Have you been looking for a new survival hatchet that you can use for camping and hiking trips, but find that you’re not sure which ones are the best? We took 6 of the best survival hatchets available in 2023 and compared them by the build of the blade, the versatility of the use, and the durability of the handle and many other features.
In this article, we focused on hatchets and did not review axes too. We reviewed only hatchets that are the basic 13 to 15-inch models because these are compact enough for any user to take with them on a trip.
Now, you might think that axes and hatchets are the same things, but some slight differences set them apart. The main difference is the intended use of the tool. Hatchets are made to be used with one hand and are commonly used for chopping wood, an axe is a larger tool that is made to be used with two hands to have more power for use with cutting down trees.
Best “All Around” – Fiskars X7
This Fiskars X7 model is a 14-inch hatchet that is great to use for chopping medium or small logs. This hatchet is also a very lightweight option that is easy to transport and use for those who are smaller in size and may not be able to handle the weight of larger models. The Fiskars hatchet is also rust-resistant as we had it soaked under rain several times, and it didn’t begin to rust.
However, it should be noted that we did not keep it underwater in a water bowl for consistent wetness, which could end up rusting it eventually. The blade of this model is rugged and durable and comes with a thick coating that makes it low-friction. The coating itself may chip, which may look like the blade is chipping, but the blade will stand up to heavy use even if the coating comes off.
This hatchet also comes with a lifetime warranty that will help cover the bulk of issues that you may have with this item. With the warranty covering replacement or repair that is needed due to manufacturer’s defects or malfunctions, you don’t have to worry about paying for it out of your pocket.
A few things that you should know before you buy this model is that the handle is hollow, which makes it less sturdy than a solid handle would be. The sheath that the hatchet comes with is made of plastic and makes it fairly easy to break. Also, the small lock that comes on the sheath is breakable, which will make the sheath useless since it will be able to carry the hatchet no longer.
Best Camping Hatchet – Estwing Sportman’s Axe 14”
This Estwing Sportman’s Hatchet is a 14-inch option that is a good choice for the average customer to use. There is a 12-inch option available, but we reviewed the 14-inch because it is easier for women and children to use than the other. (With no disrespect to gender or age, 9-12 inches hatchets require more skill and strength to work with)
This model is not particularly lightweight and may be too heavy to use for a backpacking trip where you would need a light pack.It was forged in a single piece so that it is more durable and resistant to breaking from heavy use. The blade of this hatchet comes already sharpened so you can get right to work when you receive it. The hatchet also comes with a shock-absorbing handle so that your hands and wrists won’t get fatigued from feeling the impact of the hatchet’s blow.
The blade comes with a nylon sheath that is more durable than the plastic models and protects you from being injured when transporting the hatchet. The sheath feels like it is well-made and will be durable enough for lasting use.
The only negative we could find in Estwing 14 is its weight, which might even be considered as a hint in case of wood chopping. However, if you are planning to go on a backpacking survival trip, we could recommend to choose less heavy hatchet.
Best Survival Kit – Workpro Kit (Hatchet + Saw)
This Workpro hatchet and saw kit is an option that will work for any camping or outdoors trip of yours. This hatchet is made with forged steel so that it is durable and resistant to breaking under extreme conditions. This kit is also on the lower end of the price range, so the durability that you get for the price of the kit is exceptional. Plus, the hatchet comes sharpened so you can use it as soon as you get it.
The biggest miss about Workpro hatchet is backside of the head is not too big to use it as a hammer easily. (tested on 20d nails and plywood)
With the addition of the hand saw, you can cut the wood that you chop up so that you can cut it into smaller pieces and use it for firewood.
This hatchet has a handle that holds the hand saw inside of it. The saw fits into the handle and has a string attached to the bottom so that you can pull it out easily. This makes the kit compact and easily transportable, which is great for longer hiking or camping trips when you need a lightweight pack.
The hatchet blade comes with a sheath that is made from plastic that covers the blade so you don’t hurt yourself with it while not using it. This keeps you safe from injury when carrying the hatchet or putting it in storage. The plastic sheath may not be very resistant to damage, which could be an issue when that leaves you open to injury.
Workpro may be a very affordable and interesting choice if you are not going to use it much as a hammer.
Best Lightweight Survival Hatchet – Gerber Bear Grylls
This Gerber Bear Grylls hatchet is a 13-inch hatchet that features a blade that is made from carbon steel. The blade comes pre-sharpened so that you can use it right when you receive it. This hatchet is made for smaller logs and branches because of its lightweight and compact design and is not meant for larger jobs. This compact design does it make it a great option for backpacking because it is easy to carry.
The blade comes with a nylon sheath that fits over the head of the hatchet to cover the sharp blade when it is not in use. The sheath is better than many plastic options that are commonly used and it comes with a belt loop that allows you to attach it to your belt or backpack easily.
This hatchet offers great versatility with the ability to use the backside of the hatchet as a hammer. This is a great feature for hammering tent poles into the ground, however, the hatchet is not good for hammering nails.
The handle of this hatchet has an ergonomic design that also comes with a non-slip grip so your hands don’t get fatigued and won’t slip even in moist or damp conditions. Although the blade is made from steel, previous customers have seen dents in it within a couple of uses, so that is something that should be expected with this model.
