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Brutus Fidus
11-16-2015, 08:02
I’m looking for advice on adding a “workhorse” blade to my kit.
When I am in the field (backpacking, hiking, canoe, etc) I currently carry 2 knives: A Benchmade folder with a 2.89” blade (Small Summit Lake; this is also my EDC) and Leatherman Wave.
I would like to get a small survival knife that can handle heavier tasks, like chopping. I would prefer a parang or kukri, but I don’t want to carry anything over 12” total length. I am hoping to carry it on my belt horizontally on the small of my back, but even 12" might be too large for that.

Fox makes 2 knives that have caught my eye:
1. FOX Parang Bushcraft Jungle Knife – blade length: 7”, overall length: 12.25”, weight: 12 oz, blade material: N690Co
2. FOX FX-509 Panabas Survival - blade length: 6.7”, overall length: 11.8”, weight: 12.3 oz, blade material: N690Co w/ Cerakote finsish

I am leaning towards the “parang” (not a true parang, more parang-inspired), but I have a couple concerns:

1. Does making a “mini” version of a heavy bush knife like a parang defeat the purpose? Will the blade still be large/hefty enough to be effective for heavier work or is it just a novelty knife?
2. I have heard conflicting reviews regarding N690Co steel. Most seem to swear by it and claim that it holds an edge extremely well. However, I have also seen some folks mention that it is not well suited for “chopping-style” instruments like hatchets.

Thanks for your input.

JJ_BPK
11-16-2015, 09:07
I’m looking for advice on adding a “workhorse” blade to my kit.
When I am in the field (backpacking, hiking, canoe, etc) I currently carry 2 knives: A Benchmade folder with a 2.89” blade (Small Summit Lake; this is also my EDC) and Leatherman Wave.
I would like to get a small survival knife that can handle heavier tasks, like chopping. I would prefer a parang or kukri, but I don’t want to carry anything over 12” total length. I am hoping to carry it on my belt horizontally on the small of my back, but even 12" might be too large for that.

Fox makes 2 knives that have caught my eye:
1. FOX Parang Bushcraft Jungle Knife – blade length: 7”, overall length: 12.25”, weight: 12 oz, blade material: N690Co
2. FOX FX-509 Panabas Survival - blade length: 6.7”, overall length: 11.8”, weight: 12.3 oz, blade material: N690Co w/ Cerakote finsish

I am leaning towards the “parang” (not a true parang, more parang-inspired), but I have a couple concerns:

1. Does making a “mini” version of a heavy bush knife like a parang defeat the purpose? Will the blade still be large/hefty enough to be effective for heavier work or is it just a novelty knife?
2. I have heard conflicting reviews regarding N690Co steel. Most seem to swear by it and claim that it holds an edge extremely well. However, I have also seen some folks mention that it is not well suited for “chopping-style” instruments like hatchets.

Thanks for your input.

1)To start with, I would encourage you to rethink your paradigm..

Backpacking and small of back are not inherently compatible, unless you are John Rambo or Joe Teti??

Packing light has the effect of causing the selection of gear that may look good, but not fill it's intended need.

In the case of a chopping implement, lightness can be offset with a longer handle length, which effects the speed of the cutting edge at impact. Consider how mass effects speed by considering kinetic energy. The formula for kinetic energy: KE=12mv2

If you were to move the chopper to say,, your ruck frame? You can achieve two positive objectives. 1)a longer handle & 2)a moderate increase in weight.

Examples:

small axe like this Norlund: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Norlund-Tomahawk-Axe-12-Hickory-Handle-Throwing-Target-Hunting-Tool-/262127618443?hash=item3d0806098b:g:am8AAOSwYHxWOhE m

medium blade like the Cold Steel Machete: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Cold-Steel-97KMSZ-Kukri-with-Sheath-Machete-Knife-Free-Shipping-New-/111723559358?hash=item1a033e39be:g:XxgAAOSw9N1Vrnz u

If all else fails Bigger is Better...

Barbarian
11-16-2015, 09:24
I concur with JJ. Horizontal belt carry is out with a ruck. Any knife 12" or less overall is going to work you to death if you chop with it.

N690 is a pretty good steel if heat treated properly.

Brutus Fidus
11-16-2015, 09:40
Point taken on the wearing a knife on the lb with a ruck. In retrospect, I guess I am actually looking for something in any situation when I DO NOT have a ruck - I realize now how much that one, poorly chosen word changes my origional question. I use a terraplane for backcountry, so there is no shortage of space in my ruck; I could always pack a woodsman's pal or a hatchet as you suggest.
It seems as though you may have already answered my question, regardless, in reference to deficincies in weight/length. But, in a situation were I have no ruck, is this a viable option or I am I better off with something else?
Thanks, for the responses and insight.

