One of the best tools that you can have in your survival kit is an excellent camping axe or hatchet because they can be used for self-defense or for retrieving valuable wood. As a result, both are useful for camping or everyday survival when you need it. You’ll love the fact that these tools are very portable, relatively easy to maintain, and versatile, and in this guide, we’re going to show you five of the best hatchet and axe options on the market so that you can go out into the wilderness prepared.
What is a Survival Axe?
When you’re working with a survival axe, as a rule, you’re going to have a much weightier experience, which means that you won’t have to slice so hard when you’re cutting wood. You’ll also notice that an axe that’s designed for survival will have a thicker head that tapers to a very fine point. This type of design makes it easy to split wood on the swing so that you can get through the woodcutting process quicker. Survival axes can be somewhat smaller but will still have that weightier design to help benefit your axe cutting.
What is a Survival Hatchet?
So, where does the hatchet stand in the hatchet vs axe conversation? Well, despite having a very axe-like design, the best survival hatchet types will be much more lightweight than traditional axes. These are designed to help you quickly cut through bone, saplings, or animal carcasses with ease. Hatchets can also be used to cut wood, but it’s going to be a bit harder. Also, since they are so lightweight, a good hatchet can be used as a throwing weapon in a pinch.
How the Best Backpacking Hatchet or Axe can Benefit You
Having either of these products or both can be beneficial in both survival and camping situations since they are so versatile. There’s a reason why these were used by several cultures throughout history – they are very practical.
Here are a few ways that you can benefit from adding them to your everyday carry:
Not only can both of these be used to help make gathering firewood much easier, but they can also be used to collect saplings, roots, and edible weeds. The blades on these make cutting through tough stalks easy. Also, if you’re dressing game, both a hatchet and an axe can quickly help you cut through bone, cartilage, and help you skin the animal.
There are tons of options for self-defense with one of these tools. Firstly, a hatchet, in many cases, is designed to be thrown offensively. While this takes a lot of practice, it can save you from close-quarters combat with a wild animal. Secondly, in those close quarters, these bladed weapons are a great last line of defense. They are sharp and easy to swing in a pinch. Finally, a hatchet or axe can be used to sharpen stakes so that you can create weapons when you’re out in the wild, which can save your life.
For Building Shelter
In addition to their ability to cut wood into lengths that are usable in multiple situations, the best survival hatchet or axe also can be used for hammering stakes. The rear of the blade is usually a genuine hammer, and most are well-built enough for this kind of application. Just remember to sheath the blade if you can before you start hammering.
Factors to Consider When Purchasing a Camping Axe or Hatchet
With all of these useful applications, it’s still important to note that not all of these products are built to the same level of quality. For this reason, let’s take a look at some of the factors to consider when you’re on the market for one:
Even if you’re considering purchasing an axe rather than the best hatchet for a lightweight design, you still won’t want to buy a product that’s going to weigh you down. While it’s okay to purchase a large axe for woodcutting, if you’ll need to be mobile, err on the side of easy portability. This can mean that you can get items with loops or sheaths, but in any situation, you’ll want the device to be small enough to be packed away with relative ease. You can even find axes that can be quickly pulled out of a bag and wielded in a moment’s notice. Also, look for lightweight options; even with survival axes, material technology has gotten to the point where the blade can be reasonably thick yet still lightweight.
The best camping hatchet will consist of materials that are both lightweight and strong. For example, one of the more popular materials that many of these tools are being made of is carbon steel. This material will stand up to years of use and will maintain its edge, even after you use it on harder surfaces. Standard steel is also a nice, strong material to consider, and you’ll find that there’ll be good weighting for when you need to make swings.
Ergonomics and Design
For both of these types of products, you should feel comfortable when you’re swinging. For this reason, the axe handle will need to be ergonomic and provide the right level of grip so that it doesn’t go flying while you’re trying to cut wood. As a rule, hatchets and axes have handles that are made of these materials:
- GRN (Glass-Reinforced Nylon)
Best Backpacking Hatchet and Axe Reviews
The first thing that you’ll notice about this SOG product is that it’s designed specifically for throwing. This means that this can make for an excellent tool for self-defense or sport. In addition to this, the axe has many applications that you can use for light wood chopping animal processing.
The blade on the tip of the tool is keen and made of 420 stainless steel. In addition to this, the point where the blade head adjoins the handle can also be used as a hammer. For those that need piercing applications, the tail end of this same section has a well-crafted spike. Overall, this is definitely an excellent product for anyone that craves a high level of versatility.
