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Best Survival Hatchets (8 Survival Prepping Options)

A survival hatchet embodies versatility and portability. In this article we review the best survival hatchet for your bug out bag and survival prepping.

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As a survivalist and prepper, you most likely have a bunch of survival knives in your bug out bag and maybe a survival axe or two that you carry around every now and then or keep at your bug out location.

However, you find that no matter how sharp your knives are, they just can't get the job done sometimes, especially when you need heavier striking force.

At the same time, your survival axe gets too heavy to carry at times, so you most likely have to leave it behind.

This is where survival hatchets come in.

A survival hatchet is basically a small axe with a hammer on one side of the head and a blade on the other. In other words, it is an axe that is more portable and has more utility because of the size and the survival hatchet tool feature.

A hatchet can do everything that an axe does, albeit in smaller proportions. Where an axe can be used for tree felling and splitting large logs, a hatchet does a fantastic job with chopping wood, burking trunks into logs and shaving barks into kindling.

With the right balance and power-to-weight ratio, some hatchets can also be used to cut down small trees. The short handle brings with it immense precision and accuracy.

And sure, a survival knife is an essential tool for any prepper, but there are things that you will not be able to do efficiently with it.

A survival hatchet has the optimum combination of versatility and portability. It gives you more options than a survival knife and weighs way less than a survival axe.

This article will help you figure out the best survival hatchet for your bug out bag so you can be prepared for any emergency.

Note that in as much as a hatchet is more versatile than a survival knife, it is advisable to carry both during your outdoor activities. If the task is heavy-duty and requires a bigger tool, also carry with you a survival axe.

In a hurry? If you just want to get to our conclusions, here are our top picks and recommendations!

We recommend the Fiskars X7 survival hatchet for its durability and compactness.

It only weighs 1.38 pounds so you can comfortably pack it in your rucksack or bug out bag without straining or it taking too much space.

It has a heavy head which makes for powerful and precise cuts and splits. It may chip after some time but it should not alarm you: the blade is left untouched and will continue performing as efficiently as ever.

Last update on 2021-04-16 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Best Survival Hatchets - 8 Prepper Picks Reviewed

Below we review our 8 picks for the best survival hatchet on the market today.

Further on you can read about the differences between hatchets and axes, how to pick a good survival hatchet and the criteria we used for our own picks and some tips and tricks on how to use and maintain your prepper hatchet.

Without further ado, here are our survival hatchet reviews:

Fiskars 378501-1002 X7 Hatchet

This survival hatchet is the best of its kind in the market.

If you're forced to bug out or you're planning to head out for a wilderness adventure, be sure you have this hatchet by your side!

The Fiskars X7 hatchet is crafted with a proprietary grinding technique which results in a sharp edge. Thus, you can be sure that your splits will be deep and clean.

On top of that, the blade is coated with a low-friction coating that protects it from adverse weather conditions.

Weighing 1.38 pounds, you can comfortably carry it in your backpack. The hatchet has a perfect weight distribution which makes for an optimal power-to-weight ratio.

You, therefore, do not have to strain above the necessary amount while using it. Also, the swing speed increases with every cut, seeing to it that your work is finished earlier than expected.

The non-slip handles are made of FiberComp material which renders this hatchet unbreakable. You can thus rest easy as you will not need to replace it any time soon after you do your purchase.

If something happens to it, the lifetime warranty that comes with it will fix things for you.

Last update on 2021-04-16 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros

  • It has an optimal power-to-weight ratio
  • It is durable
  • It is compact and portable

Cons

  • It has chipping concern
.

Estwing Sportsman’s Axe

This hatchet is the choice of outdoorsmen everywhere and for obvious reasons. For one, it is forged in one piece making it one of the most durable tools in the market.

You can strike with the confidence that it will perform without breaking. It does a very good job when it comes to chopping logs, branches, small trees and splitting firewood.

The sanded and lacquered leather finishing is beautiful to look at and also very comfortable to the grip. The grip is also firm thanks to an ergonomic handle which will take away your worry of the hatchet slipping while in use.

Compact in size, the Estwing hatchet is easy to carry around. You can put it in your backpack or better yet, sling it onto your belt.

