Hatchets are a fascinating camping tool with origins dating back thousands of years. Although our ancestors used small axes (like tomahawks), the word hatchet as we use it today, derivees from an old French word that describes an axe of diminutive size. These differ from other axes in more than size. They often featured an ax blade on one side and a hammer on the other, making them useful for a variety of purposes. Many people wonder whether they need to read our reviews for before they go camping or backpacking trip. In most cases, they definitely should.A hatchet has far more uses than only basic cutting and chopping. Knowing about these uses, about different types of hatchet, and about how to properly care for and maintain your hatchet will help you find the best camping hatchet for you available on the market today.
Related: Best Camping Saws of 2020
Table of Contents
- Our Camping Hatchet Picks
- Camping Hatchet Buying Guide
1. SOG Outdoor Hatchet with Fire Starter
Overall Length: 12,10″
Handle Length: 3,30″
Handle Material: Plastic
Type of Steel: Stainless Steel
This SOG Outdoor Survival Hatchet continues the SOG tradition of designing tools with a distinctive military look. Featuring a futuristic, straight black tomahawk style, this SOG survival hatchet offers several unique features that help it stand out. One of the most beneficial is a built-in fire-starter, which significantly raises its versatility and usefulness.
Another notable feature about is its grip, crafted from paracord, which enables a strong, firm grip, even in wet conditions. In survival-intensive situations, this paracord easily provides lengths of cord that aid in building shelters and making snares. This particular hatchet is designed as a multitool and its multiple applications make it an ideal hatchet for an individual who wants to just carry only one item.
2. Estwing Sportsman’s Hatchet Axe
Overall Length: 12,0″
Handle Length: 9,50″
Handle Material: Genuine Leather
Type of Steel: Forged Steel
This Sportsman’s Axe, though simple at first glance, features a couple of unique design elements. First, it is forged as a single piece, reducing its potential failure points. No weld bolts or nuts hold the head onto the handle, which gives additional strength to the entire tool without producing stress points which often can lead to breakage.
Next, the comfortably curved handle increases the power of every swing. Covered with a stylish, leather grip that has been lacquered for water resistance, this hatchet may be used in many situations. This axe is made in the U.S.A and comes with its own heavy-duty nylon sheath which protects the blade, an important feature for any bladed object.
3. Blade Mate Survival Hatchet
Overall Length: 11,50″
Handle Length: 7,0 oz
Weight: 20,0 oz
Handle Material: Rubber
Type of Steel: Stainless Steel
This Blade Mate Survival Camping Hatchet is one of the most advanced designs on this review. It features a durable anti-slip grip which enables you to use and grip this hatchet safely, even in contrary conditions. A wider, heavier axe head allows for greater cutting penetration with every swing. What’s more, the blade has been fortified to prevent corrosion, even in harsh conditions. The hatchet comes with a razor-sharp blade.
The Blade Mate warranty offers long-lasting security. This is a true lifetime warranty, promising your complete satisfaction. If it disappoints you in any way, you can return the hatchet at any time within its lifespan and get your money back. A company that will stand behind its product for life like this believes in the product they are selling to you.
4. Camaqui Handmade Wood Hatchet
Overall Length: 15,0″
Handle Length: 12,90″
Weight: 33,60 oz
Handle Material: Wood
Type of Steel: Carbon Steel
This hatchet features a traditional style and shape. Yet despite its common appearance, it features some uncommon attributes. This particular hatchet, unlike many others in this review, is entirely handmade, which gives it a more rustic look, more than other mass-produced hatchets . This also ensures greater product quality. Each hatchet features high strength, carbonized steel, manufactured by Damascus steel makers. Damascus steel is some of the hardest, most durable steel available today.
An ergonomically-designed handle gives this hatchet an ideal balance of strength-to-weight ratio and allows for a wide swinging arc without compromising precision. Another benefit of this hatchet is its 100% money back guarantee. This guarantee demonstrates the company’s confidence to stand behind their product.
