Be it a machete or knife, every sharp fixed blade needs a good quality sheath. A durable sheath not only protects the blade from external elements but also the user from its sharpness. In addition to the safety concerns, each type of sheath material has its own benefits and drawbacks. There are different types of sheath material for machetes available including leather, nylon, Kydex, and plastic. Let’s take a look at the best sheath material for machetes and how they can keep your survival tool safe for a long time.
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Top Sheath Material for Machetes
Perhaps the most popular type of machete sheaths, leather has been used for a long time to protect different blades. Sheaths manufactured from leather have numerous benefits that other materials don’t offer. Leather is both strong and durable material which makes it the perfect choice for a wide range of applications.
Not only it is soft enough for blade protection but also strong enough to resist being cut when carrying the machete. The major benefit of leather material is that it is both soft and flexible. In simple words, such types of sheaths are usually a quiet option. If you are a professional hunter, the leather sheath is your best companion as it doesn’t create any sound to scare away your quarry.
Besides the perfect material composition, leather is an appealing option too. Used for almost thousands of years, this material can be modified into a variety of attractive designs and shapes effortlessly.
If you want to choose a leather sheath for the best machete, make sure to consider few important factors. The first is to consider what kind of leather sheath system you want to select. A traditional leather sheath ends into a belt loop and is firmly held against the hip during transit. Another option is to go with the dangling sheath system where the main sheath and belt loop in connected by a small chain. It allows the sheath to swing freely while moving. Most users love such a sheath system as they make moving with the sheath less restrictive.
However, it depends on your personal preference to choose the best sheath for your machete. But, it is essential to properly maintain the leather sheath. Leather is a natural material and therefore, it can degrade with time. They may eventually stretch and lose their shape after some time.
One of the best ways to maintain the ideal shape of the leather is to occasionally oil it. It will help to prevent the leather from drying and also from absorbing too much water.
A nylon sheath is another great option for machete and knife lovers. This material is a kind of plastic melted and stretched into fibers. It is used to create woven and knit textiles. In fact, it is the plastic construction of such textiles which makes them highly durable. You can easily find nylon in a wide range of commercial materials.
When it comes to performance, a nylon sheath works like leather in various ways. Nylon fibers are flexible and durable. In other words, a woven nylon material used in machete sheaths can comfortably handle a beating without being conveniently cut or torn. Besides their durability, such types of sheaths are quite flexible. Due to their flexibility, these sheaths are easy on knife blades.
However, the performance of the leather and nylon sheathes may be similar but the aesthetic difference is also prominent. Most people prefer leather due to its classic appearance and feel whereas others love nylon sheathes for their modern and tactical look.
Nylon sheaths are equipped with snaps, Velcro, and buckles to keep the machete in transit. Some sheaths have a hard plastic blade protector to limit the amount of flexibility it has in the blade section to protect both blade and sheath from different impacts. The handle strap of these sheathes helps to stabilize the knife in the sheath and also to keep it extra secure.
Remember, a nylon sheath will let water through to the machete, though they are decently water resistant especially when created with a tight weave. Just like any fabric, over a long enough time period, this material can stretch and deform. This can make it difficult to securely hold the machete.
These sheaths are more modern options when it comes to sheath technology. Plastic is an umbrella term for chemically-derived materials and all other sheath types are some form of plastic. Such types of sheathes are injection molded manufactured of flexible and soft material. Made from small plastic pellets, they are heated and injected into the mold at high pressure. When the plastic is cooled, the resulting sheath is an ideal fit for the blade it was designed for. Such construction procedure is quick and efficient and.
Above all, plastic is an expensive material which makes it one of the budget friend sheath options on the market. There are small eyelet holes on the surface of plastic sheathes surrounding the blade section. They are molded into the sheath t help the use of sheath backing systems.
Plastic sheaths are specially designed for specific knife models due to their molding features. A leather style sheath is a versatile option for holding different types of blades, you can’t find the same flexibility with plastic sheathes. If you use a leather sheath, keeping the plastic one that fits a blade is an excellent option for storing machetes without the effects of humidity from leather.
The best thing about plastic sheathes is that they are remarkably stable and water-resistant. However, just like other materials, there are some disadvantages of this material. Plastic may wrap and lose shape with time which makes it harder to keep the machete in it. Some plastics are susceptible to UV radiation which simply means that long time use in the field may degrade the sheath. Besides these drawbacks of plastic sheaths, they are best when it comes to price.
The best choice for fixed blades, these sheaths are one of the modern innovations of sheath manufacturing. This is a thermoplastic material that can be heated to the working temperature, molded to the particular shape, and retains the shape when cools down. For the precise fitting, Kydex can be worked and reworked many times.
This material was designed for manufacturing airplane interiors. Kydex sheaths were specially designed to be lightweight, strong, and highly wear-resistant. All these features make Kydex an ideal choice for sheath manufacturing.
The Kydex sheath creating process is a famous project for DIY knife lovers. It is easy to achieve the working temperature of Kydex with simple tools such as home toaster ovens. One of the best features of the Kydex machete sheath is that it is nearly as durable as the knife it carries. Such hard plastic material is impact, wear, and water-resistant that keeps the blade safe and in the best condition for a long time.
When it comes to disadvantages, the type of sheathes allow enough room around the blade for it to move. In other words, it can be as loud as the knives rattle around. Also, the hard plastic edges can be rough on the knife surface.
Useful Tips to Choose the Best Sheath for Your Blade Type
There are three main features that should be considered when choosing a sheath for your blade.
The first thing is to look for the lower attachment. This is a type of attachment piece or hole that sits at the tip end of the sheath. The hole is mainly used for the strapping knife to the leg or onto your bag pack strap.
Also, consider the belt and lanyard attachment. You need a belt loop on the sheath so that they can easily carry the knife hands-free. You also want a hole for our lanyard. There are many reasons to use a lanyard on the sheath. It keeps the sheath secure against losing it. The lanyard helps to find the sheath easily. When you select a brightly colored lanyard, it stands out better against the surroundings as compared to neutral-colored sheathes.
Make sure to search for the strap. There are different varieties of straps available with sheaths but the most important of all is to have the one at the base of the handle. It helps the knife to slide out conveniently.
Each sheath material has different advantages and disadvantages. When looking to find the best sheath for your blade type, it is better to consider both pros and cons depending on your needs. For instance, if you are looking for a silent one, leather is the best material for you.
Keep in mind; you should not store the knife in the sheath for a long time. It will collect moisture and no matter which material you select, it will damage your blade. The life of the blade depends on the sheath performance, so make sure to choose the best sheath.