It comes with a heavy-duty nylon sheath that has a belt loop to facilitate transportation and enhance safety.

This hatchet is a must-have for all preppers, campers and outdoorsmen!

Last update on 2021-04-16 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros

  • It is forged on one piece making it one of the most durable hatchets in the market
  • It is compact and easy to carry
  • It is easily affordable

Cons

  • The cheeks are too thin for splitting
  • The handle leather needs some attention before it’s comfortable

SCAXE5 Hatchet Schrade Tactical Hatchet

The Schrade Tactical Hatchet is one of those hatchets you should really consider adding to your survival kit.

Its durability is unquestionable with a blade made of reliable SK-5 High Carbon Steel and the handle with a black, glass-filled nylon finishing.

The hatchet has a blade length of 3.1 inches, an overall length of 12.8 inches and only weighs 1.95 pounds. The compactness of the hatchet makes it very convenient to carry around.

The polyester belt sheath it comes with enables you to hang it from your belt for easy retrieval. The sheath also ensures safety for you and protection for the blade.

The ergonomic grip will offer you security and the confidence that the hatchet will not slip while you are swinging it. We all know that working without fear of hurting yourself leads to more impressive results.

The Schrade survival hatchet also features a spike pommel and a nail pry bar. You can totally use this as a weapon when the need arises. Go and grab your SCAXE5 hatchet today!

Last update on 2021-04-16 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros

  • It is made with durable materials
  • It is compact making it portable
  • It has a non-slip grip to avoid accidents

Cons

  • It contains chemicals that may be harmful

Gransfors Bruks Hand Hatchet

If you are big in scouting and camping, the Gransfors Bruks Hand Hatchet is extremely practical for you. Its most distinguishing feature is its short handle with a length of 240mm, which fits perfectly in the hand.

Our guess is that the handle explains why it is called a “hand hatchet”. The size of the hatchet makes it so easy to carry around as you can put it in your rucksack during walks.

It also won’t take up significant space in your car. Also, it weighs only a pound. 

The hatchet comes with a full-grain, vegetable-tanned leather sheath to cover the edge and prevent it from tearing into the rucksack.

Despite the length of the handle, the Hand Hatchet can be used to carry out tasks such as felling small trees. Other than that, this hatchet is perfect for limbing, splitting firewood, cutting meat, and self defense.

The icing on the cake is that it comes with a 20-year manufacturer’s warranty.

Last update on 2021-04-16 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros

  • It is compact and portable
  • It is excellent for scouting and camping
  • It is multi-functional

Cons

  • It is expensive

Hults Bruk Jonaker Hatchet

The Hults Bruk Jonaker Hatchet is an excellent companion for wilderness survival and emergency preparedness.

Its strength and durability are unrivaled: during the grinding production process, the steel is struck several times tremendously increasing its density and tolerance level. 

The Swedish-steel head of the hatchet has a tempered zone that holds a very sharp blade that would survive many sharpening sessions.

Also, the handle is made with strong American Hickory, so you really do not have to worry about it breaking any time soon. The Hults Bruk Jonaker Hatchet has a comfortable ergonomic grip to prevent slip accidents.

At 0.84 kilograms and a handle length of 9.4 inches, this hatchet can comfortably fit in your rucksack.

If you would prefer slinging it on your belt, then you are covered as it comes with a traditional leather protective sheath that you can loop on your belt.

The sheath is very impressive to look at as it is embellished with unique Swedish decoration. The hatchet comes with its own storage box and in case you need to refer to anything, a user manual is also provided.

It is perfect for chopping, kindling wood and splitting. Hurry and get your perfect outdoors survival tool today!

Last update on 2021-04-16 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros

  • It is durable
  • It has a short handle and a light head that makes it very portable
  • Has a beautiful finishing

Cons

  • It is pricey

Snow & Nealley Young Camper’s Belt Axe

Are you an outdoor enthusiast who has been searching for the perfect lightweight camping axe?

Look no further. This Snow and Nealley hatchet is exactly what you need. It features a strong ergonomic handle made with solid American Hickory so it is bound to last a long time.

