Pros: Sheath/Scabbard, Handle Material, Blade Sharpness, Materials, Blade Material, Weight, Overall Quality, Finish
Cons: Handle Material, None
Best all-around I've owned!
I first became aware of this blade on a video from SHOT Show 2013, and I immediately knew I had to have it. Why I chose it: There are several standard Parang shapes and this style with its more pointed end (vs squared off) is my favorite. Another consideration was the tang and handle specs. Most examples are rapidly tapering and about half tang, and most are press fit. A few are pinned (one 1/16 pin), and there are a couple full tang offerings available, including a couple from Condor. I believe this model has a tang that extends all the way to just beyond the lanyard tube, and since the handle is molded to it, I feel secure in its retention. I do prefer a synthetic handle over natural for this application because it is a hard use tool that will take lots of abuse. Finally, the steel was another deciding factor. 1075 is a great choice for strength and flexibility with good edge retention. I think it's perfect for this application, and Condor has a great reputation for building long blades that work well and last. The leaf spring offerings from Malaysia look great, but I don't know about the heat treatment. If done wrong, they could turn a perfectly pliable chunk of steel into a brittle piece of crap. They also use the pinned/press-fit handle set-up which I discussed earlier. How it performed: While I haven't gotten into the wilds yet, I have done some backyard beating with this blade. It took two inch limbs off of my cedar tree (unsupported) in two well placed whacks, a task that took much more time and effort with a more budget kuhkri machete that I own. Once supported the Condor chopped through the same branch in one easy swing. I processed some apple wood with it and had no trouble quickly batoning through a 10 inch log. The blade shows no sign of wear after all the heavy work, not even at the edge. I also found that the handle really soaked up the vibration well. The only concern is that it gets a little slick in sweaty hands. I may wrap the center of the handle wit silicone or stretch an inner tube over it. I was very impressed with the ease of making feather sticks and doing other precise shaving tasks with the close edge. The steel is not sharpened for the first 1.5 - 2 inches from the handle, which allowed me to choke up on the blade safely and comfortably for the detailed work. The sheath is very good, though I might like a sturdier and/or more versatile belt loop. The one it has is adequate, but makes for just one basic carry option. Otherwise it is excellent, allowing for quick access to and stowing of the blade. Many other Parangs have multiple snaps for retention and require some angling to get them stowed. This sheath has only a single Velcro retention loop around the handle. Though I'd prefer a snap for greater strength, I haven't had any problems yet. It also has a simple pouch on the front that is big enough for a multi-tool, though I currently have a magnesium block/ferro rod (the spine throws sparks like a champ), and a small sharpening stone in there. In summary, the Condor Bushcraft Parang Machete was worth twice what I paid and then some. This is now my go to chopper and all-around bush tool. If I could have only one blade with me, I'd choose this one and I will likely buy a couple more for B.O.B. and car. Get one! You won't regret it.