5. SOG Backpacking Hatchet
Overall Length: 14,60″
Handle Length: 11,50″
Handle Material: Glass-Reinforced Nylon
Type of Steel: Stainless Steel
This SOG backpacking Hatchet features a nifty tactical aesthetic. With its striking, straight black handle and black sheath, this survival hatchet looks more like a tactical weapon than a practical tool. Despite its looks, it is definitely capable as a camping accessory. It offers a ridged handle, which allows for a stronger grip, even in conditions. It also features a sheath that goes over the blade without blocking the hammer. This is a nice feature because it allows you to use the hammer ,while maintaining safety by covering the blade.
Weighing just over a pound, this is an excellent lightweight hatchet for hiking. The blade itself is made out of strengthened steel and the handle is made out of a reinforced nylon frame for extra durability. If you re looking for best backpacking hatchet, it will be right choice. Altogether, this is a fine hatchet for those who enjoy a tactical aesthetic with their camping gear.
6. CoolPlus Camping Hatchet with Sheath
Overall Length: 12,87″
Handle Length: 6,60″
Weight: 32 oz
Handle Material: Rose Wood
Type of Steel: Stainless Steel
This CoolPlus hatchet boasts several features that make it stand out from its competition. For instance, the traditional hammer tool on the backside of the blade has has been replaced by a smaller, piercing point similar to old-style tomahawks. If you want the additional hammer tool, then you should consider a different hatchet. But in certain situations, you’ll be glad for the pointed tip.
This hatchet also features exquisite artistry, namely a wolf image on the blade and flowers etched into the stainless steel top of the handle. Though this blade looks highly ornamental at first, with its rosewood handle and artfully enhanced blade, it is a capable tool that is able to split kindling wood and chop small logs.
7. Schrade SCAXE10 Full-Tang Hatchet
Overall Length: 11,10″
Handle Length: 7,50″
Weight: 5,90 oz
Handle Material: Rubber
Type of Steel: Stainless Steel
Although Schrade has forged its reputation from the knives they produce, they also supply a wide variety of high-quality hatchets. Featuring a simplified design with innovative features, this Schrade hatchet is an upstanding, all-purpose hatchet.
A strong rubberized grip designed to fit into you hand keeps the handle secure, even when wet. The shaped of the stainless steel blade improves this hatchet’s power for splitting kindling wood and equips it to cut kindling more efficiently than some other hatchets on this list. It comes with a built-in nylon lanyard for securing easily and a thermoplastic belt sheath for added protection. This hatchet attaches to your belt, but also attaches to your backpack just as easily, affording you with quick and easy access at a moment’s notice. The Schrade hatchet is a terrific tool, especially for spring and autumn hikes when the weather is cooler and more damp.
8. DC Recreational 440 Stainless Steel Hatchet
Overall Length: 9,0″
Handle Length: 4,70″
Weight: 14 oz
Handle Material: Pakka Wood
Type of Steel: Stainless Steel
Don’t let the diminutive size of this DC Recreational Camping Hatchet fool you. This hatchet is perfectly engineered to delivering where it matters. Featuring a shortened handle and a broad axe blade, it ideal for splitting kindling wood and doing other precision work. Unlike hatchets with longer handles, the short handle on the DC Hatchet allows for far more precise hits due to the shortened distance between the handhold and the blade.
This hatchet features a stylish wooden handle and a built-in lanyard, making it easy to hang or to tie to the rest of your gear. As with most hatchets, it also features a strong, durable nylon sheath which protects both you and the blade when not in use. Forged from stainless steel, it weighs only 0.88 lbs. It is an excellent style of hatchet for situations where weight and size matters, as in back country hiking.
- The Top 6 Things to Consider When Buying a Camping Hatchet
- What is the Difference Between a Hatchet and an Ax?
