A hatchet is more than just a tool to split your firewood. It’s a hammer to force your tent stakes into the hard ground, an emergency bottle opener so you can crack open a cold one, and even a weapon for the inevitable zombie apocalypse. With so many out there to choose from, we’ve compiled this list so you can find the best camping hatchets for your next outdoor adventure.
Our Top Picks: Best Camping Hatchets
Short on time? Here’s a quick overview:
- Best Overall: Fiskars X7. From the brand that makes the best scissors, this hatchet is sharp, lightweight, reliable, and nearly impossible to break.
- Runner Up: Kershaw Deschutes Bearded. This classic hatchet features a high-carbon steel composite blade that’s extra-durable and super-sharp, along with all the other features that make for a great hatchet.
- Best on a Budget: Schrade SCAXE 10. It’s lightweight, it’s sharp, it gets the job done…and it’s less than $25!
- The “Green” Pick: Gransfors Bruk. All the materials in this hatchet are responsibly sourced and 100% vegan, including the vegetable leather sheath.
- Tried and True: Estwing Sportsman’s. This unique-looking hatchet features a sanded and lacquered leather handle and is forged in one piece for ultimate durability.
- Best Small Hatchet: Gerber Pack. With integrated rubber grips in the handle, this lightweight and compact hatchet are easy to grip and suitable to go with you anywhere.
- Best Axe/Hammer Combo: SOG Base Camp. While most hatchets can double as a hammer, the SOG Base Camp is specifically designed to withstand the abuse of hammering so that you can get the most out of your blade.
1. Fiskars X7 Hatchet
The best camping hatchet overall
Brand: Fiskars | Weight: 2.41 lbs | Handle: 17.5″ | Blade: 3.5″ | Price: 💰💰
Fiskars is one of the most popular and respected brands for quality scissors, and their X7 hatchet (while not actually scissors) is no exception. With their proprietary blade-grinding technique, you’d be hard-pressed to find a sharper edge.Thanks to its low-friction coating, the blade is designed to slide easily through wood and other materials without getting stuck. The balance between the blade and the handle is designed for optimum swinging power, so you get stronger cuts with less effort. Altogether, it makes for arguably the best made hatchet on the market. Plus, with Fiskars’ instantly-recognizable combination of black and orange, this hatchet looks as good as it splits!
- Sturdy safety sheathe with integrated carry handle for easy transportation
- FiberComp handle and insert-molded heads make the hatchet all but indestructible
- Proprietary blade-grinding technique for unparalleled sharp edge and longer-lasting retention
- Some reviewers found the handle to be too slick and recommended adding some grip tape
- The hatchet is lightweight, which is great for carrying, but means you can’t get as much power behind your swings for heavy-duty cutting and splitting
2. Kershaw Deschutes Bearded Hatchet Camp Axe
The best camping hatchets: Runner Up
Brand: Kershaw | Weight: 1.55 lbs | Handle: 14″ | Blade: 3.5″ | Price: 💰💰
When it comes to the best camp hatchet, experts and reviewers agree that it’s a toss-up between the Fiskars and the Kershaw Deschutes. Fiskars wins out on our list because of the price, which makes it more accessible, but the Deschutes is by no means unreasonable. The full-tang blade is a composite material that combines two types of steel into one. This high-carbon composite is stronger than standard stainless-steel and allows for a sharper edge. The handle is glass-reinforced nylon for extra durability, with integrated, rubberized inserts for a more comfortable and secure grip. At 14 inches, it’s one of the longest hatchets on our list, making it that much easier to get a powerful swing.
- Composite steel blade is durable and razor-sharp
- Molded sheath with nylon straps for secure, safe storage and carrying
- Cutouts in the knob and axe head reduce weight and act as lanyard holes for additional carry options
- The butt of the blade is a little too thin to be suitable for hammering
- High-carbon steel needs to be sharpened more often than stainless, but is much more durable
3. Schrade SCAXE 10
The best budget camping hatchet
Brand: Schrade | Weight: 1.45 lbs | Handle: 11″ | Blade: 3.64″ | Price: 💰
While a good, reliable hatchet is worth investing in, it doesn’t have to be expensive to be quality. Schrade’s SCAXE10, at under $25, is well within most budgets and can split wood with the best of them. The full-tang design offers maximum power and durability. Simultaneously, the ergonomic rubber grip on the handle ensures a firm grasp at all times. A thermoplastic belt sheathe makes it easy to carry hands-free, and at a mere 1.45 pounds, you’ll barely notice it’s there! The blade is powder-coated stainless steel, designed to retain its edge and last a lifetime.