RomanCandle
11-16-2015, 11:21
I have a mini Jungle Khukri with an 8" blade that works really well. While I won't be building a log cabin with it, it really works for the relatively light work needed for bushcraft type jobs. For hiking and camping I prefer it to my wildlife hatchet due to its lighter weight and the fact that when fatigued that hatchet can become dangerous to self.

The mini khukri can also be used with a baton and for carving making it very versatile.

DJ Urbanovsky
11-16-2015, 14:52
It is much easier to use a large knife to do a small job than it is to use a small knife to do a large job.

If you're looking to do heavier work, then you want an axe and/or a folding pack saw. A saw will process a lot more wood a lot faster, at a lower caloric cost, and a lot safer than either an axe or a knife.

When I am going into the boonies, I generally bring a leatherman, a small and/or medium sized fixed blade, an axe, and a folding pack saw. There isn't a whole lot that I can't accomplish with that kit. The folding pack saw is worth more than its weight in gold.

The Reaper
11-16-2015, 21:56
It is much easier to use a large knife to do a small job than it is to use a small knife to do a large job.

If you're looking to do heavier work, then you want an axe and/or a folding pack saw. A saw will process a lot more wood a lot faster, at a lower caloric cost, and a lot safer than either an axe or a knife.

When I am going into the boonies, I generally bring a leatherman, a small and/or medium sized fixed blade, an axe, and a folding pack saw. There isn't a whole lot that I can't accomplish with that kit. The folding pack saw is worth more than its weight in gold.

Concur.

A small to medium knife is not an axe, a saw, or even a machete.

If you are going to be out in the woods for an extended period, have the ability to carry multiple edged tools, I highly recommend a small axe, like the Gransfors-Bruks, a pack saw or at least a folding saw, a Leatherman Charge or Wave, and either a large folder or a small to medium fixed blade.

Most wilderness instructors have a similar line-up.

I used to carry a Swiss Army Knife, but I changed over to the Leatherman for the pliers and wirecutters, but I still miss the SAK scissors.

TR

PSM
11-16-2015, 22:08
...but I still miss the SAK scissors.

TR

My Wave has scissors. :confused: Plus, I have a Squirt PS4 attached to my Micro Photon and it has scissors similar to the SAK.

Pat

Brutus Fidus
11-17-2015, 07:58
I currently use a 3" folder and Learherman Wave as my EDC- I think I have enough expert advise now to make a more informed decision on adding a chopping tool. Also, a huge thanks to TR for turning me on to Gräbsfors; the small forest axe is shorter, lighter, cheaper and more functional than either of the Fox knives I was considering. I have also found a guy that makes leather haft/head guards for Gräbsfors that are belt or MOLLE compatable. Thanks for all the advice!

x SF med
11-17-2015, 11:02
Mike Vellekamp did a nice job with his input on the Fox 7" and 8" parangs. the 10"-12" parangs are more useful, Fox Italia and Fox USA make some very good knives... a couple of highly proficient American knifemakers have done some work with them.

A parang/machete/bushwhacker needs (IMO) a minimum 10" blade to fulfill it's purpose, 12" - 16" tends to make the swing even easier. go t othe Fox site and look at the Machete (actually a parang) 683... 14.3" blade...

RomanCandle
11-17-2015, 14:18
Here's the two that I use most. Have a 12" condor machete but find the stouter Khukri blade better for harder woods. Just as TR says the Gransfors works well too, its also cool.

Brutus Fidus
11-17-2015, 15:14
x SF - I took a look at the Fox 683 model, it is VERY appealing. I could see myself using this back in Hawaii. Unfortunately, I don’t get out there too often anymore. I’m thinking that I may get more use from the hatchet; I do have a follow-up question though: If I were to carry a small hatchet, along with my 3” folder and multi tool, would that cover the bases or do you think that a small-medium fixed blade would be in order? I’m always trying to reduce the amount of things I carry – anytime something can do double duty, I’m all for it. If you think that my 3” folder can fill the gaps all the way up to the hatchet –great. If you think not, I would almost rather find a something that would fulfill both categories – kukri w/ 10” + blade?
RC – I’ve seen those Condor kukris. I especially like the price point on them. Given the choice, I wonder if a kukri would serve more purposes than a parang. It seems to be able to handle more delicate work if you utilize the part of the blade next to the handle.

RomanCandle
11-17-2015, 16:20
BF the Khuk pictured is actually a mini-jungle Khukuri I had made by one or other of the Nepalese houses. You can buy them off catalogs online, but those have handles on the small side so I asked them to make with a longer handles whenever I ordered one. Dirt cheap at about 29 USD a few years ago, and 4 day shipping via TNT.

