Do you own a survival hatchet? If not, have you thought about buying one? Why should you purchase one? What purposes would it even serve? These are all fair questions to propose when considering adding a hatchet to your survivalist kit. Their function is clear through its design and universal knowledge of the tool itself, chop wood. However, survival hatchets serve many more purposes. From making splint or spears to chopping food, or hammering stakes, the list goes on!
If you are considering investing in this tool, it would be best to first do your research! Not every product is made the same, making the process of choosing products ever difficult. And to that, we understand. In the effort to make this process a bit easier, we’ve done the dirty work for you by compiling a list of the top ten best survival hatchets out on the market today.
In a Rush? The Winner after 19 hours of testing is:
- Fiskars 378501-1002 X7 Hatchet
- Estwing Sportsman's Camping Hatchet
- Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet
- Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet
- Gerber Pack Hatchet
- Schrade SCAXE5 Full Tang Tactical Hatchet
- Fremont Farson Carbon Steel Hatchet
- Helko Werk Germany Classic Voyager
- CRKT Camping Hatchet
- Schrade Mini Hatchet
1 Fiskars 378501-1002 X7 Hatchet
The Fiskars 378501-1002 X7 is the ultimate hatchet. It has 14-inch stronger than steel FiberComp handle, superior blade design and optimal power to weight ratio. This may be small but it packs a major punch.
Made with “stronger than steel” FiberComp handle and an inseparable insert molded heads, the Fiskars Super Splitting Axe is virtually unbreakable. Ensuring you a lifetime warranty of use.
Cost and Value
With additional features such as a perfected weight distribution for the optimal power to weight ratio, as well as an increased swing speed to multiply power, the Fiskars Super Splitting Axe is worth every penny.
2 Estwing Sportsman's Camping Hatchet
Forged in one piece with a heavy-duty sheath, the Estwing Sportsman’s Axe is the best choice for those seeking a high quality, long-lasting hatchet. It also features a genuine leather grip as well as a hatchet headcover.
Forged in One Piece
Made with heavy-duty ballistic nylon sheath from top to bottom, the Estwing Sportsman’s Axe is durable. No worries about the head becoming disconnected from the handle as it is forged in one piece.
Genuine Leather Grip
With its beautiful and sensible genuine leather grip, the Estwing Sportsman’s Axe will provide you with the best, most comfortable grip. It is hand sanded and lacquered for a durable and comfortable finish.
Cost and Value
The Estwing Sportsman’s Axe is very much a high-end hatchet. Its value is found best for those seeking a beautiful, powerful and reliable that will last for years.
3 Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet
The Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet is another packing a major punch. With its 3.5 inch blade, full tang high carbon steel construction, non-slip rubber body grip, this hatchet is the perfect addition for your survivalist kit.
Small, yet Powerful
The Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet delivers powerful and precise cuts despite its small and compact size. This 3.5-inch razor-sharp blade is tested to work the hardest tasks.
Rubber Non-slip Grip
Featuring a lightweight body made of a rubber non-slip grip, the Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet proves itself to be both reliable and durable. Its hard-strength ergonomic body is built for wet and dry conditions.
Cost and Value
Because of its high-quality design, stainless steel blade, non-slip rubber grip, and mildew-resistant nylon sheath, the Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet is a must-have tool.
4 Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet
The Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet is of quality. Featuring a handle with a length of 13.5 inches, sheath made with vegetable-tanned leather, thi is of top-notch!
The Gransfors Bruks is equipped with a 13.5-inch handle allowing the hatchet to complete the hardest of tasks. This longer handle lends the hatchet more power.
Vegetable Tanned Leather Sheath
A Vegetable Tanned Leather Sheath provides the best cover for the hatchet’s head, ensuring it is stored safely in the place of your choosing while protecting the head from the elements.
Cost and Value
At first glance, the Gransfors Bruks may seem like your average hatchet. However, because of its quality, traditional design, and vegetable-tanned leather sheath, it is definitely worth a try.
5 Gerber Pack Hatchet
The Gerber Pack Hatchet Camping Axe is another on this list made of quality. Featuring a full tang construction handle for steadiness, nylon sheath, and a razor-sharp blade head, this is small (9.46 inches) and powerful!
Full Tang Construction
The Gerber Pack features a full tang construction meaning that you are provided a powerful and steady hatchet. With steadiness in hand, you will have full control and increased strength.
A Nylon Sheath provides the best cover for the hatchet’s head, ensuring it is stored safely in the place of your choosing while protecting the head from the elements. Moreover, because of this incredible portable size, you can everyday carry this with total ease of mind.
Cost and Value
At first glance, the Gransfors Bruks Wildlife may seem like your average hatchet. However, because of its quality, compact design, and nylon sheath, it is definitely worth a try for outdoor enthusiasts and survivalists alike.
