Best Camping Hatchets [Review & Guide]

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Fiskars 378501-1002 X7 Hatchet
Estwing Special Edition Fireside Friend Axe - 14" Wood Splitting Maul with Forged Steel Construction & Genuine Leather Grip - EFF4SE, Black-Special Edition
Fiskars 378501-1002 X7 Hatchet
Estwing Special Edition Fireside Friend Axe - 14" Wood Splitting Maul with Forged Steel Construction & Genuine Leather Grip - EFF4SE, Black-Special Edition
Fiskars 378501-1002 X7 Hatchet
Fiskars 378501-1002 X7 Hatchet
Estwing Special Edition Fireside Friend Axe - 14" Wood Splitting Maul with Forged Steel Construction & Genuine Leather Grip - EFF4SE, Black-Special Edition
Estwing Special Edition Fireside Friend Axe - 14" Wood Splitting Maul with Forged Steel Construction & Genuine Leather Grip - EFF4SE, Black-Special Edition

An axe or hatchet is an essential tool to have in many outdoor pursuits and survival situations. Many people feel that they can get by with just a knife, but an axe can give you a definite advantage in specific locations and scenarios.

The best survival hatchets will let you cut branches and kindling, split firewood, help you construct shelter, and generally support you in being self-sufficient in the wilds.

In this article, we’re going to explore some of the best camping hatchets on the market.

But, before we get to our top 12 list for the best camping hatchet, let’s have a quick look at what qualities to seek out in a camping axe or hatchet.

best camping hatchets

What To Look For In The Best Camping Axes And Hatchets 

Quality of Construction

When traveling in the woods as a camper or backpacker, carrying the extra weight of an axe adds to your total load. So you don’t want to reach your destination and discover that your axe is poorly designed, or worse, malfunctions.

Isolated and wooded environments call for high-quality gear. You should make sure that the axe or hatchet you’re purchasing is constructed of the highest quality materials you can find.

You should look for a stainless steel or carbon steel head, with a sturdy shaft that will give you adequate leverage to avoid repetitive injuries.

You also want to make sure that it has a nice ergonomic grip that will make it easy to handle, and good overall weight balance throughout.

Hand Forging

The process of hand forging is a time consuming and tedious process that requires the skills of an experienced craftsperson. The amount of hours that goes into hand forging a steel head makes them highly valued.

Many axes that are forged by hand also dome with hand-carved handles and a lot of experts feel that the quality of these handmade hatchets is more exceptional than their mass-produced counterparts. Hence, the price of a hand forged tool is often significantly more.

On the other hand, some very strong and high-quality axes are mass produced by reputable companies and manufactured with materials of the highest caliber that will suit your purposes just fine.

The decision to purchase a hand-forged axe or a machine made one is mostly a matter of personal preference.

overlanding campfire

Portability and Weight 

While the idea of being able to carry an axe with you on your wilderness adventure is appealing, you should understand that every pound of weight counts.

Depending on how far you have to travel, an important consideration is how long you’ll need to carry this in your pack. Lightweight axes are a definite plus in this regard.

However, with some of the lighter weight axes comes decreased performance. If you’re going to need to be doing a lot of wood chopping because of cold weather, for example, this is not the time to purchase a lightweight hobby style axe.

You’ll want the best survival axe with enough weight to get the job done.


You should also consider how much cutting power the best survival hatchet is going to have. Cutting power depends on the overall balance, grip, bit, (the section that is behind the blade) and also the sharpness of the blade itself.


best survival hatchets

This seems like a no-brainer, but the best camping hatchet will have a comfortable and firm grip to keep your hand from slipping and causing accidental injury.

Balance And Weight 

The more the head of the axe weighs, the more power and control it will have.

The Blade 

The efficiency of the blade on even the best camping hatchet boils down to the material it’s made of, and the width. It should be neither too broad, nor too narrow. And it should be able to be sharpened easily to a razor sharp cutting edge.

Head Shape and Tang

Typically, the shape of the head of a camping hatchet has an impact on the way it feels and works. For the best result, you should look for a balanced head (not too narrow, nor wider). Plus, if you want you can get a double bit axe. It works like a double-edged sword.

Another important part of a hatchet is the tang. For your information, a tang is the back part of the blade where it meets with the handle. There are various types of tangs in hatchets. Each of these variations has its pros and cons. 

