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The best hatchet you can buy today is the Fiskars X7 Hatchet. This hatchet benefits hatchet from a beautiful design and well-balanced weight, along with an ultra-sharp axe head that includes low friction coating making it faster and more efficient for splitting wood. You’ll definitely need the best survival gear if you want to go camping, backpacking, or hiking.
To help you find the best hatchet for splitting wood, or the best camping hatchet for backpacking, we’ve analyzed reviews, consulted survival and wilderness experts, and put the top rated hatchets and survival axes to the test ourselves. In seeking out a good hatchet, we looked for high quality axe head materials, durable handles and a well-balanced design that makes one-handed chopping of wood easier. Keep reading to learn more about our top pick and the rest of the items on our list for splitting wood.
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: A stronger than steel FiberComp handle and an insert-molded axe head makes this our pick for the best camping hatchet, as it particularly shines in the durability department.
Among the smoothest and most efficient of the hatchets and camp axes we’ve seen, this Fiskars hatchet is a versatile survival and backpacking tool that excels at chopping wood, splitting kindling and even works for delicate carving tasks, thanks to its exceptional weight balance and the comfortable grip on hand from its high-tech “FiberComp” plastic handle.
While some may want a more traditional appearance with a wood handle, this Fiskars hatchet offers the advantage of a solid one-piece feel thanks to its insert-molded axe head, while still providing the security and comfort of a rubber grip. If this hatchet is too big, you might want to consider one of the best survival knives too.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: This small camp axe is forged from a single piece of high grade steel and offers exceptional durability. It also comes with a ballistic nylon sheath, which we found to be highly useful.
Made with one-piece forged steel construction, this 14 inch Estwing hatchet is among the most durable survival tools we’ve tested, while its hand-polished look gives it a clean, refined aesthetic. It comes with a leather wrapped handle for comfort and is made in the USA.
The cutting edge measures 3 and 1/4 inches, enough to make it a usable camping hatchet for splitting wood, and we’ve found that it chops branches up to 2” in diameter with ease, using just a few strokes, though it is not quite as useful for chopping large pieces of wood. You might want to consider bringing the best pocket knife along on your next camping trip.
Award: Best for Backpacking
WHY WE LIKE IT: This compact full tang hatchet comes with a belt loop rubber sheath for convenient carrying, plus it features an axe head made of high carbon steel and a secure rubber grip.
If you’re looking for a backup camp axe or a small survival hatchet for backpacking or wilderness adventures, this Schrade full tang hatchet makes a good compromise between cutting ability and ease of carrying. It measures just over 11 inches total, with a 3.6 inch blade, and weighs around 1.6 pounds..
Made of high carbon stainless steel and powder coated for durability, this hatchet has a substantial and solid feel, though it isn’t as perfectly balanced as the Fiskars, nor does it chop wood as quickly. It does, however, excel at splitting kindling and smaller branches, and it even works well for whittling and carving tasks. You might want to also consider bringing the best water bottle along to stay hydrated on your next camping trip.
Award: Best for Hammering
WHY WE LIKE IT: It has a drop forged steel axe head with a flattened back that provides for a hammer function, plus a composite handle engineered for ideal weight distribution.
Designed for general wood cutting tasks as well as for splitting logs and for camping and backpacking, this composite hatchet takes the high tech approach to the age-old woodsman’s axe. It combines a drop forged steel axe head with an engineered composite handle, offering ideal weight distribution for maximum swing performance.
A non-stick coating helps when splitting wood, though it may not last beyond one or two sharpenings, as with most such coatings. Some may also find that the composite handle and rubber grip lack the solidity of a one-piece backpacking hatchet. You might want to consider packing this along with best two-person tent too.
Award: Best for Chopping Wood
WHY WE LIKE IT: With a beautiful wood handle and high grade steel axe head, this scouting / camping axe is a best bet for those who prefer a high quality and traditional approach in their woodsman’s axe.
For the demanding woodsman, this scouting and camp axe offers a good mix of traditional high quality materials and everyday usability. The length, just under 14 inches, is just right for chopping wood up to about 2 inches in diameter, while the forged steel axe head offers a well designed wedge angle for splitting wood.
The polished handle is beautiful to look at and comfortable to hold, giving near ideal weight distribution. It’s also easy to carry at just 1.3 pounds and comes with a high quality leather sheath.
Award: Best Lightweight
WHY WE LIKE IT: This hatchet is a full tang design and made from one piece of high carbon steel, with a rubber grip coating designed to reduce vibrations and allow a smoother, more accurate stroke.
This is more of a traditional tomahawk than a camping hatchet, but it is one of the best we’ve tested. Full tanged and with ideal weight balance, the Estwing hatchet / tomahawk is a versatile outdoor tool for mountaineering, wilderness adventure, backpacking and survival.
Lighter than a hatchet and even more maneuverable than the best hunting axe or woodsman axe, the tomahawk has a wide, hatchet-like blade but without the wedge, along with a pick blade on the reverse of the axe head. This makes it useful for digging, breaching and rooting. It also makes it a formidable emergency escape tool. Speaking of emergencies, to treat minor injuries while hiking, camping, or hunting, you need the best disaster first aid kit.
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Award: Best Emergency
WHY WE LIKE IT: Easy to carry and generally regarded as a good hatchet for backpacking, the Bear Grylls full tang survival hatchet boasts a very sharp blade and weighs just 1.4 pounds.
This Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet is billed as a multipurpose wilderness tool, and it does fulfill a number of functions very well. A super sharp forged steel blade and rugged durability, along with its small size, make it one of the best all-around choices if you’re looking for the best hatchet for backpacking or other outdoor activities.
It’s not the cheapest hatchet, nor is it likely the best hatchet for splitting wood; its small size and thin blade make it less suitable than others on our list for splitting logs and chopping larger branches. However, the easy to carry non-slip rubber grip and light form factor make it an ideal choice for a large variety of scenarios, including wilderness survival and emergency preparation. All you’ll need is your best hiking socks and you’ll be ready for your next camping adventure.
In order to narrow this list down to the best hatchets you can buy, we set strict criteria for which products made the cut in terms of durability, cutting performance and ease of use.
To ensure that our survival axe and camp hatchet top picks were worth the space they took up in your gear pack, we only included those that weighed less than 3 pounds. We also set a maximum length of 18 inches for portability.
In order to ensure cutting performance, we limited our search to hatchets with forged or polished steel heads, preferably made with high carbon steel for durable performance. We preferred blades of at least 3.5-inches long.
We included both wood handled and full tang hatchets, as well as some composite molded hatchets like the beautifully designed Fiskars. However, we insisted on durability and only picked those that showed no warping or loosening after repeated stress tests.