Hatchets are a must-have tool for activities such as camping, survival, backpacking and for quickly and easily clearing brush and small limbs around your house.
However, there’s no such thing as the best hatchet for all jobs… the best hatchet for camping may not be the best survival hatchet, it may not be great for chopping wood at home, or for lugging around in a backpack or a bug-out bag.
When it comes to selecting the right axes and hatchets, there are quite a number of options available.
The best camping, survival, and backpacking hatchet should be heavy-duty, easily transportable, and one that can be utilized efficiently. Tip: Check out our day hike checklist for other must-have backpacking supplies.
Table of Contents
- Best Hatchets
- 1. Fiskars x7
- 2. SOG Tactical Survival Hatchet
- 3. Estwing Special Edition Camper’s Axe 16 inches
- 4. Helko Werk Germany Rheinland Hatchet
- 5. Husqvarna Wooden Hatchet
- 6. Hults Bruk Agdor
- 7. Hultafors SV
- 8. Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet
- 9. Schrade Outdoor Survival Hatchet
- 10. Gerber Gator Combo Axe II
- 11. Husqvarna Fiberglass
- 12. Estwing Sportsman’s Axe
- Hatchet FAQ
Here’s a list of 12 of the best hatchets available for any job, including camping, survival and backpacking (I may earn a referral commission on qualified purchases):
1. Fiskars x7
I own several Fiskars x7 Hatchets and they are very easy to carry. I like to keep one by the woodpile for splitting kindling and Fatwood, and another by the campfire or firepit to take care of any last minute chopping needs that pop-up while I’m enjoying a roaring bonfire with my friends and family.
The Fiskars x7 is a 14 inch, ergonomic, and relatively light camping hatchet mostly suited for small to medium-sized jobs such as chopping wood. The long handle provides an excellent grip and can comfortably accommodate the two-handed operation. The blade is super sharp and comes with a low friction coating that ensures you get clean cuts with less effort. It’s one of the lightest and well-balanced power to weight ratio. With this hatchet, you get a lifetime warranty and value for your money.
Find the lowest price for the x7 on Amazon, or check it out on eBay.
2. SOG Tactical Survival Hatchet
My wife and kids bought me a SOG Tactical Hatchet for Father’s Day one year. At first I didn’t think I’d be able to chop much wood with it. However, I discovered that it’s perfect for attaching the included sheath to my belt as I walk along my property line clearing brush and pruning small branches from the trees overhanging my driveway.
The SOG Tomahawk Tactical Survival Hatchet is a multi-purpose tool with an overall length of 15.75 inches and features a razor sharp 2.75 inch straight edge made from 420 hardcased black stainless steel (rc 51 – 53), a piercing spike for breaking through glass or breaching a door, a checkered hammering surface a glass reinforced nylon handle and a ballistic nylon sheath that accommodates 1.5 inch belts. The SOG Tomahawk Tactical Survival Hatchet is perfect for camping, throwing and even emergency or fire rescue. Weight: 24 ounces.
Tip: Knowing how to start a fire without matches is a skill everyone should have for emergency situations.
Click here for the lowest SOG prices on Amazon, or check it out on eBay.
3. Estwing Special Edition Camper’s Axe 16 inches
The Estwing Special Edition Camper’s Axe features a slightly-longer-than hatchet length 16 inch handle and is the perfect year-round axe for camping due to its high-quality materials and classic compact design. From chopping logs to splitting wood, the Estwing Special Edition Camper’s Axe is ideal for heavy-duty tasks. The ergonomic leather handle ensures you have a perfect and useless effort. Additionally, the grip has shock reduction features that reduce impact vibration for your comfort. The included sheath is made of ballistic nylon for durability. Hand sharpened, polished and proudly Made in the USA with American Steel.
Check out the best price available on Amazon for the Estwing Camper’s Axe, or check it out on eBay.
4. Helko Werk Germany Rheinland Hatchet
The Rheinland Hatchet sports a traditional German wide-bit blade and is handmade and hand forged in Germany using c50 High Carbon Steel. The hickory handle is made from Grade A American Hickory that is hand selected to provide maximum durability and finished with a boiled linseed oil finish for a silky-smooth finish that will feel great in your hands. The included sheath is made of premium leather that protects the head and increases its durability. Dimensions: Head weight 1.25 lbs, handle length: 14 inches, total weight equals 1 3/4 lbs.