For example, a full-tang design means that the hatchet is made of one-piece material. Here, the back of the head of the hatchet extends to be the handle. Thus, the handle is also the tang.

This design makes the hatchet more durable and allows the user to exert more force while cutting. It’s up to you to choose the type of tangs that checks the most boxes for you.

Sharpening the Blade

One of the most important parts of maintaining a hatchet is to sharpen it regularly. Now, it’s very easy to sharpen the blade of an axe. You’ll need an axe sharpening file and a bit of physical effort to accomplish that.

However, there are some low-maintenance hatchets available that need very little care. Also, some hatchets come pre-sharpened from the factory. As a result, you’ll be able to use it right out of the box.

Uses of the axes and hatchets

When shopping for a camping hatchet/axe, you should know where you’re going to use it. That way you’ll be able to choose one that would be the best fit for your specific circumstances.

For instance, if you’re an overlander or camper, you’ll prefer a camping hatchet compared to a full-size axe. It’s because of the ease of use and portability of a hatchet. At the same time, you’ll be able to use it for splitting wood, or cutting logs effortlessly.

On the other hand, if you’re worried about carrying a heavyweight tool with you, you can look for a full-size axe. That way it will give you more power for felling trees or cutting thick wood in the wild.

best survival axe

Best Camping Hatchet Reviews

Review Of Schrade SCAXE10 11.1in Full Tang Hatchet with 3.6in Stainless Steel Blade

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The Schrade SCAXE10 is an excellent, reliable hatchet for hiking, camping, and outdoor activities. It features a sturdy black TPR rubber wrapped handle, a lanyard and thermoplastic belt sheath, a powder-coated 3Cr13 stainless steel blade, and a hammer pomme. 

The rubber grip handle absorbs vibrations, and the finger groves give you a good grip, both of which add to the comfortability of using this hatchet. The lanyard loop is a nice touch that allows you to slip your wrist through for excellent control in slippery conditions.

The small size makes it portable and easy to carry in a backpack for overnight trips, while its quality construction makes it highly useful in a variety of situations.

What customers are saying about the Schrade SCAXE10:

Customers love the way this hatchet feels and mentioned that the ergonomic grip helps to minimize hand fatigue. Several reviewers felt that the sharp cutting edge from day one was a great feature as they didn’t have to put much effort into sharpening before use.

• Blade: Stainless Steel

• Sheath: Thermoplastic

• Handle: Rubber

• Weight: 1.62 lbs

• Overall Length: 11.1-inch

• Color: Black


  • Small and manageable size
  • Comfortable Rubber Handle


  • Too small for heavy-duty log splitting

Review of Gransfors Bruk Wildlife Hatchet 13.50 Inch Axe

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Handmade in Sweden, this axe features a long, 13 1/2 inch wooden handle and a sheath in vegetable tanned leather. Constructed of carbon steel, it’s made to last for generations of scouting and camping. The Gransfors Wildlife Hatchet is a perfect scouting and camping hatchet.

It’s lightweight and easy to carry in your pack for excursions that require a small axe that is both practical and functional. This axe works well for splitting small logs or chopping large branches for your evening campfire. It comes with a book called the “Axe-book”.

What customers are saying about the Gransfors Bruk Wildlife Hatchet:

Online reviews for this hatchet are mostly favourable. One customer mentioned that it was a piece of art and one of the finest hatchets he had ever owned.

• Blade: High carbon steel

• Sheath: Vegetable tanned leather Sheath

• Handle: Wood

• Weight: 1.3 lbs

• Overall Length: 13.50 inches


  • Easy to handle size
  • Solid wood handle


  • Too small for chopping a lot of wood but it does an excellent job for a campfire.

Review Of Gerber Gear Pack Hatchet Camping Axe with Sheath

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The Gerber Gear 31-003482N Pack Hatchet Camping is a small hatchet with a 2.5-inch high carbon steel blade that is precise and portable.

It features an ergonomic non-slip rubber grip handle grip with finger notches just below the head and has a mildew-resistant nylon sheath with belt loops. A hole at the bottom allows you to attach a lanyard for extra support.

The back of the head becomes a striking surface that can be utilized for all kinds of camp duties, like straightening poles, pounding tent stakes, or tenderizing meat. When you’re not using it, you can store it safely inside the military grade sheath that has loops to attach it to your pack or belt easily. 

What customers are saying about the Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet

Purchasers of the Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet were generally satisfied although some were disappointed that it did not seem to have enough weight for chopping a lot of wood.