- Camping Hatchet Maintenance Tips
What can you do with a hatchet while camping or backpacking trip? Hatchets have a variety of uses, which make them superior to other large blades like axes or machetes. They feature several unique qualities, which qualify them as some of the most essential camping gear available on the market today. So what are some ways that this tool can improve your camping experience?
Hatchets are adept at precision power-cutting and superior to any knife at turning small wood into kindling. It cuts more precisely than an ax, thanks to the weight of its head, which provides the driving force necessary to turn even moderate-sized logs or sticks into easy firewood. Even if you buy firewood from an established campsite, that firewood often comes in pieces too big for lighting on their own. Hatchets allow careful, precise cutting which make it easy to start a fire at any time. Check also: How To Build A Good Campfire?
An important design factor for a hatchet is its hammer surface. The hammer surface on the backside of the blade has a wide variety of uses in camping situations, giving a hatchet a dual functionality often lacking in other camping tools. This functionality helps you pound your tent stakes into the ground. Anyone who has ever been camping and has hunted for rocks to pound down their tent pegs knows how frustrating this can be. A hammer tool that also enables you to chop your firewood is a terrific resource. Not only can a hatchet like this hammer in stakes, but it can also serve other useful purposes, such as securing pegs for rock climbing and putting loops on a tree to hang your food away from bears.
Blazing a trail means “marking where you are going.” Hikers often do this when they an veer from their established trail and get lost, needing some identifying markers to help track their progress or retrace their steps. You can do this with a hatchet by making noticeable nicks or notches in the tree bark along the way. Another strategy is cutting down small trees or saplings and laying them along the ground. Trailblazing is an important survival skill for individuals who get lost in the wilderness and a good hatchet is a valuable tool for doing it successfully.
Another major reason to keep a hatchet on hand is for doing some area clearing. Even developed campsites can have occasional tree roots, small bushes, or shrubs that obstruct your camping space. A small hatchet equips you to remove these obstructions from the area. You may cut down a small sapling or trim some branches on a bush. Whatever the case, you’ll be glad for a hatchet to help get jobs like this done.
Avid hikers and campers know that trees and other debris can fall down and block pathways, especially after heavy snowfall or a serious storm. A hatchet enables you to clear out these obstructions, too. In all of these scenarios and more, a hatchet is an excellent bushwhacking tool for many of your backcountry, area clearing needs.
A hatchet helps you butcher wild game, whether big or small, taken from hunting in the wilderness. Cutting through or around bone can be a difficult task. Also, your game often needs to be cut up into smaller pieces for easy transport home. Hatchets help to resolve both of these challenges. Butchering wild game can be a lengthy, difficult process. But hatchets have the strength and weight required to cut through the densest bone. Instead of having to cut around the bone, you will be able to cut right through it. Furthermore, hatchets are ideal for lopping off the head of a fish or breaking through other tough areas of an animal. A hatchet is
a great all-around tool for big-block butchering.
The sport and pastime of hatchet throwing is growing in popularity. In the company of responsible adults, it can be a lot of fun to practice your hatchet throwing skills with a stump near your campsite, giving this tool some bonus recreational value. It’s like playing darts, only with hatchets. Many adults appreciate hatchets today because of the growing popularity of hatchet throwing contests and this sport in general.
Hatchets and axes differ in a variety of ways. Although they may have some similarities at face value, their actual uses and operations are quite different from one another. So what are some of the biggest differences between a hatchet and an axe?
Let’s start with one of the most obvious first and that is the head shape. An ax is most often double-bladed. This means that an axe head will have cutting surfaces on both sides. Although this is not necessarily true of all axes, as a general rule of thumb, axe heads are double-bladed. Hatchet heads, on the other hand, feature a cutting surface on one hand and a hammer surface or other tools on the other. These different shapes allow them to do different things. Even if your axe has a flat head on it, it is likely to not be as good as a hammer overall.
