A hatchet or axe is usually an important accessory in camping trips, hunting journeys, survival challenges and many other type of activities.
Even when you belong to the community of eco-oriented people who only tend to use dead wood from under the foot. You still need to to work with it’s size to make it suitable for your needs, whether that would be for fire pit, camp setup, anything.
Therefore you definitely need the best axe or hatchet to ensure that you’ll always be warm, dry and sound. “The best” here means primarily “best for the price”, and we can help you with finding out the proper one.
Before you start comparing the models, it’s useful to find out whether you need a hatchet or an axe. You definitely don’t need both of them in your journey’s inventory because that would be a waste of resources.
An axe is usually more than 22 inches long. It would be appropriate if you’re planning to perform bigger job with it and when you have a lot of space and carrying capacity. You’d better to choose axe when you’re on a mission by car or truck. An axe would also be usable for house and gardening activities.
A hatchet is usually about 12 inches long. If you’re ok with smaller and faster jobs as well as for self-defence purposes, want more maneuvering ability and want to save space in your inventory – you’d better go for this option. Hatchets usually perfect for journeys on foot. It also will provide you better speed and accuracy and will save your stamina a lot.
So, now you have made your first choice and are ready to proceed to the guide of specific comparing.
The best hatchets and axes quick reviews
Gransfors Bruks Hunters Axe
Swedes are usually pros in steel. When you will try this axe, you won’t want to give it to anyone elase but you. many people witness that axes and hatchets under this brand are the best they have ever used. While this one may be more expensive than the others, in this case you really get what you pay for. It’s best usage is for hunting – you can effortlessly cut and split wood. On the other hand, you can well use it for skinning, quartering and for field dress. This ace’s poll is very smooth to be able to remove it from any material under any weather conditions.
The handle is 19 inches long, blade is 3¼ inch. You get a very handy tool with only 1 ½ pounds in weight. The manufacturer offers 20-year warranty period.
- Pros: Splendid tool for hunting and medium-sized job
- Cons: Price
Browning Outdoorsman Axe
This tough axe is made of 1055 grade steel with increased carbon content. It’s developed with very tough stikes in mind. You can see the great tang linking head and handle for better sturdity and reliability. Handle is made of injected polypropylene and with use of fiberglass. It allows to reduce the weight of this axe, resulting in 2.8 pounds overall. The blade is only 2 ¼ inches and the leverage that handle gives you allows you to make solid chops with every movement.
- Pros: Durable steel, lightweight, leverage
- Cons: Small blade (however, it’s not quite a con)
BladeMate Survival Hatchet
This one is fast and lightweight, perfect for quick job. It’s strong enough to deal with any hard wood and will save your energy while you’re using it. This hand axe can do more than a usual hatchet, and at the same time it’s size allows for a good portability. You can surely take this one with you when you’re heading into deep woods. Added advantages are die-hard makeup and non slip grip.
- Pros: Small, lightweight, precision usage
- Cons: It would be hard to use it as hammer due to slim head
Gerber Gator Axe II
This rigid axe has quite a straight lines, which is not conventional in usual axes and it saves space. Gator Axe is not for much of big job with logs. However it can do a lot with chopping smaller jobs with branches and similar objects. It also has a useful small bluntnose saw that can help you in accessing places the axe can’t access.
- Pros: Glass-filled nylon body
- Cons: Wooden parts between head and handle
Estwing Long Handle Camp Axe
This axe has a great long handle for the strongest strikes. This one is being made with one-piece structure in mind. And the Estwing’s reliability and exceptional service speaks for itself. Tho whole axe is 26 inch long. It has a good grip that is designed to reduce the shock with nylon vinyl in it. The blade is 4 inch so it’s good for bigger job – falling, trimming, splitting, notching, driving and many more. The overall weight of the ace is 4.3 pounds. Embossed leather in sheath gives it a stylish look.
- Pros: Great for bigger jobs
- Cons: Large and heavy to carry when you’re on a light journey
Fiskars X11 Splitting Axe
Fiskars is a well-respected brand and it has quite earned such reputation. You can be sure it won’t let you down. This 17-inch long axe is perfect for the most of usual camping jobs. If you want to imagine it’s physics you can imagine how aluminium basseball beat works. It achieves heavier strike by getting more strength from the movement speed. It’s head has low friction coating and that is how you get sharp and clean split with each strike.
