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Cross Country Touring With Machete

Old 03-12-08, 09:28 PM
  #26  
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im not a troll I'm dead serious. I've been a bike commuter for 4 years now and have had people try to run me over on purpose and I've had knives pulled on me and glass bottles swung at me. Yes, lots of people are nice, I have encountered this too. But lots of people are also ******* bullies and would love to pick on a kid who may not fit their WASP acceptance level. And if you think I'm exaggerating or being overly dramatic I guess none of you have ever had to swing a u-lock at someones window while they're ramming their car into your best friend in a threatening manner at a gas station parking lot. Or ever had a group of bored college kids push you off your bike and surround you with no warning.

the camping issue
who cares about unsightly choking weeds and dead vines in the woods that I want to clear? If you are offended by my idea of getting rid of these than I'm sorry. I'm not talking about hacking down saplings and stomping on daisy gardens. also good for cutting up wood and kindling for firewood

the safety issue and "looking for trouble" argument
I wouldn't have it strapped to my side like a gun in a holster, I would probably have my tent or something else covering it on a rack. I too think its a bad idea to ride around brazenly with a big knife, like you want someone to mess with you. Hence it would be somewhat intelligently packed.
Also it would be nice to have in the off chance of encountering any rabid animals or dogs just in case (I don't have any illusions of overcoming a bear though).

I don't see what is so ridiculous about asking about taking a CAMPING tool on what is essentially a long CAMPING trip.

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Old 03-12-08, 09:32 PM
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Originally Posted by SweetLou
Bacciagalupe, why do you think stealth camping is trespassing and illegal? There are many locations where one can stealth camp legally....
I generally associate "stealth camping" with camping without permission on private or public land. Otherwise, you're just... camping.

I guess in some jurisdictions it may be legal if the land isn't posted. But I haven't gathered that many stealth campers take "no trespass" signs all that seriously, either....
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Old 03-12-08, 09:33 PM
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Originally Posted by DukeArcher
I don't mean to be a jerk, but a machete helped the walker Karl Busby on many occasions, be it hostile or as a tool.
thank you. I'm doing this trip alone and I think its important to have something of a safety net. This is America after all, lately it seems the land of people who have a good time hurting other people. I don't like guns (even though I used to work at a range) and I think a gun is asking for trouble. But it would by nice to have something that could be used as a tool and if God forbid the need ever be some sort of defense. I'm not an overly paranoid nutjob like everyone on here seems to want to jump to the conclusion, I just think it's realistic to feel the need for some self defense, particularly when camping in areas where the "Decent People:******* Drunk Frat Boy or Redneck Tough Guy" ratio is high. Besides I don't even think if it was plainly visible someone would look at a kid travelling on a bike with a TENT and SLEEPING BAG and machete (and probably smelling to high hell) and immediatly jump to the conclusion of "This guy is not friendly at all", I think most people would correctly assume its a camping tool.

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Old 03-12-08, 09:36 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by Someday_RN
Have you though about taking a hatchet instead. You can still chop down trees and some brush, and it is a lot smaller and easier to conceal, and takes less effort to sharpen. You can also use the back of it as a hammer to put in tent pegs and to bang things into trees, and if you keep it sharp it can do many chores that a knife can.

If you want self defense that is nice and easy look onto getting a handgun and a concealed carry permit.
I might consider this instead, thanks.
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Old 03-12-08, 09:38 PM
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Originally Posted by MrPolak
RobbyKills + machete = stealth camping?
haha I hoped I would of beaten everyone to the punch with that
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Old 03-12-08, 09:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe
Keeping in mind that I don't stealth camp and don't usually advocate doing so in the US....

- As others have mentioned, "clearing brush" is not stealth camping. It's destruction of property.
- I don't see how a machete would be much of a deterrent. If someone is going to raid your camp, by the time they see you with the machete, it's already a confrontation.
- While there are legal methods for you to defend yourself, if you're stealth camping you are, at that particular time, trespassing and therefore breaking the law. You may be in for a world of trouble if you trespass and wave a machete at the person who owns the property.
- Some jurisdictions (e.g. Texas, Colorado) have very strict laws about trespassing. I'd at least be aware of the laws in the states you plan to SC.