This is probably the single biggest defining feature between a hatchet and an axe. An axe is typically very large, often being at least four feet long, if not longer. These large axes are great when it comes to cutting down large trees or other objects but not ideal for backpack. As mentioned above, even if your axe has a hammer side to it, it is likely not to be very good as a precision hammer due to its length and weight. A hatchet, on the other hand, is far smaller. Most hatchets come smaller than an average adult’s forearm in length. Hatchets, due to their reduced weight and reduced size, are far better at precision work. Driving a tent stake with a hatchet is going to be far easier, and safer, than doing so with a large unwieldy axe.
Due to the differences in head shape as well as the differences in size, axes and hatchets are made for very different things. Hatchets are great at small precision cutting and hitting. Turning a small branch or piece of wood into fine kindling or even shaving wood to make tinder are all things that hatchets can do very well. Axes, on the other hand, due to their size and weight are far better at big broad targets like splitting logs or felling trees. Even if a hatchet can cut down a small tree, it will be totally and wholly inadequate for cutting down large full-grown trees. The fact is hatchets and axes are as different as knives and swords. They are made for two entirely different functions – one for large broad work and the other for small precision work.
Hatchet care is actually quite simple and can be broken down into two primary features – sheaths and sharpening.
Hatchets will typically come with a sheath to cover them in. This is especially true if they are sent out sharp. These sheaths are an important part of hatchet care as not only will they keep your camping gear and other items safe from the sharp hatchet blade but they will also save the blade from dulling. Dull blades are a constant concern if your hatchet is going to be used for cutting kindling on a regular basis. It will also help protect against the elements that can corrode the blade.
Sharpening your hatchet is the other pillar of hatchet care. Even a good quality hatchet will eventually dull given enough time or usage. The duller your hatchet becomes, the more difficult it will be to cut wood, blaze a trail, or clear your campsite. Having an axe or hatchet sharpener is an important thing to stow away close at hand with your other camping gear. If you’re going to be using your hatchet for cutting wood almost every night, then it will not be long before your hatchet will need a bit of sharpening to get back into serviceable condition.
Best Camping Hatchet Comparison Chart
|Product||Price||Overall Length||Handle Length||Weight||Handle Material||Type of Steel|
|Camaqui Handmade |
|$$$||15,0 "||12,90 "||33,60 oz||Wood||Carbon Steel|
|SOG Survival Hatchet||$$||14,60 "||11,50 "||16,10 oz||Glass-Reinforced|
| Estwing Sportsman’s |
|$$||12,0 "||9,50 "||30,40 oz||Wood||Hand Polished
|CoolPlus Camping Hatchet |
|$||12,87 "||6,60 "||32,0 oz||Rose Wood||Stainless Steel|
|SOG Outdoor Hatchet |
with Fire Starter
|$$||12,10 "||3,30 "||19,50 oz||Plastic||Stainless Steel|
|DC Recreational 440 |
Stainless Steel Hatchet
|$||9,0 "||4,70 "||14,0 oz||Pakka Wooden||Stainless Steel|
|Blade Mate Survival |
|$||11,50 "||7,0 "||20,0 oz||Rubber||Stainless Steel|
|Schrade SCAXE10 Full-Tang |
|$||11,10 "||7,50 "||5,90 oz||Rubber||Stainless Steel|
Camping hatchets are incredibly diverse tools that offer many different styles and accoutrements. Some hatchets feature simplicity, while others emphasize functionality, good for splitting kindling wood and keeping yourself safe on you camping or backpacking adventures. Other hatchets are designed with a more tactical purpose, with tomahawk features and additional features, like fire-starters or multitool camping shovels. All these possible features and functions make finding your ideal hatchet a fun but challenging adventure of its own kind. Regardless of what kind of hatchet you choose, finding the best camping hatchet has never been easier. By learning some of the benefits and uses of a good hatchet from these reviews, you will soon be ready to make an informed decision on your new hatchet. What hatchet will get?