Fans of ESEE (and maybe fans of me…) will remember we recently covered the Expat Cleaver. The Expat Cleaver was the first of many planned Expat knives designed by ESEE forum member and world traveler “Expat”. Like all Esee knives the design comes from folks who are noted survival experts. At SHOT Show 2018 I had the chance to connect with the awesome crew at Randall’s Adventure/ESEE. There I saw the second and soon to be released third knife in the Expat line. Today we are talking about the second, the Expat Machete, known as the Libertariat.
A Machete is a Machete right?
The Libertariat is a little different than the standard machete. It’s only 14 inches long, with a 9-inch blade. The end is squared off into a non-point and when sheathed it looks more akin to a fixed blade knife. The small size was to make it a light and easy to carry survival tool. It only weighs 13 ounces and it’s hard to notice on your belt. ESEE makes plenty of machetes, but the Expat Libertariat Machete is something entirely different. It’s small, easy to swing, and it slices and dices very well.
Putting the Libertariat to Work
The Libertariat is a pretty machete. The wood handle, square blade and the Condor Classic finish just gel well together. When you consider the fact that the Libertariat is a limited run of only 550 machetes it seems crazy I wouldn’t make it a wall hanger. That’s just not our style. If you want to see pretty pictures of pretty gear there are plenty of magazines and websites for that.
Instead, I cut a tree down.
The Libertariat is a working tool that just happens to be a limited edition and eye pleasing. My first bit of work was to be clearing a small section of brush I have in my backyard growing around a tree stump and a boulder. With my son’s infinite six year old imagination the tree stump and boulder have become a playground for him. It certainly needed a good debrushing.
I used the Libertariat and only the Libertariat Machete to put in work. I sliced and diced through vines, palmettos, and even cut down low hanging branches that were several inches thick. Even with stopping to take photos it took me less than an hour. Once you master the proper means to chop and slash it becomes easy to chew through what was in front of it.
Surprisingly enough the handle staid comfortable and I never felt hot spots, or discomfort when chopping.
That tree I cut down earlier… Well, I decided I needed to chop it up a bit. So I made a nice little pile for burning a bit later. Admittedly midway through chopping through this log my hand was a little tired. That’s an exaggeration, my hand was tired as hell. My right hand is still tired as I type this.
Using it to Baton Wood
The Libertariat’s spine is thick and flat which makes it nice for batoning wood. Batoning wood is basically splitting wood with a knife. You plant the Expat Machete’s blade into the wood and use a second log to hammer the blade through the wood. Being capable of doing this makes the Liberteriat a mini hand ax when necessary. I haven’t batonned much wood in my life, but I figured it out pretty quickly when wielding the Libertariat.
A Draw Knife
The hole in the top portion of the blade isn’t there to reduce weight, or to allow you to hand the machete up, it there to turn the Expat machete into a draw knife. Or at least as close as you can get to a draw knife.
You stick a strong stick through the hole and use it as a secondary handle. Then you use the machete to strip the bark from a tree or to shave off tinder. This isn’t as easy as a real draw knife of course, but in a pinch it works. It’s not a woodworking tool, but a survival tool, so remember that carpenters.
Striking a Match
The Expat machete features a 90 degree curved spine which may not mean much to you if this is a yard working tool. However, for a survival or camping toolit’ss a nice touch. It makes striking a ferro rod for fire easy and possible. The blade is short enough that this isn’t a hazard and the sharp corner on the spine makes it easy to strike a ferro rod.
The only downside I really have is the sheath. While its completely suitable as a sheath, and carries the machete well, it just comes up to high. It eats half the handle, and pulling it out is a little tricky. A minor complaint for a fantastic knife.
Overall the Libertariat is a robust, and capable machete. It’s like Joe Pesci in Goodfellas, little but fierce. It’s strong, sharp, and an excellent bushcraft tool. If you need to hack through small trees, vines, limbs, and more It’s up to the task.