- Pros: Lightweight (to some extent) and at the same time – very strong
- Cons: Not too portable
Estwing E24A Sportsman’s Hatchet
This hatchet is made from one piece of 1055 carbon steel. This model has become quite well-known lately due to it’s good balance of specifications. You can hold it’s edge without feeling any disturbance of over-pressure. It’s sturgy and tough and has slender head which helps you to easily make clean strikes. The structure is almost the first place in toughness we have ever saw. The full metal setup would transfer the shock from the strikes right to your hands quite well. Although, it’s good when you don’t have to worry about replacing the handle.
- Pros: Unbeatable reputation since 1923, impossible to break
- Cons: So-so in splitting jobs
This axe has quite many ways to be used. It’s rubber handle provides a good grip. The rear head surface is wide enough and does good as a hammer. don’t forget about included fire starter. Survival journeys all the way with this one. Hatchet lovers would be glad with it’s smaller size. However, it is quite usable for medium-size jobs. It’s metal surface is using titanium nitride coating to be able to be safely exposed to the most extreme conditions.
- Pros: You can forget worrying about exposure to extreme temperatures
- Cons: Hammer head is being covered by sheath
Additional Information About Hatchets
A Handy Hatchet
Pretty much every single society from nearly every era of known human evolution has developed some variation of the hatchet. Starting with the basic tools of stone age ancient people created from flintto the hatchets made of copper, and then right to the tomahawk chosen by lots of Native American people and in countless other tribes and societies, the hatchet has often been nearby.
There is a stylish convenience to hatchet concept, which pertains to the explanation for their universality all over the human history. A hatchet gets much of its layout right from an axe, however is not actually regarded just a small axe. (While they are usually called hand axes. They are also developed almost entirely for splitting middle and small wood or for branching trees.) A hatchet includes a blade on its end, and commonly has a leveled striking surface on the opposite side. Hatchets help a lot in splitting wood pieces into kindling. However they are actually the best for smaller jobs in outdoors and in woodworking when indoors.
A correctly sharpened hatchet is able to allow a carpenter hew a f wooden piece into quite a workable form, for example, in transforming a log into a straight board. One could use a hatchet for more sophisticated work, like in producing household furniture; its leveled rear area enables the usage of hatchet as a hammer or mallet.
A hatchet can be an excellent tool for the people on an outdoor mission because it is lightweight and compact, it will not add much weight to the walker’s backpack. And its usefulness will greatly improve the ability to complete necessary tasks in achieving comfortable and successful journey. A hatchet is applicable for anything starting with clearing brush right to preparing wood for a camp fire. One can even start a fire with hatchet in emergency case as metal can produce sparkles when used against a stone.
How to Chose A Hatchet
You can see a lot of hatchets on the market that have the same standard elements: a short and sharp blade, a flat and strong back surface (hammer). For simple hatchet – this is all you need to know. Surprisingly though, a good hatchet with wooden handle can really cost more than $100. So regardless of the apparent straightforwardness of these tools, they can be not so cheap things.
Longetivity and durability comes with the considerable price, as you understand. In some cases, such tool can live for several generations. The handcrafting excellence of hatchets making has been evolving the centuries. When you’re looking for best one, you’re better to check those that originate from a country known for good craftsmanship experience. A good example would be Sweden, Germany or USA.
When it comes to checking materials that make up a good hatchet, you need to ensure the high-carbon steel, to keep an edge well. Handle should be made of a solid wood (usually – hickory). Make sure that a handle allows for a balanced heft.
Protective leather cover is a must in hatchets> However, it’s not a problem if you buy without one and make it yourself. It’s a good practice to cover the hatchet into the cover when you finish using it. A proper edge sharpening technique will greatly extend the hatchet’s lifespan, so make sure you know how to do it.
Besides usual jobs that a hatchet can do, there may be other ones that you might want your hatchet to be able to do. And this is where you may think about buying a special hatchet. Hatchet throwing may be one of such things. For this you need to seek for special throwing hatchets and tomahawks that usually come with narrow sharp head and lengthy handles.
If you’re on a mission for survival journey, you may want to look for a special tool. They are usually equipped with specific survival additions, for example a firestarter, rope cutter, paracord grip. Such hatchets are usually cheaper than others and they also can last for not as long. It’s ok because the purpose is to survive and move on.