Hatchet vs axe for survival

Hatchet vs axe for survival

What is better, a hatchet, or an axe for survival? This is always debatable, but in this article, you can learn the differences and similarities between both tools, and hopefully, you will be able to find the right tool for you.

Both tools have strong and weak points, but in the end, the choice is down to only one. Hatchets and axes are suitable for different situations, so let’s find which one will be the best for you.

Survival Axe & Hatchet Models

Model Overall length Blade length Weight Price
Schrade SCAXE5 Tactical Hatchet 12.8 ” 3.1” 1.5 lbs $
Gerber Bear Grylls Hatchet 9.4 ” 1.75” 1.3 lbs $
Snow&Nealley Hudson Bay Axe 24” 1.75” 2.8 lbs $
Estwing E45A 26” 4” 3.8 lbs $
Browning 231 Outdoorsman Axe 28” 4” 2.6 lbs $
Husqvarna A1400 23” 4” 2.5 lbs $
SOG Specialty F16N-CP 16” 3.4” 2 lbs $
M48 Tactical Tomahawk Axe 15” 8” 2 lbs $
Off Grid Tools OGT-SA100 11.8” 6” 1.6 lbs $
Gerber Downrange Tomahawk 19” 3.5” 2.5” $$

Survival Axe & Hatchet Reviews

Schrade SCAXE5

Looking for a small and compact, but also powerful tool? Check this out.

Designed practically for everyone who needs a hatchet and comes with a reasonable price. Carbon steel head and a nylon fiber handle, can you resist and not buy it?

Plus, you get it with a nice sheath.

Check the latest price of the Schrade SCAXE5 here on Amazon.


  • high carbon steel
  • pull and pry bar
  • polyester belt sheath
  • professional and recreational use


Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet

Many people are inspired to go camping by Bear Grills. But what if I told you that he was involved in the creation of this model?

Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet review

The Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet

It is manufactured by Gerber, and it is great for a variety of weather conditions. You get a warranty for it and it offers great value for the price.

Still hesitating? It weighs less than one liter of water, and it can make your survival in the wild much easier.

Check the latest price of the Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet here on Amazon.


  • precise cuts
  • easy portability
  • non-slipping rubber grip
  • nylon sheath
  • Bear Grylls approved


Snow & Nealley Hudson Bay Axe

If your stay in the wild requires tougher tasks, you need to consider this model. It is bigger and powerful, but still lightweight.

Snow & Nealley Hudson Bay Axe evaluation

The Snow & Nealley Hudson Bay Axe

It is a synonym for quality and durability, and this model will be one of the things you may want to give it as a gift for your nephews.

For the performances it offers, this axe is worth buying.

Check the latest price of the Snow & Nealley Hudson Bay Axe here on Amazon.


  • hickory handle
  • leather blade sheath
  • forged grain steel
  • hand worked


Estwing E45A

Designed for the toughest activities you can imagine – this model will give you maximum strength for every task.

It is great for a variety of activities, from splitting wood to chopping logs, and it comes with a nice sheath for its ultra-sharp blade.

It has a great grip that will offer comfortable use for hours. It has a reasonable price, so you should definitively consider this model.

Check the latest price of the Estwing E45A here on Amazon.


  • forged steel construction
  • versatile tool
  • nylon sheath
  • durable and comfortable grip


Browning 231 Outdoorsman Axe

Looking for a high-quality model designed and produced by one of the oldest manufacturers? This is the right model for you.

Browning 231 Outdoorsman Axe evaluation

The Browning 231 Outdoorsman Axe

Professional or amateur, it doesn’t matter- this axe will make the survival much easier, as it is capable of different tasks.

The price offers great value, and if you decide to buy this axe you will get a leather sheath for it as well.

Check the latest prices of the Browning 231 Outdoorsman Axe here on Amazon.


  • durable axe
  • good for professional and recreational use
  • great cutting ability
  • nylon leather sheath


Husqvarna A1400

Husqvarna constantly provides us with high-quality models and the A1400 is just a confirmation for that.

Husqvarna A1400 assessment

The Husqvarna A1400

It is very powerful, even though it is lightweight, and with its ultra-sharp blade, you can cut through every type of wood.

The best thing about it? It won’t cost you a fortune, and it is very durable.

Check the current price of the Husqvarna A1400 here on Amazon.


  • universal axe, great for forest work
  • fiberglass handle
  • hammer function
  • handle protection



This list wouldn’t be complete without a SOG model. Simple design, but still very powerful model.

SOG F16N-CP analysis


The SOG F16N-CP is ideal for camping and survival in the wild, as it is lightweight, durable, axe designed for a huge variety of tasks.