176 years of axe-making experience goes into hand-making each Helko Werk Rheinland Hatchet… and it shows! Check it out on eBay.
5. Husqvarna Wooden Hatchet
The Husqvarna 13-inch wooden handle hatchet is Made in Sweden. It features a curved hickory handle and a hand-forged axe head made from Swedish Steel. The 1 1/3 lbs axe head provides excellent one-handed striking power and is ideal for chopping large chunks of wood or for pounding in tent stakes. The sheath is made of leather for added durability. The handle is attached to the head using a steel and wooden wedge for durability and safety purposes.
Click here to see the lowest available price on Amazon, or check it out on eBay.
6. Hults Bruk Agdor
The Hults Bruk Agdor is made in Sweden in a foundry that was founded in 1697. It has an axe handle that is 15 inches long and a head weight of 1.25 lbs, which makes it small compared to others. It is an all-purpose device, and its uses include kindling, chopping, and clearing brush and limbs. The head is made of high quality hand-forged blasted steel, and the American Hickory handle has a linseed oil finish for comfort and durability. For added durability, during the production process, the steel is struck several times, which increases the density. The sheath comes with protective and decorated leather.
Compare prices from multiple sellers at Amazon, or check it out on eBay.
7. Hultafors SV
The Hultafors SV Hatchet is the perfect size camping axe that is still small enough to make for a great survival, gardening or backpacking hatchet. The forged steel head is Hand-forged from Swedish steel and is struck multiple times to increase hardness using production methods dating back to 1697. The curved handle is made from hickory and treated with linseed oil, which helps protect this camp axe from moisture in the wilderness. Includes a leather edge protector for the forged steel head.
Check it out on Amazon… it’s a classic! Or check it out on eBay.
8. Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet
Beyond its looks, the Gransfors Bruks Wildlife camp axe boats a 13.5-inches long handle, a tanned leather sheath, and a 1 lb head. Moreover, it is durable, well made, and comes with a twenty-year warranty. Although the price is almost similar to others in the market, the quality and performance of this are better. It is reasonably light and has a nice handle. The axe has been in the market for many years and is one of the best camping axes around.
Lock-in the lowest price available on Amazon. Also check it out on eBay.
9. Schrade Outdoor Survival Hatchet
If you want to enjoy your camping adventure with a more modern camp axe, this is the perfect one for you. It comes with a titanium coated black stainless steel head, rubber grip, fiberglass handle, and a thermoplastic sheath. It measures 11.8 inches, weight of 1lb, and a blade length of 3.8 inches. One of the significant advantages of the Schrade Outdoor Survival Hatchet is the secure blade that does not slip. The thermoplastic rubber handle is well shaped to fit in hand for a solid grip and makes for a great camp axe.
Check out the lowest prices available on Amazon, or check it out on eBay.
10. Gerber Gator Combo Axe II
The Gerber Gator Combo axe II makes for a great survival hatchet and is one of the lowest-cost and highly versatile devices in the market. It comes with a long handle, which results in a greater striking force. The handle is rugged and made from glass-filled iron yet lightweight. It has a sharp 3-inch head. The overall length of this axe is 15.6 inches and weighs 2.26 lbs.
Grab your Gator at the lowest price on Amazon, or check it out on eBay!
11. Husqvarna Fiberglass
This is a must-have for your camping activities. It’s small in size, 13.5 inches, which enhances its portability, which make it a serious contender for best backpacking hatchet. The Husqvarna Fiberglass Hatchet is perfectly designed for one-handed use and effortlessly balances weight and power. The axe head is coated with non-stick materials to reduce friction while cutting. The handle is soft, made from composite fiberglass material. Apart from splitting wedges, it can be used as a hammer. The Husqvarna camping axe also offers a lifetime warranty.
Click here to lock-in the lowest price on Amazon, or check it out on eBay.