I do not recommend carrying weapons on tour. But if you insist on having one, and if the local laws allow, I recommend non-lethal devices like pepper spray or a stun gun.
thats the thing I'm not going to be stupid and just always pull a huge knife out before I even have a grasp of the situation and who the person is. I used to know an ******* (who was about 30 years my senior) like that who pulled a handgun on some homeless guy asking him for spare change because he "came near his car." that's not me.
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Old 03-12-08, 09:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Robbykills
im not a troll I'm dead serious. I've been a bike commuter for 4 years now and have had people try to run me over on purpose and I've had knives pulled on me and glass bottles swung at me. Yes, lots of people are nice, I have encountered this too. But lots of people are also ******* bullies and would love to pick on a kid who may not fit their WASP acceptance level, trust me, its happened to me a lot and not just in my hometown.

the camping issue
who cares about unsightly choking weeds and dead vines in the woods that I want to clear? If you are offended by my idea of getting rid of these than I'm sorry. I'm not talking about hacking down saplings and stomping on daisy gardens. also good for cutting up wood and kindling for firewood

the safety issue and "looking for trouble" argument
I wouldn't have it strapped to my side like a gun in a holster, I would probably have my tent or something else covering it on a rack. I too think its a bad idea to ride around brazenly with a big knife, like you want someone to mess with you. Hence it would be somewhat intelligently packed.
Also it would be nice to have in the off chance of encountering any rabid animals or dogs just in case (I don't have any illusions of overcoming a bear though).

I don't see what is so ridiculous about asking about taking a CAMPING tool on what is essentially a long CAMPING trip.
1) Commuting in a city is a bit different from riding through the country. Have you ever ridden through the country?

2) They may be just weeds to you ... but they could be a protected plant species to someone else. Do not destroy plantlife unless you know for sure. For example, in the prairies there are often areas of wild prairie grass which look like a field of tall weeds. But to those in the know, those areas are protected areas trying to preserve the natural prairie. There are also areas, which also look like common bush, which are left wild-looking to protect certain animals and insects. Be VERY careful as you travel across the country what you do when it comes to nature.

3) Talking to dogs, or squirting them with your water bottle often works. If you kill or injure someone's dog, there's a chance you could be charged. Also your likelihood of coming across a rabid animal is quite remote. If you see any animals, don't approach them ... especially if they are acting strange.
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Old 03-12-08, 10:01 PM
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[QUOTE=Machka;6333502]1) Commuting in a city is a bit different from riding through the country. Have you ever ridden through the country?


I haven't ridden through the country where its very desolate but I've ridden through plenty of rural areas (this includes most areas to the west and north of my town, less than 10 miles away.) I'm a generally peaceful and pacifist person, I don't look for fights. Unfortunatly those fights are brought to me a lot because of the fact that I'm just a kid on a bicycle. I can't speak for the rest of the country but I can vouch for a good portion of the mid-atlantic on up being populated by confrontational jocks. And in the past few times when push has come to shove in both my small town and its surrounding areas brandishing a ten pound chainlock has diffused the situation. But why carry a ten pound chain lock when one of your camp tools can suffice in that situation that hopefully never happens. I'm mainly talking bored white kids here who are looking for a good time at the expense of someone else, who when the scales are suddenly balanced against them they don't care enough to do anything. If someone comes up to me and already has some sort of weapon out and says "give me your money" I'm not going to be the idiot and attempt to start an epic knife battle.
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Old 03-12-08, 10:09 PM
  #34  
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"2) They may be just weeds to you ... but they could be a protected plant species to someone else. Do not destroy plantlife unless you know for sure. For example, in the prairies there are often areas of wild prairie grass which look like a field of tall weeds. But to those in the know, those areas are protected areas trying to preserve the natural prairie. There are also areas, which also look like common bush, which are left wild-looking to protect certain animals and insects. Be VERY careful as you travel across the country what you do when it comes to nature."

I didn't consider prairie grass or anything like that, thanks for the advice. I was thinking more along the lines of a bunch of obviously dead vines or moss covering an area of woods behind a church, gas station, fire station etc. You know something that looks like the only reason its still there is a groundskeeper or county worker hasn't been by to cut it down. That and like I said using it to hack apart fallen logs and what not for firewood.
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Old 03-12-08, 10:11 PM
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[QUOTE=Robbykills;6333532]
Originally Posted by Machka
1) Commuting in a city is a bit different from riding through the country. Have you ever ridden through the country?


