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. Gerber Gator Machete -... Buy New $14.93 (as of 02:40 EDT - Details)
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.