This hatchet wasn’t designed with the heft of a full-size axe so it makes sense that it can’t do the job of one. In spite of this factor, the reviews were favourable regarding the handle and people also seem genuinely delighted with the included pocket guide.

• Blade: Stainless steel

• Sheath: Mildew-resistant nylon

• Handle: rubber grip

• Length: 9.46 inches

• Weight: 20.8 lbs


  • Quality product from a well-known brand
  • Full-tang, stainless steel construction for durability
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty


  • Not heavy enough for chopping wood

Review Of Fiskars X7 Hatchet 14 Inch

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This Fiskars X7 is an ideal choice of survivalists and campers. It combines weight distribution, an ultra sharp blade and an indestructible design that allows you to do everything from chop cut kindling to chop small or medium-sized logs.

The edge has more blade penetration with each swing, letting you do more with less time and effort.

Fiskars axes are created using a proprietary grinding technique that turns out a sharper edge for superior contact and swift, clean cuts. They have a low friction coating that allows them to stay sharper longer. 

What customers are saying about the Fiskars X7 Hatchet

Customers have very few complaints about the Fiskars line of axes and hatchets. Reviews for this 14-inch hatchet are highly favourable. It’s a clearly a preferred brand and model across the board. One reviewer claimed that it chops like a dream in spite of not being designed as a splitting axe.

The only complaint was from customers who would rather have a nylon sheath than the plastic carrying sheath that this hatchet ships with. Most stated that this was easily remedied by purchasing their sheath of choice separately.

• Blade: High carbon steel

• Sheath: Hard black plastic sheath with a handle

• Handle: Fiberglass composite

• Weight: 1.38 lbs

• Overall Length: 16.5 inches


  • FiberComp handles and insert-molded heads
  • Provides an optimal power-to-weight ratio that increases swing speed
  • Slices through small branches like butter


  • The sheath is plastic. It is recommended that you purchase a nylon sheath separately.

Review Of Fiskars X11 Splitting Axe, 17-Inch

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The Fiskars X11 is the ideal splitting axe, with a hardened forged steel blade that stays strong and sharp and has a coating that prevents the head from getting stuck in the wood. The fiberglass composite handle is lightweight yet extremely rugged and virtually impossible to break.

It features perfect weight distribution that provides the ideal power-to-weight ratio for swing speed. It has advanced blade geometry and is designed for you to be able to split logs with one hand easily. 

What customers are saying about the Fiskars X11 Splitting Axe

Customers rate this Fiskars 17 inch model with high marks for performance. This seems to be a perfect cross between a hatchet and a lighter duty wood splitting axe.

One woman was particularly impressed with this size and was delighted to be able to chop her wood for the winter with it.

• Blade: Carbon Steel

• Sheath: Plastic

• Handle: Fiberglass composite

• Weight: 2.18 lbs

• Overall Length: 17 inches


  • The proprietary grinding technique provides a sharper edge for better contact and cleaner cuts
  • Shock-absorbing FiberComp handle
  • Advanced bevel convex blade geometry


  • Comes with a plastic sheath that customers generally replace with a separately purchased nylon version

Review Of Husqvarna 13″ Wooden Hatchet

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This attractive Husqvarna hatchet is made in Sweden and has a hand forged appearance. It’s a lightweight, small axe useful for cutting branches, small logs and carrying out outer campsite shores.

The head is attached to a beautiful hickory handle with a steel and wooden wedge. It comes with a leather edge sheath to protect it.

What customers are saying about the Husqvarna 13″ Wooden Hatchet

Reviews for this hatchet were mostly favourable and most ranked its performance as a good choice for chores around camp. One reviewer was impressed with his ability to use it for bush crafting in Northern Maine.

• Blade: Swedish Steel

• Sheath: Leather Sheath

• Handle: American Hickory

• Weight: 2.2 lbs

• Overall Length: 15 inches


  • Lightweight and easy to use
  • Beautiful hickory handle
  • Hand forged with an embossed Husqvarna symbol


  • Complaints of ax head or handle breaking after first few uses. The company replaces within 90 days

Review Of Estwing’s Fireside Friend Axe

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Estwing’s Fireside Friend axe is an excellent choice for outdoor enthusiasts. The head and handle of this axe are forged into 1-piece and then polished by hand for a gorgeous finish.