Contrary to what one reads on the internet, I have found the quality to be perfectly adequate but be prepared to work the edge, they come rough. Mine will shave feather sticks cut notches and test cuts paper into tiny spirals but still chops above it weight class without bothering the edge. You can use the blade near the tip or near the handle for fine work using the support hands thumb for control. Bigger would clearly be better for heavier work but I like going lighter.

The condor I have is a 12" machete called the "Inca Knife" I think they're discontinued. Its probable good on the lighter stuff

x SF med
11-18-2015, 17:53
I generally pack a kukri machete, a 1st gen Leatherman Wave, a 7" GB/Yarborough and I'm lost without my Sebenza (MM Classic, can't even find them anymore) it's with me all of the time... occasionally I'll throw a hatchet in the truck if we're not going out in the big boonies for a day or so.

Maple Flag
04-20-2016, 16:57
I’m looking for advice on adding a “workhorse” blade to my kit....

I am leaning towards the “parang” (not a true parang, more parang-inspired), but I have a couple concerns:

1. Does making a “mini” version of a heavy bush knife like a parang defeat the purpose? Will the blade still be large/hefty enough to be effective for heavier work or is it just a novelty knife?
2. I have heard conflicting reviews regarding N690Co steel. Most seem to swear by it and claim that it holds an edge extremely well. However, I have also seen some folks mention that it is not well suited for “chopping-style” instruments like hatchets.




At the risk of necro-posting a bit, enclosed are my jungle blades. I just got back from South America last week, and lived in the jungle there for a few weeks using just these cutting items. Not pictured was my leatherman, which was carried but not used.

I have to concur that I would not want to go with a mini-parang of any kind.

The parang style blade I carried is a Condor warlock with the black coating stripped off. 12.5 inch blade of 3/16 stock of 1075. I've re-profiled the obtuse edge grind a bit. The file is for basic, field expedient sharpening in the jungle, and works well as long as you're not trying to make a YouTube paper cutting video edge that won't last 2 minutes in the bush. Local tribesmen tend to use a lighter (and less expensive) Tramontina of similar length, which is better for cutting lighter stuff, but does not have the mass or lateral resilience of 3/16 stock for heavier chopping. It's a trade off.

Note about the lanyard - it is NOT used on the wrist when chopping for safety reasons (drop the blade and it swings back at you if tied to your wrist):eek:. It is there only to aid in retention in the leather sheath that I want to replace.

Also, the parang usually has an inner tube handle wrap like the fixed blade in the picture. It's been removed for rust cleaning. The inner tube wrap is good for grip and is extra fire material if needed.

The fixed blade is a Bark River Bravo 1.

On the subject of carry, I would also not want to carry anything bulky and hard at the small of by back where my spine is. I like smaller soft things there if anything to cushion my spine if I fall straight back (on muddy river banks in the wet season, this happens constantly).

The parang is carried on my riggers belt, weak side, as I was taught a few years back in my jungle survival training. FOR ME, ruck carry can be problematic if I get separated from my ruck. This nearly happened to team mates a few weeks ago when their small boat overturned in a river. (The rucks were tied in fortunately). A second loss of machete incident happened during training with a person who carried their machete on their LBE. They (stupidly) left their LBE hanging at their isolation shelter while scouting for standing dead wood for their fire that night, and could not find their way back to their shelter (long story -> short version, they were found 5-6 hours later and failed the course on that one momentary but critical lapse in judgement). In the jungle, I consider my parang or machete 1st line gear, along with basic survival and navigation items dummy corded in my pockets. NOTE: this is not to disagree with others' comments about ruck carry of parangs. How you carry your gear has to depend on what makes sense for what you are doing, and what could reasonably be expected to happen.

Overall, I'm happy with the Condor warlock as a jungle tool (as modified by me), except for the leather sheath with belt swivel that I am replacing before it fails.

The bravo 1 is a basic no bells and whistles belt knife that has been plenty of places with me and serves well.

I would lastly add that I avoid any choppers that are made from steel and heat treats that leave them brittle in the name of edge retention. Better to be a bit flexible, even if the edge retention is not as good. My file fixes an edge in no time. It won't fix a broken blade nearly as well.

Team Sergeant
04-21-2016, 12:05
At the risk of necro-posting a bit, enclosed are my jungle blades. I just got back from South America last week, and lived in the jungle there for a few weeks using just these cutting items. Not pictured was my leatherman, which was carried but not used.



I think the definition of a necro post is over 5 years. Nice blade. Thanks for the post.