Golok Machetes are awesome utility knives that can easily substitute for an axe or fixed blade. Their shorter, thicker blades and can chop wood, clear brush, do yard work and even prepare game. They also have an extensive history of being used on the battlefield, too.
The golok design originates from the harsh, impenetrable jungles of Indonesia. As capable as traditional machetes were, the South East Asian bush often left them bested. Machetes often stuck in green wood and quickly wore down with vigorous batoning.
Native Indonesian ingenuity solved the problem with the golok machete. A shorter, dual tempered blade with increased mass for greater chopping inertia. A shorter blade design increased its speed and its force. The result was a ferocious chopper that could be swung quickly in tight, close spots.
We have compiled a list of the 5 best Golok machetes for 2016. We looked at blades that ticked the boxes for quality, safety, ease of use, capability, and ease of carry.
Here are our results.
The Best Golok Machetes of 2017
|Golok Mil Spec Camo G10||Full Tang|
A2 Tool Steel
|$$$$$||Read Our Review!|
|Svord Golok British Army Pattern||Full Tang|
|$$$$||Read Our Review!|
|Condor 14-Inch Golok Machete||Full Tang|
|$$||Read Our Review!|
|Gerber Gator Golok Machete||Full Tang|
|$||Read Our Review!|
|Martindale Golok No.2||Full Tang|
|$||Read Our Review!|
Bark River Golok Review
If ever you find yourself in an intractable tangle, reach for the Bark River Golok. This full-tang, 11″ blade is made from A2 Steel – one of the best steels out there (and hence the high price). Bark River also heat treat the blade up to 57 HRC which is pretty damn tough!
The bark river golok is exquisitely balanced, making for a swing that feels like that of a lighter blade. You can clear trails, build shelters and split firewood easily. It can also be used as a draw knife to debark logs and flatten then down too. Baton hardwood is no problem with its great steel and construction.
This is a standard point knife although models are also available in clip point, seax point and dha point, among others. There’s also an amazing 85 different handle materials. The one pictured is G10 which owners of tactical knives should be familiar with.
All products come with a leather sheath and a life-time warranty, too.
You can find a great video with Mike Steward of Bark Knives talking about their Golok knife below:
At 1 lb, this golok is heavier than a standard machete. Its traditional role has been cutting through thick jungle foliage. So for some jobs it may be overkill. But as they say, better safe than sorry. It’s also made 100% in the USA.
- Full – Tang
- A2 tool steel
- Leather Sheath
- Lifetime Warranty
- Made in USA
Svord British Military Golok Review
It might surprise you that one of the best goloks comes not from the humid SE Asian jungles, but New Zealand! The Svord British Military Golok is actually a bit of a worldwide combination.
Svord was founded by Bryan Baker in New Zealand. He uses Swedish Sandvik 12c27 high carbon steel for his blades. Sandvik is used by some of the top knifemakers such as Benchmade, Browning & Ka – Bar. It’s a good cutlery-grade tool steel. It is known for having great edge retention and anti-corrosion properties.
But much depends on the method of heat treatment – and that’s where things getting interesting for Svord. Mr. Baker learned traditional heat treating methods from an old Czech maker and built a heat treatment plant in New Zealand. As a result, his creation the Military Golok is held up as one of the best goloks on the market today.
It is a great blade for chopping, cutting and splitting. The Golok is often used as a weapon which makes it a great utility design for soldiers. It can do the work of an axe or fixed blade, so its also great if you’re looking to cut your pack weight down.
Similar to the Martindale Golok (which was also designed for the British Military) the Svord Golok has an 11″ full-tang blade and is just under 17″ overall. This makes it great in close quarters. The difference between the two designs is that the Martindale has a slightly thinner blade.
It weighs just 15.9 oz so you can use it all day without fatigue. The lightweight also makes it great to attach to a pack or belt carry comfortably.
The handle is 5 3/4″ with 2 lanyard holes. The grip is pretty square and similar to that found on Latin American machetes. Svord offers hardwood or micarta varieties, and they’re priced pretty similarly.
When you’re considering these type of fixed blades, the sheath is of paramount importance. Here a really high-quality leather sheath is included. It’s a “Drop in” and easy to take out, which are the best kind of bushcraft blades.