I haven't ridden through the country where its very desolate but I've ridden through plenty of rural areas (this includes most areas to the west and north of my town, less than 10 miles away.) I'm a generally peaceful and pacifist person, I don't look for fights. Unfortunatly those fights are brought to me a lot because of the fact that I'm just a kid on a bicycle. I can't speak for the rest of the country but I can vouch for a good portion of the mid-atlantic on up being populated by confrontational jocks. And in the past few times when push has come to shove in both my small town and its surrounding areas brandishing a ten pound chainlock has diffused the situation. But why carry a ten pound chain lock when one of your camp tools can suffice in that situation that hopefully never happens. I'm mainly talking bored white kids here who are looking for a good time at the expense of someone else, who when the scales are suddenly balanced against them they don't care enough to do anything. If someone comes up to me and already has some sort of weapon out and says "give me your money" I'm not going to be the idiot and attempt to start an epic knife battle.
Before you set off on this tour, I'd recommend getting further away from your town than just 10 miles. Go for a weekend tour well out into the country. It's a different world.

Next, obey all the rules of the road. Don't do anything as a cyclist which would annoy anyone.

If someone happens to confront you, which can happen even if you are obeying all the rules of the road, look at my signature line, and follow the example of my little smilie. Smile and wave. It really works to prevent situations from escalating.

The chances of someone coming up to you in some small town in Nebraska or somewhere and demanding your money is pretty slim. You really need to get out into the country!

And finally, what do you intend to do with the machete while you are in Canada. You say you want to go to Vancouver. I'm not positive, but I'm not confident that customs would be too happy about someone coming into the country with a huge knife. Oh, while I'm on this subject, do you have your passport and/or necessary identification prepared.
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Old 03-12-08, 10:18 PM
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Having camped, both stealth and non, i have never had a reason to need a machete. I would even go so far as to say that when it comes to cycle touring in the US, a machete is a camp tool only to amatuers. We shouldn't need to hack out a campsite; thats not very stealth, look around a moment, you'll find a small clearing. The idea is not only to not be seen, but for noone to be able to tell you were there the day after. And please don't nail things into trees either, thats why you should carry a bit of string. Really, lighten your load a bit and get a pocket knife.

I don't mean to rant, but it seems that at every camp site i have been to recently, you can tell some @sshat with a machete learned that freshly hacked down trees don't burn.

Edit: I took too long writing and missed your further justification in camping. Carry on, then.
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Old 03-12-08, 10:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe
I generally associate "stealth camping" with camping without permission on private or public land. Otherwise, you're just... camping.
Well, stealth camping can mean different things to different people. For me, it is camping legally in spots where I won't be discovered easily and leaving little or no clue that I was there.
Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe
I guess in some jurisdictions it may be legal if the land isn't posted.
I wouldn't say "some" jurisdictions. I would say it is the norm. I don't know of any areas where you cannot camp on unimproved and unused land, but I would guess there are some areas that you are not allowed. Parks often have time limits on how long you can stay, usually two or three weeks. I think this is so people just don't start living there.
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Old 03-12-08, 10:21 PM
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If you cut grass, the remaining stem will poke holes in your tent/matress. You want to bend it flat on the ground. More comfy and no need for a machete.
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Old 03-12-08, 10:38 PM
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eh I guess I should of just been more clear in my initial post, I was just planning on its use to clear out obviously crapped out dead shrubs that could be in the way of otherwise nice spots. Also the defense is a big issue but the main issue is as a sensibly used camp tool and I my question was not so much about whether or not it was a legal weapon to carry but more of would it be viewed as an illegal weapon even if I can justify it with camping.

Also yeah if what you guys are saying about never getting messed with is true I wonder if it's just the mid-atlantic (something I've wondered a lot), but I don't know, even compared to my friends (who some have lived out west and encountered the same things) I seem to always encounter the *******s who want to fight (I also on average commute a lot farther and therefore ride a lot more) but yeah, lots of people get their kicks messing with those that appear easy to mess with out here. I have a feeling part of the reason is usually idiot high-school to college aged people (who are everywhere) are a lot less likely to bother people who they think can pose a bigger threat. I mean they probably think its a safer bet to mess with someone their own age who they think won't do anything then someone older.
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Old 03-12-08, 10:46 PM
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Then act and look older and more mature. Dress like someone in their mid-late 20s. Be calm, cool, and collected. Act professional.

In some places you might be able to justify it as a camping tool ... but possibly not in others. And really, I'm not sure how you would justify it. You really don't need to clear bushes out of the way -- just find a clearing to camp in, or a regular campground. You also don't need to cut firewood - I haven't had a fire on any of my tours. However, if you really feel like carrying something to cut something, carry a very small hatchet, or a pocket knife.
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Old 03-12-08, 11:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka
Then act and look older and more mature. Dress like someone in their mid-late 20s. Be calm, cool, and collected. Act professional.

