What is the Best Parang Machete?

Peter Stec
January 2, 2020
Best Parang Machetes

A parang machete is a machete from Malaysia and Indonesia. The jungles of Malaysia and Indonesia there are filled with woody vegetation and a Latin or kukri machete will simply not do well–they can’t handle wood very well. The Parang was designed specifically to handle thick woods. The Parang is a modern version of the traditional jungle tribesmen’s machete. Its heavy blade makes short work of branches or vines. An invaluable tool in the jungle.  If you live in the woodlands, a Parang is the right type for you.  

However, which make and model should you get?

This article will review top selling parang machetes, talk about what to look for in a machete, and recommend you the best parang machete.

What to Look for in a Parang Machete

  • The Tang: The tang is the part of the knife that extends into the handle. For a heavy-duty machete like a parang, you would want a full tang (one that extends to the base of the handle). A non-full tang can cause the knife to wobble after heavy use or, even worse, break.
  • The Blade: The machete needs to have a blade that will remain sharp. Some manufacturers will ship out knives that are not razor sharp–these are low end manufacturers–and you can just sharpen it at home. You also want a blade that is made of hard steel so that it would stay hard threw out the whole trip (wood destroys soft blades).
  • The Sheath: If the machete comes with a low-quality sheath, the machete is not that good. Look for a good leather sheath or a good nylon sheath. Nylon sheaths are lighter then leather sheaths.
  • The Length: Depending on your use, you might need a longer or shorter parang. Parangs range from 10 inches to 24 inches. Longer parangs are good for getting lots of work done but shorter parangs give you more control and precision.

Here is our offering of the 3 best machetes (in no particular order I might add!!!)  on the market that fit slightly different priorities, and any one of them are capable survival tools that will be a welcome item if you’re lost in the forest or jungle!


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OVERVIEW:

  • Name: Bear  Grylls Survival  Series  Parang  Machete
  • Brand:  Gerber
  • Blade material:  1055 Carbon
  • Blade size:  13.5 inches
  • Total Length:  19.5 inches
  • Handle:  Textured Rubber
  • Sheath:  Military-Grade Nylon
  • Weight:  19.4 oz.
  • MSRP:  $45
  • Amazon Rating:  4.5 / 5

I’m not a big fan of celebrity-endorsed items and this parang is an example of that. However, I’ll do my best to be objective since the quality is all that really matters.  A lot of people online say that this parang is great but, after close review, I found out that the parang is not a full-tang parang …. “DANG!”   Okay, that’s just a lie.  In fact, Gerber promises it is a full-tang machete.

This Gerber machete features a high carbon steel blade that enhances strength, corrosion resistance, and it’s easy to sharpen.  The full tang construction boosts durability and the ergonomic textured rubber grip maximizes control in any condition. The Parang features a military-grade nylon sheath that is lightweight and mildew resistant.

A few things to keep in mind: 1055 Carbon steel is not really “high carbon” as their listing on Amazon indicates.  At the same time, it’s not really stainless either.  However, there is a heat-treating process for this blade and its Rockwell Hardness level is an “OK” 47 HRC or so.  The handle is fastened to the blade via a dual pin system and with the relatively hard steel, dual-pin attachment system and the full tang, it can take repeated hits to hardwood without much consequence to the knife.  I mentioned the rubber grip but I can’t overemphasize that it really is good to grab onto for a secure, no-slip grip that’s for sure!

While I’m guessing you’d rather have a hunting knife, the pointed tip on this machete makes it useable for skinning game, and as long as you keep it sharp, it should have no problem hacking through bone.  The tough nylon sheath is of military grade quality, so no worries about that.  It’s cool that the sheath is configurable for horizontal or vertical carry.

The whole package includes land to air rescue instructions, SOS, and Priorities of Survival – a pocket guide containing Bear’s survival essentials.  Most everything else about the knife is great.  At least that’s what the reviews would tell you, and they come from nearly 700 verified purchasers on Amazon.  The blade is very thick and the handle grips like Spiderman.  They used some new-age plastics in the handle and it really feels excellent to grip.

Cute Little Dude’s Field Review of the Bear Grylls Parang


2.   CRKT Halfachance Fixed Blade Parang Machete

CRKT Halfachance Fixed Blade Parang Machete

OVERVIEW:

  • Name: Halfachance Fixed Blade parang Machete
  • Brand:  CRKT
  • Blade material:  65Mn Carbon Steel
  • Blade size:  13.5 inches
  • Blade Length: 14 inches
  • Total Length:  19.5 inches
  • Handle:  PP Core & TPR Overlay with Textured Grip (double Injection Molded)
  • Sheath:  6.1 oz. weaved Polyester
  • MSRP:  $55
  • Amazon Rating:  4.6 / 5

This is quite an alluring knife since it’s a Ken Onion design.  Most of you I think have heard of Mr. Onion 🙂 but for those who haven’t, he’s an award-winning (world famous in knife circles) knife designer from Hawaii.  The name of this knife comes from the idea that “you really want this particular machete if you’re in such a bad situation far in the wilderness, that you only have HALF A CHANCE of survival“.

The generous-sized blade holds to a somewhat more traditional machete design while still falling into the Parang category.   The blade is made of 65Mn Carbon steel which has a hardness level (HRC) of 52-56 which is about right for a machete.  The black powder coat on the blade adds protection from rust and eliminates glare while looking cool.  It’s a win/win as long as the coat remains on the blade.

