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pickle
05-17-2015, 13:26
Are Machetes and knives allowed on the AT-just saw a video where a guy was carrying a Machete.

Old Hiker
05-17-2015, 13:27
Might have to ask Machete Mitch about that.

I never saw the use of a machete or an axe of ANY size. My 2.? ounce folding knife has done me just fine.

Mountain Wildman
05-17-2015, 14:02
I just watched a video by Terry Coyle where he said if you are camping or hiking you can carry any size knife you want, don't know if that's true but almost all states allow the carry of folding knives with blade lengths under 4 inches, and fixed blade lengths are usually less regulated.

Sarcasm the elf
05-17-2015, 14:25
There is no straight forward answer to that question. I looked into this a while back and the more I read the more confusing the laws appeared.

The A.T. travels through 14 states, dozens of federal and state properties and hundreds of local jurisdictions, each with their own laws. To further complicate the issue, many states have exemptions to knife lenght statutes for people who are "camping" however it is unclear if a hiker walking through places like a trail town would fall under this exemption.

Also knives are banned on many public transit systems, making it more complicated to get to and from the trail.

kayak karl
05-17-2015, 14:32
You can carry a machete hiking in NJ and that's weird because NJ doesn't let you do crap.

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MuddyWaters
05-17-2015, 15:00
Yes, No, and maybe. You will need to research knife laws in every state.

State laws vary wildly, sometimes even defining how its used. For instance in a given state it may be illegal to carry a knife over 3". But it may be OK to carry a filet knife going to, or from fishing. But at any other time that filet knife would be considered a weapon and regulated.

In GA, you cannot carry a knife with a blade over 5", open or concealed, without a weapons permit. You can own a bowie knife, you cannot carry it.
However, this applies to knives designed for protection or offense, it is a gray area if it applies to tools used for other purposes, but it is best not to push it.

If you are carrying a knife with the intent of it being a weapon for defense, ipso de facto, it is a weapon.

O.C.G.A. 16-11-126 (2012)
16-11-126. Having or carrying handguns, long guns, or other weapons; license requirement; exceptions for homes, motor vehicles, and other locations and conditions; penalties for violations
(a) Any person who is not prohibited by law from possessing a handgun or long gun may have or carry on his or her person a weapon or long gun on his or her property or inside his or her home, motor vehicle, or place of business without a valid weapons carry license.
(h) (1) No person shall carry a weapon without a valid weapons carry license unless [exemptions only apply to guns].
“Weapon” means a knife or handgun. “Knife” means a cutting instrument designed for the purpose of offense and defense consisting of a blade that is greater than five inches in length which is fastened to a handle.

Wyoming
05-17-2015, 15:41
A machete is after all a tool for chopping that pesky poison ivy right? It's not a knife.

In '06 I hiked part of the trail with a guy who was carrying a full size hunting knife (~6-7 inch blade I guess) and saw him later in Maine. But that does not mean it was legal of course.

I also hiked with a guy who carried an ice axe. I pointed out to him the first time I saw him that it would not be needed as we would not see those kinds of conditions. Then he told me it was for protection - Okay!

I am certain that some are carrying concealed handguns while fully knowing it is not legal everywhere and I have seen several over the years along the AT when folks were not careful about their concealment. It is like a friend of mine once told me when I reminded him he was carrying illegally where we were at; "Better a jury of your peers than six feet under."

Or you can come to AZ as we allow any kind of carry and you don't have to have no stinking permit either. We like assault rifles too ... and jeeps with big tires. The wild west!

Pedaling Fool
05-17-2015, 16:31
My advice is to just carry an axe. They are far more deadlier and they are legal:banana

4eyedbuzzard
05-17-2015, 21:41
I've seen trail maintainers carrying machetes. Can't say I've ever run across a hiker carrying one. I'm sure some have. One guy thru-hiked with a tuba. The tuba was probably more useful.

imscotty
05-17-2015, 22:38
The knife laws are a incomprehensible mess. Depending on law enforcements interpretation of your 'intent', many objects may be classified as weapons. Here is a link to knife laws state by state...

http://www.akti.org/state-knife-laws/

And here is a pertinent article on a current event related to the subject...

http://news.yahoo.com/across-us-knife-laws-differ-state-city-even-114645263.html

Walkintom
05-18-2015, 08:59
A few states have laws that prevent localities from having legislation that is more restrictive than the state level law, but most do not.

Any time that you're carrying a knife, right down to a folding pocket knife, and interacting with law enforcement you should be aware that you could wind up being charged for that knife in more places than not in the US - and behave accordingly. Word to the wise - do not give a law enforcement officer a reason to start looking for charges that will stick to you in this situation.

