Sorry about the condition of the packaging in the following photos, I hadn't planned on doing a gear review. I saw the Gerber Gator Machete Jr ($24) at the store and figured it'd be good addition to my camping gear. Machete on one side, saw on the other, what's not to like? Half way through opening the package I noticed something strange.
Yes, that's a zombie on the package. There are two more on the back.
(Hornady Zombie Max Ammunition)
(Yes, that's a Zombie chainsaw bayonet)
(Ka-Bar has a whole line of Zombie knives, this is the Zombie "Chopstick")
Now, the gun and knife products I can almost understand. But Zombie hot sauce? Or Zombie dog toys?
Anyway, apparently the Gator is a specialized "Zombie Killing" machete, which is strange because I'm pretty sure I saw the exact same model a couple weeks ago and it was just a 'regular' machete. Is there some sort of test they run an item through to get it certified for killing zombies? Maybe it passed the test and now it's upgraded to a "zombie killer"? Man, I hope they didn't jack up the price on me.
Anyway, it seems like a pretty decent machete. It's got a good thick blade, the saw blades on the back actually seem well made and sharp.
Apparently when they were running this thing through the test for "zombie killing" they had problems with the hand slipping off the handle toward the blade. There are some very specific instructions, they tell you to loop the lanyard over the handle before you use it. There are also blank sections of the blade on both sides above the handle, I'm assuming for the same reason.
I didn't notice any problem with hand slippage, but maybe if you were using the saw on a stubborn log (or multiple zombie attackers) it would be more noticeable. If you put the lanyard on, as instructed, then the grip is very secure and it would be very difficult to slip either up or down off the handle.
The sheath is usually where I find problems with cheaper blades but this one looks surprisingly well built. It looks sturdy and fits the blade well. It has a guard on the back inside the sheath, to protect against the saw blades. The only complaint I have with the sheath is that the belt loop is a little small and very high up on the back of the sheath (I would have preferred a larger loop and it be placed a little lower to minimize bouncing if worn on the belt). Otherwise it's pretty nice.
Picture this, you're out on a camping trip and you're clearing some brush. Two zombies break out of the underbrush and charge at you! Do you need to run back to camp? No way! You've already got a certified zombie killing weapon in hand! With that kind of versatility you've got to enjoy your Gator Machete.
And if the Zombie Apocalypse doesn't happen at least you didn't overpay for a useless piece of junk.
Edit 11/16/2012: I actually noticed the main character using the large version of the Gator in a recent episode of The Walking Dead. At least on TV this appears to be quite the Zombie fighting weapon.