Hatchets, sometimes called a camp axe or a hand axe, should be considered an essential part of a person’s camping gear. In fact, even those who might simply be going out on just a day hike might want to consider getting a quality hatchet to take along with them, just in case they end up stranded in the woods.
A hatchet is a typically going to have a thick blade, which can make chopping through wood and kindling nice and easy. They also have short handles, which will make them easy to transport and carry. Use them at camp, clear up the backyard, and more.
Today, there are many different types of camping hatchets available from a range of different brands. With so many options from which to choose, it can often be confusing as to which are the best camping hatchets and which ones you should avoid. Ideally, you want a camp hatchet that is reliable, as well as lightweight and durable.
To help make things easier for you, we’ve collected some of the best hatchets below. In addition, there is information on why you need a great hatchet, tips for finding a great small hatchet, and how to keep safe while using them. This information should help to make finding what you need, and using it the right way, much easier.
Best Camping Axes & Hatchets for Camping & Hiking
|Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet||13.5”||1.3 lbs.||Check on Amazon!|
|Gransfors Bruks Hand Hatchet||10.5”||1.3 lbs.||Check on Amazon!|
|1844 Helko Werk Germany Rheinland Hatchet||14”||2 lbs.||Check on Amazon!|
|1844 Helko Werk Germany Helko Classic Pathfinder Hatchet||15”||2 lbs.||Check on Amazon!|
|Hults Bruk Tarnaby Hatchet||15”||2.2 lbs.||Check on Amazon!|
|Schrade SCAXE5 Tactical Hatchet||12.8”||1.9 lbs.||Check on Amazon!|
|Estwing Special Edition Camper’s Axe||16”||2.9 lbs.||Check on Amazon!|
|Prandi German Style Hatchet||15.75”||2 lbs. 5 oz.||Check on Amazon!|
|Estwing Sportsman’s Axe||14”||1.7 lbs.||Check on Amazon!|
|Gerber 9” Hatchet||9”||1.3 lbs.||Check on Amazon!|
|Estwing E44A-1||16”||2.9 lbs.||Check on Amazon!|
Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet
Those who are searching for a quality, traditional hatchet that can be used around the campsite and for scouting will find just what they need with the Gransfors Bruks hatchet made in Sweden. The camping hatchet has a classic look and feel, which could be a nice choice for those who want to have a rustic hatchet.
This hatchet is durable and has quite a bit of power for being as small as it is. It can be used to split small logs and to chop off branches from trees. It will help you to get your kindling for the fire quickly and easily.
This camp hatchet also comes with a sheath, which is perfectly shaped to cover the edge of the blade and the top of the hatchet. This way, you can more easily carry your hatchet without needing to worry about it cutting into the other gear that you have along with you. The sheath is made from vegetable-tanned leather, and it looks great.
Overall, this is a high-quality camp hatchet that is also quite pleasing form an aesthetic standpoint. With proper care, this tool can last a lifetime.
Gransfors Bruks Hand Hatchet
It’s not a coincidence that Gransfors Bruks shows up on the list again. This Swedish company knows what they are doing when it comes to making high-quality axes and camping hatchets. One of the first things you will notice with this hand hatchet is that it is several inches shorter than the Wildlife Hatchet above.
Having this smaller size does not diminish the quality at all. This is still a good option for those who are considering a camp hatchet. The size of the hatchet makes it easy to carry with you whenever you are out on a hike or camping. It will not get in the way at all, and it is lightweight, just like the above option.
Again, this comes with a quality leather sheath that has been vegetable-tanned. The hatchet is durable and built to last, as long as you take proper care of it just like any other tools you have.
1844 Helko Werk Germany Rheinland Hatchet
Another high-quality option for those who want a beautiful and functional handmade camp hatchet is this option from 1844 Helko Werk Germany. These tools, which are made in Wuppertal, Germany and named after the Rhein River Valley, is one of the best camp axes to choose.
These hatchets work very well when it comes to cutting off branches, creating kindling, and clearing away brush. They can also be used for light splitting. Each of these tools is handcrafted and makes use of C50 high-grade carbon steel. They are open face drop forged, and then heated and oil hardened for durability.
The handle was made in Switzerland from American Hickory. The camp hatchet comes with a vegetable-tanned leather sheath, as well as a bottle of Axe-Guard, a protective oil that will help to keep the hatchet in great shape for years to come. This lightweight option will be welcomed by any camper.
1844 Helko Werk Germany Helko Classic Pathfinder Hatchet
With such a quality brand, it’s no surprise that they are on the list again. All of the hatchets and axes from this company are handmade in Germany. Like the Rheinland Hatchet above, this Pathfinder Hatchet is made from C50 high-grade carbon steel, and the handle was made in Switzerland from American Hickory.
