A friend of mine in Malaysia told me about a parang that was so strong it could cut through 6 inch nails with a single swipe and without going blunt… it was, he told me, sold as a blank blade (without handle) and could only be found at certain night markets (and only then if your luck was in).

I was immediately hooked by the idea of this ‘Excalibur’ amongst parangs and resolved to find it myself. I never did come across this mythical machete and, truth be told, have become increasingly skeptical of its magical powers and have begun to doubt its very existence.

…but a part me hopes it does exist.

I imagine there are many of us who are interested in bushcraft who have, at one time or another, spent too much on a knife and then had to justify (or lie about the cost) to our very disapproving partners. I know I have.

We rationalize that a tool we use so much should be the best there is and that the measure of which is ‘best’ is the cost or, maybe, an endorsement from some TV celebrity. Deep down we know this isn’t necessarily true – take a look at Mora knives (excellent value for money) vs, say, a John Wiseman Survival knife (so expensive that any truly wise man wouldn’t buy it).

As far as parangs go, my recommendation is to buy one when you arrive (cost about 4 pounds), and in the video below I show a few alternatives and why my preference would be to buy a local one… and buying when you arrive has the added advantage that you don’t have to take your machete with you to the airport!

Local parangs do have their problems and there are a few different types out there; so you need to be aware that some are better than others (I’ll cover all this in the next post) but in terms of value for money they are hard to beat.

…so, until I stumble across Excalibur, I’ll happily settle for my local parang.

“for at his belt hung Excalibur, the finest sword there ever was, which sliced though iron as through wood”