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.
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!