It features a sanded and lacquered leather handle which makes it comfortable yet durable and easy to hold. It also comes with a sturdy sheath made of nylon for added protection.

It features a tempered 2-3/8″ cutting edge and is the ideal tool for campers and survivalists. 

What customers are saying about the Estwing Fireside Friend Axe

The reviews for the Fireside Friend put it solidly in the upper range of popularity. The one-piece design has enough power for chopping and splitting small logs. It’s a clear favourite among users who are familiar with the various brands available on the market.

• Blade: Solid American Steel

• Sheath: Leather Sheath

• Handle: Steel with leather

• Weight: 64 oz

• Overall Length: 14 inches


  • Made with high-quality US steel
  • Weighted wedge design
  • Hand sharpened blade


  • Complaints of paint chipping off

Review Of SOG Voodoo Hawk Mini F182N-CP

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This Voodoo Hawk Mini is a small, lightweight tomahawk that features an extended cutting head, spike for piercing applications, compact glass-reinforced nylon handle, and metal pommel cap. It’s the ideal tool for survivalists, campers, backpackers, hunters, and anyone outdoor sportsperson.

It comes with a heavy-duty sheath made of nylon., a limited lifetime warranty and is an ideal throwing tool. The top-loading sheath lets you carry it easily from your gear or belt without worrying about it falling out.

What customers are saying about the SOG Voodoo Hawk Mini

Customers who purchased this hatchet were generally impressed with it’s throwing and self-defence properties. There is clearly a group that prefers the tomahawk over a hatchet and they are relatively passionate about it.

The only complaints about this were that the button on the sheath may not hold up too well but the tool itself is popular among tomahawk users.

• Blade: Steel

• Sheath: Nylon

• Handle: GRN

• Weight: 28.5 oz

• Overall Length: 12.5 inches


  • Glass-reinforced nylon handle
  • Multipurpose axe head
  • Small and easy to hold


  • Complaints of button breaking on nylon sheath

Review of Estwing Sportsman’s Axe

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This camping hatchet is made with the high-grade one-piece forged steel. You’ll get a reliable sheath with the hatchet for added protection to you and the ax. It features a lacquered leather grip.

Interestingly, the sportsman’s axe is made in the USA. They claim that all the hatches are hand polished and sharpened. You can choose between 2.75 inches and a 3.25 inches cutting edge. This is a 14-inch well-balanced camping hatchet of top quality and a great look.

What customers are saying about the Estwing Sportsman’s Axe

The majority of the users of Estwing Sportsman’s axe left positive feedback about it. They have said the axe is well balanced. Some also said that the axe could serve them lifetime due to its rugged build quality.

• Blade: Forged Steel

• Sheath: Nylon Ballistic sheath

• Handle: Genuine leather grip

• Weight: 1.7 lbs.

• Length: 14 inches


  • Made in the USA
  • Forged in one piece for durability
  • Comes with a ballistic nylon sheath


  • Not suitable for cutting thick wood

Review of Promithi Camping Hatchet

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If you’re looking for a full-tang camping hatchet with a wooden handle, then this could do the trick for you. This is a 13-inch hatchet made with forged high carbon stainless steel. You’ll like the inclusion of the etched wolf head design in the blade of the hatchet. 

In addition, this is a double-sided hatchet designed for campers, backpackers, overlanders, all alike. Out of the box, this is a razor-sharp axe. It’s a very ergonomic and aesthetically pleasing hatchet, for sure.

What customers are saying about the Promithi Camping Hatchet

Most of the past buyers of this hatchet loved the design and performance of this one. They liked it as it’s razor-sharp out of the box. Some of them are even recommending it.

• Blade: High carbon alloyed steel

• Sheath: Nylon

• Handle: Wooden handle

• Weight: About 2 lbs.

• Length: 13-inch


  • Unique double-ended full-tang design and rugged build quality
  • Ergonomic wooden grip
  • Has a hole at the hand for lanyard attachment


  • The quality of the sheath is not up to the mark

Review of MTech USA Camp Axe

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If you’re running low on the budget, you can get this one. It’s an 11-inch camp axe with a 3-inch satin finished axe head. The blade is made with 440 stainless steel.

Whereas the handle is made with a rubberized material for providing a comfortable grip while handing the axe for an extended period of time. You’ll also get a sheath made of nylon with this robust and stunning two-tone camping hatchet.

