We were in the market for some new machetes and purchased a Gerber Gator (the Bolo model) and a Camillus Carnivore X to test out here and see which one we liked better. Between clearing fence lines, cutting trails, camping, and use on our traplines; our machetes get a work out and we expect them to be dependable and tough. After about a year of extensive use, these are our observations.
The Gerber Gator is a big machete. The overall length 22.5 inches and the blade length: 15.5 Inches. It’s a hefty blade and it weighs 2.2 lbs. The blade is constructed with 1050 Steel and is a full-tang blade. Out of the box, the edge was less than impressive but after the oldest son spent some time on it with the wet stone; it cut well and held an edge as good as any other. The sheer heft and weight of this machete gives you some remarkable power for cutting through thicker brush and small trees. The downside of course is that it tires you out quicker too. The handle is covered with a thin rubbery “no slip” grip which is nice but ours is already starting to peel in a couple spots. The sheath is well made and sturdy. Being a bolo type machete though, it requires a velcro opening at the top to make it big enough to slide the blade through but still hold it secure. It works, it’s just a little awkward and slows you down a little. But hey, you can only draw a 22.5 inch, 2.2 lb knife out of it’s sheath so fast anyways. All and all we like it. It’s big and heavy but it’s a real workhorse of a machete.
Camillus Carnivore X
The Camillus Carnivore X is an 18 inch titanium bonded machete with a 12″ Stainless Steel blade that features an 8″ saw on the spine of the blade. The titanium bonding is supposed to help it resist rust and corrosion and they claim it’s 3X stronger than untreated steel. The edge on this blade out of the box was very impressive. It didn’t require any work at all, sharp and ready to work. It weighs 1.5 lbs and is only 18 inches overall so I wasn’t expecting it to perform as well as the Gerber on larger material; but I was wrong. For such a short, light, tool it can hack through stuff with the best of them. I was on a fence fixing trip after a storm and forgot my ax. I came across a tree laying on the fence that was too big to move unless I cut it in half. I didn’t want to walk all the way back to the farm for my ax so I decided to test out the chopping ability of this machete. My arm was sore the next day but that Carnivore X chopped through the tree almost as fast as my ax. The grips are hard plastic and it comes in multiple colors. We have a couple black handled ones and tan colored one, it also comes in camo. It comes with a sturdy, well built ballistic nylon sheath. On the sheath there is small trimming knife that has a barbed backbone, cutting edge, lanyard notches for use as a spear tip, hex head wrenches and a lanyard hole. I’m usually less than impressed with “add on” gimmicky knives but this is a nice little blade. While I doubt I’ll ever use it as spear, and god help the person who ever tried using it as wrench; I have skinned a good number coons and rabbits with it. Its just the right size and has a razor sharp edge.
Which is my favorite?
Its hard to say. It depends on the job, I guess. The Gerber is a hell of workhorse. It excels at cutting heavy material. But the Carnivore X does almost as good a job while weighing considerably less. The smaller one is just easier to carry and a little handier in my opinion. The size and heft of the Gerber is both it’s blessing and it’s curse. I will say this, I have had multiple people tell me that their Carnivore X blade has broken in two. They say it was their favorite all time camp and trail tool right up until it broke for seemingly no reason. We have 3 of them and we have beat the living snot out of them (including cutting through 12 inch logs) for a year and have not had one break. I love mine to death and really hope it never happens. If it does, I will return to this article and update it. Until such time, I think the little Carnivore X is a hard one to beat.
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