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.
- Ideal for Kindling and Logs: Our product is perfect for chopping kindling and small- to medium-sized logs, making it a versatile tool for your firewood needs.
- Efficient and Fast Chopping: With each swing, our tool chops deeper, allowing you to get more done in less time. Experience the benefits of increased efficiency and productivity.
- Enhanced Swing Speed and Power: The perfected balance and power-to-weight ratio of our product result in increased swing speed, multiplying your chopping power. It’s like using an aluminum baseball bat to make your swings more impactful.
- Sharper Edge for Cleaner Cuts: Our proprietary blade-grinding technique ensures a sharper edge, enabling better contact with the wood and delivering cleaner cuts. Experience the satisfaction of precise and effortless chopping.
- Lifetime Warranty and Low-Friction Blade Coating: We stand behind the quality of our product with a lifetime warranty. The low-friction blade coating allows the tool to power through wood smoothly while preventing the head from getting stuck, ensuring durability and ease of use.
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.
- SOG Axe with Bite: These hatchets and hawks are designed to swing fast and true, measuring 15.75 inches. They feature a razor-sharp 420 stainless steel hatchet blade that ensures exceptional cutting performance.
- Lightweight Yet Heavy-Duty: Our hatchet weighs 24 ounces, striking the perfect balance between lightness and durability. It serves as an excellent survival axe and fire rescue tool. The sleek black blade finish adds to its overall strength and longevity.
- Emergency Axe with SOG Tomahawk Sheath: This woodsmen-meets-urban tactical tomahawk securely snaps into its ballistic nylon sheath. The sheath includes a belt loop designed for 1.5-inch belts, allowing for convenient and secure carrying.
- Hammer Axe Edge and Piercing Spike: The FastHawk tactical survival axe is equipped with a flat edge, ideal for hammering, and a spike for chipping. While it serves as an excellent emergency kit tool, it is also versatile enough to handle small wood chopping tasks.
- SOG for Life: We take pride in our products and offer support throughout their lifetime. Properly maintained SOG FastHawk hatchets are eligible for repairs and replacements as needed.
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.
- Forged in One Piece: Our striking tools are meticulously forged in one piece, resulting in the most durable and longest-lasting tools available. Experience exceptional durability and reliability with our products.
- Outdoor Versatility: Our tool is perfect for a range of outdoor tasks including chopping logs, small trees, and branches, as well as splitting firewood and kindling. It’s a versatile tool that can handle various wood-cutting needs.
- Heavy-Duty Sheath: To ensure the safety and protection of the hand-sharpened cutting edge, our product includes a ballistic nylon sheath. It provides reliable protection during storage and transportation.
- Genuine Leather Grip: The tool features a genuine leather grip that has been hand-sanded and lacquered. This provides both durability and a comfortable finish, allowing for a secure and ergonomic grip during use.
- Made in the USA: We take pride in crafting our tools in Rockford, IL, using the finest American steel. Each tool is meticulously manufactured to meet our high standards of quality and craftsmanship.
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.
- Handmade in Germany: The Rheinland Hatchet, handmade in Wuppertal, Germany, excels at various cutting tasks such as limbing branches, making kindling, and carving. It features the traditional German wide-bit blade known as the Rheinland pattern, which is exceptionally well-suited for cutting work. These hatchets are named after the renowned Rhein River Valley in the region.
- C50 High Carbon Steel: 53-56 HRC: Each Helko Werk axe head is individually drop forged by hand using German C50 high-grade carbon steel. The process involves skilled blacksmiths using tongs to shape and manipulate the hot steel as a drop hammer repeatedly falls onto it, ensuring superior quality and durability.
- Grade A American Hickory Handle – Linseed Oil Finish – 150 Grit Sanded: Our hatchet features a sustainably sourced grade A American hickory handle. Each handle is meticulously hand finished and selected for grain orientation and density. It is then treated with a boiled linseed oil finish and sanded to a smooth 150 grit, providing a comfortable and enjoyable grip.