Of course, the biggest drawback with this Svord Golok is the high price. Sometimes paying more ensures you’ll get something that will last longer. And you don’t need to pay extra to upgrade the sheath.
- Military Issue
- Great Steel & Heat Treatment
- Leather Sheath
- Hardwoood or Micarta Handle
Condor 14 Inch Golok Machete Review
The Condor Golok is the femme fatale of machetes. Its gorgeous, flowing design makes me dread getting it dirty! Don’t be deceived by its beauty, though. This is a versatile tool than can do the job of everything from a hedge trimmer to a chainsaw!
Its 14″, 1075 carbon steel blade makes easy work of clearing a campsite or cutting through thick underbrush. The hardwood handle sits fast on an extended tang. The handle is made deliberately rough to promote a firmer grip. Even with sweaty palms, you can keep swinging this golok with confidence.
The blade is covered in a jet black epoxy finish, giving the blade an almost sinister appeal. 1075 steel is easy to put an edge on and will take some abuse. It might not be as tough as 1095 (which has more carbon content and is great for choppers) but at this price point and with Condors experience the steel is pretty decent.
Although the Condor is made in El Salvador, it’s German built and engineered by a company whose roots trace to the 18th century. So you can rely on Condor’s design being well tested!
One potential drawback of a golok vs traditional machetes is that they are more cumbersome to draw from their sheath. But as most outdoor tasks don’t require wild-west-shootout draw times it shouldn’t be a huge deal for most.
In summary, this is a great knife for a great price and highly recommended.
- Full Tang
- 1075 carbon steel
- Hardwood handle
- Black epoxy blade finish
- Extremely versatile
- Hard to draw from sheath
Gerber Gator Golok Machete Review
The Gerber Gator Golok Machete is an all-purpose utility blade that will meet any challenge.
The 12″, dual tapered blade is specially designed to not get stuck in green wood. This makes it an ideal brush and campsite clearing tool. And unlike some cheaper machetes, it features a full tang. This means there’s no chance the blade will come flying off the handle midway through a wide swing.
One unique aspect of this golok is the patented Gerber Gator Grip handle. This handle is engineered with a special polypropylene material and textured surface, minimizing the chance of slip.
As an added measure of protection, it also comes with a unique safety lanyard. Simply loop the lanyard over the grip and slip your hand through for great blade retention.
The list of uses for this versatile knife could easily fill a ten-page report. Suffice it to say the densest underbrush is no match for the Gerber Gator Golok. The tool steel blade is phenomenally sturdy. Foot thick tree trunks can be dispatched in short order. And the blade will not only hold its edge remarkably well but is very easily honed anew.
One drawback is that the sheath is not designed to be belt-worn. There have also been isolated complaints that it’s not universally molle-compatible. But at the end of the day, this is a field tool, not tac gear.
You also need to know that the steel used is 65Mn. This is a Chinese steel roughly equivilant to US 1065. It’s cheap but it is a good spring steel with thermal resistance.
And for the price, the Gerber Gator Golok could well be the best golok for the money.
- Full tang
- Dual tapered blade
- Gator grip handle
- Unique safety lanyard
- Budget Price
- Chinese Steel
- Sheath can’t attach to belt
Martindale Golok Review
The Martindale Golok has been Military Issue for the British Army for over 65 years. At just 18″ and weighing and monster 1.3lbs, it’s a hefty close-quarters chopper where perhaps a regular sized machete wouldn’t have the space to work.
If you are a novice to blade sharpening (and perhaps don’t own a belt sander) you should probably stop reading now. The Martindale Golok arrives blunt out of the box. This is a deal-breaker for many. However, if you do have the time & skills you’ll be left with a low-priced machete that is comparable to those costing 4 / 5 times as much. You can see a toughness test below:
Sheffield Steel is famous, and Martindale describe their fabrication process as “hot rolled carbon steel”, with HRC 45 – 50. Given the origin of the steel and this Golok’s widespread use on the battlefield, you can depend on its toughness.
You also need to know that a sheath is actually sold separately. You can buy it here, but be warned it’s almost as much as the blade!
If you’re looking for a compact machete for a pack or Bug Out Bag (and are willing to put in some work), check out the Martindale Golok.
- Military Spec
- Battle Tested
- Compact & hefty
- Sheffield Steel
- Comes blunt