Best Camping Hatchets [Review & Guide]
An axe or hatchet is an essential tool to have in many outdoor pursuits and survival situations. Many people feel that they can get by with just a knife, but an axe can give you a definite advantage in specific locations and scenarios. The best survival hatchets will let you cut branches and kindling, split firewood, help you construct shelter and generally support you in being self-sufficient in the wilds. In this article, we are going to explore some of the best camping hatchets on the market.
Best Camping Hatchets Review Table
Schrade SCAXE10 11.1in
Gransfors Bruk Wildlife Hatchet 13.50in
Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet
Fiskars X7 Hatchet 14in
BladeMate Survival Hatchet
Fiskars X11 Splitting Axe, 17in
Husqvarna 13" Wooden Hatchet
Estwing Special Edition Fireside Friend Axe
SOG Voodoo Hawk Mini F182N-CP
But, before we get to our top ten list for the best camping hatchet, let’s have a quick look at what qualities to seek out in a camping axe or hatchet.
What To Look For In The Best Camping Axes And Hatchets
Quality of Construction
When traveling in the woods as a camper or backpacker, carrying the extra weight of an axe adds to your total load. So you don’t want to reach your destination and discover that your axe is poorly designed, or worse, malfunctions.
Isolated and wooded environments call for high-quality gear. You should make sure that the axe or hatchet you are purchasing is constructed of the highest quality materials you can find. You should look for stainless steel or carbon steel head, with a sturdy shaft that will give you adequate leverage to avoid repetitive injuries.
You also want to make sure that it has a nice ergonomic grip that will make it easy to handle, and good overall weight balance throughout.
The process of hand forging is a time consuming and tedious process that requires the skills of an experienced craftsperson. The amount of hours that goes into hand forging a steel head makes them highly valued.
Many axes that are forged by hand also dome with hand-carved handles and a lot of experts feel that the quality of these handmade hatchets is more exceptional than their mass-produced counterparts. Hence, the price of a hand forged tool is often significantly more.
On the other hand, some very strong and high-quality axes are mass produced by reputable companies and manufactured with materials of the highest caliber that will suit your purposes just fine.
The decision to purchase a hand-forged axe or a machine made one is mostly a matter of personal preference.
Portability and weight
While the idea of being able to carry an axe with you on your wilderness adventure is appealing, you should understand that every pound of weight counts. Depending on how far you have to travel, an important consideration is how long you will need to carry this in your pack. Lightweight axes are a definite plus in this regard.
However, with some of the lighter weight axes comes decreased performance. If you are going to need to be doing a lot of wood chopping because of cold weather, for example, this is not the time to purchase a lightweight hobby style axe. You will want the best survival axe with enough weight to get the job done.
You should also consider how much cutting power the best survival hatchet is going to have. Cutting power depends on the overall balance, grip, bit, (the section that is behind the blade) and also the sharpness of the blade itself.
This seems like a no-brainer, but the best camping hatchet will have a comfortable and firm grip to keep your hand from slipping and causing accidental injury.
Balance And Weight
The more the head of the axe weighs, the more power and control it will have.
The efficiency of the blade on even the best camping hatchet boils down to the material it is made of, and the width. It should be neither too broad, nor too narrow. And it should be able to be sharpened easily to a razor sharp cutting edge.
Best Camping Hatchet Reviews
Review Of Schrade SCAXE10 11.1in Full Tang Hatchet with 3.6in Stainless Steel Blade
The Schrade SCAXE10 is an excellent, reliable hatchet for hiking, camping, and outdoor activities. It features a sturdy black TPR rubber wrapped handle, a lanyard and thermoplastic belt sheath, a powder coated 3Cr13 stainless steel blade and a hammer pomme.
The rubber handle absorbs vibrations, and the finger groves give you a good grip, both of which add to the comfortability of using this hatchet. The lanyard loop is a nice touch that allows you to slip your wrist through for excellent control in slippery conditions.
The small size makes it portable and easy to carry in a backpack for overnight trips, while its quality construction makes it highly useful in a variety of situation.
What customers are saying about the Schrade SCAXE10:
Customers love the way this hatchet feels and mentioned that the ergonomic grip helps to minimize hand fatigue. Several reviewers felt that the sharp cutting edge from day one was a great feature as they didn't have to put much effort into sharpening before use.