In some places you might be able to justify it as a camping tool ... but possibly not in others. And really, I'm not sure how you would justify it. You really don't need to clear bushes out of the way -- just find a clearing to camp in, or a regular campground. You also don't need to cut firewood - I haven't had a fire on any of my tours. However, if you really feel like carrying something to cut something, carry a very small hatchet, or a pocket knife.
I mean, I don't ride around in a power rangers shirt or anything. Usually its a long sleeved brown or short sleeve tan jersey, pants and a helmet? I think just the fact that college aged kids who are immature like that usually seem to be more willing to mess with someone their own age and most likely in a similar station of life as them.

That's the best explanation that I can give, other than their explanation of me as a "filthy hippie/p***y/***". That seems to be the consensus iwith lots of people my age these days, anything remotely different deserves bashing and insult.
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Old 03-12-08, 11:03 PM
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Robbykills is right in that some of the most well read solo hikers and adventurers (like Ethan Becker and such) do consider their machete as their most valuable survival tool, but most of the time these survival gurus are hacking thru desolute jungle and such, which it doesn't sound like what you're planning. But, if you continue to read on from these same hiking/camping gurus, in the situations you are most likely to encounter, they would most likely carry a small foldable camp saw and a 4" knife. These two tools will be far more usable for your daily applications. Just a thought.
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Old 03-12-08, 11:06 PM
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Originally Posted by robow
Robbykills is right in that some of the most well read solo hikers and adventurers (like Ethan Becker and such) do consider their machete as their most valuable survival tool, but most of the time these survival gurus are hacking thru desolute jungle and such, which it doesn't sound like what you're planning. But, if you continue to read on from these same hiking/camping gurus, in the situations you are most likely to encounter, they would most likely carry a small foldable camp saw and a 4" knife. These two tools will be far more usable for your daily applications. Just a thought.
yeah I think I might take a hatchet. The camp saw is a good idea but I know places out here a knife over 3" is illegal where as a machete is viewed as a tool and can be carried. I suppose its a loophole that exists because generally you can tell within 10 seconds whether someone walking down the street with a in plain sight machete is legit or not.....
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Old 03-13-08, 07:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Robbykills
the safety issue and "looking for trouble" argument
I wouldn't have it strapped to my side like a gun in a holster, I would probably have my tent or something else covering it on a rack. I too think its a bad idea to ride around brazenly with a big knife, like you want someone to mess with you. Hence it would be somewhat intelligently packed.
Also it would be nice to have in the off chance of encountering any rabid animals or dogs just in case (I don't have any illusions of overcoming a bear though).

I don't see what is so ridiculous about asking about taking a CAMPING tool on what is essentially a long CAMPING trip.
If someone had a bunch of camping gear which included a machete, I wouldn't think twice about it. However, if all they had was say, a machete and a bottle of tequila, then I might think twice about their motives.
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Old 03-13-08, 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Robbykills
I don't see what is so ridiculous about asking about taking a CAMPING tool on what is essentially a long CAMPING trip.
Maybe because you asked about a weapon. You were pretty clear that was a big part of the reason for carrying it.

Let me address the tool aspect. I rode across the country this past Summer and the only blade I carried was about 2" long. It was quite adequate for any task that came up. It was mostly used for spreading peanut butter and slicing vegetables. Not one single time did I wish for a tool to clear brush (or for a weapon for that matter).

Regarding the being "messed with" issue. I can't really relate to that one. FWIW: I have ridden in Newark Delaware several times. I live just inside the Baltimore beltway and one of my longer training rides back in my racing days was to ride to Newark Delaware and back (a bit over 100 mile round trip). I can't say that in my 50 years of riding, including the years I commuted in iffy neighborhoods and downtown Baltimore, was there one single instance where I wished for a weapon.

I have had hostile comments made, but never felt that they ever rose to the level that I was very concerned.

On tour I was always amazed by the kindness and generosity of the local folks.

I would think that if you are constantly being "messed with" that you are doing something wrong. You are either putting yourself in bad situations or giving off the wrong vibe. On tour I would encourage you to be open, trusting, and friendly. I would encourage you to look people in the eye when you speak to them (ALWAYS take off the shades before speaking to local folks especially in rural areas).

About 99.9% of most cross country routes are rural and small town (as in double digit population). There just aren't too many roaming bands of hostile teenagers to "mess with" you You may run into a small handful of jerks, but none are likely to be a problem unless you have the wrong attitude or give off a hostile vibe.