6 Schrade SCAXE5 Full Tang Tactical Hatchet
The Schrade SCAXE5 Full Tang Tactical Hatchet is another full-tang hatchet worth checking out. Featuring an SK5 High Carbon Steel blade head and a glass-filled nylon fiber handle, an additional nail pull/pry bar, and a polyester sheath, this just maybe what you’ve been looking for!
Full Tang Handle
The Schrade SCAXE5 Full Tang Tactical Hatchet also features a nylon fiberglass full tang handle. This design construction provides the user with steady swings and a powerful impact.
Hatchets of this size are meant for everyday carry. Coming with a polyester sheath, the Schrade SCAXE5 Full Tang Tactical Hatchet allows you to do just that. Get the most out of its compact and portable design by placing on its secure and durable polyester sheath so you can EDC with ease.
Cost and Value
Because of its High Carbon Steel blade, gorgeous full-tang fiberglass body, compact design, polyester sheath, and additional functions, the Schrade SCAXE5 Full Tang Tactical Hatchet is definitely a contender.
7 Fremont Farson Carbon Steel Hatchet
The Fremont Farson Carbon Steel Hatchet may look unique in its design, but it maintains the qualities of a traditional hatchet, yet more. It is perfect for those wanting something versatile, durable and portable.
With its unique and intuitive design, the Fremont Farson allows individuals to use this hatchet for a multitude of ways. Use it as a knife, for chopping wood, this works wonders.
The Fremont Farson is a total of 9.5 inches in length. This is ideal for the average person wanting a quality, professional-grade everyday carry hatchet as an addition to their outdoors kit.
Cost and Value
The Fremont Farson is an ideal everyday carry hatchet. Due to its practical size, durable and versatile design, it is definitely worth giving it a go.
8 Helko Werk Germany Classic Voyager
Though the smallest of Helko’s lineup of hatchets, the Helko Werk Germany Classic Voyager Camp Hatchet is still powerful. Made of quality high carbon steel and grade A American hickory, this is ideal for novice and expert survivalists alike.
High Carbon Steel
The Helko Werk Germany Classic Voyager Camp Hatchet head is made with high carbon steel. Buffed and polished to a reflective finish, it reduces cutting friction and improves rust resistance.
American Hickory Handle
Going the extra mile in terms of quality, the handle is made of grade A American hickory. Moreover, it is finished with linseed oil, furthering the quality.
Cost and Value
The inclusion of a full-grain vegetable-tanned leather sheath and a 1oz bottle of Axe Guard Protective Oil, the Helko Werk Germany Classic Voyager Camp Hatchet an absolute steal.
9 CRKT Camping Hatchet
Made with hot forged 1060 high carbon steel and a Tennessee hickory handle, the CRKT Camping Hatchet is compact yet powerful! This is lightweight, made of practical and quality materials, ideal for everyday carry.
Hot Forged 1060 High Carbon Steel
The CRKT Camping Hatchet is made with high carbon steel. The blade is hammer finished and then lacquer to ensure quality and durability.
Tennessee Hickory Handle
Perhaps one of the best features of the CRKT is the Tennessee hickory handle. Not only does it provide a sleek look but firm grippage and security.
Cost and Value
The CRKT Camping Hatchet comes as a limited lifetime warranty, covering any defects in materials or workmanship. This further assurance alongside its already top design ensures that you will get your money’s worth.
10 Schrade Mini Hatchet
The Schrade Mini Axe/Saw Combo is the final hatchet on the list. Due to its compact size and ergonomic design, and additional saw, this EDC hatchet is perfect for those wanting something simple and portable to have at their disposal at all times.
Not only is the Schrade Mini Axe/Saw Combo a beautiful hatchet, but it is also an ergonomic one as well. The blade is made of Ti-Nitride coated stainless steel and the body or handle is made of a black rubber grip.
The Schrade Mini Axe/Saw Combo is compact, boasting a length of only 12 inches and a weight of 1.5 pounds, this little guy is the best for everyday carry if desired.
Cost and Value
Though the Schrade Mini Axe/Saw Combo is last on the list, it still is a quality hatchet. Because of its size, it is best for those who want a quality hatchet that is portable while maintaining its quality.
Comfort matters. In working with your hands, whatever it may be, the comfort of your hands is important. In regards to survival hatchets, the body or handle of the hatchet should be comfortable. Ensuring that you can get any job done without fuss or annoyance from poorly designed handles. The level of comfort for the grip matters.
Before purchasing your survival hatchet, it’s important to consider what you’ll be using the hatchet primarily for. If you’re a worker and you need it for industrial work, perhaps a hatchet with hickory will best suit your needs (if of course you are used to hickory). If you’re an everyday average person wanting something that won’t be too hard on your hands, perhaps a hatchet with a rubberized grip is best for your needs or be best for your level of comfort.