•Blade: Stainless Steel
•Weight: 1.62 lbs
•Length: 11.1 inches long
- Small and manageable size
- Comfortable Rubber Handle
- Too small for heavy duty log splitting
Review of Gransfors Bruk Wildlife Hatchet 13.50 Inch Axe
Handmade in Sweden, this axe features a long, 13 1/2 inch wooden handle and a sheath in vegetable tanned leather. Constructed of carbon steel, it is made to last for generations of scouting and camping. The Gransfors Wildlife Hatchet is a perfect scouting and camping hatchet.
It is lightweight and easy to carry in your pack for excursions that require a small axe that is both practical and functional. This axe works well for splitting small logs or chopping large branches for your evening campfire. It comes with a book called the "Axe-book".
What customers are saying about the Gransfors Bruk Wildlife Hatchet:
Online reviews for this hatchet are mostly favorable. One customer mentioned that it was a piece of art and one of the finest hatchets he had ever owned.
•Blade: High carbon steel
•Sheath: Vegetable tanned leather
•Weight: 1.3 lbs
•Length: 13.50 inches long
- Easy to handle size
- Solid wood handle
- Too small for chopping a lot of wood but it does an excellent job for a campfire.
Review Of Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet
The Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet is a small hatchet with a 3.5-inch high carbon steel blade that is precise and portable. It features an ergonomic non-slip rubber handle grip with finger notches just below the head and has a mildew-resistant nylon sheath with belt loops. A hole at the bottom allows you to attach a lanyard for extra support.
The back of the head becomes a striking surface that can be utilized for all kinds of camp duties, like straightening poles, pounding tent stakes, or tenderizing meat. When you are not using it, you can store it safely inside the military grade sheath that has loops to attach it to your pack or belt easily.
What customers are saying about the Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet
Purchasers of this axe were generally satisfied although some were disappointed that it did not seem to have enough weight for chopping a lot of wood.
This hatchet wasn't designed with the heft of a full-size axe so it makes sense that it can't do the job of one. In spite of this factor, the reviews were favorable regarding the handle and people also seem genuinely delighted with the included pocket guide.
•Blade: High carbon steel
•Sheath: Mildew-resistant nylon
•Weight: 9.46 oz lbs
•Length: 20.8 inches long
- Comes with a copy of Bear’s “Priorities of Survival” Pocket Guide
- Full-tang, high carbon steel construction for durability
- Lifetime Warranty
- Not heavy enough for chopping wood
Review Of Fiskars X7 Hatchet 14 Inch
This Fiskars X7 is an ideal choice of survivalists and campers; It combines weight distribution, an ultra sharp blade and an indestructible design that allows you to do everything from chop cut kindling to chop small or medium-sized logs.
The edge has more blade penetration with each swing, letting you do more with less time and effort.
Fiskars axes are created using a proprietary grinding technique that turns out a sharper edge for superior contact and swift, clean cuts. They have a low friction coating that allows them to stay sharper longer.
What customers are saying about the Fiskars X7 Hatchet 14 Inch
Customers have very few complaints about the Fiskars line of hatchets and axes. Reviews for this 14-inch hatchet are highly favorable. It is a clearly a preferred brand and model across the board. One reviewer claimed that it chops like a dream in spite of not being designed as a splitting axe.
The only complaint was from customers who would rather have a nylon sheath than the plastic carrying sheath that this hatchet ships with. Most stated that this was easily remedied by purchasing their sheath of choice separately.
•Blade: High carbon steel
•Sheath: Hard black plastic sheath with a handle
•Handle: Fiberglass composite
•Weight: 1.38 lbs
•Length: 16.5 inches long
- FiberComp handles and insert-molded heads
- Provides an optimal power-to-weight ratio that increases swing speed
- Slices through small branches like butter
- The sheath is plastic. It is recommended that you purchase a nylon sheath separately.
Review Of BladeMate Survival Hatchet
The Blade Mate features an ultra sharp stainless steel blade that is ideal for camping and backpacking chores. It has a secure and comfortable ergonomic grip and comes with a nylon sheath with loops attached so you can fasten it to your pack or belt.
It is perfect for clearing brush, chopping kindling, and personal protection. It comes with Blademates Lifetime Guarantee.
What customers are saying about the BladeMate Survival Hatchet
The qualities that reviewers appreciate most about this ax is the length of the handle and the ergonomic grip. A few customers had complaints that this hatchet is too lightweight for splitting any quantity of wood.
•Blade: 3CR13 stainless steel.
•Handle: ABS plastic coated with rubber
•Weight: 1.4 lbs
•Length: 12.6 inches long
- Lifetime satisfaction guaranteed or your money back, no questions asked
- Compact yet powerful design
- Too lightweight for wood splitting
Review Of Fiskars X11 Splitting Axe, 17-Inch
The Fiskars X11 is the ideal splitting axe, with a hardened forged steel blade that stays strong and sharp and has a coating that prevents the head from getting stuck in the wood. The fiberglass composite handle is lightweight yet extremely rugged and virtually impossible to break.
