A short review of the Darien

Discussion in 'EXPAT Knives®' started by Patrick Rollins, Feb 13, 2020.

  1. Patrick Rollins

    Patrick Rollins Lead Instructor Staff Member

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    Cover .jpg

    The new Darien machete from Expat Knives is named after the Darien province on the southeastern end of Panama that borders Colombia. The area bordering Colombia is known as the Darien Gap. The missing link in the Pan-American Highway, the Darien Gap is an approximate 66 mile stretch of wilderness where the highway could not be completed for various reasons.


    In the last blog, I promised a review of the Darien, so here it is. And no, I didn’t break it!

    When I picked it up for the first time I immediately noticed how well balanced it seemed. Similar in size to our Junglas, the Darien features a 1075 carbon steel blade that is just over 12“ in length and immediately gives you the desire to go put it to work. I finally got the chance after a Land Navigation class at the farm.


    The guys in El Salvador really know how to make good machetes and the Darien is no exception. First, I did some light chopping just to get a feel for the blade. The convex grind on the blade easily chopped through Chinese Privet up to an inch thick with a single stroke. I then wanted to see how many strikes it would take to get through a small pine tree that needed to come down. The first bit very deeply and the second from the opposite side dropped the tree in no time. Next, I used the Darien to chop through a thicker dead pine log which it handled without any issues.
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    In the past, I have batonned with various machetes. Usually it was because it was what I had with me at the time and was a matter of convenience, either to make fire or needing material of a certain size while teaching a class. With the blades being plenty long enough and not overly hardened to the point of becoming fragile, they may flex at times but have always returned to true. I wanted to see if the Darien would hold up to this task. I grabbed a piece of oak at bum-camp (area at Randall’s Adventure & Training where most of the hands-on skills are taught) and went to work. The Darien did not disappoint.
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    With larger blades, it’s fairly easy to make feathersticks by driving the blade into a log or stump tip down, and then pulling the wood into the edge. The Darien came razor sharp and had no trouble slicing the shavings as thin as I wanted them. The spine throws plenty of sparks from a ferro rod, so this is another plus.
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    If I have any complaints, it’s the sheath. But being in the business, I understand that to offer a machete with a nice kydex sheath would almost double the price. In the Amazon, you seldom see a sheath anywhere, and machetes are a way of life. For the folks wanting a better sheath for it, there are plenty of aftermarket makers who will be making sheaths for it eventually.
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    The Darien is a great mid-sized blade that can be strapped to a pack or thrown in a vehicle. It can handle simple camp chores or even tackle bigger tasks if required. When paired with a smaller fixed blade or folder, you would have almost all of your bases covered. If I was clearing a large area or bushwhacking a trail through thick vegetation, I would still prefer a full-size machete of course. However, if you are looking for a chopper that won’t take up too much room but can still handle heavy work, I think the Darien is a great option for you.
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  2. DYSPHORIC JOY

    DYSPHORIC JOY Moderator Staff Member

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    Nice review! Thanks Patrick.
     
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  3. mtngoat

    mtngoat Member

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    I’ll definitely get one of those but when can I get the hat?
     
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  4. Mountainmistwanderer

    Mountainmistwanderer Member

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    This knife really has my interest. As of now I use the Fiddleback Forge 12" machete on a regular basis at the archery range for maintenance work. While I do enjoy the FBF machete the handle is not 100% with me. I wish it was more rounded like the Darien appears to be. If the Darien is slightly longer than the FBF then that is also a major plus. If y'all wanted me to do a comparison video between the two then send it my way because I am very interested in the Darien. Like I said the machete gets constant use at the archery range. Always clearing some type of vegetation.
    Excellent post Patrick!
     
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  5. Jeff Randall

    Jeff Randall ESEE Knives / Randall's Adventure & Training Staff Member

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    We'll give you the machete if you buy the hat. That's a pretty expensive hat though.
     
  6. VolGrad

    VolGrad Member

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    I had the same thought. The hat is nice.
     
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  7. Mountainmistwanderer

    Mountainmistwanderer Member

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    Deal!!!
    This Darien machete is like one of those things in life that one can see without actually using and yet know that it will be the correct choice. I see this machete and know that it would replace my current machete. Fortunately for me I have yet to be wrong when making these types of choices in my life. I would never expect to get something for free or give the line of One hand washes the other. I expect to pay. Just want to help the cause.
     
  8. mtngoat

    mtngoat Member

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    That is a good deal
     
  9. Strigidae

    Strigidae Moderator Staff Member

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    Patricks stamp of approval. I like it.
     
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  10. Expat

    Expat Expat™ Knives Staff Member

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    Man, that Expat is a good designer!!
     
  11. Wisdom

    Wisdom Member

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    Nice! Will there be a S35v version with orange scales?
     
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  12. Expat

    Expat Expat™ Knives Staff Member

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    The Expat S35v project is still in the works....
     
  13. Patrick Rollins

    Patrick Rollins Lead Instructor Staff Member

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    I just threw the hat in the picture so Shane would have to answer questions about it.
     
  14. IW17

    IW17 Member

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    Maybe I missed it somewhere, but is there a price point yet for these?
     
  15. CWB

    CWB Member

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    Nice review Patrick. Don't forget to bring me one of those hats to BLADE this year.

    Thanks,
    Bob
     
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  16. Mountainmistwanderer

    Mountainmistwanderer Member

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    Stupid me. I was really busy on the cpu and thought the reply/comment was directed to me.
     
  17. mtngoat

    mtngoat Member

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    I like the way you think
     
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  18. Andy the Aussie

    Andy the Aussie Moderator of the Century Staff Member

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    .....the Prison Education and Rehabilitation Programs have really worked out for him !!
     
  19. DYSPHORIC JOY

    DYSPHORIC JOY Moderator Staff Member

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    Now you are replying to yourself. I knew this would happen when you moved.
     
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  20. Mountainmistwanderer

    Mountainmistwanderer Member

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    Best conversation I've ever had.
     
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