With a weight of 2.04 pounds, it is lightweight enough for you to carry it around in your get home bag without straining. It comes with a genuine leather sheath to protect you from harm that may be caused by a bare blade.

The blade is razor-sharp and arrives honed to a nice edge, which is more than can be said about a lot of similar products.

This hatchet is perfect for chopping, splitting and it throws great. It is suitable for all ages, even as young as ten-year-old campers. You can’t go wrong with this fine tool.

Last update on 2021-04-16 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros

  • It is lightweight
  • It is multi-functional
  • Suitable for both adults and children
  • It is great for throwing

Cons

  • You need to keep sharpening the blade for it to function optimally.

DC Recreational 440 Steel Camping Hatchet

With an overall length of 9 inches, this is one of the smallest hatchets out there. However, do not let the diminutive size fool you.

This DC Recreational Camping Hatchet is created to function optimally where it matters. It features a 4.7-inch handle and a broad blade which are ideal for precision work such as splitting kindling wood and cutting meat to prepare a meal in the woods.

The shortened distance between the handhold and the blade allows for cleaner and precise splits compared to tools with longer handles.

The handle is made with Pakka wood and the blade with high quality 440 Stainless Steel. Therefore, you can rest assured that its durability is top-notch.

The stylish handle has a built-in lanyard which will enable you to hang it while in storage. It also comes with a strong, nylon sheath for your own safety and protection of the blade when not in use.

It is a perfect tool for camping, back country hiking or keeping it as a backup survival tool at your bug out location.

Last update on 2021-04-16 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros

  • It is lightweight
  • It has a short handle for clean and precise hits
  • It is durable
  • It comes with a sheath and a lanyard to facilitate storage and transportation

Cons

  • It is too small to carry out bigger tasks like felling trees

BladeMate Survival Camping Hatchet

This full-tang hatchet has such an impressive, advanced design. Created in a rich black color, it features an anti-slip ergonomic comfort grip handle that ensures the strongest grip possible.

The handle is made of rubber and the blade of Stainless Steel. The blade, which is razor-sharp, has been fortified to prevent rust from forming in any atmospheric condition.

The weight distribution is such that the head bears the most weight, which allows for better and deeper cuts swing after swing.

The manufacturing company behind the Blade Mate Survival Camping Hatchet, Blade Mate, offers a lifetime warranty.

Thus, if your hatchet is in any way short of your expectations you are bound to get a full recharge of the cost- that is how much the company believes in this product.

It is a perfect tool for the survivalist, handyman, prepper, first responder, camper and hiker.

Last update on 2021-04-16 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros

  • It has an advanced design
  • It comes with an anti-slip ergonomic handle
  • It is durable
  • It has a wide range of usability

Cons

  • It is on the heavier side for a hatchet

If you're looking for a larger survival tool for you emergency preparedness needs, check out our guide on the best survival axes.

How Is a Survival Hatchet Different from a Survival Axe?

A lot of people can hardly tell a survival axe and a survival hatchet apart, which is understandable.

The two tools are awfully similar at face value. However, their anatomy and operations are very different.

Here are some of the factors that you can use to tell one from the other:

Hatchet Size

This is the most obvious defining factor between an axe and a hatchet. An axe is bigger than a hatchet, often above sixteen inches in length.

Axes come in handy when doing heavy-duty chores such as felling of trees, and construction work. They do not fit in survival backpacks due to their size and are often cumbersome to bring along for outdoorsy activities such as camping and hiking.

Hatchets, on the other hand, are way smaller in size, with the longest ranging between 10 and 12 inches in length. To put it in another way, they are shorter than the average length of an adult’s forearm.

They are easier to carry around during expeditions due to their small size. Also, they are far more precise compared to axes. This is because a shorter handle is easier to control and aim compared to a longer one.

It would be so much easier and safer to split a piece of wood using a hatchet than a large axe.

Shape of the Hatchet Head

If you look keenly you will note that more often than not, an axe has a double blade. Thus, an axe can cut, chop, or split using both sides of the head.

Some axes may not have this feature but generally speaking, axes have double blades. On the other hand, instead of double blades, hatchets have a cutting surface on one side of the head and a tool on the other side of the head.