- Includes Full Grain Leather Sheath and 1 Oz Bottle of Axe Guard Protective Oil: For your convenience and protection, all Helko Werk axes and hatchets come with a premium vegetable-tanned leather sheath. This sheath safeguards the axe blade and head. Additionally, the package includes a 1 oz bottle of Axe Guard Protective Oil, a metal protecting oil that helps maintain the steel of your axe head and prevents rust over time.
- Dimensions: The Rheinland Hatchet has a head weight of 1-1/4 lb, a length of 14 inches, and a total weight of 1-3/4 lb.
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.
- One-Handed Design for Light Wood Cutting: This hatchet is specifically designed for easy one-handed use when cutting light wood. Its compact size and ergonomic design make it efficient and comfortable to handle.
- Premium Hand-Forged Axe Head: The hatchet features a high-quality hand-forged axe head weighing 1.32 lbs. This ensures durability, strength, and optimal performance during cutting tasks.
- Constructed with Hickory and Swedish Steel: Crafted using a combination of hickory wood and Swedish steel, this hatchet offers a perfect balance of resilience and precision. The hickory handle provides durability and a comfortable grip, while the Swedish steel blade delivers sharpness and cutting efficiency.
- Includes Leather Edge Cover: For added safety and protection, the hatchet comes with a leather edge cover. This cover helps preserve the sharpness of the blade while ensuring safe storage and transportation.
- Made in Sweden: This hatchet is proudly made in Sweden, known for its exceptional craftsmanship and expertise in producing high-quality tools. You can trust in the hatchet’s superior quality and reliability.
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.
- 1.25-pound Yankee pattern, hand forged axe head: Crafted with precision, this axe features a 1.25-pound Yankee pattern head that has been skillfully hand forged for exceptional quality and durability.
- 15-inch American hickory handle: The axe is fitted with a 15-inch handle made from premium American hickory, known for its strength and natural shock absorption properties.
- Tempered zone for long-lasting sharpness: The axe incorporates a tempered zone, ensuring that it maintains sharpness even after multiple sharpenings, allowing for consistent and effective cutting performance.
- Hand-forged and ground in a factory operating since 1697: With a proud heritage dating back to 1697, this axe is meticulously hand-forged and ground in a time-honored factory, combining traditional craftsmanship with modern expertise.
- Includes a US-made leather sheath: To protect your investment, this axe comes with a high-quality leather sheath made by expert leather craftsmen in North Carolina, ensuring both style and practicality.
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.
- The Axe is hand-forged and made from Swedish Axe steel: Crafted with precision and following traditional methods since 1697, this Axe is hand-forged using high-quality Swedish Axe steel, ensuring exceptional durability and performance.
- Increased density for enhanced durability: Through a meticulous process of multiple strikes, the steel is skillfully shaped, resulting in increased density. This enhances the durability of the Axe, making it a reliable tool for various applications.
- Shaft length: 17.3 inch: The Axe features a sturdy shaft with a length of 17.3 inches, providing a comfortable grip and optimal control during use.
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.
- Length with handle: 13.50 inch, Item-ID: 415: This axe has a total length of 13.50 inches, including the handle, and is identified by Item-ID: 415, making it easy to reference and track.
- Weight: 1.3 lbs: Weighing just 1.3 lbs, this axe strikes a balance between portability and functionality, providing a lightweight tool for various outdoor tasks.
- Sheath in vegetable-tanned leather: The axe comes with a sheath made from vegetable-tanned leather, adding an extra layer of protection and ensuring safe storage and transportation.
- Traditional scouting and camping axe: Designed with the needs of scouts and campers in mind, this axe embodies the essence of traditional craftsmanship and functionality, making it a reliable tool for outdoor adventures.
- The Axe Book included: As an added bonus, every purchase of this axe from Gransfors Bruk includes The Axe Book. This book provides valuable information and insights on axe usage, maintenance, and more, enhancing your axe experience. Made in Sweden.