This model is number one pick for many professionals around the world, and once you take it in your hand, you will feel the reason for that.

You don’t have to spend loads of cash, as this model can be yours for way less.

Check the latest price of the SOG F16N-CP here on Amazon.


  • forged head
  • nylon carry sheath
  • molded rubber handle
  • can be used as a hammer


Tactical Tomahawk Axe M48

United Cutlery followed the needs of the campers and succeeded in creating a great tomahawk.

It has a durable fiberglass handle, with a very sharp blade. It can be carried all day without being tired, and it can be used for various activities like chopping and slashing.

It has a secondary edge on the back of the head for more efficient personal defense.

It offers great value, and this model is a must-have for every camper.

Check the latest price of the M48 here on Amazon.


  • 8 ” blade
  • fiberglass nylon handle
  • nylon sheath
  • secondary edge


Off Grid Tools OGD -SA100

The design of this tool will help you to handle the toughest situations you can imagine.

Off Grid Tools OGD -SA100 review

The Off Grid Tools OGD -SA100

It doesn’t matter if you need a tool for camping or surviving a zombie apocalypse, this model is what you need to consider.

It has a durable glass filled nylon handle with an ultra-sharp blade that easily cuts through wood, plastic and many other materials.

You can find this quality model for around $100, and this tool is worth every cent of it.

Check the latest price of the OGD-SA100 here on Amazon.


  • re-sharpenable blade
  • hammer head
  • seat belt cutter
  • glass-filled nylon handle


Gerber Downrange Tomahawk

You need more than one tool, but you are limited to only one. What should you do?

It is simple – just take the Gerber Downrange Tomahawk. That is basically 3 tools in 1 – an axe, a pry bar and a hammer.

Gerber Downrange Tomahawk Review

The Gerber Downrange Tomahawk

The head of the axe cuts through everything, the pty bar allows you to maximize leverage during the breach and the hammer head is perfect for smashing object. Plus, you get it with a sheath, that is as practical as the tool.

However, you need to pay a bit more for this quality model. Its may be an expensive tool but will provide you excellent performance.


  • 3 tools in 1
  • steel body that won’t break
  • molle compatible sheath
  • indestructible tool for destruction


If this is not enough for you, I would recommend reading my other article for bushcraft axes and hatchets, where you can find even more reviews. Hopefully, this way you will be able to make the right pick.

What should you look for in an axe or a hatchet?

Or, to be more precise, what makes the tool a “survival” tool? You can find hundreds of different models on the market, but not all of them are designed for survival.

So, before buying your new tool, try to answer these questions in order to find the right axe or hatchet for survival.

Can you carry it?

Logically, smaller tools are easier to carry. They weigh less, they are more compact and you can travel long distances with it.

Axes are heavier than hatchets, but they are good for heavier tasks, which is why many campers prefer them over hatchets. On the other hand, hatchets are small enough so you can pack them easily, but still capable of a variety of tasks.

Is it durable?

In this section, you make the difference between high and low-quality model.

Low-quality models are cheaper, but you cannot expect to use them for a long time. However, you can find quality models that are not expensive, but you need to be very careful, as you don’t want to end up with a broken handle on your first use.

It is your money, your decisions, but I would recommend making sure that the tool you are buying is durable.

Can you repair it?

As I mentioned, you don’t want to make repairs on our tool. Or, you do? The truth is, many users like to repair their tools.

But this repair doesn’t mean that your tool is broken, it means that you can do something in order to make it even better. The handle won’t be the same after years of using it, and you may want to replace it after some time.

Or, you don’t have to make so big repairs. Sharpening the blade is also a repair that should be done from time to time. But notice that heads of better quality will need more time to become dull.

Is it versatile?

Since you are limited when packing, you need to make sure that the tool you take with you will be able to handle different tasks. Some axes are designed for logs cutting, and some hatchets are best for splitting wood.

Whatever you choose, make sure that your tool is good for many activities and not specified only for one. Surviving in the wild requires handling a variety of tasks, and you need to be prepared for each of them.

What to choose?

As I said in the beginning, there is not one true answer to this.

If you are about to cut big logs and build shelters, you should go for an axe.

But, if your backpack is already heavy and your tasks include trimming branches and splitting wood, a hatchet will do the job.

It is really hard to make a pick, but my favorite from this list is the Estwing. Which one do you prefer? Feel free to post your favorites in comments below.

Best axes and hatchets for survival

Maybe you have made up your mind about the if you want to get an axe or a hatchet for survival, maybe not. But maybe have have not selected which model is the best for you. Check out my review of axes and hatches for survival here:

Axe Survival Tips

If you are going to us an axe or hatchet for survival you may want to know how to sharpen it in the wilderness

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