Best Hammer on a Survival Hatchet – Sergeant SGT-14
This Sergeant SGT-14 is a 14-inch hatchet option that is lightweight and easy to travel with. This item weighs only 1 ½ pounds and is great for backpacking trips where you need a light pack. The blade of this hatchet is made from high carbon steel and is durable for heavy use.
The handle is made of fiberglass and keeps the hatchet lightweight without sacrificing strength. The handle is hollow which may make it less durable in the long run, but it does come with a rubber grip so that you can hold on tight without fear of it slipping from your hands. The design of the handle is also made to fit the curves of your hand better so you can get a better grip with strain.
The backside of the hatchet is flat and can be used as a hammer to secure tent poles and stakes when camping. This hammer is one of the best that comes on a hatchet in the price range so you know that you’re getting one of the top options for an inexpensive price.
This hatchet comes with a plastic sheath that protects the blade from dulling while not in use. The sheath also keeps you safe from injury while traveling and storing the hatchet so the sharp blade will not hit you or anything else and cause damage. This item also comes backed by a lifetime warranty that will cover the replacement or repair of the hatchet for the entire life of the product.
Best Set for Survival – Mossy Oak 2-piece Set
This Mossy Oak Hatchet is a 15-inch model that comes in a kit that includes a machete. The knife has a serrated edge with a gut hook at the end of the blade and comes with a durable nylon sheath to keep it in when not in use. The machete’s sheath comes with a belt loop so that you can hook it onto your belt or backpack.
The hatchet has a very durable head with a blade that can be used for many different chopping jobs. The backside of the hatchet can be used as a hammer and is very reliable when it comes to this use. The handle of the hatchet is designed to reduce the strain on your hand during use and is shock absorbent for more comfort. The handle is lightweight because of its fiberglass build and is a stylish green color.
The blade of the hatchet comes with a similar nylon sheath as the machete and also comes with a belt loop hook that can attach to a belt or backpack for easy carrying. Both sheaths have snap-button closures so that the item is easy to get into the sheath and closes securely.
This kit offers you great versatility with the machete and hatchet coming together in one kit. You can use the hatchet for many chopping and hammering jobs, and the machete can be used to cut the wood into smaller pieces or to chop down branches. This makes these items great for hiking, camping, and many other outdoor activities.
When you are searching for the best inexpensive survival hatchet, you want to make sure that you purchase a product that gives you the quality and durability that you need to use it for years of outdoors trips. Whether you are specifically looking for the best camping survival hatchet or the best lightweight option for hiking, you want to consider a few things before making your final purchase.
Materials and Build
When deciding on which choice is the best budget survival hatchet for you, check the materials and the build of the product to ensure that you are getting the quality that you need. Some hatchets are made from a single piece of steel, which makes them more durable and more resistant to breaking. Looking for a hatchet that is made from a single piece of steel can make a big difference.
The materials that the hatchet is made of can also change your decision of whether to buy a certain product or not. Many are made from steel, others are made from high carbon steel. High carbon steel is stronger than other kinds and is very difficult to bend or damage. So, getting an option that is made from the strongest materials can ensure a long life for your hatchet.
Length of the Hatchet
Whether you use your hatchet for backpacking or camping, or you just want to have an option to cut firewood at your house, you will use a different length of the hatchet. The length of the hatchet will determine the speed and power that the swing will have and what type of pieces of wood you can split. If you have a longer hatchet, it will be heavier and used for splitting larger pieces of wood.
However, this type of hatchet may be too heavy to take backpacking or camping. So, getting a shorter hatchet that will be lighter and easier to swing, but gets less speed and power, may be better for splitting smaller pieces. Also, when hiking, you will want a lighter option that won’t weigh you down.
What’s the bottom line? You need to get a hatchet that will work for what you need. So, know what you will be doing with the hatchet and purchase an option that will get that job done easily and won’t be too light or too heavy for the job at hand.
How to Choose the Best Hatchet for Survival and Camping?
When you are looking for the best hatchet for survival and camping, you want to make sure that you get an option that is light enough to carry in your pack, but strong enough to chop the wood that you’ll need for a fire. Finding the best lightweight survival hatchet also means that you want to ensure that the durability of the hatchet is not in question.
Frequently Asked Questions
The difference between an axe and a hatchet really comes down to the main use of the item. Hatchets are designed to chop and split smaller pieces of wood and are more lightweight so that they can be carried with you.
Axes are much longer and offer more speed and power so that you can chop larger pieces of wood. They are also much heavier and not meant to carry around with you.
One of the simplest ways to file a hatchet is to use a mill file. With this file, you want to place the hatchet between your knees and face the blade upward so that you can see it.
You need to place the file against the blade at the same angle as the bevel, then drag the file across the blade in long strokes about half a dozen times on each side. Continue this process if needed to get a sharp enough edge.
The first thing that you want to do is to make sure that the blade is fully dried. Pat it down with a clean, dry cloth or paper towel if it's not. If there is any rust, you want to scrub it off with sandpaper or steel wool. Then, you want to apply light oils to the blade to prevent rust from forming after use. After that, you will need to dab off the excess oil and wrap the blade with a cloth.
When you store your axe, you want to place it in a cool and dry place to ensure that rust won’t develop while it is not used.