What customers are saying about the MTech USA Camp Axe

The previous buyers of this axe camping are overjoyed with the price to performance ratio of this one. Almost all of the users said, except for the quality of the sheath, it’s one of the best budget-friendly camping axe out there.

• Blade: Stainless steel

• Sheath: Nylon

• Handle: Rubber

• Weight: About 2 lbs.

• Length: 11-inch


  • Budget-friendly
  • Compact, sharp, and eye-catching
  • Rugged build quality


  • The sheath is not of good quality


What is a camping axe?

In short, a camping axe is almost identical to any standard hand axes in terms of the functionality. That means you’ll be using camping axes for cutting branches, splitting wood, chopping firewood, and more.

However, camping axes are very different from a standard one when it comes to size and weight. Generally, camping axes tend to be lightweight, small, and portable. So, you can easily carry them on your essentials bag backpack while camping or overlanding. And a camp axe or hatchet can be used one-handed.

Some of them also come with a variety of unique features that are not available in standard hatchets. However, camping hatchets are not suitable for cutting large and thick wood or big trees. 

best camping hatchet

What are camping axe heads made of?

There are various types of materials used in axe heads. Among them, the most common one is steel. Some brands use stainless steel, whereas some others use hand-forged Swedish steel.

What type of camp axe is best for cutting down trees?

Frankly, it would be tough to cut down a big tree with a camping hatchet.

It’s because of the small size and low weight of the axe. In addition, the inclusion of the shorter handles in camping axes also doesn’t help in exerting enough force to cut down full-grown trees.

Despite that, if you’re in need of cutting a big tree with a camp ax, you should use one that comes with a heavier head and longer shaft.

What is the difference between a hatchet and axe?

Most of us use the terms ‘hatchet’ and ‘axe’ interchangeably thinking both of these are similar. But there are a few key differences here.

First off, a hatchet tends to be lightweight and smaller in size. They also have shorter handles or shafts. That way you can carry them with you as they are fairly portable. You’ll be able to use a hatchet with one hand.

Also, some hatchets come with a narrower head. More to that, some special hatchets feature a hammer-head design on the back of the head. With that, you can use the hatchet for hammering or pounding tent stakes.

On the other hand, a true axe would be a bit larger. They will have a long handle and will lack a hammer-head design. Plus, an axe will be heavier, which will make it perfect for chopping or cutting down even big trees. But it will be hard to use an axe with a single hand. Using an axe is a two-handed job in most cases.

What is the best camping hatchet?

Everybody will have their own different choice when it comes to camping hatchets. So, one particular hatchet could be the best for you, but to others, it might not be the real deal. Thus, it’s hard to settle on a single best camping hatchet. However, if you want the best camping hatchet, you could pick the Fiskars X7 Hatchet 14 Inch.

What is the best AXE for camping?

As usual, it’s not possible to choose any specific axe as the best one for camping. Because there are a plethora of options out there. When buying an axe for camping, you should know about the requirements and preferences of yours. 

Then it will be easy to find the best ax for camping that matches your needs. Nevertheless, we would suggest the Fiskars X7 Hatchet 14 Inch as one of the best options from our review.

best camping hatchet

Buyers Advice For The Best Camping Hatchets

After reviewing these top choices, we recommend the Fiskars X7 Hatchet 14 Inch. It has all the great features you would want in an axe of this size.

It’s lightweight and portable enough to carry in a pack or on your belt, but it easily outperforms the other models on the list in the power-to-weight ratio category. It’s a reliable and efficient overlanding accessory you’ll be happy to own for years to come.

The Estwing Special Edition Fireside Friend Axe comes in as our runner-up in this review based on it’s sturdy forged one-piece design.

Reviews for this axe are consistently high for overall performance, and although it’s not as efficient as the Fiskars model for woodchopping, it runs a close second.

Photo of author
Ferenc Elekes has been a devout Overlanding enthusiast for many years. During that time, Ferenc has explored 75 countries on six continents, with overland travel involved in 40 countries on three continents. From his trusty 2006 Toyota Land Cruiser Prado with a roof-top tent, he’s blogged about experiences that can only be found in the remotest regions on Earth. Along the way, he's gained in-depth knowledge of the novel challenges overlanders encounter and practical ways to meet them. On his website, he shares informed opinions about everything from the best overland gear to how to get a vehicle unstuck. Ferenc has also written for Ih8mud, the Expedition Portal, the Overland Journal, and he is often invited as a guest to outdoors-related podcasts.
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