Top 5 cheapest & BEST for the $ SURVIVAL blades

Discussion in 'Wilderness & Survival Skills' started by psy-ops, Dec 12, 2002.

  1. Jerry Hossom

    Jerry Hossom

    Aug 1, 1999
    Hey Jason, well I wish there were some pines or fir trees down there for you to use it on for a Christmas Tree. A palm and a pine scented candle doesn't really achieve the same sense of the season.

    Glad to hear that blade is performing well for you. I'm always grateful for feedback from the real world, and those jungles are about as real world as it gets. I'm curious what kind of machetes you see most there among the people who use them for a living? Maker, size, blade shape, etc.?
  2. Hoodoo


    Aug 18, 1999
    In answer to you question about fires, you might want to pick up a book or two on the topic. One of the best that covers firemaking and wood types in general is Bushcraft by Mors Kochanski. There is also some very good info in J. Wayne Fears book, The Complete Book of Outdoor Survival and Wildwood Wisdom by Ellsworth Jaeger.
  3. mark0


    Nov 26, 2002
    Machete feedback for Jerry
    On our trip to Peru we saw the following types:
    1) Gavilan de Incolma (web site
    6510 (from their web site) at 24"
    127H at 18" and 22"

    of 18" and 22" mostly, similar to 127H above.

    Both the Bellota and the Gavilan are made in Colombia, city of Manizales.
    There are other makers in this city.
    It is like a Solingen of Colombia apparently.

    The sellers in hardware stores recommended these brands very highly and told me that the "agricultores", i.e. farmers and river people prefered these by a mile.
    The local villages we saw were very poor, but it seemed that every adult has a machete.
    The households also have and axe and a few garden digging tools.
    Peru is ~ 50% jungle so machetes are used a lot.

    Tramontina was also used (a 24 inch model)but
    the people at the lodge said that they have to sharpen them very often.

    The Gavilan and Bellota have thin blades, as mentioned in my earlier posts (~ 1/16" approx.)

    The Tramontina is somewhat thicker (0.080" - 0.090".

    I have seen machetes that had been sharpened so much that there was barely any blade left.

    The weak point for these machetes is the handle.
    All the ones I have seen in Peru had riveted handles, and they were more or less loose.

    I think that a moulded handle like on the Frosts Mora would be the answer.

    I have seen such a machete in Mexico made by
    Imacasa of El Salvador (
    but do not have one so I do not know how good the steel is.

    Let me know if there is anything else Jerry.
  4. Jerry Hossom

    Jerry Hossom

    Aug 1, 1999
    Mark, thanks a lot for those links and the feedback. It would seem that Invermec has something we only dream about here. From their web listing: "Fabricadas con Acero Kriptonite exclusivo de Incolma". Kryptonite! Marketing people are the same everywhere it seems. :)

    I gather there is some standardization in the model numbers, even between countries. All the makers appear to have the same Model 127 and variants thereof. Your observations on the handle are pretty much as I recall from Panama. A lot of them are taped together IIRC.

    I think most of the cutting done with the machetes down there is primarily cane and grasses, thus the preference for longer and thinner blades. I guess that's also why they have the axes, for hardwood. I'm not sure those machetes are what I would choose for the survival role here in the north, where wood cutting would be a necessary task. I do like some of their blade designs though, and may try some new things in that area myself, drawing on that information.

    Thanks again.
  5. backpacker


    Oct 2, 2000
    OK, what would you guys consider carring for being properly outfitted if you were in the Sierra Nevada mountain range for a month?

    HooDoo & Jimbo, your input is always welcome!
  6. Hoodoo


    Aug 18, 1999
    Hi backpacker,
    A month in the Sierras! Sounds like fun. A month is a long time so the question is what kinda camping are you talking about? Backpacking, car camping, primitive camping, survival camping? In the few years I lived out west, just about the only kife I ever carried while backpacking was an SAK Craftsman. Never needed more, even on trails that hadn't been cleared in eons in the Bob Marshall. Usually that amounted to huge trees that had fallen across the trail so you either went under, over, or around but I'd still be there if I tried to chop through. :)

    If you are backpacking, trying to carry a month's worth of food is pretty intimidating. Three weeks used to be my limit. Now I'm "happy" doing 7-10 day trips. Any way you slice it though, lighter is better imo (I think you know my philosophy on this). Some guys like to backpack with a fixed blade and I've come to believe that a good stick tang Scandanavian knife is ideal for this. Lighter than full tang and plenty tough. I also like the Mora 2000 and the Swedish Army Knife. I like a good folder like an SAK Camper or Pioneer, the SOG crossgrip or Leatherman Squirt, and a small SAK with scissors. In other words, I carry several knives instead of one. Personally, I think the fixed blade is just a luxury. The Camper has a saw for cutting tarp poles, tent pegs and what have ya, the squirt has a serviceable pair of pliers which I like to use with a three cornered needle for sewing webbing and leather if need be, and the small sak has the scissors for doing things like cutting holes around moleskin to place around blisters or whatever.

    I think I've posted this pic here before but this is the general idea of the kind of combo I would carry with the fixed blade being optional, depending on what the load is on my back and the terrain I will be covering.


