You don’t need to go all 19th Century when you go camping with a hatchet to clear as much growth a possible. If you are adverse to chopping at a live tree, a camping hatchet is a great tool to have when hewing and cutting down to size some of the dead wood you can find near a campsite. A hatchet can be used to trim down a log to avoid a fire with flaming branches, and to make a few nice piles of different sized kindling.
If you are planning on some survival training, or there may be the possibility of getting lost and having to survive for real, then a hatchet can be invaluable when building a shelter. As sharp as a machete but with a little more weight behind it, hatchets are ideal for this purpose.
An axe may be great in your backyard when you have a lot of work to do but when you are going camping a lighter and more maneuverable hatchet is what you will really want. And at a pinch it can be used for self defense or hopefully just to scare away whatever may be threatening you, your family and friends.
Today we are going to look at some of the best hatchets on the market. Then we will let you decide which style is most suited to your needs and the environments you might encounter when you go camping.
Our favorite camping hatchets
Gerber Gator Combo Axe II
Starting off with something a little less traditional, the Gerber Gator Combo Axe II has some of the features of an axe. It has a straight handle (hatchets usually have a curve) but it certainly does not have the size and weight of an axe. You can hack when required but also whittle later in the day when the hard work is done.
As a nice added extra, the glass filled nylon handle houses a blunt nose saw that can help out if the hatchet is unable to get the job done in more confined areas.
Estwing E24A Sportsman’s Hatchet
The Estwing E24A Sportsman’s Hatchet is more along the lines of a hatchet that your grandfather would recognize. With its classic lines and leather wrapped handle, this is ‘old school’ hatchet style. It is no surprise to learn then that Estwing have been making hatchets since the twenties, so your grandfather may very well have swung one himself.
Made from a single piece of 1055 carbon steel and featuring a narrow head that will allow you to chop deep into any type of wood, the Estwing is a fine piece of kit. The single piece construction means that you won’t have to worry about replacing a broken handle, but it does mean vibrations will be carried from the head directly to your hand so it’s best to be wary of green branches. But hey, this isn’t middle school now is it? A little shock wave never hurt anyone (too much).
Kershaw Camp Ax
Next is the Kershaw Camp Ax, which is a neat little axe. Coming in at only eleven inches you are unlikely to be chopping down trees to build boats with this guy. It is however ideal for keeping on your belt and having at hand for all the bits and pieces that need to be cleaned up around camp.
The drop-forged method of production stretches and aligns the grain of the steel to give it extra strength and structural integrity. The not slip handle also feels very secure and should eliminate the dangers associated with a flying hatchet during vigorous use. This is a great little hatchet that keeps a sharp edge very well.
Columbia River Knife & Tool 2725 Kangee T-Hawk
If you want something with a little more aggressive styling, for saving lives or combat situations, then the Columbia River Knife and Tool 2725 Kangee T-Hawk is the tool for you. With a spiked rear that can be used for prying, puncturing or digging, this military grade hatchet pulls no punches.
Made from a single piece of 1080 steel, measuring more than fourteen inches long but coming in at less than two pounds, this guy fights well above its weight. Super sturdy and guaranteed to give years of service, the Columbia is a quality tool ideal for many different situations.
So the choice is yours. These are all hardy, well-made hatchets. And while they do have their differences, they can all be relied on to chop, hack, whittle and dig their way around any task that you ask of them. It’s difficult to choose a favorite between the four, but our top pick is the Columbia. It has a nice size and manageable weight. Plus, with the spike on the rear not only does it look cool but it gives an added dimension that the standard hatchet simply doesn’t have.
So sharpen up. Check these models out and get yourself back in the woods where we belong.
Image credit via Flickr Creative Commons: Woody H