Accuracy is another important factor to consider when purchasing a hatchet. Determining the accuracy should be contingent on your intended use. Some may just need one for simple outdoor activities or for backup while others may need it for work or hobbies. Whichever your usages may be, the level of accuracy is something to keep in mind.
An accurate hatchet is one that provides precise work for splintering wood. One that is so accurate that you can get the job done in one or two strikes. Not every hatchet on this list can do this, so keep this in mind before making your purchase. Consider looking into reviews to ensure that your desired hatchet can provide you with accurate outcomes for your work.
Be it a compact or traditional, always purchase one that is made with quality materials. You are guaranteed to get your money’s worth when choosing quality. If it is cheaply made, you will be able to tell immediately by its lifespan or durability (in regards to both the head and handle).
Not every product is made equal. Take into account the materials used for the body (or handle) of the hatchet (be it hickory, rubberized or stainless steel) and the head of the hatchet (be it high carbon or stainless steel). At the end of the day, the best hatchets should be durable and dependable, two factors dependent on the materials used.
There are several factors to be considered in determining the effectiveness of a survival hatchet. For this list, factors such as durability, accuracy, and materials were put into consideration (amongst others). These factors play a hand in how effective it will be as each depends on one another.
However, keep in mind that effectiveness is another criterion that can be subjective. Consider first your needs, usage, and frequency as previously mentioned to determine whether the chosen hatchet will be effective for you and your unique needs. Nonetheless, if you are still uncertain, go for one with a high carbon or stainless steelhead or one fully forged together to avoid potential breakage of the head from the handle.
Purchase a hatchet that is meant to last. A quality survival hatchet should be weather resistant and impact resistant. Normally traditional, larger are known to offer the highest level of durability, yet smaller more compact hatchets can prove themselves to be durable as well. Especially the everyday carry ones on this list.
It’s smart to look at the design of the hatchet if you are unsure of its level of durability. What materials are used for the body? What type of materials are used to create the head of the hatchet? Is it coated with a layer of material to ensure further durability? What material is the grip composed of? Does the head seem prone to breaking from the body? Questions like these can be of aid if you are unsure about the flashlight’s durability.
Axe vs. Hatchet
What’s the difference between an axe and a hatchet? That’s a fair question as they both differ from one another. While they may look the same in their overall appearance at first glance (despite the differences in the size of course) these two serve different functions.
Axes serve a purpose for users with specific needs, in particular, to meet the needs of people in specific professions. They’re originally designed for work that involves forestry; cutting down an entire tree to be concise. Their handles are typically larger than hatchets and require more skill to use. They too aren’t made to handle the variety of tasks that a hatchet can complete. If you’re not a skilled professional, it would be best to purchase a hatchet instead.
A hatchet differs from an axe in that it is designed for multiple purposes, yet these multiple purposes are typically for smaller tasks in comparison to an axe. This is because of the size of the handle. Handles for hatchets are normally smaller which makes them easier to hold and use for cutting branches, splitting firewood, and so forth. They are not particularly designed for high maintenance or laborious tasks. However, when designed with high quality, grade A material, can function for larger tasks. Experts recommend them for the everyday man; someone looking to have a reliable hatchet to complete their survival kit.
As you’ve read through this list, you may have seen the two different types of head or blade materials used to complete the hatchet. While there are other types of metals used to construct the hatchet’s head, these are the two most commonly used.
High Carbon Steel
High carbon tool steels are known and proven to be significantly tougher than stainless steel blades due to their material being that of grain structure. They too can be sharpened if required. However, because of this grain structure, they do not retain their edge as long as stainless steel blades do. Moreover, high carbon tool steels are more prone to corrosion when exposed to the elements. If you are one that does not want to bother with maintenance for your hatchet, perhaps consider one made with stainless steel.
Unfortunately, stainless steel blades are not as durable as high carbon tool steels. Moreover, they can be more difficult to sharpen than their counterpart steel. However, stainless steel blades are typically weather-resistant as they are significantly less prone to corrosion. They too are known to hold their edge longer than high carbon tool steels. Whichever type you chose, ensure that it is forged as this entails a longer lifespan of the hatchet in terms of durability.
It is important to take into consideration which type of handle material suits your needs. As you’ve seen thus far, hatchet handles are composed of typically three types of materials: hickory, leather or rubber.
If you’re one for aesthetics, you may love the traditional look of the hickory handle. This is the most commonly used material for hatchet handles as it is a classic. While nothing is wrong with going hickory, it may pose an issue in terms of comfort. Ensure that the handle is coated with a material that will allow you to have a firm grip whilst maintaining its level of comfort.