When it comes to the handling of the axe, this has a reasonably ergonomic handle that will easily facilitate chopping or throwing. This handle is also very sturdy.
- This hatchet comes with a high-quality sheath
- The hammer and spike design elements boost the usefulness of this hatchet
- It has great balancing; it feels nice in the hands
- They are made of high-quality materials
- The handle is made of GRN
- The handle can break after continuous striking
Bear Grylls has become an icon for many survivalists around the world, and it’s interesting to see his name associated with genuine survival gear. This product, which is a relatively short-hafted camping hatchet, is an excellent option for both portability and utility. Firstly, its blade is only about 3.5 in, which provides plenty of cutting ability without being overly broad. Secondly, this product is crafted out of carbon steel, so not only will it cut and maintain its edge, but it’s also tough enough to chip away at hardened materials.
The sheath is nylon, and it has a distinct texture so that you never lose your grip. This material is also mildew-resistant, so you won’t have to worry about moisture causing damage to the grip. With its small sizing, portability is built-into this Bear Grylls product, and the extra loop, which can be used on a bag or a belt, adds a lot of versatility as well.
- This lightweight and short blade is easy to swing
- The handle is very ergonomic
- The blade is very keen and cuts through most wood with ease
- The belt loop adds extra storability
- Dents can gradually work their way into the blade
This 14-inch hatchet is a hardy option for just about anyone that needs a good survival blade. Many survivalists will love the straight handle because it has a reasonable degree of transference when you’re chopping away at various materials. Speaking of materials, this Fiskars hatchet is also designed to cut through even medium-sized logs, which means that you should be able to use it for most survival cutting.
The blade is also coated with a low-friction material. This makes it so that the hatchet doesn’t get stuck as easily as you are cutting through materials like wood. This is also a tough product; Fiskars utilized their proprietary FiberComp material and steel heads to provide an unbreakable experience. Also, since the heads are insert-molded, they provide a consistent hatchet experience that makes the two components virtually impossible to separate.
Finally, despite its exceptional hatchet design, the blade on this product is thick, which is perfect for getting into the fibers of the wood and splitting the wood evenly. The head is also hefty when compared to the other components, so you’ll cut wood more quickly than other products.
- The balancing of this product is near-perfect
- It has a uni-body design that’s very sturdy
- The handle is slip-resistant
- The head is designed to pull free from the wood easily
- This doesn’t do that great with wet wood
Finally, for those that have been looking for a true axe, we have the Estwing Sportsman’s Axe. This product has a very traditional design, and thanks to an ergonomic handle, it’s straightforward to swing and use in multiple situations. You might notice that this is an all-steel product; you’ll find that this is a very sturdy option for even thicker logs.
Estwing forged the entire body of this axe out of this steel and attached a leather grip on the handle. As a result, there’s virtually no way that you’ll be able to break this axe. The leather grip provides more than enough ergonomics and stability so that you can swing with confidence. This construction also provides a very reliable performance when you have to hammer. The tail end is strong, so you won’t have to worry about causing damage to the handle as you pound.
- The material construction of this tool is top-notch
- The leather grip provides a grippy material in which to swing the axe
- It comes with a high-quality sheath
- This is a pretty ergonomic axe
- The product sometimes has defects in the metal
As you may have noticed, this is a longer version of our first product, which means that these are designed to be thrown but also have a versatile design for other uses as well. The extra length on these will make them more ideal for self-defense, and this feature will also improve the leverage as well. As a result, you can easily use these to chop into thicker wood types and cut apart firewood with ease.
Like the first product, this SOG hatchet is crafted out of ultra-durable SOG steel, so it will stand up to just about any daily use you throw at it. The head also has the same uses; the side of the hatchet can be used as a hammer, and the rear of the head can be used for puncturing. You’ll also notice that the same puncturing end also has a split; this split can be used to remove nails in wood if needed.
- This is a versatile hatchet that’s designed to be thrown
- The 420 steel is a very hardy material
- The head can cut, puncture, and hammer with ease
- The weighting of the hatchet is excellent
- Not everyone will appreciate the flat-edged blade
These products can really make a difference when you’re out in the brush. None cost much, so there’s extra value in purchasing one for yourself.
In the guide, we covered both axes and hatchets, but as is our tradition, we’ve picked one that stands out above the others. For this guide, our favorite product is the Fiskars 378501-1002 X7 Hatchet.
We loved the solid body design, and the cutting ability is also very reliable. This is also a fantastic wood-chopper that doesn’t seem to suffer any ill-effects as a result of usage and time.