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Best Survival Hatchets: Explore the Wilderness

Get the most out of your time in nature with the best survival hatchet

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BYAlice Musyoka, Daniel Rika, Jovan Nikic/ LAST UPDATED ON April 7, 2021

When you’re out in the wild, your instinct, survival skills, and tools are what make your experience easier. A survival hatchet can chop wood, carve great handmade tools, and help you get through thickets. However, finding the right one can be difficult, which is why we’ve combed the internet for the best survival hatchets. Consider one of these for your next trip into the wilderness.

Best Overall

SOG Tactical Tomahawk


This lightweight throwing tomahawk has a razor-sharp stainless steel blade and a ballistic nylon sheath. It also includes a belt loop, making it easy to carry.


The handle features glass-reinforced nylon to prolong the hatchet’s lifespan. The hatchet has a sharp blade for chopping and a spike for piercing. The blade sports 420 stainless steel with a black finish for enhanced corrosion resistance. 


The spike makes it dangerous to carry, especially in situations where you have to sprint. The hatchet doesn’t perform very well when chopping sizeable chunks of logs. 

Best Value

Tabor Tools Camp Hatchet


This 12-inch hatchet comes with a protective rubber band around the handle, making it safe to store and carry. The anti-slip handle has a bright neon color that keeps the hatchet visible in low light. 


The hatchet is balanced for an effective swing, especially when chopping. Its non-stick blade is optimized for low friction to make cutting less strenuous. The handle’s cushioned rubber grip is designed to reduce shock. 


You might need to file its blade before using it the first time. Once the blade dulls, it has poor edge retention after sharpening. After a fair amount of usage, the blade may suddenly come off. 

Honorable Mention

Estwing Sportsman’s Axe


Drop forged in one piece using durable American steel, the Estwing is a stylish survival hatchet that will remain strong even after extensive use. The blade has been sharpened by hand to make it more powerful. 


The handle’s grip is made from genuine hand-sanded and lacquered leather for easy handling and improved durability. The protective ballistic nylon sheath prevents the blade from dulling or harming you. The hatchet is hand-polished and looks beautiful. 


The blade chips very easily at the edges or gets dull after a short period of use. It also has poor curvature, which reduces its effectiveness. There are noticeable gaps where the leather grip meets the base. 

Best Survival Hatchets: Explore the Wilderness


  • Safety goggles need to be on your shopping list when you purchase a survival hatchet. When you use machinery to sharpen the blade, sparks will fly. It’s also a good idea to clear an area during intense chopping or cutting to avoid minor accidents.
  • Make sure you invest in a full-length pouch for the hatchet blade. This protects it from too much humidity, which may cause it to rust. You’ll also be protected from accidental knicks and cuts. 
  • After you’re done using your hatchet, don’t leave it outdoors where it will be exposed to the elements. Wipe it with a dry cloth and leave it near a heat source. However, do not expose it to direct heat. 


Why Trust Us

Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

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Q: What’s the difference between a hatchet and a tomahawk?

A: A hatchet is a multifunctional tool used for survival in the outdoors. It performs tasks such as splitting, carving, and chopping. It’s lighter than a tomahawk and is easy to carry. Tomahawks typically have longer handles and are often used as weapons or for splitting. 

Q: How do I sharpen a survival hatchet?

A: There are three ways to sharpen a survival hatchet. You can sharpen the blade with a file and push long strokes 6-10 times on each side. Alternatively, you can use a whetstone to push about 10-12 strokes on both sides of the blade. Use a rotary tool when you need to sharpen your hatchet quickly or you want a lightweight blade sharpener.

Q: Which is the best steel grade for a survival hatchet?

A: Most survival hatchets are made from stainless steel. However, the difference between mediocre hatchets and high-quality hatchets is the grade of steel used. Carbon steel is tougher, sharpens well, and retains its sharp edge for longer. 

Final Thoughts

The SOG Tactical Tomahawk is perfect for chopping, light hammering, and piercing. 

However, if you’re looking for something that’s more affordable, the Tabor Tools Camp Hatchet fits the bill.