Review of the Bear Grylls Parang Machete by Gerber

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.

Bear Grylls Parang Machete - Unique Blade Style

Bear Grylls Parang Machete - Unique Blade Style

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).

3-4" sapling Test With Bear Grylls Panga Machete

3-4" sapling Test With Bear Grylls Panga Machete

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. 

Labored Chopping

Labored Chopping

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.

Very Solid Parang

Very Solid Parang

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.

Bear Grylls Parang Machete Grip

Bear Grylls Parang Machete Grip

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.

Bear Grylls Parang Sheath

Bear Grylls Parang Sheath

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.

Bear Grylls Machete - Belt Carry Strap

Bear Grylls Machete - Belt Carry Strap

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.

Bear's Survival Instructions

Bear's Survival Instructions

This includes some basic survival knowledge on a variety of key issues.  I thought it was a pretty good read.

Bear's Survival Booklet - OPEN

Bear's Survival Booklet - OPEN

 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…



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  1. swordfish says:

    I am also put off by the bear grills line because of the bright orange grips and such, but I might just purchase one of them and just paint the grip black

    • I don’t agree with you swordfish. I think that the orange color is essential. I live in Wisconsin, and when I am in the woods, the Bear Grylls Parang‘s color is needed.

      There are so many hunters out where I live that you want to be as conspicuous as possible. Orange is perfect. It might not look cool, but it is a good thing here.

      And thanks Willow Haven Outdoor for all the pictures. I look forward to giving your site a good readover.

      A.L. Rockwell

  2. The Captain says:

    Thank you for this review! I’ve heard nothing but bad things about the knives in this line but
    the machete always caught my eye. I know the design and if made well, it could be very useful
    survival tool. The low price scared me and I thought it was cheaply made but now, I think I’ll try it out!

    • bobadders says:

      you are wrong the knives in this line are incredible, just take a few minutes to hone the blade and that thing will shave a dog!!

  3. steve_z says:

    I own the parang, and I love it! For 30 bucks you can’t go wrong. Of this style of machete available on the market, this is probably the best one if you’re looking for something that is lightweight, but still a powerful chopper. Condor makes a sweet parang, but it’s made out of 1/4″ steel and is a little on the heavy side.

  4. The machette is great but the sheath is crap,you cant sheath and unsheath the machette from your belt.

    Whats the go with the press studs can someone please explain the logic behind this sheath .

  5. Dennis McLeod says:

    I bought one of these alleged ‘machettes’. It broke clean in two pieces at the first handle rivet the first time that I tried to cut a piece of dead limb. I emailed Gerber and have yet to hear from them after a week. I purchased this at a gun show new in the package. I am more than a little ‘hacked off’. Dennis McLeod

  6. Please review some cold steel machetes. I have @ 4-5 and they are absolutely indestructible, hold a WICKED edge, and absolutely can’t be beat. My favorite being the kukri model. Awesome transference of chopping power on the target! As well, the bushman and mini bushman are hard to beat for survival knives.

  7. OK the blade is great…chops thru anything. the handle is also great but one of the sheath snaps was broken right out of the package. looks like the guy over pressed the snap when he was putting the snap in and it broke the ‘rivet’ part of the snap……but that blade realllly cuts.

  8. Bear Grylls is a great entertainer, but I think there are more informed people when it comes to machetes. My first thought along this line are people who use machetes on a daily basis, such as the many in South/Central America. The machetes they use typicaly have several common features; high carbon steel blades, wooden handles, and thinner blades. They use high carbon because it is (usually) easier to sharpen. Wooden handles can be customized to fit your hand. Thinner blades are used because they cut deeper with less effort. As for the “thicker is stronger” line of reasoning, a thinner blade will flex rather than break( this depends on how the steel was tempered as well). I own and use an18″ ontario and a fiskars brush axe, but my friends 24″ tramontina( from Brazil) will match them in cutting. A big bonus is price, I could have bought 3 tramontinas for the price of 1 of mine. Anyway it’s something to think(and have friendly debates) about.

    • Many people agree with you. More people should see youtuber Colhane’s videos about his machetes. He spends part (don’t know how much) of the year in Brazil and knows all about machetes. There’s also youtuber jeepzillajoe (a.k.a. Joe Flowers) who has some videos on machetes.

      Cold Steel and Gerber/Fiskars aren’t the only names in machetes and, in fact, most (if not all) of Cold Steel’s machetes are based on the traditional blades of other cultures.

      Bolo machetes, pangas, latin pattern, billhooks, goloks, parangs, barongs, cane machetes…whole world of machetes out there and most of them aren’t super thick blades. People who love machetes say over and over that the key to machetes is speed, not weight. (which also sells machetes) is a great place to learn about the many kinds of machetes that are used around the world. No affiliation; just have browsed and read their site and read nothing but glowing reviews of them on the knife boards.

  9. UrusaiKaimuki says:

    thank you so much for your review, I live in an area where there are not much places to buy a machete. I was put off by the look and price especially the way its marketed (have you seen gerber’s website? It looks like it’s marketed at teens who are excitable) I am looking forward to using mine now. Heading on a jungle hike soon…

  10. I like the design of the parang and I was debating with myself between a parang or a kukri. Any insight on that?
    It is for a bug out bag. I narrowed it down to the Ka Bar kukri machete, the BG Parang and I also thought the Becker Machax was a good option.
    I am considering as many possible survival scenarios for this tool so I am trying to find the right combination of weight, size, strength, durability, and versatility(use for fire steel? chopping wood, splitting wood, self defense, etc) as possible. I am open to other suggestions as well.
    Also, price is another consideration. I realize that some of the time you need to pay more for quality but if I can avoid shelling out a big chunk of money for a tool that I may or may not use, I would like to.

    As a side note, I don’t care about advertising. The BG logo on the handle won’t be seen when I am holding it and the safety orange is a good idea for instances where you are in the woods at night and happen to drop it. It would be much easier to see bright orange with a flashlight or torch than it would be to see all black or foliage green.

    • I really like both of these. The Ka-Bar Kukri is a very solid machete. I think really this decision come down to personal preference.

  11. I quit watching Bear G. for reasons that I won't go into, but do own his "Ultimate Survival Knife" based on all of the innovations that went into it and also because Gerber makes it. I get a lot of kidding about it on my Survival Website, I've been accused of having a man-crush, or selling out by buying a Chinese product, etc.. However, Given the fact that Bear started out with marketing a very expensive survival knife, Bayley's of London, around $700's, I felt that this was an affordable knife that wouldn't break you at the bank. I've seen the BG Machete and was wondering as to the quality of it. Thanks for a great review! Now check out the one that Les Stroud has put out made by the new Camillus Company! (bought out by Acme.)

  12. Benjamin says:

    I was wanting to know how to sharpen the Machete, I have a Smith’s Sharpener with a course side and a fine side

  13. Yeah I hate cheap sheaths as well. A cheap sheath with a good knife is like good frosting on a bad cake.

  14. This just in!

    Gerber is recalling all of these!

  15. Mine got a few rust spot from chopping a watermelon and the sheath ripped when I sat down.

  16. this is in canada just so you know… says nothing about the U.S. and it is because of a laceration or cutting hazzard… so id like to see a person buy a anti-laceration hazardous machete anywhere…

  17. this is in canada just so you know… says nothing about the U.S. and it is because of a laceration or cutting hazzard… so id like to see a person buy a anti-laceration hazardous machete anywhere…

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