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Machete

This man may not be a survivalist, but he knows the value of a machete.

Hans Neleman/Getty Images

Imagine yourself stuck deep in the overgrown belly of the Amazon rainforest. You're lost and have no food, no means of transportation but your own two feet. Your equipment consists of the clothes on your back and your trusty machete. It may not sound like much, but if you have some basic survival skills and use your noggin, the machete may be all you need.

Survival experts will tell you that a machete is the most versatile tool you can have in the wilderness. It can be used to cut a trail to civilization where there is none. You can use it to hack down bamboo, vine and palm fronds for the frame, support and roof of a shelter. If you're on an island or in the jungle, green coconuts provide drinkable milk and edible fruit as long as you have a machete to cut into them. You can also use it to cut down fire wood or as a weapon against dangerous predators. You'll need food too, and a machete can be used to sharpen a spear for hunting or fishing. Use the area of the blade close to the handle for whittling and carving. Use the fat section of the blade for hacking and cutting. The front tip is the way to go when you need to bore a hole or stab something. Any way you cut it, a machete is a valuable survival tool and should be strapped to your backpack or on your hip if you plan on venturing into the wilderness.

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