Gear Review – SM18 by Manu Toigo

Gear Review – SM18 by Manu Toigo

Manu Toigo showing off the SM18
Manu Toigo showing off the SM18

This review is a little different than my previous ones because I did not actually have the tool to review. However, I have held and seen the Survival Machete 18″ (SM18) promoted by “Survival Queen” Manu Toigo and I have to say, I was very impressed. Manu is a classy lady from Australia and for those that do not know, is a star from Discovery’s Naked and Afraid.

Manu has teamed up with Bob Weir from PanaceaX.com (his new company) to help develop and promote the Survival Machete 18″ and 24″ (SM18 & SM24). After spending time with her and seeing the excitement over the machete, I had to have more information.

Manu spent considerable amount of time with me and my kids, at the Blade Show 2014 in Atlanta. We started the conversation by just touching base and having a friendly discussion. While I am not one to be “star-struck”, it was nice to meet with and actually talk to someone that had experienced real-life survival situations. Of course, I had quickly met Joe Teti about 15 minutes earlier and shook his hand as well.

The Manu Tiogo Signature Series Survival Machete is built with true survival in mind. While it is initially shaped like a machete, it has some features that truly take it to the “survival” level.

Just the Facts:

  • Blade – Made from 3/32″ high carbon steel and full tang
  • Saw Back – extends about half way down the blade from the handle
  • Baton Edge – this becomes very valuable at splitting limbs and logs
  • Spear Point – While a knife point does well, a spear point gives an extra advantage in both defense and hunting
  • Lanyard Holes – Designed with three in the handle and a fourth near the tip of the spear
  • Scraper Edge – for scraping limbs for tinder, removing leaves and preparing hides
  • Fero Rod Striker Edge – set at 90 degrees to allow more sparks to be thrown
  • Upper 90 Degree Sharp Edge – can be used for Fero rod striking and scraping bark for fires, etc.
  • Hammer Pommel
  • Sheath – Kydex lined, rot proof pack cloth nylon with MOLLE setup and a slight angle for cross draw
  • Manu Hook – more detail below
  • Spur Knife – more detail below

While there are many similarities with other products on the market, the Manu Hook and Spur Knife differentiate it from anything else out there. When I asked Manu to explain these two components, her smile extended cheek to cheek. The passion that flowed when she talked about them, would make any survivalist want one of these blades.

The Manu Hook was designed based off of her life story. Growing up on a sugar cane farm, she would pull the plants towards her and cut them The hook can be used to pull down a limb for rigging a trap, rolling a log or rock, or grabbing items floating alongside you in the water. Of course, these are just some of the uses. Manu gave an example of pulling herself up from an overhang such as grabbing a higher limb to “extend her reach” while climbing. Let your imagination carry you beyond these descriptions.

While having a machete is great in a survival situation, it is really better to have a second blade for small projects. Try using a machete to create a notch in the hearth board for a bow drill. It’s not that easy. Designed by Bob Weir, the Spur Knife allows the user to do the small, intricate work such as mentioned above as well as skinning an animal, scaling a fish, or even food processing at camp. The way it is designed, the user can grab the handle and a spot adjacent to the Manu Hook for two-handed usage. This is the same method when using the rounded blade at the spear end for drawing shavings or cleaning hides.

The SM18
The SM18
Manu and Bob Weir discussing SM Series
Manu and Designer Bob Weir discussing SM Series

Even though I could use the hole near the Manu Hook to strip leaves off a vine for cordage, it is the belief of this writer that the Manu Hook and Spur Knife will be the edge that PanaceaX needs to make the machete sell very well once manufacturing has begun. I did double checked prior to releasing this post on a proposed manufacturing date. At this time, the date is not clear and more information can be found on the PanaceaX.com site. The site does state that it will be coming Summer 2014 and I cannot wait!

Until then,

Use your instincts to survive

Photo credit: Samuel Reese