Wondering what is a hatchet used for? A hatchet is a multi-purpose tool and outdoor enthusiasts know the real importance of having one.
What is a hatchet used for?
Hatchet is basically a small axe, but very powerful. This means you can pack it easily and use it for huge variety of activities. Here are most of them:
One of the basic activities for outdoor survivals is wood cutting. You will need to find a log and chop the wood on it. You should lay the branches on the log and split it, as this is the safest way. But what if there are not branches?
Chop a tree
Sometimes, surviving in the wild will force you to chop a tree. Even though you may don’t have the right axe for chopping, with the right technique and more effort you will manage to do that.
Find a tree that is leaned in one direction. This shouldn’t be difficult, as there aren’t many straight trees in the woods.
Chop it upwards and downwards just at the lean. When the tree is about to fall, move back, and then just chop the branches.
The basic use of the wood is starting up a campfire. Smaller and dry branches are perfect for this, so you shouldn’t go for big trees as you will need more effort for that, plus, the wood won’t be good for a fire.
You are aware that you need to be very smart when packing yourself, but how to substitute a hammer? Luckily, the hatchet can help you with those tasks too.
Just flip the head so the blade is facing up, but be careful – always put the sheath on the head when you want to use it as a hammer. No matter how many times you have done that, the sheath will prevent any injuries.
Shape other objects
You can use the hatchet not only to cut wood and branches but also shape them into desired forms. Survival in the wilderness will force you to make different crafts that will make your stay there much easier.
Many people often go hunting with a hatchet. Not that this tool is good as a weapon, but it can be used to separate its joints later on.
Hatchets have been used as throwing weapons since before the middle ages. However, you may not know that throwing axes and hatchets are gaining popularity again now but instead of as weapons of was they are being used for sport. Check out the best throwing axes.
If you ever went hiking, you know that you are limited when packing. Because of this, you would like a lightweight and compact tool, instead of a big and heavy one.
However, the size isn’t the only thing you should consider. What about the performance?
Check our list of recommendations for a hatchet.
Schrade SCAXE 2
Looking for a small, compact, but also powerful hatchet that can be used as a hammer as well? Consider this one.
With 11.8” overall length and 3.8” blade length, this model is a must-have for every hiker. It has a titanium coated blade and rubberized handle. In addition, it weighs only 1.4 pounds. Sounds unreal, right?
Even most of the users prefer leather sheaths, you get this model with a black thermoplastic sheath. According to this, you may expect an expensive price, but here are the good news – you can it get it for $40-$50.
Check the latest price and customer reviews of the SCAXE 2 here on Amazon.
|lightweight||not the best sheath material|
Columbia River 2735 Knife and Tool
If you need a model with a longer handle, but still lightweight, here is the hatchet for you.
Its overall length is 19.1”, but surprisingly, it weighs only 2 pounds, which is good for a model of its category. Plus it has a very sharp blade as its head is made of hot forged steel.
It is not good only for chopping, but for a variety of activities. However, it is not the best throwing hatchet mostly because of its wooden handle.
It offers good value for the money, as you can find it for around $40-$50.
Check the latest price and read customer reviews of the Columbia River 2735 Knife and Tool here on Amazon.
|lightweight||not the best throwing hatchet|
|very sharp blade|
This is an updated version of the Vietnam Tomahawk, and it is way better. It is a great tool for a variety of applications that will make your stay in the wild easier.
It has a nylon handle of 15.75” that provides a nice grip, a head made of stainless steel and it weighs only 1.5 pounds.
Even though it isn’t the best pick for throwing, on overall, it is a good handle. It comes with a nylon sheath and you can get it for a price of $50.
Check the latest price and customer reviews of the SOG F01TN-CP here on Amazon.
|lightweight||not the best throwing hatchet|
If none of these models does not fit your needs, you may want to consider other hatchets I reviewed in other articles.
CRKT Kangee T-Hawk
This model is said to be one of the very best survival tools. It is great for so many tasks and nothing can stand in its way.
The only negative thing about it is that you will have to pay more than $100 for it. Check my article on best bushcraft models for a full CRKT Kangee T-Hawk review.
Check the latest price and customer reviews of the CRKT Kangee T-Hawk here on Amazon.
|a powerful strike|
|easy to attach to your gear|
Gerber Gator Combo Axe II
You may find yourself in a situation when the weather is against you. In this case, the only hatchet that can help you is the Gerber Gator Combo Axe II.
This lightweight model is very powerful and is something that you must take a look at. If you read the article on bushcraft models and my full Gerber Gator Combo Axe II review, you know the importance of having this one.
Check the latest price and customer review of the Gerber Gator Combo Axe II here on Amazon.
|ideal for tough tasks in different weather conditions|
|great striking power|
Gransfors Bruks Outdoor Axe
The more you spend for an axe, the better quality you get. If you are willing to give over $200 for a hatchet then this is the model I recommend.
It is great for so many different tasks and can be used as a knife as well. It is one of the best bushcraft models, if not the best one. Read my full review of the Gransfors Bruks Outdoor Axe here.
Check the current price of the Gransfors Bruks Outdoor Axe on Amazon.
|great model for hunting and camping||too expensive|
|small, one-handed axe|
|very powerful strike|
Fiskars constantly produces great quality models, for a reasonable price, and this is not an exception.
It has an overall length of 17” and it is a great tool for surviving in the wild. It has an ultra-sharp edge, capable of more than you can imagine.
For more info about this one, check my Review of the Fiskars x11 here.
You can check the current price and customer reviews of the Fiskars x11 here on Amazon.
|lightweight||it can become dull over time|
|ultra-sharp edge for maximum performance|
How to pick the right hatchet?
These days, you can find many models that not also look similar, but also have similar prices. Not only newbies, but even experienced users struggle to make the difference.
What if you make a bad choice?
Well, in that case, you will pay for a model that doesn’t fit your needs and you will need to replace it very soon.
The handle won’t last long, the head will become dull quickly – these are the most common issues you can face.
Find a good hatchet
In order to find a good hatchet, you will need to use several models so you can decide. A hatchet should be a mix of power and portability, and this is different for every hiker.
This mostly depends on the use, on your style and body type.
You don’t have to spend loads of cash for a quality hatchet. Yes, expensive models may be better, but you can find a good model in the price range of $40-$80.
As a recreational hiker, you won’t even need more from what a $50 hatchet would offer.
So, wooden handles have proven to be very durable, but materials like fiberglass plastic are good as well. Many users prefer the fiberglass handle, as it is lighter.
But what is the ideal handle length? There are two opinions.
Longer handle increases safety, as the risk of hitting your leg is reduced. But, on the other side, longer models make the packing more difficult.
Almost every head of a hatchet is made of steel, but if you hate rust, you should look for a stainless steel head.
The sharpness is also crucial, you need to find a hatchet that comes with a sharpened edge. Sharper hatchet is also safer. How is that possible?
Well, if the edge is sharp, you will need less force when using it and that will give you more control over your hatchet.
Beside this, you may want to take a look what else you get with the hatchet. Almost every hatchet comes with a sheath, but you need to find the right sheath for you as well.
What do you prefer, a leather sheath or some other material? Whatever you choose, it is important for the sheath to fully cover the cutting edge.
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I have a SOG and I can’t be happier with it. It is lighter and easier to pack than one I had before and it’s extremely handy for many more things than just hiking or camping. The blade stays extremely sharp for a very long time and I think its great for people who are newbies in an outdoors.