    Or you could just take an SAK Ranger. :)

  7. Jason Burns

    Jason Burns

    Jan 20, 2001
    Jerry, sorry I did not check back on this thread sooner. I have been in Costa Rica alot recently and about the only brand that they allow in the country is IMACSA. It is really a piece of junk! The most common is 24" but up to 28" is not too uncommon. I prefer the ones in Nicaragua that are primarily Tramontina . . . MUCH better! Machetes rule the day though . . . watched a guy take down a 16" palm the other day with one!:eek: He acted like he had the best tool in the world to do it with too!:D
  8. kanochris


    Nov 3, 2002
    This is simple and one knive does it all

    GINZU !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  9. PlaceKnives

    PlaceKnives Banned by Moderators Banned

    Apr 7, 2003
    I got 2 Tramontina 10" blade machetes on ebay for $5.00. I use one for chopping wood when I go camping because it's so much lighter than an axe. I've used it 3 times now to chop firewood on various outings and it still shaves hair.

    Not too shabby for the price!
  10. abo4ster


    Aug 24, 2003
    Back to original question.

    For a CHEAP knife, high carbon Mora.

    Not so cheap, I would want a TOPS Tracker or Beck WSK.

    In a survival situation, I want something that will help me cut branches, etc. to build a debris hut for shelter. Something that will help me carve a bow-drill set for fire. Something that will me carve deadfall traps and triggers for snares, and about million different other things from cleaning small animals to digging. Oh, its got to hold an edge and sharpen easily.

    The problem, I won't carry something as heavy as the Tracker in the woods. These day I do actually carry a Frost Mora and a stainless neck knife (for back-up). And that's it.
  11. Jim Craig

    Jim Craig

    Jan 22, 2002
    I do believe the topic was 5 best cheap knives(use 'em, toss 'em if you break 'em)

    1.Cold steel red river series
    2.Any Scandi from Ragnar
    3.Frosts of Sweden
    4.Old hickory knives

    One step better quality, one step less cheap; (ie. cheap,but not throw aways)

    1.Fallkniven F1
    2.Grohmann Survival, Camper, Boat, w/flat grind
    3.Nicer Scandis from Ragnar
    4.CS Master Hunter or SRK
    5.Bark River, any

    These are the best. Period. I will not have any more discussion on this matter.
  12. RokJok


    Oct 6, 2000
    Originally posted by Jim Craig:
    These are the best. Period. I will not have any more discussion on this matter.


    While I applaud your inclusion of the Frosts & Old Hickory knives on your list, it ignores:
    - CS Bushman ($15 or so for consumately simple construction with decent hi-carbon steel)
    - Opinels (about $10 at SMKW IIRC)
    - Dexters (<$10)
    - other kitchen-type knives found in the inventory-disposal bins of hardware stores
    - all those great garage sale and gun show specials (free up to about $10, typically $0.50-$2.50 range). It's hard to beat garage sale prices for "use 'em, toss 'em if you break 'em" knives to stash in your kit, car, house, and BOB. :D :D

    SAK's and multi-tools I find relatively expensive compared to the knives I've mentioned above. OTOH, I usually carry one and consider them worth their higher price due to the versatility they offer via all those tools being bundled in one package. But they don't typically rise to my mind as candidates for a cheapest knives listing.
  13. Captn Ron

    Captn Ron

    Aug 13, 2001
    I am partial to some of the Spec Plus knives for a B.O.B. I also like the little Mora knives. I include both in my bag along with the SAK and Gerber multi-plier. I do not know how many people have ever been into a jungle and had a chance to see the natives and what they use, but I have never saw a $100.00 knife much less any of the fancy custome jobs we pay top dollar for here. I have saw some great things being done with cheap blades. Pretty amazing what real people use to survive everyday. I think that most of us could survive well with a large blade combined with a smaller blade for small work. We could adapt a kitchen knife if we needed to survive.
  14. Jim Craig

    Jim Craig

    Jan 22, 2002
  15. Hotrod


    Mar 19, 2003
    Good thread...

    Suprised no Kabars listed... hehe the inbetween size knife!

    How do you put a convex edge on something? :confused:
  16. Josh Feltman

    Josh Feltman

    Feb 12, 2001
    Convex grinds

  17. RokJok


    Oct 6, 2000
  18. Hotrod


    Mar 19, 2003


    Looks like it might be something that could be done on a belt sander... using the flex in the belt to give you the smooth curve? :cool:
  19. Hotrod


    Mar 19, 2003
    um... heh...

    Note to self, check both threads before responding... first sentance talks about the belt sander...

    Ugh. :footinmou
  20. mercop


    Mar 26, 2002
    Awesome topic. First I have to say that I did spend $400 on a Strider GB TAC #58. It is tank but serves as more of a status symbol in the tacical community I run in. Now my daugther just brought up a box from the BBT man. It contains a BKT Crewman and a CRKT Lightfoot M1. Wow, I already have the BKT Tac Tool, you could tear down a building with it. IMHO them make the best heavy duty, hard use knives on the market. I don't see too many broken Ka-Bars laying around either. I love all knives but especially knivew with wide fat blade and bellies.:D

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