The editor tests an unusual machete with a Far East influence
The editor tries out a Camp12 machete - tough, durable and reasonably priced
Despite the drought- like conditions, I seem to be dealing with brambles and nettles all the time recently, and I find that a sharp and well- balanced machete is most often the best tool for the job. I’ve been trying an unusual design from Kershaw – the Camp 12 – that’s based on the Perang- style from Malaysia, intended to deal with cutting wood better than a long, thin blade.
The style might be traditional, but the construction is ultra- modern. The blade is made from 65MN, a carbon steel I’ve never heard of, so I looked it up: ‘This is a medium- high, carbon- content alloy made for a high degree of toughness and resilience’. That sounded useful, so I put it to work. Carbon steel corrodes easily, so the blade has a black oxide finish applied to protect it, but of course, the exposed edge grind must be dried and oiled after use.
The handle is made from glass-filled nylon and despite its hardness, I found it comfortable and secure, even with sweaty hands. There’s a good heft to the blade that allows a proper swing to make the cut, rather than needing to force it, helping to reduce fatigue on longer jobs. I was surprised to see just how fine the edge grind was and wanted to see how it would survive cutting some dry wood.
Another modern touch is the synthetic edge guard that’s very minimalist, but perfectly functional, and takes up little space in your rucksack. Another positive feature is that it won’t absorb and hold moisture against the edge, as a nylon one would.
With such claims of cutting power and durability, I felt at liberty to tackle any job that came my way, some of which were not machete jobs, to be honest. I slashed, cut and chopped anything I needed to move, and waited to feel the edge blunt or turn. I even chopped down some standing dead wood to make a clearance, and yet the Camp 12 just kept on cutting. I’ll declare myself impressed and more than a little surprised. The edge has dulled a touch, but is still sharp enough for brambles and soft wood and there are no chips or rolls, despite my abusive behaviour.
This is quite a tool, and a head and shoulders better than your average machete. I’m not often impressed with something as simple as this, but the Camp 12 really is something special.
RIGHT: Cutting power way beyond expectation was the Camp 12’s stand- out feature ABOVE: The clip- on edge guard is simple and secure