Please help me choose a camping tool

Tony Pro

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It's fun to imagine one's self hacking a trail through the jungles of the Darien Gap, but machetes are useless for most everyday camp duties. A simple hatchet is useful in a dozen different ways. The first one you link to looks cheaply made, but it's got a full warranty so no reason not to get it I guess.

If you do get the second machete I'd recommend getting a folding saw as well because the 'saw blade' on that one looks like garbage, and you won't be chopping logs with that thing.
 
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TMG51

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While carrying a swiss army knife and a multitool, in your experiemce, which one of these do you think would be most useful?
This: http://www.machetespecialists.com/cowitowilesh.html
or this: http://www.knifecenter.com/item/CM19236/camillus-carnivore-x-12-titanium-bonded-machete-with-2-fixed-blade-combo-set-nylon-sheath
Between the two of them, the second one. The first one is garbage. It's made of 420HC steel which is a very soft steel, one of the poorest, cheapest, commonly used blade materials out there. It's unfit for any decent quality blade and it's a totally absurd material for something purported to be a striking tool. This silly thing is a toy and it's way overpriced.

The second one isn't much better. 440 steel is just barely starting to become okay-ish as a blade material, but it's still a poor quality steel. The only reasons this is the better choice are 1) it's not in a silly fantasy multi-tool configuration and 2) it's priced accordingly for what it is, cheap.

What do you actually want to do with your tool? If you want to split wood and stuff get a large hatchet. You can buy them at Home Depot that are decent quality with full steel handles and will outlive you. Something like this:
http://www.knifeoutlet.com/shop/10Expand.asp?ProductCode=ESE44ASE
Or this:
http://www.knifeoutlet.com/shop/10Expand.asp?ProductCode=ESE45ASE

For an all-around knife that can be used for camping duties, get something better. You don't have to spend a crazy amount of money to get a decent blade but where you're looking now is still in the junior highschool category. There's nothing wrong with a KaBar USMC clone - 1095 carbon steel never did anybody wrong. It sharpens well and holds an edge. It will however rust so it needs to be cleaned and oiled periodically.
http://www.knifeoutlet.com/shop/10Expand.asp?ProductCode=KA1317

A small kukri is a good choice if you want to do more chopping, but the blade shape is less useful for other daily tasks and it's also less convenient to sharpen.
http://www.knifeoutlet.com/shop/10Expand.asp?ProductCode=KA1280

Those are examples of some good functional items. You can go crazy from there if you like. Have a look around the site I linked and get a feel for some other options.
 
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Thank you for the answers so far. And I'm looking for a tool to cut branches/sticks down to size for a tarp shelter and for fire, that can clear away bush and dig, even if not perfectly. And I guess some other heavy handed task that might be necessary. For hammering I can just use a rock. I can also use my upper shin to break firewood but that hurts after a bit. Maybe it's too much to ask from one tool? The hatchet seems to be able to handle these but I was completely unaware about the innapropriateness of the material.
 

TMG51

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...I'm looking for a tool to cut branches/sticks down to size for a tarp shelter and for fire, that can clear away bush and dig, even if not perfectly...some other heavy handed task that might be necessary...break firewood
You should have a Himalayan Imports khukuri:
http://www.himalayan-imports.com/khuk1.html

It's halfway between a machete and a hatchet. You could do everything with that except dig. Well, you actually could dig with it, or hack through the hood of a car for that matter, but either requires a more thorough sharpening after.

Although those are $150+ on the website they can often be bought used for ~$60, and will outlive your children.
 

Matt Derrick

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dunno if this fits what you're looking for, but pocket chain saws are the shit:


i haven't used the one in the link, that's just an example. if you can find a good one, they're super compact and you can cut some serious firewood (6 in +) in just a few minutes.
 

Rob Nothing

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second the pocket saw. weighs nothing, works fine when you need it.

it's all preference. like are you backpacking into the middle of nowhere for weeks? or are you in need of tools more suited to habits requiring no more than 2 days in one place.. totally subjective.

the tanto blade looks pretty cool, but you can't baton anything with it because it's got that serrated edge on the backside. and the hand axe, well, if the extra few pounds is worth it to you then why not grab it. personally I just go around with a big hunting blade, 1/4 inch thick and all I need is a rock or thick branch to baton pieces of wood with it in place of an axe when necessary. But if weight is not a big worry, there is bound to be something better the longer you search.
 

BadKidNick

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A decision has been reached. Thank you all for your input!
 
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