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Top to bottom: El Salvador, Kukri, Thunder Head, Golok. The four knives may look somewhat different but they are all variations on a theme. Each has a long thin blade designed to make deep slicing cuts.

Growing up in the 50s and 60s, my total exposure to the world of machetes came from a myriad of jungle adventure films seen on Saturday afternoons at the local theater. During these films you always witnessed at least one scene where the great white hunter would be hacking his way through the jungle using his trusty machete. I really can’t remember my exact age when I bought my first machete, but, living in a military town, we had surplus stores on every corner. Each store had a supply of machetes all claiming to be government-issued products. From this early age I was set to face my adventures in the wilderness. There was just one major problem. There aren’t any jungles in North Carolina. At least none that I knew of at the time.

That first machete bit the dust, along with most of my worldly possessions, when our home burned during my high school days. A lot has changed since that time and I no longer imagine myself as the great white hunter hacking my way through the jungles. However, I have learned a few things over the years since that first machete. First, North Carolina has its own type of jungle. It is the mountain laurel and rhododendron “hells” that cover the western portion of the state. Secondly, you don’t need bamboo and vines to prove that a machete is a useful tool for the outdoorsman. That may explain why I have replaced that first machete many times even while living in the Southeast. Machetes vary the world over and I’m always looking to find the best style for my needs.

Innovative Condors
Machete giant Imacasa’s subsidiary, Condor Tool & Knife, is constantly bringing out new models. Some of these are based on time-proven designs, while others are totally new patterns. To improve their products, Condor has also sought out the advice of outdoorsmen across the world to find out exactly what patterns appeal to them. One of these men is Joe Flowers, an outdoorsman and writer for Tactical Knives. Having met the representatives of Condor and knowing Joe personally, I couldn’t resist a chance to try out some of their latest products in the “jungles” of North Carolina. A few phone calls and a few emails led to four new models being delivered to the studio along with permission to get them dirty.

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Top to bottom: El Salvador, Kukri, Thunder Head, Golok. The four knives may look somewhat…