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Cross Country Touring With Machete

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Cross Country Touring With Machete

Old 03-13-08, 02:43 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.
The jungles of Kansas!

Robbykills, as soon as you get west of about Ohio or so, you won't be encountering much vegetation to hack down.
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Old 03-13-08, 03:23 PM
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Hi Robbykills, geez you've really copped some abuse over this question. That said, my view is that a machete (and even a hatchet) are way more trouble than they're worth, for all the reasons people have put forward (not least being weight). Re-read everything Machka has said for the best advice. My experience is that the bullies will be less deterred by a weapon than by a positive, self-assured demeanour. The smile that Machka recommends is ideal because a friendly, easy smile is a good indicator of self-confidence. Just don't let it look like a sneer or mocking smile! The demeanour thing is not easy but work on it.

Also, if the touring bug bites and you decide to venture outside the US, bear in mind that in some countries (including the state in Australia where I live) it's illegal to carry even a pen knife in public without being able to demonstrate good reason (easily done while you're camping). People in many countries would find it very strange to carry a machete for self defence and carrying a handgun, as one of your respondents suggested, is almost incomprehensible outside the US and some other countries.

Good luck with your touring. You're going to love the freedom once you get out onto an open road.
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Old 03-13-08, 04:15 PM
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As a suggestion from a pretty experienced stealth/ leave no trace camper, I would recommend looking into hammock camping. They're lighter than a tent and you never have to worry about that "perfect" campsite having a badly placed root or rock that you end up trying to sleep on. I love sleeping in my hammock, even in my apt sometimes. You'll wake up raring to go. As far as the machete thing goes, I think people are being too hard on you. I don't really see a machete as that useful, but I never have to clear the ground to put a tent up or anything. I nice pocket knife/leatherman will be just as useful and not attract as much attention in some places. Where I'm from carrying a machete out in the open wouldn't raise any eyebrows, but it might be problematic elsewhere.

Nice knife, hammock, and a good camp stove should eliminate any need for a machete and make your trip a lot easier. Check out these links. I hope they're useful


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Old 03-13-08, 05:31 PM
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TheKingFiphtin, how do you address the underneath convection cooling effect of the hammock? Do you carry a pad with you or an underquilt? Just curious what most bikers use when making use of a hammock in modestly cool temps.
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Old 03-13-08, 05:51 PM
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I usually use an underquilt. It hangs underneath and is windproof, for the most part. It has tons of loft so it stays really warm. I've also hung a tarp or mylar blanket underneath, but they aren't fitted correctly so they don't hold out all the wind. Generally if hammocking in the summer I don't need anything uderneath the hammock. Convection isn't a big deal in the summer if you have some kind of sleeping bag. I've hamocked with it being around freezing at night, even without something under the hammock. That does get chilly, especially for your downfacing hips, shoulder, and ankles, but it's doable if you actually like "roughing it"
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Old 03-13-08, 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Robbykills

I'm going to do this because I'm going to be stealth camping a lot and want to use it to clear brush but also I figure it is a good way to deter any one who might try to mess with me (Don't worry, I'm not going to hack and slash and ask questions later) but I'm a little worried as I've been hassled plenty of times biking around here. I don't expect to ever have to use it but I'll feel safe knowing it's there just in case. Plus I figure a good thwack of it in its sheath and from the side on the nose will be enough to deter most dogs.

So what's the legality of this? I figure its from a local big box store and I'm obviously camping and "subjecting myself to the wilderness"

haha I just realized this looks great in tandem with my username.....
Look at it this way, some one is biking along the road, and stops by some brush, that happens to be my back 40, they leave no trace that they were there, other then a couple of boot prints, and a light tire track, I see it, but don't really have an issue with it, it's happened 3 or 4 times a week, as long as I have had the place. As long as they leave the spot as they found it, I really don't mind. Now someone else comes along, clears a 10 x 10m camp site, leaves a huge fire ring, and a bunch of garbage around. Later on, I go down to Home Despot, and buy a bunch of No Trespassing signs, and post them all along that side of the road. One person has now wrecked it for everyone else, that spot, which has been used for camping, regularly for 5,000 years is now gone, wrecked by one selfish person.

