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Condor Pack Golok Review

Discussion in 'Knife Reviews & Testing' started by Moses2792796, Aug 14, 2013.

  1. Moses2792796


    Jun 30, 2012
    Hey guys this is my first ever knife/tool review. Hopefully you guys can find something useful here and maybe offer me some advice as to how I could improve it. Also my apologies for the low quality photos, the only camera I own is about 20 years old!

    Condor Pack Golok Review



    Length: 17"

    Blade Length: 11"

    Blade Thickness: 5mm (7/32" approx) with distal taper

    Weight: 1.74 lbs

    Steel: 1075 Carbon Steel

    Grind: Zero Convex Grind

    Handle: Hardwood

    Sheath: Double Retention Strap Leather Belt Sheath

    Overall Impression

    If someone asked me what was the ideal "survival knife" this would come pretty close to the mark, not there, but close. A compact machete that is sturdy enough to chop and process hardwood. The blade is probably too short and thick to function as a standard machete if you're clearing light brush, but the Golok is designed for environments with woodier vegetation, traditionally these would still have been tropical environments in South East Asia, but as it turns out the design lends itself to use in temperate forests and a range of other environments as well. The relatively thick, convex ground blade excels at chopping greenwood, but also performs fairly well chopping dead hardwoods. It won't outchop a good axe but the added versatility makes it more desirable in many scenarios, especially backpacking trips where weight is a factor. The Pack Golok is an extremely sturdy design, and can be batoned and abused without much risk. The 1075 steel does not hold an edge particularly well, but in return it is extremely tough, in two days of hard use in order to test the blade for this review I did not do any damage at all to the edge. Considering the exceptionally low price (at the time of writing it's listed at $46.95 on knifecenter.com) this is certainly one of the best value "large survival knives" on the market.

    Chopping some deadwood...


    For size comparison, top to bottom: Tramontina 18" machete, Condor Pack Golok, Kabar Large Heavy Bowie, Kabar USMC Fighting Knife, Condor Bushlore and a BK14.

    ...and here's a top down comparison with a Kabar Large Heavy Bowie (1/4" thick)...

    I have covered some of this already, but the design lends itself to chopping woody plants, especially greenwood but it does pretty well on deadwood too. The handle is a nice hardwood which at first I found too smooth as it would move in my hand and as a gripped tighter it would create hotspots, however, as my technique improved I found that this problem went away. The edge is quite thick, although no where near as much as the bigger Golok machete. A combination of this and the steel choice means that this blade is not the best slicer. The most effective way to slice with this blade that I have found is to grip the blade above the thinner, tapered section and tuck the handle under your arm to take the weight off.


    Balance and Feel

    The blade is very well balanced due to the distal taper is feels deceptively light and maneuverable in the hand. The balance point is about 2" in front of the handle, which gives it a light feel, however the weight is not shifted forward enough for this to be an effective snap-cutter or standard chopper like and axe or a khukri. I have recently been informed that the proper way to chop with a tool like this is to use a draw-cut, effectively slashing the wood at the point of contact by drawing the blade towards the pommel. Using this technique vastly improves the chopping power of this tool and I would guess many others. In this short test I used a different chopping technique to make three cuts into a tree trunk, each cut is made by three swings of the blade, the one at the top uses a draw-cut as just describe, the one in the middle uses a snap-cut, and at the bottom I simply swung the blade directly into the wood, the results speak for themselves...

    Fit and Finish

    Outstanding for the price. Probably better than what you would expect on a knife double the price. The handles are beautifully finished and flush with the tang. The finish on the blade, as well as the polished convex section are very aesthetically pleasing and the factory grind is quite good. The only imperfection I have noticed is the ends of the handles are slightly uneven where they meet the blade, but this has no effect on utility and is hardly a consideration for a "user" tool.


    Whilst the 1075 steel is not bad, it does seem quite soft. It is difficult to put an edge on, and it tends not to hold an edge particularly well. The difficulty in getting this tool sharp is also due to the thick geometry but the steel is a factor. Overall I'd say the steel is acceptable, and one certainly can't complain about it's toughness, but it's probably my least favorite thing about the Pack Golok and Condor knives in general.


    This is another bonus, an extremely high quality leather sheath that rides perfectly on the belt. The leather is thick and sturdy and the double retention straps hold the blade in place well. Frankly it's incredible how Condor manage to make such high quality sheaths for such cheap tools, it should be a lesson to many other manufacturers out there.

    In use

    Chopping and splitting are no problem for the Condor Pack Golok...

    Blades of this length make good draw knives for bark stripping...

    Building shelters is no problem, this one was left unfinished...

    Not recommended! But the Golok's shape makes it a useful makeshift shovel if you really need one.

    After two days in the field without sharpening the edge could just cut paper, which is not too bad actually.


    My conclusion from my testing is pretty straightforward, you probably won't find a better large survival knife for the money (except maybe another Condor), or even close to this price-point. Whilst it is not perfect it is a very durable and effective tool that will serve you well in a wide range of environments. It is recommended to pair this with a smaller knife for finer cutting work and possibly a saw if you need to cut through larger logs. My current system covers all my bases...
  2. LEGION 12

    LEGION 12 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 8, 2009
    That was a great review pictures were also very nice wasn't aware Condor was even making this looks like something I might have to get I have been looking for a short chopper for cutting weeds in a narrow gangway next to my house . This looks like it would be perfect for this Thanks
  3. Scotch_Hooligan


    Dec 24, 2011
    I've had my eye on the Pack Golok for some time now, your review has further convinced me to get one. Thanks for the great write up and pictures.
  4. rpn

    rpn Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 17, 2008
    Same here...thanks!
  5. chiral.grolim

    chiral.grolim Universal Kydex Sheath Extension Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 2, 2008
    Great review! :thumbup:

    Concerning edge-thickness, do you have calipers and could give us a measurement of just how thick it is, say ~1/16" back from the apex at different points along the length?
  6. Moses2792796


    Jun 30, 2012
    Thanks for the idea, I don't have them at the moment but I will try to get some as soon as possible and then I'll edit the results into my review.
  7. untamed


    Jan 7, 2003
    As someone else said; great thoughts and pics! :thumbup:

    As something on the side though; as for functioning in as an emergency digging tool, while it may be true to use the right tool for the right task, in third world countries (like ours), it's not uncommon to find a native/tribal folk or a rural workman improvising with what he has. I know I have. That's why tools need to be well made to be treated for what they really are.
  8. deb.s


    Sep 2, 2013
    You're doing very good jobs dear. If you don't mind can you agree to write some top survival knife review for my website.
  9. TwinStick


    Jan 21, 2011
    Great review. I LOVE my Pack Golok. Big bang for the bucks ! :D
  10. jimh0220

    jimh0220 Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 15, 2008
    Awesome review. I gots one already, and need to start using it. You reminded me what a cool blade it is!
  11. agile_1


    Dec 2, 2012
    Thanks for the review and field work!

    I have several Condors including the Condor Golok and the Hudson Bay knives.

    The Golok does have that machete feel while the Hudson Bay wants to be a knife. Big knife - but definitely knife like in character. More like a Bowie than a machete. Both are great values and pieces.

    I appreciate seeing you put the Golok through a workout. Mine has never cut a thing. Probably will stay that way as I consider it part of a "collection".

    I do have user machetes but the Golok knife/machete isn't going to be one of them.
  12. co556guy


    Dec 13, 2011
    Good review. You covered points that I find useful. You didn't digress, and your thoughts were segmented so that I wasn't inundated with random information that didn't fit together.

    You should review again when the fancy strikes you.

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