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Texas Bill

Ax or machete?

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I am just posting this as a thought exercise- If you could only take one with you in the woods, would it be an ax or a machete and why? Ignoring brands or manufacturers, which would you take?

 

For purpose of this question here is your setting- a week long camping trip, summertime, pine trees and scrub with some undergrowth. As a follow up, under what circumstances would you change your answer?

 

Let's see what you guys come up with.

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AX...I agree with autonous,it will cut any tree no matter what size,just takes time and skill,even here where the Rhododendron gets very thick(yes you can shelter under them here in WVA.) an ax is more versatile in my humble opinion.But to be fare Im a wood worker by hoby and have burned up to 6 cords of wood in one year and that small ax was pretty handy..and its a hammer on the other end.

Edited by 101matt

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If you intend on doing some heavy duty work than go with the axe, personally i like the feel of axes over machetes. However machetes are more versitile in what they can do and be used for than an axe. A machete will take down a small tree easily if you know what you are doing, if you are building a log cabin then go with the axe

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Nice question and the answer, as learned in OCS, is "that depends on the tactical situation, Sir!"

 

For heavy undergrowth, the axe is too awkward and is likely to get you hurt. Definitely the machete for any area where the primary job is clearing undergrowth, trail blazing and perhaps cutting small trees. A machete isn't a hatchet but it will serve in that role.

 

Heavy forest, light undergrowth and major tree chopping it is an axe.

 

If I'm out for a week or so, it'd be the machete under the given rules. If I'm building a cabin, I'd need the axe, but I'd still want a hatchet or machete for small work. In my neck of the woods, the small blade is just more useful.

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im thinking ya really cant sub one for the other. if room allows, a nice small hatchet,

a very sharp machete, a good 6in blade (full tang) and a solid pocket knife is needed.

all these blades go a long way in their own purpose i believe. one can cover the other

but only to a point. i have a SOG Seal pup, a kershaw ken onion, and a cheapy machete

with wooden handle. im thinking of retiring the machete because of the wooden handle

and getting a better handle version. next will be a hatchet.

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im thinking ya really cant sub one for the other. if room allows, a nice small hatchet, a very sharp machete, a good 6in blade (full tang) and a solid pocket knife is needed.

all these blades go a long way in their own purpose i believe. one can cover the other

but only to a point.

Ricksconnected,

I agree. They cover up to a point, and yes, you need all three. The order for purchase would depend on the terrain but for around here it's be machete, hatchet, and axe. Very few large trees around Houston.

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That is tough. But i think my gut is telling me axe (maybe a smallish one, just bigger than a hatchet.) They are a little more useful. You can chop stuff, and you can pound stuff. Great for putting stakes in for tents, and such, and great for splitting firewood. As an aside, I have been looking at getting an old milsurp axe, the kind that comes in the pioneer kit. It would be great for the car or minivan. A little more useful. However, as Capt said, situation dictates. If I am in a vine infested area, Machete all the way.

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That is tough. But i think my gut is telling me axe (maybe a smallish one, just bigger than a hatchet.) They are a little more useful. You can chop stuff, and you can pound stuff. Great for putting stakes in for tents, and such, and great for splitting firewood. As an aside, I have been looking at getting an old milsurp axe, the kind that comes in the pioneer kit. It would be great for the car or minivan. A little more useful. However, as Capt said, situation dictates. If I am in a vine infested area, Machete all the way.
For purpose of this question here is your setting- a week long camping trip, summertime, pine trees and scrub with some undergrowth

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this is really going to very a lot form situation to situation. There different tool with different purposes. Yes there's a bit of functionality overlap but you use the right tool for the right job when you have it.

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Thanks, guys. This is the kind of discussion I was trying to start. I often see "one size fits all" discussion of supplies, when in reality our survival needs over and above the most basic are situational. For instance, I have heard of clothing made by Carhartt but never see in Houston area because it never gets cold enough for them here. On the other hand, I read about folks up north swearing by them. Obviously, I think I can safely say most of us would prefer to have BOTH a machete and an ax in a wilderness setting where we can expect a long term grid down situation.

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on a week long camping trip, i'd have a tent, so shelter wouldnt be top on my list, +1 machete from me
+1 This is my thoughts on the matter as well. Even if i didnt have a tent. A machete would do just fine for temporary shelter. If i was in a position where I needed long term shelter, I would choose an axe as larger diameter logs/trees would be needed. But not to side track - Machete for me lol

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On the topic of machetes, I just picked up an inexpensive one from Ontario Knife that hits all my high spots. Long bladed, weighted toward the front, and has a little (plastic) knuckle guard for added protection. Anyone else have any experience with one from this company? I got it as a heavy use cutting tool for limbs and small trees if necessary but no substitute for an ax.

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I have been seeing a lot of ads for Harbor Freight lately but I have not tried them out yet. Has anyone picked up that 15 Watt solar panel deal they have been running for $149? I have been tempted but honestly, I am scared of electricity. Maybe my wife can put it together.

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I have been seeing a lot of ads for Harbor Freight lately but I have not tried them out yet. Has anyone picked up that 15 Watt solar panel deal they have been running for $149? I have been tempted but honestly, I am scared of electricity. Maybe my wife can put it together.
My barber has that panel on his pop up camper. I helped install it. He says its easily keeps his dual 12v system charged. So that runs his fridge, furnace, pumps, lights and cig outputs. Its easy to hook up. You just run it to a battery of somekind and it acts as a charger.

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