Thought I could share some observations on my new COndor Bushcraft Parang if anyone is interested.http://www.condortk.com/uploaded/mod_productos/thumbnails/60953_725x0.jpg
By now I suppose a lot of people are already familiar with the Condor Tool & Knife brand. The Bushcraft parang is one of the newer models. It's marketed primarily as an all-around outdoor/bushcraft tool and I thought I could give it a try because it is a type of blade that I generally find very handy in the woods.
I already own a bunch of comparable tools from traditional billhooks to kukris and heavier machetes like the Tramontina bolo. The Bushcraft parang fits into the same niche more or less so I was curious how it would compare to my existing arsenal.
The terrain around here is mostly hilly woodland with mixed forests. For the most part, there is plenty of undergrowth. Even though one does not usually need a long bladed tool for clearing trails it comes in very handy when preparing a camp site, processing firewood, cutting smaller saplings for a makeshift shelter, delimbing etc.
Traditionally, billhooks have been used around here for that sort of work, usually complementing long saws and large axes. I've done a lot of work in the woods with my billhook and it is a really good tool, but alas a little cumbersome to carry in a backpack due to the large forward spike.
The Bushcraft parang seemed like an interesting alternative. It's more streamlined and has a little longer reach at about the same weight. My first impression was highly encouraging. The folks at Condor know their stuff. The parang is fairly plain to look at but the blade has very good taper. It starts about 4.5mm thick at the grip and thins down to just a little over half that thickness at the grip. My set of hardness testing files confirms a hardness of just a little over 55HRC very uniformly along the entire cutting edge.
The balance is really good. Once you grip the parang it really becomes a natural extension of your arm. The blade has a curve that puts the sweet spot at just the right place for good chopping performance. The grip is curved ergonomically, too. It is a little long for most hands but nut uncomfortable. So as a whole, the design is well thought out.
One of the things I like about the Bushcraft parang is the convex grind. Nicely done with an almost perfectly straight cutting edge. Good enough out of the box, but I touched up and polished the edge anyway as I do with any new cutting tool. That said, the blade did not require any reprofiling, which is a rare thing these days IME. Particularly in that price range.
The parang comes with a decent nylon sheath w/ belt loop. Some reviews indicate that the sheath on the early models was too tight but clearly the issue has been resolved properly. The sheath on my parang is a good fit and keeps the parang secured with a nylon strap around the grip.
So far, so good but I was keen to see how the parang would perform in the woods. It has been only a month so far, not enough to form a really solid opinion. But I am happy to say that the parang has done a very good job so far. It's easily capable of cutting through 2-3" saplings in one go. Despite its looks it is not what most people would think of as a machete. It has a pretty solid, rigid blade and the same heft as a billhook. It is not an ideal tool for clearing tall grass or the like but excels at processing green wood of some size.
It is perfectly capable of taking down trees up to about 6" in diameter with not too much of an effort. As far as chopping performance in thicker wood it is comparable to a good billhook and every bit as good as a hatchet. It also batons very well. In fact, that makes it a fair bit more effective at splitting wood than a hatchet.
Edge holding has been surprisingly good. The parang hasn't needed resharpening yet, no nicks, edge rolling or any other visible damage. So all in all, it is looking quite promising and goes to show that a blade of that type can be useful in temperate woodland, too.