12. Estwing Sportsman’s Axe
This 12-inch Estwing Sportsman’s Axe is beautifully Made in the USA from the finest tool-grade American forged steel. It’s forged in one piece, tempered for strength, hand sharpened and polished and then wrapped with a hand sanded and lacquered leather grip. The Estwing Sportsman’s Axe is an excellent camping axe for splitting wood and kindling, cutting logs, and branches. It has a super sharp blade, and you can use the head to hammer the tent pegs during camping. This axe also boasts a ballistic nylon sheath that protects the edges of the axe.
Grab yours at the lowest available price on Amazon, or check it out on eBay.
What wood is best for a hatchet handle?
Hickory and Ash are commonly considered the best types of wood for making hatchet handles. Not only because these woods are strong and readily available, but also because their straight wood grain makes them relatively easy to work with.
Is a hatchet useful for camping?
Absolutely! You can use a hatchet on a camping trip to:
- help clear a space for a campsite
- drive tent stakes
- chop wood, split kindling, and shave tinder for a fire
- build a shelter if you don’t have a tent
The Estwing Special Edition Camper’s Axe (which is small enough to count as a hatchet) is a good choice, partly because they’ve been known to last for decades — so they can become family heirlooms that carry a lot of memories.
What type hatchet is best for camping?
The best camping hatchet is one that is lightweight and easy to carry yet large and heavy enough to handle your most important tasks.
For example, if you’re carrying your hatchet in your backpack and you don’t plan on chopping much wood, then a lightweight hatchet like the Fiskars x7 or the Husqvarna Fiberglass hatchet would be best.
On the other hand, if you plan on splitting a lot of firewood or chopping down a few small trees, then you should consider carrying something larger and heavier like the Estwing Camper’s Axe or the Hults Bruk Tarnaby hatchet.
There’s more to keeping warm than just building a fire, see our article on winter camping tips.
Is there a difference between an axe and a hatchet?
The main difference between a hatchet and an axe is that a hatchet is smaller and can be used with one hand. This means that they’re best used for different jobs.
The axe is relatively heavy and is used with both hands, so that’s the tool you want for cutting down a tree or splitting logs.
Meanwhile the hatchet is your go to if you want to chop a small limb off a tree or break branches down for kindling, because a hatchet is easier to handle.
Hatchets also usually have a flat side opposite the cutting edge that can be used as a hammer. An exception is the SOG Tactical Survival Hatchet, which has a hammering surface on the side of the blade.
What is the best hatchet for splitting wood?
Longer handles and heavier heads allow you to create more force on impact with the wood. So the best hatchet for splitting wood would be something like the Hultafors SV Hatchet, which has a handle over 17 inches long and a blade/head weight of just over 1.75 pounds.
What is the best hatchet for survival?
Survival in the wild means you’ll mostly be doing things like dressing game and preparing food, or building fires and shelters.
One of the most respected hatchets for those jobs is the Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet. If gripped near the blade head, you can even carve wood with it because of the shape of the blade.
What is the best steel for hatchet?
The conventional wisdom is that high carbon steel can be made harder than stainless, so it’s easier to sharpen to a fine edge and it holds that edge longer. But the development in the last few decades of better stainless steels means the conventional wisdom isn’t necessarily true anymore.
The situation is made more complicated by the fact that it’s not just the type of metal that counts, the way the blade is manufactured can make a big difference in the end result too.
Rather than getting deep into metallurgy, we’ll break it down into a few key points:
- As a general rule, there’s a trade-off between toughness (that is, resistance to breaking) and hardness.
- There’s also a trade-off in stainless steel between corrosion resistance and toughness.
- High hardness stainless is often more difficult to sharpen properly.
- Exceptionally good stainless steel is exceptionally expensive.
- High carbon steel can be specially treated when making the blade for improved blade characteristics, in ways that are difficult or impossible with stainless.
- Stainless steel is, of course, much more rust-resistant than plain carbon steel.
So high carbon steel is probably your best bet, especially if you’re going to do a lot wood chopping, where the sharpness of the blade makes a big difference.
But, really, there’s no one “best” steel for hatchets. You have to consider what your going to be using the hatchet for, under what conditions, and the kind of care and maintenance it will be getting.
And remember that the manufacturing process makes a big difference in quality, so you shouldn’t be focusing too much on types of steel.
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