Gear Review: Cold Steel Kukri

A machete is a must for bushcraft.

You absolutely need need something robust and hefty enough to baton logs, chop wood for shelter, even chop down a sapling if need be.

A kukri serves multiple functions, and if set up correctly, can chop down a sapling, strip the branches, break it down into kindling, and groove the trunks themselves to be used to shelter or a raft.

No need to grab a hatchet, then a knife, then an axe, then a knife – and so on. One big curved blade will do it.

Just some background: The kukri or khukuri is a Nepalese knife with an inwardly curved blade, similar to a traditional machete, used as both a tool and as a weapon in Nepal. Traditionally it was, and in many cases still is, the basic utility knife of the people of Nepal. In short, it’s been around for a very very long time. The shape works.

Traditionally, you would want to keep the edge inside the curve, closest to the handle, the sharpest. This is the edge you use to strip small branches, bark, and do fine detail cutting like sharpening stakes. The bolo end, where the weight of the blade lands when you swing it, should be slightly duller, with a more obtuse and wider grind on it to stop it from bending or “rolling over” when you hit something other than wood – like a rock or piece of metal. If you set your knife up this way, it is a fantastic survival tool. Like we said earlier, you can build an entire shelter in the bush with just this knife and some cordage. Hell, even the cordage you can get from braiding bark on tropical trees. It also is a very good tool for butchering game and chopping fish.

Overall, the Cold Steel Kukri Machete is a fine product for the price point.

The 1055 carbon steel blade is solid, and holds up well. If you can’t tell, my blade (pictured) has seen its share of action and has no rusting or pitting.

I set up the polypropylene handle with a piece of paracord – which I highly suggest you do with any chopping knife.

You will prevent yourself from dropping the blade, of course, but more important you will stop your hand from sliding forward and getting opened up when you’re sweaty, tired, or both.

It comes with a nylon sheath which is serviceable, but won’t win any beauty awards. It’s utilitarian at best. but does the job and keeps the blade from flopping out.

What we like is the great price point for a kukri that has proven itself with field use of everything from clearing brush, chopping trees, and batoning wood. Decent powdercoat and grippy handle with nice cross cuts, and a full tank blade.

What we don’t like is that we wish the blade was a tad harder, so it would hold an edge a bit better, but this is just nitpicking.

Questions: Don’t other Special Forces use this weapon? It is a characteristic weapon of the Nepalese Army,  Royal Gurkha Rifles of the British Army, the Assam Rifles,  and of all Gurkha regiments throughout the world, so much so that some English-speakers refer to the weapon as a “Gurkha blade” or “Gurkha knife”.

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