Is it a knife? Is it a saw? It’s all and much more!

“Let’s call a spade a spade”

Most of us are familiar with the above saying, but despite the popularity of this cliche, to a large extent, the value of the outdoor / camping market is based on you and I believing different.

A knife cuts things. For the most part, that’s all any of us want it to do, yet, the design, price and variation of knives on the market is near infinite.

But what of an axe? A tool so singular in its purpose that even chewing gum found more uses in the hands of McGuyver. Can an axe really vary in form and function?

Well, perhaps the biggest challenge facing any outdoor enthusiast is the matter of packing space. Whether you’re a hiker, hunter, camper, off-road traveller, or general lover of the great outdoors, most of us are cognisant of our space limitations.

Personally, I tend to believe that travelling with too much gear is worse than travelling with too little.

For this reason, I generally favour equipment that is either multipurpose, or versatile in its function. The problem, however, is that a number of multi-purpose tools are either bad at everything, or not particularly good at anything. Which is why I view all “latest and greatest” multi-tools with supreme scepticism. The Silky Nata was no different.


At first, I couldn’t quite figure out what it was meant to be: an axe, a machete, or a giant meat cleaver? Then I held one in my hand and realised that it’s all of these things, and none of these things. The Nata is a hybrid tool that is an axe, a machete, and a knife, all in one – making it the most unique outdoor cutting, chopping, hacking, splitting-tool known to man.

I’d even go so far as to say that the Nata is an evolutionary milestone for one of mankind’s oldest tools.

But enough rambling, what can possible make this… hmmm… axe-knife-choppy thing so much better than a conventional axe?


Aside from the obvious fact that it looks completely unique, what amazes me most about this blade is its weight distribution. It feels surprisingly well balanced for a tool that has a 240 mm blade and a 175 mm grip length.

Part of this is due to the Nata having a fixed blade that runs all the way through to the butt. What this means is (in terms of use), is that you don’t get nearly as fatigued swinging it around as you would an ordinary axe.

Along similar lines, most conventional axes feature a heavy taper, where the back / spine of the blade is typically far thicker than the edge. Naturally, this makes your average axe purposefully suited to splitting logs, but it also means that your wrists have to work extra hard to keep the top-heavy blade upright and steady.


Admittedly, an axe is probably a better log-splitting tool (thanks to its taper), but at the same time, most axes aren’t great at penetrating – which is what you need when clearing bushes and fallen branches. This is generally the domain of machetes and kukris, which have thinner blades that are designed to strike deep into “wet” wood and branches. What most machete’s lack, however, is the necessary mass and blade “stiffness” to split a log in half.

And that’s pretty much where the Nata slots in: somewhere between an axe, a machete and a general-purpose outdoor knife.

So instead of having to own all three of these things, you get away with just one. But the real difference between these tools and the Silky Nata, is the quality.

As a self-proclaimed knife nut, I would consider a Nata just for the steel quality. Made from SK4 High Carbon Steel, the Nata’s edge retention and hardness is every bit as good as the phrase “Japanese steel” implies.

But what draws me most to this blade, is that I don’t often come across a product that is better than the hype that surrounds it. Sure, it’s going to set you back far more than a garden-variety axe, but this is no ordinary yard tool, the Nata is a giant leap forward for one of mankind’s oldest survival tools.

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