CRKT Halfachance Review
November 9th, 2022
6 minute read
As survival tools go, I was missing one. I needed a heavy-bladed hard-use tool to include with my outdoor gear. I assumed I was looking for a standard machete when I came across something better: a modern parang made by Columbia River Knife and Tool (CRKT). Called the Halfachance, this blade looked like the right survival tool for me.
But looks can be deceiving. I needed to know if this tool would perform in the real world. In this CRKT Halfachance review, I put the parang to the test.
Designed by Ken Onion, the Halfachance is a parang-style blade that is excellent for survival and outdoor living. For those not familiar, the parang is a type of blade that, for many Americans, appears closer to a machete than a traditional knife. Its origin is believed to be from a series of islands in southeastern Asia including Papua New Guinea, East Timor, Brunei and Borneo. In fact, the parang-type blade resembles several other knives from this region including the Filipino bolo.
The blade is a full 14” long with a big belly to enhance its slicing and slashing capabilities. Traditionally, the parang is a working knife — not a tool of battle. The large belly provides for good skinning characteristics while the hump adds a bit of mass for chopping. For hacking a path through the jungle or skinning a boar, the Halfachance is designed get the job done.
Onion designed the knife for CRKT and selected 65Mn carbon steel for the blade. This type of steel is similar to 1065 and is often used for larger cutting tools like machetes or swords. The blade is relatively thick at 0.1” and is powder coated in black for a good look and corrosion resistance. The version I am reviewing is a semi-custom model with the Springfield Armory logo on the blade and adjacent to the CRKT branding.
CRKT Halfachance Specifications
Here are the specs on the Halfachance:
|Blade Material||65Mn Carbon Steel|
|Blade Finish||Black powder coat|
|Style||Fixed blade parang|
|Included with Knife||Nylon sheath and paracord|
Putting the Halfachance to the Test
I had some brush to clear on my property and used the opportunity to give the CRKT Halfachance a real workout. I intend to keep the parang as a survival knife, so I wanted real hands-on time with it before adding it to my gear. If it was going to fail, better it was a short walk from my house than when I was trying to build a hasty shelter in a winter survival scenario.
The brush I needed to clear consisted of vines, native saplings and fast-growing invasive trees from Asia. In other words, I had the perfect canvas with which to test the CRKT parang’s ability to slice and chop.
I was immediately pleased with how sharp the Halfachance was right out of the box. It cut through limbs and smaller saplings with a single arc. For thicker (about 1-2”) limbs and trunks, two to three slashes were usually enough to cleanly cleave the plant in two.
Swings were easy. The tool was lightweight with the felt weight toward the blade’s tip. While I still needed to put some muscle behind the swing, the Halfachance did the hard work.
One of the things I liked about the Halfachance was the overmolded handle. The grip feels like the soft, yet firm revolver grips made by Hogue. As I chopped, the rubber material deadened the impact of each blow and transferred relatively little force into my hand. This proved to be decisive in allowing for longer chopping without fatigue.
The overmolding texture was grippy without feeling sticky. CRKT likens the grip texture to the pebbling of a football. It’s not a bad description for the look and feel of it. In practical terms, the parang stayed firmly fixed in my hand with little wiggle even as my hands grew sweaty. Additionally, the texture worked well with the no-name leather work gloves I use. I also gave the Halfachance a go with a pair of Mechanix M-Pact gloves. The two products combined well to provide both a firm grip and remarkably little jarring in hand during chopping.
The Halfachance has five holes in the handle designed for attaching a lanyard. Additionally, the included nylon sheath has multiple holes through which you can run paracord for attaching to your leg or lashing to a pack. The sheath’s belt loop is adjustable so you can carry the Halfachance close to the body or loose. Three rugged snaps ensure the parang stays in the sheath until it is intentionally drawn.
After about an hour of land clearing, the Halfachance parang remained sharp and capable. When using a heavy-duty work knife like this, I like to touch up the blade a few times during the day to keep it sharp rather than letting it dull and trying to bring the edge back at the end of the day. It seemed to do well with this routine.
One thing that really stood out to me was how affordable the Halfachance is. For less than $80, the parang outperformed the other knives and machetes I have tried. While the price is substantially more than the surplus store machete, the quality is so far beyond the unbranded throwaways you can pick up at an Army-Navy shop. To top it off, CRKT backs the blade with a lifetime warranty. Keep the blade sharp and oiled, and I doubt you will ever need to worry about the warranty on this durable knife.
While the look of the CRKT Halfachance has a more tactical look than a traditional parang, it is a solid work knife. As a machete, I found it was up to the task of handling heavy brush. Likewise, I have little doubt that the knife would be up to any survival task in which cutting and chopping were needed.
Based on my testing of this parang, I feel good about adding the Halfachance to my survival tools. I needed a quality machete-style blade and this Ken Onion design earned its way onto the team. My only issue is I have to buy another one as my wife claimed this parang for herself.
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