Usually I make my own blades and tools, but when I saw this survival machete on the shelf at my local Wal-Mart I had to have it.
I liked the shape of the blade, and upon picking it up it was clear that there was some weight to the blade.
Attempting to bend the blade while it was in the package proved difficult and it made it worth trying out.
It cost significantly more than the uber-flexible cheap machete hanging next to it, but paying for a quality product shouldn’t scare you.
A tool should hold up over time and perform the job at hand. And I’ve experienced disappointment with plenty of inexpensive machetes that deflect off of any branch thicker than a pencil.
This “parang” style machete comes with the Gerber lifetime warranty. You can read about the warranty here: www.GerberGear.com/warranty
The features listed on the package are:
- Angled Blade – Ideal for clearing brush or tree limbs
- Robust High Carbon Steel Blade – Enhances strength, corrosion resistance and ease to sharpen
- Full Tang Construction – Boosts Durability
- Ergonomic Textured Rubber Grip – Maximizes comfort and reduces slippage
- Lanyard Cord – Acts as guard enhancing grip security
- Nylon Sheath – Lightweight, military-grade mildew resistant *Includes Land to air rescue instructions
- Priorities of Survival – Pocket guide contains Bear’s survival essentials
This product is “made in china” for Gerber as many of their products now are. But the warranty is good and the quality is very high for a made in china product.
Testing and Analysis
Of course the first thing to do was to get the package open as fast as possible and find some brush and limbs to attack. It helps to read instructions first as it’s easy to hurt yourself using a sharp cutting instrument.
The Machete Blade
The first testing was of the machete blade itself. It was nice and sharp out of the package but the edge could use a little polishing with a whetstone.
It isn’t easily bent, it has significant weight to the blade and the shape and profile lend itself to easily slicing through stubborn brush and limbs. It’s one of the best blades I’ve seen on an affordable production machete.
It’s shorter length makes it easy to work in confined spaces. And the weight being moved forward makes it gain momentum in the swing quickly. It behaves differently – and possibly better – than a traditionally shaped straight blade.
The Grip and Lanyard
The grip lends itself easily to my hands. If you have large NBA player hands it may be a little small for you. The rubber grip with the raised and recessed areas gripped my bare palm well, and it held onto both leather and composite grip gloves well.
The lanyard is functional but made of inexpensive cord. I’ll be replacing my cord with 550 paracord and as a survivalist item using paracord could have been a selling point for Gerber.
Make sure to use the lanyard at all times when swinging the machete. There are instructions on how to use the lanyard but putting it around my wrist worked as well. Take a minute and experiment with the lanyard before you start swinging! Failure to do so could result in a missing digit easily! The forward arch on the blade moves the weight forward and it could easily get out of control.
The sheath appears to be of sturdy construction and will likely hold up over time.
However the belt loop is a little small – it may not fit on wider belts – and I’m unsure of how well the nylon strap will hold up.
The sheath does use some sort of metal rivets to hold it together which should resist the blade damaging the sheath.
The blade slides in and out easily and is quickly secured with the Velcro retaining strap.
On the outside of the sheath there are alpine rescue signals with illustrated examples. This is actually a really neat feature in my opinion.
The Pocket Survival Guide
I think they could have done much better with this item. It’s not a huge selling point, but I think it could make people happier with the product.
It’s basically a 10” x 10” piece of water-resistant paper that has basic survival instructions printed on it and then folded up to fit in a pocket.
A water-resistant guide with a cover and waterproof container would have been a much nicer addition.
However, this guide could prove invaluable to someone with little survival experience or knowledge. I’ll throw it in one of my survival packs.
Overall Score and Opinion