The edi­tor tests an un­usual ma­chete with a Far East in­flu­ence

Air Gunner - - Contents -

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

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