In most hatchets, the tool on the other side of the head is a hammer. The tool enables a hatchet to be good for more than just cutting and chopping things. It can be used to say, drive in a tent stake during a camping experience.

Hatchet Functions

Difference in size and shape of the head automatically means that both tools are made for different functions. Axes, being bigger and heavier, are more suited for heavy-duty tasks such as cutting down trees and splitting logs.

Hatchets cannot adequately perform those tasks. Instead, they are more suited for small precision duties such as splitting firewood, shaving wood for tinder and trailblazing.

You should be very attentive to know which of the two tools, a hatchet and an axe, best suits the task you need it for.

Check out some bushcraft hatchet tips in the video below.

Qualities of a Good Survival Hatchet

When considering to acquire a hatchet for bugging out in case of an emergency or you're just prepping for an upcoming camping getaway or a weekend of hiking, you want to ensure that you get the best out of this survival tool.

Therefore, it is essential to consider the quality of the determinant parts like the head and the handle of the hatchet. You should also check other factors such as the brand, the balance and if it matters so much, the warranty.

So, what about these factors should you pay close attention to when choosing a good hatchet for survival?

Hatchet Head

The head is the most important aspect of a survival hatchet. Whether or not you are going to have a fruitful hatchet experience relies heavily on the quality of the head.

For one, the head of your hatchet should be able to cut sharply on the first hit. On that note, the sharpness and the thickness of the bit should be on point.

No matter how sharp the blade is, if the bit is too thick, you will have a difficult time cutting through things and attaining good penetration.

All your effort will only glance at the wood you are chopping instead of biting into it, which can be so frustrating.

Well, frustration is the last thing you want during your outdoorsy adventures so ensure that the blade can cut. Not only cut, but cut exceptionally well.

Before you head out, make certain that the head is nice and smooth. Anything short of that, like dings and abrasions, will also reduce the efficiency of the tool.

Hatchet Handle

When it comes to the quality of the handle, there are two main aspects to consider- length and material.

The length of the handle determines the swing speed and the force of cutting or chopping stuff.

The longer the handle, the more the speed and the force. However, if you want a hatchet that easily fits your in your bug out bag or get home bag, go for a shorter handle.

Shorter handles are also known to be more precise and accurate.

The material should not only be durable but should also enable you to have a firm grip while using the hatchet. You should not run the risk of it slipping mid-swing because that would be chaotic.

Most handles come in one of three materials- fibreglass, wood and metal. Fibreglass is light, hollow and usually has a rubber grip. Very convenient.

If you like your hatchet a bit heavier, go for the metallic handle. It is also very strong and durable.

The wooden handle is also a good choice, as long as it is rugged and the friction is just right.

Hatchet Brand

There are so many brands out there that make hatchets and other survival tools. Many of these, however, do not produce top-tier products so you should be on the lookout for where you get your hatchet from.

Most American brands are known for their quality: Schrade survival hatchets are particularly very effective. There are also other countries that produce high standard survival tools.

Check reviews on various brands before you settle for a survival hatchet.

Hatchet Balance

A hatchet with a perfect balance is the best hatchet to own. A good balance will offer you the best control for swinging and exerting force on an object.

The recommended balance point is on the handle right up against the head.

Check out these axe and hatchet safety tips in the video below.

Different Ways in Which You Can Use a Survival Hatchet

There many different ways that you can put your hatchet in use:

Clearing the area with a hatchet

Campsites, even the developed ones, may have tree roots, shrubs, or small bushes that may obscure your camping space.

Having a camping survival hatchet at hand will enable you to trim the bushes and cut down small saplings to create some space.

During hikes or walks through the wilderness, it is common for branches and other debris to fall on your way causing a blockage.

A wilderness survival hatchet will come in very handy in overcoming these obstacles.

Cutting with a hatchet

A survival hatchet is adept at cutting with precision and power. It is superior to a survival knife when it comes to turning wood into kindling.

Also, it is more precise than an axe because of the weight of its head. When camping, a survival hatchet is the perfect tool to assist in starting a fire.

Trailblazing with a hatchet

During adventures in the wilderness or a forest, getting lost is a common occurrence. It is, therefore, important to mark the path so that finding your way back will be easy.

