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Adventure Magazine

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The Adventurer's Handbook
30 Crucial Skills, Nifty Tips, and Shameless Shortcuts
By Robert Earle Howells

How to Swing a Machete

It's your passport to the jungle worlds of Livingstone and Kipling—and about the only socially acceptable excuse for wielding a knife longer than your arm.

Here's how to do it right: "Keep your wrist parallel to the cut, and always cut at an angle," says Michael Fay, who swung a machete hundreds of thousands of times during the Megatransect, his 2,000-mile [3,220-kilometer] bushwhack through the jungles of Congo and Gabon (see Adventure, July/August 2001, "The Uncharted World of Michael Fay"—photos and audio from the expedition online).

The three steps to a proper stroke are (1) let the shoulder come down, (2) lead with the elbow, and (3) at the last second, use a flick of the wrist. Chop down on woody saplings, and use an upward flick at the flimsy herbaceous stuff.

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•  Introduction
How to
•  Avoid an Avalanche
•  Avoid Blisters
•  Beach a Kayak
•  Bike Up Steep Trails
•  Build a Fire When It's Wet
•  Climb Higher
•  Cross a River on Foot
•  Fight Altitude Sickness
•  Find Your Way
•  Fix Gear in the Field
•  Haggle for Anything
•  Hike Lighter
•  Keep Warm on Frigid Hikes
•  Leave (Absolutely) No Trace
•  Make Tastier Backcountry Grub
•  Melt Snow to Drink
•  Paddle With Power
•  Predict the Weather
•  Put on Your Skis
•  Run Off-Road
•  See More Fish When Diving
•  Ski Faster
•  Slide Down an Icy Slope
•  Slip a Bribe
•  Stick to the Rock
•  Swim Rapids
•  Swing a Machete
•  Take Better Photos
•  Telemark for Real
•  Wipe Out on a Bike
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January/February 2002:
In the Magazine | Excerpts | Adventurer's Handbook | Sierra Ski Photos | Grand Canyon | Deadly Conservationist | Forum | Snowboard Boots, Bindings | Travel Tools | Everglades Guide

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