds the blade in (or hook-pile tape, if you prefer) is extremely strong and doesn’t allow the blade to slip out. The sheath has a vertical loop on it to attach to your belt, although you may wish to do what I do, and attach loops around the sheath to affix Alice clips: this enables it to be mounted on the outside of a rucksack and hang horizontally instead of vertically.
The advantages to a machete for clearing brush and for cutting light kindling and poles are speed and ease of motion. It is not as cumbersome as an ax and you have more cutting (blade) surface than either an ax or a hatchet. It also extends the reach of your arm considerably beyond the hatchet or ax. If you need to construct a lean-to or cut some wood quickly for either a small campfire or for poles, this one will do the trick. It’s also made of steel, people…real steel that is magnetic. It will serve your needs admirably.
In a disaster, you may need that good cutting power and speed…that fluidity of movement that an ax cannot always give you.
It packs easily and can be used as a defensive weapon if you’ve exhausted other options. The saw feature is really valuable in this instance. How many times have you either cut or chopped something only to find that you really need a saw-blade to finish the job? This ripsaw blade is durable and rather than stumble around looking for a saw, this one is more than able to handle 2” x 4”s and 2” x 6”s as well as other wood, such as 4” x 4”s that you may have to cut in a hurry.
The Gerber Machete runs between $20 and $25, and you can order it at www.amazon.com and have it delivered to your door. Affordable, reliable, and practical, Gerber made a machete that follows after all of their knives…in my opinion the best and most cost-effective machete you can lay your hands on. As you know from past articles, I’m partial to Gerber: their Mark II blade is a top-notch combat knife. For combating the sticker bushes off the trail or for cutting those lean-to poles in a hurry, Gerber’s machete is my pick for your all-around number one machete for backpacking, the outdoors, and if a disaster strikes where you need to cut quickly and effectively without digging through your toolbox. JJ out!
Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.
Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.
Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.
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