Gear Review: Ontario SP-8 Survival Machete

The SP-8 from Ontario isn’t like any machete you’ve ever seen. It’s a monster. And it chews through brush and thickets like a monster who is only hungry for brambles, saplings, and a clear path in the bush.

Ontario SP 8 This behemoth has a 10 inch straight blade, and tips the scales at over 22 ounces.

It’s not light, let me tell you.

But for it’s purpose, it’s perfect.

This thing tore right through 1 inch thick saplings and and batoned logs equally well.

It has a sawback on the blade which is great for cutting grooves in logs for cordage, but will not cut down any trees for you – at least not on that side.

You can easily use the 1095 carbon steel blade on the Ontario 8335 SP8 Machete for a hand axe though. The blade itself is 1/4 inch thick, and that to me is the most impressive. You can feel the heft of this full-tang monstrosity.

SP-8 blade tipMore to the point – pun intended – is the point on this particular tool. It has a sharp chiseled edge, which can be used as a pry bar. I would like to see one of these in every first responder’s car trunk, as it can easily smash, pry, and cut someone out of a wreck. The blade itself I can’t state enough is super robust, and holds an edge very well. With the weight of it, this blade can serve dual roles: as a hand axe, and is also sharp and maneuverable enough to be used for fine work such as sharpening stakes for camp.

The full tang elegantly runs into Ontario’s signature handle material – a nice rubbery yet sturdy material that allows for a good, grippy purchase on the handle. It also has a lanyard hole, and comes with a lanyard. While I love the grip on here as is, you can up the survival quotient by wrapping it in paracord so you basically can make a shelter with just what’s on and around this blade.

image3-1The sheath is very nice, made of leather, with quality rivets and grommets. It loops to your belt with the clever use of a d-ring, allowing it to swing freely. Anybody that’s had a 12-18″ machete on a static sheath knows the torture of it slapping against your leg for miles, or how it acts as a splint when you try and more one way , hampering your movement. Is snaps securely into place with a few snaps, which are very snug. I suspect they may break in some and get easier, but I’d rather have a survival tool that’s hard to unsheath than one that falls out on a whim.

Overall, it’s a great tool, and has applications in the bush and in an urban environment (since it has the chisel tip for prying). The only caveat is that it is a hefty piece of kit, but does serve multiple roles. If you were to take this into the bush, you can leave the hatchet, machete, and large survival knife home. You’re probably only need a smaller fixed blade like the SOG SEAL Strike or multitool like the SOG Powerplay to cover all your bases for fine work and precision cutting.

In short, we give it five stars. Just look at how it hacked through this pile of wood, ranging from soft pine to various hardwoods, some almost 2 inches thick, and I got through it with one whack. Wood doesn’t stand a chance against the SP-8

Wood doesn't stand a chance against the SP-8

PROS:
It’s well thought out, full tang, .25 inch thick blade of 1095 carbon steel, holds an edge well, has positive traction on the grip, comes with a quality sheath, and is a workhorse.

CONS:
A tad heavy, but we’ll take it anyway.

Update July 2018: Holy shit. That’s all I can say. I bought a new house, and had to clear a significant amount of brush. I literally cut down small trees with 4-6″ trunks with 1 or 2 whacks. Oaks and maples, no problem. This machete is a straight work horse. I would be 100% confident going into the bush with this on my hip. Not even a burr on the blade, despite taking down saplings, reeds, and weeds with this. Highly recommend. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alex Castiglione lives in Atlanta, and is an avid outdoorsman and competitive shooter.

Where-abouts include getting after it in his garage gym, practicing martial arts, hitting the trails, or running CrossFit and Strongman competitions for his non-profit, Barbells for Bullies, which holds fundraiser fitness competitions dedicated to aiding Bully breed rescues, dog rescues, or other non-profits with similar missions.

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