The handle is specifically designed ergonomically to reduce fatigue by tweaking angles and grip points as well as lanyard holes for varied grip options.  The reinforced nylon sheath has a unique hook and loop (aka Velcro) system than be changed between two positions.  One is tight against your belt and the other is dangling loosely.  You can even lash it to your pack with the included paracord.


3.   Condor Parang Machete

Condor Parang Machete

OVERVIEW:

  • Name: Parang Machete
  • Brand:  Condor Tool & Knife
  • Blade material:  1075 Carbon with Epoxy Black Powder Coating
  • Blade size:  17.5 inches
  • Total Length:  24 inches
  • Handle:  Hardwood
  • Sheath:  Hand-crafted Welted Leather
  • Weight:  1.92 lbs
  • MSRP:  $100
  • Amazon Rating:  4.6 / 5

This machete rocks! It’s about twice the price of the Bear Grylls machete but is just plain awesome!  It comes with a high-quality leather sheath (whereas the Bear Grylls came with Nylon). This is good if you want to carry it around in the woods but it is bad if you are going to the jungle (leather sucks in humidity). It comes razor sharp (whereas the other 2 knives sometimes come dull). And it also features a 17.5-inch blade! WOW, that is HUGE!  Overall it’s definitely the longest machete on our list and probably among the very few longest machetes available for purchase anywhere.

One big POSITIVE and one big CAUTION is in order here.  Because of the narrow depth of the blade (top to bottom), it tends to slice through brush easier and faster.  This is a VERY good thing to help minimize fatigue and maximize efficiency.  However, on the downside, because of this “narrow-ness”, you must be VERY careful about your striking angle.  If you strike perfectly straight-on, all is well.  However, if you’re on a bit of an angle (especially if you hit outside the sweet spot nearer the handle), you’ll twist and the machete’s blade during the (mostly failed) cut, and the cut won’t be good.  The blade won’t stay twisted, but it’s still not good to abuse it in that way.  The angle of your swing must be straight on if you’re slashing thicker branches or something sturdy that won’t be sliced in one blow.

It has a full tang that extends to the base of the handle and I’m quite surprised that I got such a cool and good knife for only $85. You can check it out here


Conclusions

So, we reviewed 3 popular knives. The Bear Grylls is an OK knife that is a little over-hyped by his celebrity endorsement.  The CRKT Halfachance is a really good option and falls perfectly in the category of good price for good features.  In other words it has excellent value.  The Condor knife is the most expensive, and theoretically, it cuts the best and has a classic look because of the wood handle.  

So, which one is best?  If I was in a survival situation, I’d go for the Halfachance.  If I’m going for looks, and I’m interested in collecting, talking about and using it a bit, I’d definitely go for the Condor.

Parangs are very good survival items. Paired with a trusty survival knife, you’ll have yourself a great couple. A survival hatchet is also a good replacement for a parang if you won’t be cutting a lot of leaves.


 

About The Author
Hey Knife Up gang! I'm Pete, and I'm just another man like you in a small rural town who loves the outdoors as much as the other million internet users that cruise sites like KnifeUp.com every day. The difference is that I like to share what I know and research what I don't totally know so that YOU can have all the info you need to feel confident and prepared for all things outdoors-related! And, for those who care, I have 42 years of wilderness canoeing and bushcraft experience in Northern Ontario and spend most of my Summers covered in mosquitos and fish slime, but hey, it's a lifestyle choice, eh?

4 comments on “What is the Best Parang Machete?”

  1. I really like the Grylls Parang…not because of his endorsement, but because of how well it cuts the underbrush in my yard. I have used typical store-bought machetes, and they just suck. I mean, they can cut through grasses and thin foliage, but I have invasive bushes growing in my lilacs, and the machete was less than worthless in that use. So when I saw the Grylls Parang in a store, I decided to give it a try. I bought the larger 13.5 inch blade, not the smaller 9 inch version, to give it a go. It cleaved through inch to two inch wide bushes with ease, and used like a hatchet, it handled 3-4″ thick trunks easily…without the arm fatigue of swinging the bulky hatchet. I don’t know how it compares to other Parangs, I know that Walmart is now selling an off-brand version that has a much broader blade, but it looks cheaply constructed, but as a yard-tool, it’s exceeded my expectations and replaced my machete & hatchet. I can’t speak to how well it performs with extended, consistent use, since I only use the thing 3-4 times a year, so, take from that what you will. I do agree with you about the smaller Grylls survival knife…it didn’t impress me enough, just looking at it, I would never consider using it. But I thought the parang looked pretty solid and well built, which is why I bought it.

  2. I had a parang made for me by abo’s in Malaya, 1959 during the “Emergency” made from an old car leaf spring. full tang wood sheath. Have not sharpened it since, bloody great weapon and so sharp.

    I have a ladies wavey Kris wondered how much it’s worth?.

  3. The fixed blade knife is one of those things that many people take for granted. In fact, despite using them occasionally many never give much thought about it. The knife helps you shape items such as wooden poles for instance when making stakes
    This is a great inspiring article.I am pretty much pleased with your good work.You put really very helpful information..

  4. The fixed blade knife is one of those things that many people take for granted. In fact, despite using them occasionally many never give much thought about it. The knife helps you shape items such as wooden poles for instance when making stakes
    This is a great inspiring article. I am pretty much pleased with your good work. You put really very helpful information.

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