Leather is another common material used for hatchet handles. This too is a classic. Leather is comfortable to hold and provides you a secure, firm grip. However, leather is known for not being to perform well in wet conditions so keep this in mind when choosing your preferred hatchet.
For the best grip, you may want to consider a hatchet with a rubber handle. Rubber performs wonderfully in wet conditions as it keeps the handle from slipping under all conditions. While it is not the best in terms of aesthetics, you are guaranteed a secure and comfortable grip.
Other Factors to Consider
They are designed to be portable. However, in creating the criteria used for this evaluation, portability was put into consideration for a variety of reasons. The definition of portability can vary from person to person depending on their needs. For a survival hatchet, this is neither exceptional.
Before purchasing your desired hatchet, it’s important to consider what you’ll be using it primarily for. Also, consider where you would be intending on storing the hatchet. These two factors will influence what portability means to you. For some, a smaller tool to keep in their backpack is best, for others, a slightly larger one to store in a kit or car is best. That decision is yours to make.
Ease of Use
The ease of use is another factor to consider when purchasing a survival hatchet. Having a hatchet that is difficult to use, isn’t secure in the design or too large for easy strikes can defeat the purpose of purchasing this product. While this factor is subjective, it is still something worth considering.
This too applies to any additional features your chosen hatchet may offer. If these features are complex in design that require too much thought or effort, they too can become cumbersome. Look into the reviews before purchasing. See if the average person can manage to both use and enjoy this product to ensure you’re choosing the right hatchet for you.
It is important to consider the brand when purchasing your chosen hatchet. As always suggested, do a quick search on the brand online if you’re unsure of their reputation. Online outdoor reaction or survivalist communities are very vocal in their favorite and most trusted brands, review their online community forums if desired (some do require you to register first, however). If you can’t be bothered, go on Amazon and vet through the reviews.
Also, keep in mind that there are countless knockoffs posing as popular brands so do be aware of this when making your purchase as well as if the hatchet is made in China. It is common knowledge that a lot of products made in China have a reputation of being made poorly or cheaply but this varies from brand to brand so this is not absolute. Still keep this into consideration and properly vet the brand before purchasing your product.
The size of a survival hatchet is another factor to put into consideration before making your purchase. In general, an average-sized has a handle size of about 12 inches and a weight of 1.5 pounds, however, some can be significantly smaller. A larger sized hatchet is about the size of a small axe, with a handle of about 20 inches and a weight of 1.5 to 2 pounds. Some hatchets can be larger than this, but this borders on what some may define to be an axe.
Depending on your intended use, the size of the hatchet should be put into consideration. However, keep in mind that the smallest of hatchets can be just as powerful and well equipped to suit the needs of the everyday person.
Weather resistance (and water resistance even) is another factor you may want to put into consideration. As previously mentioned both the handle and the blade or head differ from hatchet. Stainless steel blades are wonderful at avoiding corrosion, while high carbon steels are prone to it.
Furthermore, handles with rubber allow for you to use the hatchet in wet conditions whereas leather tends to fail. Hickory seems to work in both conditions, however, ensure that it is coated for a better grip and durability. Nonetheless, depending on your intended usage and or environment, this is a factor to put into consideration.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is a hatchet used for?
A: Hatchets have a multitude of uses. Typically this single-handed striking tool equipped with a sharp blade on one side and a handle for holding are used to cut and split wood or as a hammer due to the back end of its blade head. They are used for chopping pretty much anything. Hatchets also can be used to create fire through sparks and enough friction.
Q: What is the difference between a hatchet and an axe?
A: Hatchet is essentially a single-handed smaller version of an axe as it was inspired by the axe in its design. They are capable enough to be used for more than splitting and trimming shingles or wood. Axes, on the other hand, are much larger and require hands to use. They have a longer power in their strike, however, they are used for primarily cutting wood whereas hatchets have a multitude of uses.
Q: Can a hatchet split wood?
A: Yes! However, they cannot cut down an entire tree or at least don’t serve that purpose. To be concise, hatchets perform smaller jobs than what an axe can do. So yes they can split wood but this wood is typically splitting pre-cut logs into smaller logs.
Q: How long is a hatchet handle?
A: The length of a hatchet varies depending on the size of its handle. Handles can be 10-12inches while others can have lengths of about 19 to 22 inches and more.
Q: Do I need a hatchet?
A: This answer is subjective as it depends on your needs and your lifestyle. Most people don’t need a hatchet. However, if you are an outdoor enthusiast that finds themselves hiking, scouting, hunting or camping often or a survivalist preparing their survival kit, a hatchet is definitely something to consider purchasing as it completes your list of essentials.