I own several machetes and have seen about every style of machete there is on the market – and used about every style as well. I certainly have my favorites. I don’t do many product reviews but I couldn’t resist this one. I’m not a big fan of branded & endorsed merchandise when it comes to the gear I carry, but the new Bear Grylls Parang Machete by Gerber caught my attention while picking up some other items at a Gander Mountain store this past weekend.
I’ve always enjoyed watching Man vs. Wild. I have to admit – it’s some pretty entertaining TV time.
At first glance, I thought the general blade shape and styling of the BG Parang was very cool. I’ve never seen a machete styled quite like this one. I thought it was worth the $39.99 Gander Mountain was asking so I bought it to see if it could survive a battery of outdoor tests I had in mind. And, I wanted to see how it compared to my own personal machete.
I literally almost needed a machete to get this one out of the packaging – dang! My first impression was that this was a very solid and well balanced machete. The sheath (which I’ll discuss in more detail later) is also REALLY nice – much better than most machete sheaths I’ve seen.
First of all, here are the Specs & Features right off of the packaging:
-Overall Length: 19.5″
-Blade Length: 13.5″
-Weight (in sheath): 25.4 oz.
-Weight (alone): 19.4 oz.
-Made in China
-Angled Blade – Ideal for clearing brush or limbs
-Robust High Carbon Steel Blade – Enhances strength, corrosion resistance and easy to sharpen
-Full Tang Construction – Boosts durability
-Ergonomic Textured Rubber Grip – Maximizes comfort and reduces slippage
-Lanyard Cord – Acts as guard, enhancing grip security
-Nylon Sheath – Lightweight, military-grade, mildew resistant. Includes land to air rescue and SOS instructions.
-Priorities of Survival – Pocket guide contains Bear’s survival essentials
I will break down each of these features 1 by 1 and give you my 2 cents:
Angled Blade – Ideal for clearing brush or limbs
The blade and blade shape is actually why I bought the machete to begin with. I hacked at the 3-4″ sapling below for just a couple of minutes and made pretty quick work of it (don’t worry, it was already a victim of a big fallen hickory tree).
I spent a few minutes clearing some briars from a fence line and also chopping off some random tree branches. I don’t know that the actual shape of the BG Parang made it perform any differently from my standard Latin Style Machetes but the shape certainly did not hinder the performance. It was well balanced and the compact size made it easy to maneuver. I have to admit, it is a very cool looking blade shape.
Robust High Carbon Steel Blade – Enhances strength, corrosion resistance and easy to sharpen
The sharpness of the blade right out of the packaging didn’t impress me. I am used to a VERY sharp machete and the stock edge on the BG Parang just didn’t make the cut – pun intended. Because of this, I had to work a little harder than I normally would on some of the chopping tasks that I performed. Simple 1″ limbs were no problem, but when it came to actual chopping I could really tell a difference.
High Carbon is a nice material for this blade and I know with a little work on the whet stone I can hone this blade to a great edge. So while it may not be as sharp as I like right off the shelf, I know it can get there. The blade is nice and thick too, approximately 1/8″. The back edge is a nice 90 degree angle…which would be perfect for scraping a fire steel.
Full Tang Construction – Boosts durability
The BG Parang definitely feels solid and this has a lot to due with the Full Tang Construction. No complaints here at all. I whacked this piece of grapevine several times as hard as I could on this solid hickory log and the Parang felt solid as a rock.
Ergonomic Textured Rubber Grip – Maximizes comfort and reduces slippage
The grip was actually one of my favorite features on the Bear Grylls Parang. It was substantial and easy to grip and was comfortable even when chopping with all of my strength into solid hickory. It has a textured rubber grip that is far superior to many of the black plastic grips on most machetes. The worst part of the grip is the bright orange BG logo.
Lanyard Cord – Acts as guard, enhancing grip security
No major complaints on the lanyard. I will probably replace it with a thicker leather one, but it will work for now. It does have instructions on how to use it inside the packaging for those who don’t know how to wrap their wrist. I’d give this one a 6 on a 10 scale.
Nylon Sheath – Lightweight, military-grade, mildew resistant. Includes land to air rescue and SOS instructions.
The sheath is actually a really important part of any machete kit. For me, it can make or break a machete purchase. I HATE CHEAP SHEATHS! It can be so frustrating trying to sheath a machete in a piece of crap sheath. I’ve always been a big fan of molded plastic sheaths over nylon or cordura, but in this case I actually really like the BG Parang sheath. It has 2 buttons on the side and a velcro retention strap. One of my buttons didn’t work right but it doesn’t really effect the function. On my belt, the sheath was comfortable and out of the way – I really like how it carries.
This nylon sheath has a plastic liner and all in all everything feels really durable. The Parang was easy to sheath and un-sheath – both on and off my belt. Everything seemed well placed and well thought out. While on my belt, the handle carried in a great spot for easy access.
Stitched onto the back of the sheath is a little orange water and tear resistant tyvek patch with printed air rescue and SOS instructions. I thought this was a nice touch. Never hurts to brush up on this kind of knowledge. All in all, this is one of the best machete sheaths I’ve used. Not the best – but close.
Priorities of Survival – Pocket guide contains Bear’s survival essentials
Packaged in with the Parang machete was a little water resistant and tear proof booklet of survival instructions.
This includes some basic survival knowledge on a variety of key issues. I thought it was a pretty good read.
It covers the basics on Navigation, Shelter, Water, Fire, etc… All in all, it’s great info.
So, at the end of the day, I feel like I got a good machete for $40 bucks. I’m sure some of my survival buddies will give me a hard time if I bring it to my next bush crawl, but I don’t care. It’s a great piece of kit and once I finish putting an edge on that blade it will be all the better.
There’s my 2 cents on the Bear Grylls Parang Machete. Let me know if you have any questions…