RED-DOG
05-18-2015, 09:08
on my 2012 thru i hiked with a guy that carried a machete and he used to cut fire wood, personnaly i wouldn't carry anything larger than a small folding knife but it's HYOH carry what you want to.

illabelle
05-18-2015, 09:12
And as I read somewhere recently, you could be taking a watermelon to a picnic and a large kitchen knife to cut it up - and depending on local laws and how they're interpreted, you might be in violation.

steve0423
05-18-2015, 12:07
In 2013 I walked for a month or so with a guy who carried a big fixed blade Bear Grylls knife (roughly 5in blade) on his hip. He carried it the whole way and as far as I know never had any problems. I suppose he might have been lucky.

HooKooDooKu
05-18-2015, 14:15
In 2013 I walked for a month or so with a guy who carried a big fixed blade Bear Grylls knife (roughly 5in blade) on his hip.He carried it the whole way and as far as I know never had any problems.I suppose he might have been lucky.

In most jurisdictions, open carry of a fixed blade knife is legal... it's when you start getting into concealed weapons is where the legal troubles usually start.

It's sort of like the difference between having a hand-gun in your pocket compared to a shot-gun in the gun rack of your pickup truck.

WingedMonkey
05-18-2015, 19:55
Be prepared to be labeled as a danger to the trail community by the gang on Face Book if you carry either on the trail.

Happens a least once every season.

Pedaling Fool
05-18-2015, 20:23
I keep seeing posts about the trail community on facebook. Who are these packsniffers? Someone got a link?

Sarcasm the elf
05-18-2015, 20:36
Be prepared to be labeled as a danger to the trail community by the gang on Face Book if you carry either on the trail.

Happens a least once every season.

But WM, someone got a bad feeling when they hiked and talked with that guy, that must be a crime or make him a danger, right? :(

Sarcasm the elf
05-18-2015, 20:40
I keep seeing posts about the trail community on facebook. Who are these packsniffers? Someone got a link?

You'll be a better person if you don't look at the Facebook hiking groups. WB really is much easier to use and (believe it or not) more cordial. The Facebook format makes it hard to keep track of what is going on, the advice and information is less reliable and some of the regulars are far more out of their minds.

virginiagunny
05-19-2015, 13:15
I have taken a large fix blade twice, on short hikes (3-5 days) never needed it, what I carry now is a good folding saw, a multi-tool, and a swiss pocket knife. I found that these three tools will get every thing done from food prep too fire making, plus I have never had any problems from the local authorities about these tools.

mudsocks
05-19-2015, 14:14
I'm sure some have. One guy thru-hiked with a tuba. The tuba was probably more useful.

Because the Tuba can be used to scare away bears & people. ;)

Pedaling Fool
05-19-2015, 14:34
It's really funny (in a sad way) to think that you can get in a lot of trouble by the law for carrying a knife/machete, but it's perfectly legal to carry one of these http://www.amleo.com/silky-f180-folding-pruning-saw%252c-7-inch-straight-blade/p/143-18/?kc=amlshop15n&mkwid=FoKiUHdn&pcrid={creative_id}&gclid=CJWt6qW4zsUCFYMXHwod4BkAMA

http://cdnll.amleo.com/images/200/143-18.jpg

magneto
05-22-2015, 08:23
I'm not "carrying a knife" when I backpack in the woods any more than I am "in possession of burglary tools" when I use a crowbar to open a crate.

It has to do with intent - "mens rea" or criminal intent. When backpacking, a reasonable person might carry a six-inch Ka-Bar hunting knife because they may have to chop wood, dig holes, construct shelter or perform some other backcountry task. Maybe they need to skin a fish. Who knows? It's a tool. Such a person is not breaking the law.


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Traveler
05-22-2015, 08:47
I'm not "carrying a knife" when I backpack in the woods any more than I am "in possession of burglary tools" when I use a crowbar to open a crate.

It has to do with intent - "mens rea" or criminal intent. When backpacking, a reasonable person might carry a six-inch Ka-Bar hunting knife because they may have to chop wood, dig holes, construct shelter or perform some other backcountry task. Maybe they need to skin a fish. Who knows? It's a tool. Such a person is not breaking the law.

Probably the best overall answer. Most statutes relative to knives are written in the shadow of criminal intent, backpacking removes a lot of that intent (though I cannot imagine why anyone would carry a machete on the AT for).

Any issues will likely come down to interpretation of the statute by a Ranger or LE official in context to where you are. If you are in the backcountry, its not going to create much of a problem. If you are heading to town, stash the blade until you get back on the trail.

magneto
05-22-2015, 08:49
Good advice - don't create a problem that can be avoided.


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tscoffey
05-22-2015, 11:55
I've seen trail maintainers carrying machetes. Can't say I've ever run across a hiker carrying one. I'm sure some have. One guy thru-hiked with a tuba. The tuba was probably more useful.

Depending on what key it is played in, that tuba could be used for defense.

magneto
05-22-2015, 12:13
Not to go off topic but the tuba hike was cool. There is a blog somewhere on the web...


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