Pros: Blade Sharpness, Blade Material, Weight, Sheath/Scabbard, None
Cons: Handle Material, Overall Quality
I've had the Condor bolo machete for about six months. I've used and abused it during that time to process fallen limbs and trees in my neighborhood from the vicious spring storms we had in North Texas this year plus several camping outings. Pros: - Quality sheath - Sharp out of the box - Weight forward blade design - Nearly 1/8" thick blade - Springy blade bounces back from unbelievable abuse - Useful point - see blade grind con - Unsharpened swedge useful for sparking ferrocerium rods, breaking bones, chopping roots - Curved blade with lots of belly Cons: - Blade grind QC - the swedge on my machete had an overly domed shape resulting in an obtuse tip - Pronounced corners at front and rear of the handle created uncomfortable pressure points - Handle texture is overly slippery - Sheath allows several inches of blade to slide out when snapped. Handle MUST be tied off to sheath if not stored or carried upright Though resembling a small lopsided boat oar in appearance, the Condor bolo machete performs beautifully. It excels at chopping green as well as dried wood AND slashing weeds and hanging vines while also having a useful point. The weight forward balance and 15" length combine to make this machete bite deep and throw big chips with minimal effort when chopping. It works better than hatchets of similar weight and nearly as well as my Estwing campers axe of similar length that weighs nearly three times as much. It also batons surprisingly well too, especially through twisted grain that binds thicker blades. The bolo machete just flexes to follow the grain and keeps going then pops back straight when through the wood. The thin blade does tend to tear up the baton, though. It could readily sub for a good sized hatchet, but the reverse can't be said for the hatchet. If you can only carry one because of weight, I'd go with the more versatile and lighter bolo machete. This machete has proven surprisingly adept at finer tasks such as food prep and feathering, pointing, and notching sticks. I've also used it to slice pizza like an expensive rocking pizza cutter as well as using it as a spatula to flip burgers on a grill and pancakes on a griddle. Those who say a machete is a clumsy tool would say the same of the BK2 Campanion, one of my all time favorite blades. In truth no tool is clumsy. Only the user of a tool can be clumsy. I'm not saying this machete is the best tool for every job, only that with skill, patience, humor, and necessity, one can do more with a machete than nearly any other tool. I reprofiled the domed swedge and tip to look a lot more like it does in the picture as well as sharpening the swedge to a 90° "edge". I also reprofiled the edge to suit my uses: thick and axe like towards the tip, thinner for detail work near the handle. I rounded the "sharp" corners that created hot spots during use by softening them with a lighter then rounding them by pressing the material into a more comfortable shape with a leather gloved hand. This took all of five minutes. I also added a traction band made from 550 cord by notching the handle in the middle and tying a constrictor band, a clove hitch with the free and standing ends tied in an overhand knot under the crossover of the clove hitch, in the notch. I then cut and melted the ends flush with the knot. Once pulled tight, this knot never loosens. This band performs the same function as the raised center area on traditional kukri handles. It provides just the right amount of grip and tactile feedback. I also added a lanyard for safety.