A hatchet is a valuable tool as you can blaze a trail by making nicks on tree barks or cutting small tress and setting them on the ground. A wilderness survival hatchet is your perfect trailblazer.

Using a hatchet for recreation

Hatchet throwing is fast becoming a very popular pastime activity. On top of the usual uses such as cutting and trailblazing, it would be fun to compete in hatchet throwing on a stump in your campsite.

This, however, should be done in the company and supervision of responsible adults.

If you're looking for a more offensive survival tool, the tomahawk can be a great option. Check out our detailed guide about the best survival tomahawk.

Wilderness survival hatchet in a tree stump

Survival Hatchet Care and Maintenance

You need to maintain the quality of your hatchet so that it not only serves you for a long time, but also works as efficiently as possible.

Caring for a hatchet is simple and straight forward. The following are ways in which you can keep your survival hatchet in good working condition:

Always keep your hatchet sharp!

Like most other tools that are subject to wear and tear, the more you use your hatchet the duller the blade becomes. A dull blade makes it very difficult to carry out the basic functions of a hatchet.

At best, it will bounce off a surface instead of penetrating through it. On top of being frustrating, this is also very dangerous.

You should, therefore, have a hatchet sharpener close by at all times.

Store the survival hatchet in a clean, dry place

Most blades are made of steel, which reacts with moisture to form rust. A corroded blade is an extremely inefficient blade. The rust eats into the blade rendering it useless over time.

Therefore, ensure that you thoroughly clean the hatchet after use, before storing it in a clean dry place. A lanyard makes storage easy as you can hang your hatchet on a wall, away from most things that may affect its maintenance efforts.

It is advisable to coat the metallic part with a protective layer of oil as it prevents corrosion. In the event rust forms on the blade, be fast in washing it off with vinegar and steel wool before it can spread.

Invest in a survival hatchet sheath

Most hatchets, especially the sharp ones, come with a sheath to cover them in. The sheath keeps you and your other camping gear safe from the sharp blade of a hatchet.

On top of that, they protect the blade from becoming dull over time by keeping elements that can corrode it at bay. You need your blade sharp if you are going to be using your hatchet frequently.

Repair and replace worn out hatchet parts

It is inevitable for wearing out to occur especially if you have used your survival hatchet for quite some time. Handles, especially wooden ones, are bound to break once they get tired.

Make it a habit of replacing them with new ones. It may also happen that they become rough and rugged because of prolonged use.

In this case, make a habit of smoothening and cleaning it as often as possible.

For more tips and tricks on survival blades care and maintenance, check out our dedicated guide on how to clean and maintain your sharp survival tools.

Check out this video from Ray Mears who explains the differences between various axe and hatchet sizes.

Survival Hatchet Frequently Asked Questions

What is a hatchet good for?

A hatchet is made for power and precision in cutting, chopping and splitting firewood.

It is more versatile compared to a survival knife and lighter and more compact than a survival axe.

When you don’t have enough space in your bug out bag or the energy to carry an axe for a hike, a survival hatchet is the best tool to take with you.

What’s the difference between a hatchet and an axe?

For one, a hatchet is smaller in size compared to an axe.

Where an axe is made of a double blade, a hatchet has a blade on one side of the head and a hammer on the other.

Also, a hatchet has a heavier head weight compared to an axe, which makes for more precise cuts and splits.

Can you chop wood with a hatchet?

Absolutely. A hatchet is a perfect tool for chopping wood and small trees.

If the wood is large, though, it would take so much longer to chop it. Get an axe for bigger logs and trees.

Best Survival Hatchet Conclusions

We hope this has been a helpful guide in choosing the best survival hatchet for your prepping needs.

If you still need more information or are interested in purchasing any of the above hatchets, click on the links provided.

Remember: you never know when an emergency scenario forces you to bug out in the wilderness. A good survival hatchet can mean the difference between survival or death.

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Hi, I'm Russ!

I've been prepping for a long time, but 2020 convinced me that I need to take it to the next level.

This website started as a way to keep me going forward on the path to being better prepared.

Now, I’m turning it into a complete blueprint for anyone else looking to do the same!
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