No, a machete isn’t required when camping in the backcountry. If you’re the adventurous sort who likes to wade through trails and camping spots filled with overgrown brushes, hanging vines, tall reeds, and such, though, having one can definitely make your time in the boondocks a lot easier.
Good news is, machetes tend to be pretty affordable, so you won’t have to spend a lot to add one to your blade arsenal. Not only will you find one invaluable in backcountry settings, you can also use it to perform chores in the garden, chop up wood for your backyard fire pit, or strike at zombies right in the head during the apocalypse. All that and they look downright badass shown off somewhere in your home.
If you’re thinking of snapping up a machete, here are some we highly recommend.
This sexy-looking brute combines a 14-inch blade with a 5-inch handle in a well-balanced design, making it very manageable even for relative novices to handle. It’s the perfect size to fit inside many backpacks, too, so you don’t have to walk around with a machete on your waist on the way to camp. While it’s heavier than most machetes of the same size, the heft does feel great in hand, making your swings feel more substantial than they normally would. The thick blade has a very sharp edge and an overall solid build that should withstand heavy-duty brush clearing, too, making it a trustworthy backcountry companion.
Ontario SP8 Survival Machete
The most compact machete on this list, it’s highly popular among outdoorsmen for its portable size, making it a suitable alternative for both full-sized machetes and fixed survival knives. Equipped with a 10-inch high-carbon steel blade and a 5.2-inch handle, it can do most of the brush-clearing tasks normally reserved for large machetes, all while giving a very balanced feel that allows you to use for more precise knife tasks. If you don’t have the need for a large machete and want a more versatile blade that can handle more tasks, this once-discontinued model, which was brought back due to customer demand, might be the perfect addition to your backcountry kit.
Cold Steel All Terrain Chopper
If you want a machete that can perform serious cutting and slicing tasks in the backcountry, all while looking like it can hold up to a violent swordfight, look no further than this beastly creation from Cold Steel. Equipped with a 21.5-inch 1055 carbon steel blade that cuts through thick woody brush with ease, this thing feels more like a sword than a machete. That’s no surprise, given that the outfit calls it “the next best thing to an axe.” If you foresee encounters with tough vegetation and small trees, this 30.5-inch machete just might be what your next adventure requires.
Gerber Gator Machete
This latin-style machete has an 18-inch blade that has 15 inches of sharp edge on one side and 18 inches of saw teeth on the other, allowing you to use it to chop through anything on the way and saw through those larger things you can’t quite destroy with a couple of hacks. They pair that dual-sided blade with a gator grip handle that allows for a secure hold even when it’s wet, allowing you to wield your large blade with the same intensity in fair and inclement weather alike. Do note, the blade is pretty thin compared to some others in this list (it’s fairly cheaper, after all), so you’ll have to know what you’re doing to get the most out of this machete, lest risk bending or damaging the blade. If you’re reasonably experienced with handling machetes, though, this sawback model should be right up your alley.
Tramontina Bush Machete
To the unfamiliar, Tramontina is one of the most popular machete brands from Brazil. It’s what workmen there primarily use in the rural areas of the region, so there’s a good load of hard work done on the back of these blades. That rural customer base is also one of the reasons why it’s so affordably-priced, as it dispenses with all the niceties (chances are, you’ll have to resharpen it out of the box for the best edge), focusing on giving you a machete that you can hack and slash your way with effectively. As such, it’s not the most aesthetically-pleasing machete you’re going to find, but it’s one that will get the job done trip after trip. This is their largest machete, by the way, with a 24-inch blade, although they also have smaller models if that’s more to your liking.