While this option is slightly longer than the previous hatchet on the list, you will find that it still happens to be quite compact. It will work well for clearing up brush, splitting some small pieces of wood, and getting kindling ready for the camp. This is a trusted and reliable hatchet to have around, and it has a classic look. It could be just what you need.
As with other products from 1844 Helko Werk Germany Helko, the Pathfinder Hatchet comes with a bottle of protective oil for the hatchet, as well as a leather sheath that has been vegetable-tanned.
Hults Bruk Tarnaby Hatchet
This small hatchet from Hults Bruk is lightweight and easy to carry along with you when you are out hiking and camping. The axe head has been handmade in Sweden in a foundry that has been operating since 1697.
The process for making the steel head requires that it is struck many times to increase the density. By increasing the density of the steel, the durability of the hatchet head for this camp axe is also improved. The head can hold an edge quite well, so you can use it multiple times before needing to sharpen it again.
The handles are made from American Hickory, and each of the axes have a leather, protective sheath that comes with it. The sheath is traditionally designed and styled, and it looks great on the camp hatchet. This hatchet has a classic look, and it will be a welcome addition to the collection of tools that you have in your camping gear.
Schrade SCAXE5 Tactical Hatchet
This is a full tang hatchet from Schrade, a company that has been making quality outdoor gear for more than 100 years. This has a different look and feel from the hatchets discussed up to this point. Rather than being a typical camp hatchet, this is a tactical hatchet that offers some other features.
It is made from high-carbon steel, and it features a nylon fiber handle that goes over the steel handle. This is a very durable hatchet that comes with a black nylon belt sheath with a belt loop, which makes it easy to transport.
Elements that help to set this hatchet apart from others are the nail pry bar at the bottom of the handle and the spike pommel. This is a quality, reliable hatchet that can serve you well when hiking, camping, or if you are in a survival situation.
Estwing Special Edition Camper’s Axe
This camping axe from Estwing is forged in one piece, and it is more of an oversized hatchet than an actual axe. However, because it is larger and somewhat heavier than other options for most hatchets, it can do a bit more in terms of chopping larger wood than a typical hatchet.
The hatchet is made in the USA, and because it is made from a single piece, it is highly durable and is likely to last with proper care. The camp hatchet includes a ballistic nylon sheath, which will help to keep the sharp edge secure and keep hands and fingers from getting cut.
This hatchet has a genuine leather grip, which makes it comfortable to hold onto and work with. Overall, this is a quality tool that could be a good option for someone who wants something a bit larger than some of the other hatchets on the list.
Prandi German Style Hatchet
Here is another traditionally-styled hatchet that could be a good choice for your needs. It has a beautiful design, and the head is made from carbon steel. The handle is ergonomic and created from American Hickory. This means that handle will be sturdy and strong for all of the work that you will put the hatchet through.
This hatchet also features a lanyard hole and a leather lanyard, which can help to keep the hatchet from dropping out of your hand. In addition, it has a thick leather sheath that will cover the cutting edge of the hatchet.
This is one of the heavier options on the market right now, and it can provide you with the power you need to cut through wood and kindling for your campfire.
Estwing Sportsman’s Axe
This hatchet, called the Sportsman’s Axe, comes from Estwing. It is forged in the USA from a single piece of high-quality steel, and it provides users with the versatility they need for chopping branches and kindling. This is a lightweight hatchet that should be easy to carry along with you.
The hatchet also features a heavy-duty ballistic nylon sheath that will help to keep the cutting edge, and anything that it comes into contact with, protected. This hatchet is available in the regular style, as well as a special edition, which features a black coating on the hatchet.
The handles for these hatchets are made from leather that has been hand-sanded and then lacquered. This provides a comfortable grip and beautiful finish.
Gerber 9” Hatchet
When you look at this hatchet from Gerber, a well-known brand, you will immediately see that it is quite a bit different from the other options on the list. From the miniscule size to the design, it is decidedly different. However, it can still be a fantastic hatchet for your needs, which is why it is on this list.
Made in Finland, this hatchet has a composite handle and a forged steel head. It also has a unique sheath that will keep the blade safe.
In addition to the 9” hatchet, there are other sizes available including 14”, 17.5”, 23.5” and 36”. Those options on the larger side would be considered an axe rather than a hatchet.
To round out the list, we have another option from Estwing. This is a popular, traditional type of camp axe that has all of the same benefits as other tools from this brand. It is made from a single piece of steel, and it has a heavy-duty sheath that helps to keep the cutting edge safe.
It features a comfortable leather grip to help reduce impact vibration by as much as 70%, and it has been hand-sharpened and polished. This is a durable and reliable option that could make the perfect camp hatchet. It is one of the options that is on the heavier side, though.
The Benefits of Having a Great Hatchet
If you have ever been camping, and you didn’t have a hatchet with you, then you already know how nice it would be to have one of these at your side. These camp hatchets will help to cut up the wood and kindling that you’ll need to get a fire going. In addition, they can provide some self-defense in a pinch.