As for dogs, and many other animals, try bear spray, it's an irritant that has no lasting effect on the animal, something that striking the animal even with your knife in it's sheath, isn't guaranteed.

If your biking in the woods, stick to established trails, this limits damage to areas already damaged, breaking new trails does new damage, and damage is what we want to avoid, to keep the piece. If you do stick to trails, and people are still hassling you, then look at the common factor first.
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Old 03-13-08, 06:32 PM
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Originally Posted by TheBrick
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.
I mean I usually let most things slide but for some reason I've had plenty of people take it to the next level, even when I've merely ignored them. Usually these things are started well past the point of getting a rise too, i.e swerving their car at me, swinging objects at me, pushing me off my bike, etc. usually I just say "NOPE!" when yelled at in a confrontational manner and continue about my business but there have been enough times as mentioned above where I've literally been threatened for no reason at all. I don't know what kind of "bad vibe" a 5 foot 9 chubby kid whose having a good time riding his bike (in the shoulder not the middle of the street!) gives off but apparently I excel at giving it off.
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Old 03-15-08, 03:20 AM
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Ontario Knife makes good machetes. I carry one when I go out in the rainforest...or into the weed hell behind the university.

The only threats you're going to be able to deal with using a machete are dogs and pigs. (Half of the reason I carry one.)
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Old 03-15-08, 04:32 AM
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I am having trouble getting my head around the idea that one individual should attract so much grief from other road users around him. I cannot help but think there is a short temper fuse at work here, and it's not the people around him.

Carrying a potential weapon is not going to help if there are fundamental flaws in the scenario. By the same token, a major tour might also put into perspective some of these issues.

Australia has strict controls on use of guns of any sort. The weapon of choice for fights now is the knife. Stabbing murders in the major cities are occurring weekly. Often they are fuelled by alcohol, but a stab wound is little different from a bullet wound.

I can say unequivocally that in the various parts of North America (and Europe and Australia) where I have cycle and car toured, there has been absolutely no need for use of a tool to clear a campsite, except the cycling shoes on my feet to move aside sharp items such as twigs or small branches that might damage the tent floor, or to smooth off a sandy patch. If you are equipped with a tent of a sensible size, it should be small enough to fit in all sorts of small "stealth" or "free-camping" places. The idea of clearing a site and starting a campfire negates the description of "stealth" camping. I find campfires pointless, smelly, messy and completely unnecessary anywhere. And in some places they are totally banned, anyway.

If the OP is concerned about aggression on the road, he should post his desired routes to see if anyone else has advice to contribute. In his own locale, he should know the areas to avoid, and avoid them. He should think about the times where the ratbag element might be out and about. Usually they are still in bed until midday or early afternoon recovering from the hangover from the previous night's binge, and are still in the bars until closing time. Avoid peak-hours in the morning and afternoons, or plan routes in the opposite direction to the flow of large volumes of traffic.

Last edited by Rowan; 03-15-08 at 05:27 AM.
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Old 03-15-08, 05:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Rowan
If the OP is concerned about aggression on the road, he should post his desired routes to see if anyone else has advice to contribute.
I would advise that he use one of the major routes like the TA or NT and to try to maintain a positive attitude toward people and in general. If he can't get along there he can't get along anywhere. My guess is that he will find the people to be great (more so if he starts in Oregon). He might even find that his "vibe" is better even at home after the trip.

So Robbykills, do the trip. Be warm, friendly, and trusting and I think you will have many positive experiences and probably come back a changed person.

Personally I would forget the stealth camping, weapons, and worries about hostility and when necessary rely on the kindness of strangers. When you are the recipient of this kindness be humble and thankful. The people really are a big part of what the trip should be about IMO. Hiding in the woods or carrying weapons, or just worrying about hostility all undermine this. We found that anytime we were in a jam for a place to stay, we would wind up being invited to stay somewhere or pointed to an acceptable place to camp by either some stranger (store clerk, waitress, or just someone we ran into) or the local sheriff's office.
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Old 03-15-08, 11:52 AM
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I tour with an AK. Who wants to step to this?
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Old 03-15-08, 12:12 PM
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Here is a setup so nobody will **** with you.
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Old 03-15-08, 02:04 PM
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Seriously, the best reply I have seen on this (or any) forum

Originally Posted by Erick L
Don't forget your helmet.
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