Best Camping Hatchets: Chop Wood with Ease

Cut and chop your way in nature with these top camping hatchets

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A successful camping trip mostly depends on the tools and gear you have. A quality hatchet is a must-have tool for every camper. It allows you to do a lot of things, from setting up a shelter to making a campfire. Without a hatchet, it's rather difficult to survive in nature and have an enjoyable camping experience. We composed the following guide to help you find the best hatchet for your needs.

  • Best Overall
    Estwing Sportsman’s Axe
    Summary
    Summary

    This is a multi-purpose tool perfect for camping. It does a great job in chopping logs, chipping branches, and splitting firewood. The stainless steel head provides excellent balance. It also stands up to a lot of abuse thanks to its high-quality construction.

    Pros
    Pros

    Eastwing is a single piece hatchet and has a quality steel blade. It's hand-polished and quite sharp. It includes a ballistic nylon sheath to protect the cutting edge. The curved handle is made of genuine leather. The leather grip allows for more control. Handmade, sanded and lacquered for durability. 

    Cons
    Cons

    It comes with an unsharpened axe head, and it might require frequent sharpening. The sticker on the handle is hard to remove. 

  • Best Value
    Coleman Camp Axe
    Summary
    Summary

    This is an excellent inexpensive hatchet that comes in handy at the campsite. It's a  compact and high-quality tool. It easily splits and chops wood, and feels comfortable in the hand. The stainless steel head makes it efficient and durable.

    Pros
    Pros

    The hatchet is made of carbon steel. It has a non-slip handle that allows for easy use and a firm rubber grip. There's also a notch cut on the head for pulling out tent stakes. The tool is reliable, easy to handle, and efficiently chops smaller branches and thinner wood. 

    Cons
    Cons

    Not ideal for heavy-duty tasks. It doesn't include a holder or sheath. Heavier than other options.

  • Honorable Mention
    Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet
    Summary
    Summary

    This hatchet is compact and perfect for backpacking. It fits backpacks and camping bags and allows for easy maneuver. Due to the lightweight design, it proves to be highly portable. The quality construction makes it reliable and durable. 

    Pros
    Pros

    Although compact, this Gerber hand axe is rather efficient. The head has an impressive stainless steel blade. It's extra sharp and withstands heavy use. The rubberized handle prevents slips and allows for more security and precision. It also has a hole at the base for a lanyard. A quality sheath is included in the package. 

    Cons
    Cons

    It might be too small for those with larger hands. Due to the compact design and thin axe head, it’s unsuitable for heavy-duty use. Difficult to put in and take out of the holder. 

Tips

  • When choosing the best axe, you should first consider its size. If you want a portable tool for backpacking, you'll have to pick a small axe shorter in handle length and with a light head. For car camping, you don't have to worry about the overall length and weight that much. 
  • The weight of the tool also influences portability. Although lightweight hatchets might be easier to carry, they could make chopping wood more difficult. Pick a camping axe that is portable but also heavy enough to be efficient. 
  • Make sure you choose a hatchet made of quality materials. A survival axe should be durable, protected from rust, mildew, sun, and other elements. The quality material also ensures that the blade stays sharp for longer. Avoid a forest axe with a wooden handle that quickly deteriorates in nature.
  • When it comes to the camping axe, another important factor to consider is an ergonomic design. A hatchet should feel comfortable in the hand for easy maneuvering. It should have an anti-slip, rubberized handle to provide a firm grip. 

FAQs

Q: What is the difference between an axe and a hatchet? 

A: Axes and hatchets look the same and basically are the same tool, but some differences do exist. Axes have bigger heads and longer handles. They are designed for two-handed use, mostly for larger tasks. Hatchets are smaller, more portable, and can be used with only one hand. They are designed for detailed and delicate tasks. 

Q: How do you sharpen a hatchet?

A: The simplest way to sharpen a hatchet is with a mill file. For even better finishing results, you can use whetstones afterward to polish the ax head. A grinding wheel is another good way to sharpen a hatchet. Rotary tools also work well.

Q: Is it legal to carry a hatchet for camping? 

A: Yes, you can carry a hatchet in nature while camping, as you'll be using it for survival. However, you shouldn't have any pointed or bladed items in your possession in public. Therefore, you should always keep your hatchet with your other camping gear and store it safely at home until the next trip. 

Final Thoughts

The Estwing Camping Hatchet is a reliable and efficient multi-tool that can withstand heavy use. 

For those who need an inexpensive alternative, we recommend the Coleman Camp Axe, a handy hatchet for lighter tasks.