You can use the hatchet for more than just cutting the wood you need, though. It could be used for cutting through rope, and even to help with quartering small game quickly, and more. You could even use the flat edge on the back of the hatchet as a hammer. This could help you to put in your tent stakes, which can be very helpful if the ground is hard.
This is one of the best types of camping and survival tools there is, and everyone should have at least one of these camping hatchets around. Consider them an essential part of your gear, and make sure that you always take proper care of your hatchet.
You might even find that you want to have more than one hatchet. This way, you can have one for work at the home, a dedicated hatchet for when you are out hiking and camping, and perhaps one that you keep in the car, just in case.
Is a Hatchet Same Thing as an Axe?
Those who are not well-versed in the outdoors, camping, and living off the land might not realize that there are some major differences when it comes to hatchet vs. axe. Sometimes, it comes down to semantics. Sometimes, the term “axe” will be applied to a tool that is actually a hatchet, such as when they are called hand axes or camp axes.
The real difference, though, comes with the size. An axe, such as a felling axe, will have a much longer handle, and it will often have a heavier head. A true axe will be utilized for felling trees and chopping larger pieces of wood. A hatchet is better suited for kindling and smaller, lighter work.
Even though some people might interchange the names, know that there is certainly a difference between them. You might find that you will want to have both a hatchet for the smaller work and because it’s easier to carry, as well as an axe if you ever need to take down larger trees. Many of the brands listed above also make axes.
Tips for Choosing the Perfect Camp Hatchet
Now that you have an idea of what the best hatchets are, you should start to have an understanding of just what you will want to look for when making your decision. Let’s look at some of the most important things that you will want to consider.
Quality and Durability
Naturally, you need to think about the overall quality of the camp hatchet. You need to be sure that you are choosing a hatchet that comes from a company that has developed a good reputation in this field over the years. You need to know that the hatchet you get will work well and not break on you in two months.
We’ve cultivated the list above of the very best options on the market for camping hatchets. They are trusted brands, and they are known for making quality items that are built to last a long time, as long as you take proper care of them.
Weight and Ease of Transport
Another one of the important factors that you will want to consider when you are choosing your camp hatchet will be the weight and how you can transport it. Naturally, you want to find a hatchet that is lightweight, as it won’t add too much weight to your pack and other gear.
Having a tool that is relatively light means you will be able to use it longer without becoming as fatigued. When you are out camping – or in a survival situation – this is extremely important.
However, you still want it to be heavy enough to do some work. The weight in most of the hatchets will be in the head, as that’s the part made from a big chunk of steel. This helps to provide the hatchet with the right balance for the type of work that it needs to do.
Naturally, high-quality steel will be essential, as mentioned. It will be more durable, and it can keep an edge longer. However, you will also need to consider the handle. The wood handles and those made from fiberglass and other materials have their individual benefits.
Having a wood handle is nice for a traditional look and feel, and it tends to be much easier to replace these handles if needed. When other types of materials break, it often means needing to replace the entire tool. However, those who have wooden handles will need to make sure they maintain the wood to keep it from drying out and then cracking.
Keep in mind when you are choosing a hatchet to add to your own camp gear that these can make for fantastic gifts, as well. If you know a friend or a family member who loves to spend time hiking, camping, and enjoying the great outdoors, you might want to consider picking up one of the hatchets on this list for them.
Practical Tips for Keeping Safe While Using a Camping Hatchet
The hatchet is a great tool, and you are probably excited about getting a new hatchet, or your first. However, you will also want to make sure that you know how to use one of these safely. Improper use of these tools can cause serious injuries, which is the last thing you need, especially if you are out at a campsite in the middle of nowhere.
You always have to put safety first and should always have a clear mind before using the hatchet. Make sure that your other body parts, whether it’s your legs or your hands and fingers, are always be entirely out of the way of where you are swinging the hatchet. You must always think about where that blade will be going to keep yourself and others safe.
If you notice that the head of the hatchet is loose, you need to fix it before using it. If you were to swing a camp hatchet or a camp axe that has a loose head, there is a very real chance that it could fly off of the handle and cause a serious injury to yourself or someone else.
You must also make sure that you keep the head of the hatchet covered with a sheath whenever you are transporting it. This will eliminate the risk of it cutting someone, and it ensures that it doesn’t damage your other gear. Along the same lines, you shouldn’t simply leave the hatchet stuck in a piece of wood. It’s not good for the hatchet.
Start the Search for Your Camping Hatchet Today
At this point, you should have a good understanding of what you should be looking for when you are choosing the best camping hatchets and camping axes. You also have a list of the best options on the market. Start looking for the right hatchet today to make all of your future camping trips and hiking excursions more enjoyable.