Man vs. Wild has long been a guilty pleasure of mine, so it’s only natural that I would own a couple of Gerber’s Bear Grylls line of survival knives. I have several machetes but I’ve never owned a parang before. The design has long been recognized as a great jungle survival blade and while there are no jungles near my house there is some really thick brush in the backyard. The Paranga Machete performed well during the testing I’ve put it through and it has a number of features that I found to my liking. So without further a do lets get to the review.
What can this knife handle?
The Bear Grylls Parang is a heavy duty knife that is best when performing traditional machete tasks. It’s perfect for clearing brush, I hacked my way through briars and vines with no problem and was even able to fell small saplings with a single swipe. I had less success at chopping wood but it still got the job done. I did feel like the knife could have been sharper out of the packaging but it really wasn’t much trouble to put a worthy edge on the blade. It was well balanced and the grip and handle were secure and comfortable allowing you to use the Parang for long periods without hurting your hand. Its curving blade and handling made it easier to wield in confined places than a traditional machete. I can definitely see how this knife could be useful in a jungle environment.
Construction and Blade
The blade of the Bear Grylls Parang Machete is made of high carbon steel and it’s full tang construction meaning it’s solid enough to be beaten on day in and day out and still deliver results. As I mentioned earlier, I do recommend sharpening the blade before using it because mine was not that sharp out of the box. Luckily, the Bear’s Parang sharpens easily and can take an edge. The blade itself is thick at 1/8in and is 13 ½ in long (the knife itself is 19 ½ in length). The blade is curved back like a scimitar. Gerber claims that this makes it ideal for clearing brush and vines. Whether the shape actually adds any benefit, I don’t know but I can vouch that it looks a lot cooler than your traditional Latin Machete and will clear the brush just as well. The Parangs weight is centered towards the top of the blade and this gives you better power when hacking and chopping. When you consider that this knife weighs 19.4 oz, it’s clear you have a lot of power behind your swings.
Handle, Grip, and Feel
Gerber describes the handle for the Bear Grylls Parang as being an “Ergonomic Textured Rubber Grip”. It’s a really nice handle, providing both a solid and comfortable grip. It looks a little gaudy if you’re used to black synthetic handles but it performs great. The texturing creates good friction so your hand won’t slip but rubber itself is cushy enough that the texturing doesn’t rub your hand raw. The lanyard hole located near the butt of the handle comes with a lanyard chord. It’s not anything special but it does offer further grip security and Gerber included instructions in the package for how to wrap your wrist which is a nice touch for those who have never worked with a lanyard before.
I want to comment briefly on the sheath, its nylon construction with a plastic liner. The sheath is light and easy to carry and is mildew resistant so your sheath won’t rot away from exposure to the elements. Stitched on the back of the sheath is a patch with SOS and land and air rescue instructions. Also included in the package is a Bear Grylls survival booklet, which makes for some entertaining reading if nothing else. Overall I’m glad I picked up this machete. It looks cool and is of good quality for the price. I’m not sure I think the Parang shape is any better than a Latin or Kukri but it gets the job done. Gerber did a good job with the construction, particularly with the handle. Overall it’s a solid blade at an affordable price.