Here’s a screaming good deal on machetes


I’m a big fan of machetes for all sorts of reasons.  They make great gardening implements for some tasks;  when “roughing it”, they can clear a trail through brush and vines;  they’re very useful around the camp fire, chopping small branches into kindling and even cutting down small trees;  and in a defensive situation, they’re a heck of a weapon, scary-looking and intimidating, and inflicting really serious wounds if necessary (and if you know what you’re doing with one).  They’re a favorite all-purpose tool and weapon in many parts of Africa (in southern Africa, from where I come, they’re known as pangas).

A machete is supposed to be a working tool, tough, strong and able to stand up to heavy use.  Sadly, many of those sold in the USA today are relatively flimsy, made of thin, poor-quality metal that won’t hold an edge for long, and wobbles in your hand when it hits something solid.  They’re light-duty blades, not real machetes.  On the other hand, those made in countries like Colombia, Brazil, El Salvador, etc. tend to be serious machetes – working men’s tools.  I’ve had and/or seen good results with those made by Condor (expensive, but high quality), ImacasaIncolma and Tramontina.  Among US brands, Cold Steel, Marbles and Ontario aren’t bad, in my experience.

I was interested to learn that Major Surplus & Survival is offering a 5-machete package for only $19.95.  The illustration they provide is an example, not a guaranteed representation of what you’ll get.  Click the image for a larger view.

The photograph is clearly a composite image, and isn’t true to size.  To estimate comparative sizes, think of all the handles as roughly the same length, and figure out blade length from that.  Major Surplus describes the package as follows:

Mixed blade lengths and finishes, mixed wood, and plastic handles. Sizes and styles will vary. Sorry, no choices. Satisfaction Guaranteed.

Intrigued (and because I had a couple of friends who were interested in buying some as well), I ordered two of the 5-packs.  They arrived the other day, and to say I’m very satisfied would be an understatement.  All of the machetes in both packs came from South American manufacturers, and were clearly working tools, strong and tough, not for dilettantes.  The shortest blade in each package was 14″, and the longest 24″.  Each had a long-handled sugar cane cutter (similar to this one), heavy and tough enough to take down small trees;  a long-bladed brush-cutter like the second blade above;  two blades that grow wider towards the tip to lend weight to a swing (one with an angular blade like the top one above, the other with an upswept curve like the fourth from the top);  and a short 14″ general-purpose blade.  Four of the machetes were clearly brand-new, while one was lightly used, but still in good condition.  Four had wood handles, and one (the shortest) plastic.

For the price, I don’t think this deal can be beaten.  Including shipping, each pack came to about $30, which averages out at $6 per machete – a steal, IMHO, for such good quality.  The package deal can’t last forever at that price, so if you need a machete or two (or three, or…) get them while it lasts.  If the shape of some of the blades doesn’t suit you, remember, you can re-shape them using a cutting wheel and/or grinding wheel (provided you keep the steel cool, and re-temper it if necessary when you’re done).  At this price, a mistake won’t break your heart or your wallet.

(No, I’m not being compensated for recommending them, and Major Surplus & Survival don’t know I’m writing this review.  Nevertheless, if they continue to offer deals this good, I’ll be shopping there again in future.)



  1. Thank you Peter. Sent the link to my camping/motorcycle buddy and he agreed he could use a few as well. So I ordered two packs… now we wait for them to arrive.

  2. Thanks Peter. I'll have to check this out. I really like the 15 Inch Caribbean Bolo that Imacasa makes. this will provide an affordable opportunity to evaluate other styles.

  3. Can also recommend Major – got a 5-pack back when they were even cheaper, and kinda wish I'd gone ahead and ordered another 4 or 5 packs.

    Two is one and one is none, so 25 or so should get you into Danny Trejo country just fine.

  4. Major Surplus is a regular visit, being a short drive in person from here.

    But having just purchased a third or fourth Ontario mil-spec item in this category, the only use for this particular package would be as spares to arm the friendlies.


  5. I will say that the shipping via Fed-ex is highly out of wack at the moment, the machetes if i just included those were 30 dollars to ship. I ended up adding a cot to it because well it was there and shipping went to free. I added some tent stakes and some mess kit utensils and the shipping went up to about 65 bucks. So yall may have to fiddle with it since Fed Ex is garbage.

  6. Just got my 5 pack. 4 really cool machetes and one kind of flimsy one. The flimsy one has no edge and not sure if it is full tang. The one I tested is awesome for cutting 1 inch thick branches.

  7. I just recieved one of these 5 packs, and I thought I would leave my review for anyone who sees this old post. In general, I would say this is a decent deal for the money. The blades seem to be stout enough to do some actual work. All of the edges are pretty rough. They were obviously done quickly using a very coarse belt. The burr on a couple of them is pretty impressive. A file should knock off the burr pretty quickly. After that, a stone and some time should get the edge in working shape. Two of the handles are a black molded plastic, and after using some sandpaper on the rough spots, they should work fine. The other three have handles that I would call disappointing. They look similar to the handle on the one in the bottom of the above picture. These handles appear to be molded with a wood look. The bad news on these handles is that the contour of the handles does not match the tang. This leave a gap between the handle halves the flat side of the halves is fairly sharp. I can imagine using them in this condition would be rough on the hand in a hurry. Not real sure what the best course of action with these would be. Sanding the handle down to match the tang may make the handle too slim. Wrapping it in paracord or similar might help. Maybe a combination of the two? Worst case might require new handles, but I'm not sure I want to invest that kind of effort. Bottom line: probably worth the money, better quality made than equivalent cost china made crap, but not ready to use as received.

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