The question many of you no-doubt have been asking yourselves; what is so unique about the TrailBlade machete. We really tried to capture some highlights with our Introducing the TrailBlade video, but there is really so much that is difficult to convey in a 3 minutes. One major difference with the TrailBlade is it’s flared shape and straight cutting edge. At first glance you’d expect it to be sharpened along the curved side; the handle looks like it was stuck on backwards. I actually disliked this aspect of these machetes when I was first exposed to them, but it wasn’t until much later that I realized that for wilderness use, the straight blade has a number of advantages over a curved blade.
First of all, a straight edge is much more useful and practical for chopping through wood. A curved blade is optimized for slicing and slashing, this is a positive thing if you’re fighting wild animals on a regular basis, but for the average outdoor survivalist, that’s not going to be the primary use. Secondly, for clearing undergrowth, it’s also better suited than a curved blade because it tends to draw the brush towards you rather than letting it slip away off the end of the blade.
The gradual widening of the broad side of the blade as you move towards the tip combined with the thickness becoming progressively thinner gives the TrailBlade a surprising balance. There is a sweet spot for chopping several inches from the tip, but even if you don’t hit in that particular spot, there is no violent shock transferred to your hand and wrist that is experienced with so many large knives.
The almost 90° angle of the tip is unusual, but it is also quite useful for easily whacking into pieces of wood to move them without bending over. This may seem like a strange feature, but I’m always surprised how much I actually use it.
The TrailBlade is truly like none other. The iconic shape lends itself well to the overall quality of the machete. I’ll admit it, the look is a bit peculiar, but even without its redeeming utility, I have come to see it as on object of rugged beauty and extraordinary design that begs me to get outside and chop something down.