The vibe thing can't be overstressed. If you think people are hostile and you expect trouble it it will find you. There was only one person who we met the whole summer who had problems. The only difference I could see between him and the scores of others we met was that he was constantly talking about how hostile the locals were and how aggressive the drivers were. While every one else talked about how well treated they were this guy had some kind of problem in town after town. People were often unkind toward him and generally made him feel unwelcome, but even he never was in a situation where he felt he needed a weapon.

As far as camping goes we camped for free in city parks, churchyards, or outside firehouses a lot of the time. We stayed inside at churches, or in peoples homes some of the time and paid $4-12 in state on national parks some. Just a few times we spent $20 or so for a campsite.

There was never a reason in my mind to stealth camp (I wouldn't hesitate to if the situation really warranted it). I don't see the point when it was easy to stay somewhere with permission and maybe even be invited in for dinner.

Last edited by staehpj1; 03-13-08 at 10:02 AM. Reason: fixed a typo
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Old 03-13-08, 09:34 AM
  #46  
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Dude, I don't get it. I am skinny, Polish, accent and all, and never had a problem traveling in the country or in the city even though I don't always fit in. What's the scoop?
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Old 03-13-08, 09:42 AM
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The last word in bicycle self defense.

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Old 03-13-08, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Robbykills
I was thinking more along the lines of a bunch of obviously dead vines or moss covering an area of woods behind a church, gas station, fire station etc. You know something that looks like the only reason its still there is a groundskeeper or county worker hasn't been by to cut it down. That and like I said using it to hack apart fallen logs and what not for firewood.
Dead vines, moss, fallen logs are habitat to many forms of wildlife and provide refuge to many forms of wildlife from predators. Just food for thought. I've camped a bunch in wilderness areas and have never had the need to hack out a campsite. At most I've piled up a bunch of fallen branches to make a bed with.
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Old 03-13-08, 12:34 PM
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Robbykills. You sound like me, or a least me a few years ago. I hate bullies. I hate being bullied. I hate being pushed around. So I would react. Getting random abuse as you go about your bussines is not exceptable but it does happen, but it is better to let it slide than react or try and have the last word, what will piss you off for five min if you let it slide can piss you off for a hole lot longer if you react. Don't try reasoning or engaging with idiots it is pointless. What was for the tw@t a throw away comment has now become something more if you react.

Many times people are saying something to try and humiliate you and / or get a rise, make a joke out of it maybe even take the p!ss out of yourself a bit, then you seem more confident and people are not as aggressive towards you or scared of the strange man on the bike. When my brain is working well I have had situations where people have clearly tried to get a rise out of me but I have just taken what they have said and gone off on a compleat tangent, this really confuses them and makes them board really quick. Sometimes it even makes them scared of you as you can seem so mental. Remember teenager and young college age "adults" are trying to assurt themself it's alot of dick slapping really, just ignore or confuse them if you get mad you won't think straight. It takes ALOt of effort for me not to get mad but it is worth it and the difference it makes is unbeilvalbe. good luck on your trip.
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Old 03-13-08, 01:02 PM
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Another thing to consider when using a large knife or a machete as a weapon is that if the person wielding is inexperienced it will often get used against them. For myself I love knives, axes and saws, and always carry an knife of some kind on me. I would never use it in a fight, and any fights I have been in I have never used my ever present knife. It is quite easy to defend against a knife if the person is not experienced using it, but to use one effectively as a weapon takes great skill. Also using a weapon may elevate things to a higher level where at the end of the altercation someone is looking at a jail sentence. But when it comes down to it, it is better to be tried by 6 than to be carried by 12.

A larger knife in the 6-8" range can be quite useful for clearing an area. You can also use it to split wood if you baton the knife through it. This can be quite effective for processing fire wood, especially if it is a spot where you are staying only for the night and just need a cooking fire, and something to ward off the boogey man. Of course the more sharpened objects the better, but on tour you have to consider weight.

Personally something similar to the Nesmuk trio is handy to have. A small axe or hatchet, a small pocket folder and a good fixed blade of your liking. If you live in the USA you also have the luxury of carrying a handgun in some circumstances.

I think a machete may be too conspicuous, and weighty, but if you can make it work go for it. I would at least try a small overnighter to see how carrying a machete works for you before you commit to carrying one across the country. I would also think that a machete would be a high maintenance tool to try to keep sharp, they are usually made from soft metal and dull easier. I do like the ringing sound they make when they cut, there is something satisfying about that.
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