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.
- DIMENSIONS: The axe has an overall length of 11.8 inches (30 cm), with a blade length of 3.8 inches (9.6 cm). It weighs 1 lb 6.4 ounces, providing a balance between portability and functionality.
- DURABLE: The blade is constructed from reliable 3Cr13 Titanium Coated S.S. for durability. The axe features a black, glass fiber filled PA & TPR material and cold resistance flexibilizer handle, ensuring long-lasting performance in various conditions.
- DEPENDABLE: With the black thermoplastic belt sheath, you can quickly and easily access the axe whenever needed, making it a dependable tool for outdoor activities.
- SECURE: The axe provides a secure grip with its ergonomic black rubber grip, ensuring that the blade will not slip during use, enhancing safety and control.
- BE PREPARED: In addition to its axe functionality, this tool features a hammer pommel for versatile use. It also includes an extra-large ferro rod conveniently stored inside the shaft, ensuring you are prepared for fire starting in outdoor situations.
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.
- Forged steel head for blade durability + striking force: The axe features a forged steel head that ensures both blade durability and the necessary striking force, making it a reliable tool for various tasks.
- Glass-filled nylon handle hides a coarse blade saw for brush/branches: The handle, made from glass-filled nylon, incorporates a coarse blade saw, providing added versatility for cutting through brush and branches during outdoor activities.
- Gator Grip handle material provides sure grip in all conditions: Designed with a Gator Grip handle material, this axe ensures a secure grip in all conditions, allowing you to maintain control and confidence during use.
- Saw is held inside handle magnetically, for easy + secure transport: The saw is cleverly held inside the handle using magnetic technology, enabling easy and secure transport, ensuring that you have both the axe and the saw conveniently at hand when needed.
- Any condition. Any task. Get out there: With its durable construction, versatile features, and reliable performance, this axe is designed to tackle any task in any condition. Get out there and confidently take on your outdoor adventures.
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.
- Hatchet designed for one-handed use on light wood cutting: This hatchet is specifically designed for convenient one-handed use, making it ideal for cutting light wood during various outdoor activities.
- Premium 1.54 lbs. steel axe head coated to improve cutting: The hatchet features a high-quality 1.54 lbs. steel axe head that is coated to enhance cutting performance, ensuring efficient and effective wood cutting.
- Perfect balance and weight distribution: With meticulous attention to detail, this hatchet is crafted with perfect balance and weight distribution, providing optimal control and maneuverability during use.
- Fiber-glass composite handle: The hatchet is equipped with a durable fiber-glass composite handle, which offers strength and reliability, ensuring long-lasting performance in various outdoor conditions.
- Lifetime warranty: We stand behind the quality of our product, which is why this hatchet comes with a lifetime warranty. Enjoy peace of mind knowing that your purchase is protected.
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.
- FORGED IN ONE PIECE: These striking tools are forged in one piece, making them the most durable and longest-lasting tools available in the market. They are built to withstand heavy use and provide exceptional performance.
- OUTDOOR VERSATILITY: Whether you need to chop logs, small trees, and branches or split firewood and kindling, these tools are perfect for a wide range of outdoor tasks. Their versatility makes them a reliable companion for various outdoor adventures.
- HEAVY DUTY SHEATH: Each tool comes with a ballistic nylon sheath that provides reliable protection for the hand-sharpened cutting edge. You can confidently store and transport the tool without worrying about damage to its sharp edge.
- GENUINE LEATHER GRIP: The tool features a genuine leather grip that has been hand-sanded and lacquered for a durable yet comfortable finish. The grip provides a secure and comfortable hold, ensuring precise control during use.
- MADE IN THE USA: Since 1923, these tools have been proudly crafted in Rockford, IL, using only the finest American steel. The tradition of quality and craftsmanship is ingrained in every tool, ensuring exceptional performance and reliability.
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 bushcraft survival 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.
If you’re interested in getting started with survival and prepping, then you should check out our how to start prepping guide.
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.