It features perfect weight distribution that provides the ideal power-to-weight ratio for swing speed. It has advanced blade geometry and is designed for you to be able to split logs with one hand easily.
What customers are saying about the Fiskars X11 Splitting Axe
Customers rate this Fiskars 17 inch model with high marks for performance. This seems to be a perfect cross between a hatchet and a lighter duty wood splitting axe. One woman was particularly impressed with this size and was delighted to be able to chop her wood for the winter with it.
•Blade: Carbon Steel
•Handle: Fiberglass composite
•Weight: 2.18 lbs
•Length: 17 inches long
- The proprietary grinding technique that provides a sharper edge for better contact and cleaner cuts
- Shock-absorbing FiberComp handle
- Advanced bevel convex blade geometry
- Comes with a plastic sheath that customers generally replace with a separately purchased nylon version
Review Of Husqvarna 13" Wooden Hatchet
This attractive Husqvarna hatchet is made in Sweden and has a hand forged appearance. It is a lightweight, small axe useful for cutting branches, small logs and carrying out outer campsite shores.
The head is attached to a beautiful hickory shaft with a steel and wooden wedge. It comes with a leather edge sheath to protect it.
What customers are saying about the Husqvarna 13" Wooden Hatchet
Reviews for this hatchet were mostly favorable and most ranked its performance as a good choice for chores around camp. One reviewer was impressed with his ability to use it for bush crafting in Northern Maine.
•Blade: Swedish Steel
•Weight: 2.2 lbs
•Length: 15 inches long
- Lightweight and easy to use
- Beautiful hickory handle
- Hand forged with an embossed Husqvarna symbol
- Complaints of ax head or handle breaking after first few uses. The company replaces within 90 days
Review Of Luminoodle LED Light Rope
Estwing's Fireside Friend axe is an excellent choice for outdoor enthusiasts. The head and handle of this axe are forged into 1-piece and then polished by hand for a gorgeous finish. It features a sanded and lacquered leather handle which makes it comfortable yet durable and easy to hold. It also comes with a sturdy nylon sheath for added protection.
It features a tempered 2-3/8" cutting edge and is the ideal tool for campers and survivalists.
What customers are saying about the Estwing Special Edition Fireside Friend Axe
The reviews for the Fireside Friend put it solidly in the upper range of popularity. The one-piece design has enough power for chopping and splitting small logs. It is a clear favorite among users who are familiar with the various brands available on the market.
•Blade: Solid American Steel
•Handle: Steel with leather
•Weight: 64 oz
•Length: 14 inches long
- Made with high-quality US steel
- Weighted wedge design
- Hand sharpened blade
- Complaints of paint chipping off
Review Of SOG Voodoo Hawk Mini F182N-CP
This Voodoo Hawk Mini is a small, lightweight tomahawk that features an extended cutting head, spike for piercing applications, compact glass-reinforced nylon handle, and metal pommel cap. It is the ideal tool for survivalists, campers backpackers, hunters, and anyone outdoor sportsperson.
It comes with a heavy-duty nylon sheath., a limited lifetime warranty and is an ideal throwing tool. The top-loading sheath lets you carry it easily from your gear or belt without worrying about it falling out.
What customers are saying about the SOG Voodoo Hawk Mini F182N-CP
Customers who purchased this hatchet were generally impressed with it's throwing and self-defense properties. There is clearly a group that prefers the tomahawk over a hatchet and they are relatively passionate about it.
The only complaints about this were that the button on the nylon sheath may not hold up too well but the tool itself is popular among tomahawk users.
•Weight: 28.5 oz
•Length: 12.5 inches long
- Glass-reinforced nylon handle
- Multipurpose head
- Small and easy to hold
- Complaints of button breaking on nylon sheath
Buyers Advice For The Best Camping Hatchet
After reviewing these top ten choices, we recommend the Fiskars X7 Hatchet 14 Inch. It has all the great features you would want in an axe of this size. It is lightweight and portable enough to carry in a pack or on your belt, but it easily outperforms the other models on the list in the power-to-weight ratio category, It is a reliable and efficient tool you will be happy to own for years to come.
The Estwing Special Edition Fireside Friend Axe comes in as our runner-up in this review based on it's sturdy forged one-piece design. Reviews for this axe are consistently high for overall performance, and although it is not as efficient as the Fiskars model for woodchopping, it runs a close second.