- Lightweight hatchet is great for bringing on the road
- Performs just as well as higher-end hatchets at a fraction of the price
- Ergonomic handle is contoured to fit into your hands and rubberized for better grip
- The plastic sheathe is functional but a little clumsy to get on and off
- Some reviewers disliked the contoured handle and found it uncomfortable to hold
4. Gransfors Bruk Hand Hatchet
The best eco-friendly camping hatchet
Brand: Gransfors | Weight: 1.3 lbs | Handle: 9.5″ | Blade: 3.25″ | Price: 💰💰💰💰
If you need a hatchet and want to do your part in protecting the environment, consider the Gransfors Bruk. The handle of this traditional-style hatchet is responsibly-sourced hardwood, and the sheath is 100% vegan vegetable leather. With its short, stout handle and solid axe head, this hatchet is perfect for bringing along on your next camping trip. Plus, for all the anglers out there, the head has a rounded poll designed specifically for dispatching fish!
- Responsibly sourced, vegan materials
- Super compact size is perfect for bringing on the road
- Balanced design is easy to use and aids with swinging power
- Significantly more expensive than the other hatchets on our list
- No carry handle on the sheathe (only a lanyard hole at the end of the handle)
5. Estwing Sportsman’s Axe
The best tried-and-true camping hatchet
Brand: Estwing | Weight: 1.79 lbs | Handle: 13″ | Blade: 3.25″ | Price: 💰💰
While it may not look like what you think a traditional hatchet should, the Estwing Sportsman’s Axe is one of the most well-known and widely-used unique hatchets on the market. One of its biggest selling points is that the entire thing is forged in one piece, making it more than just “full tang.” The handle is wrapped in genuine leather that’s been both sanded down and lacquered, which gives it a beautiful shine and enhances its durability. A rugged nylon sheath is included to protect the blade (and your fingers) when not in use.
- Durable, single-piece forging lasts for years to come
- Incredibly sharp edge arrives ready for use upon delivery
- Great balance and weight distribution makes swings more powerful and hatchet easier to handle
- As the handle is lacquered, it may be difficult to grip when wet
- Most reviewers noted that the manufacturer’s sticker on the handle is difficult to remove
6. Gerber Pack Hatchet
The best small camping hatchet
Brand: Gerber | Weight: 1.05 lbs | Handle: 9″ | Blade: 3.5″ | Price: 💰💰💰
While the Gransfors Bruks Hand Hatchet is definitely small, when it comes to the best small hatchet, Gerber’s Pack Hatchet is the clear winner. At half the weight, this compact hatchet is small enough to bring almost anywhere and lightweight enough that you’ll hardly notice it! It takes up hardly any room but still gets the job done, making it possibly the best hatchet for camping. With a full tang, you can trust in the durability of the blade. The handle has an integrated rubber grip that ensures you have a firm grasp on the hatchet and makes holding it that much more comfortable.
- Tall blade grind for the sharpest edge with stellar retention
- Compact design is also incredibly lightweight for ease of carry
- Full tang for durability wrapped in solid handle with integrated rubber grip
- The back of the blade isn’t really designed for hammering
- The nylon sheath is simple and not heavy-duty like thermoplastic molded ones (but does get the job done)
7. SOG Base Camp Axe
The best axe/hammer combo camping hatchet
Brand: SOG | Weight: 1.05 lbs | Handle: 11.5″ | Blade: 2.75″ | Price: 💰💰
Most hatchet blades are thicker on the back end so that you can use them as a hammer – but the SOG Base Camp does it best. The stainless steel blade is corrosion-resistant and designed to withstand wear and tear. It can stand up to splitting wood and clearing brush along with the pounding it takes to hammer in tent stakes. Both the handle of the hatchet and the included sheathe are glass-reinforced nylon (which, despite having “glass” in the name, is a super durable material). The “beard” of the blade is lower to expand the cutting edge, making chopping easier and more precise.
- Glass-reinforced nylon handle is built to last
- Incredibly sharp edge with excellent retention straight out of the box
- Heavy-duty stainless-steel blade withstands all the wear and tear of splitting along with the abuse of hammering
- Some reviewers found the sheathe too small, making it challenging to attach safely
- The lighter weight combined with the compact size can make it difficult to get a powerful swing
What to Look For
Hatchets aren’t the most expensive piece of outdoor equipment you’ll purchase, but they still aren’t cheap. To make sure you’re making the absolute best investment, here are a few different factors to consider while shopping:
The handle of your hatchet is arguably the most crucial part. Even the sharpest hatchet will do you no good if you end up with blisters halfway through using it! Most hatchet handles are hard, unforgiving materials like wood, genuine leather, or some kind of synthetic blend. As these aren’t super comfortable to hold, you’ll probably want to find a hatchet that is contoured or that has rubberized grips.
The blade is the other most important part of your hatchet. That’s the part splitting the firewood, hammering in the stakes, or fending off the horde of zombies. Blades can be made from various metals, each with its own merits, but the more important blade consideration is the shape. Hatchet blades that are thick at the back and skinny at the front are best for splitting wood, while hatchets with a less drastic point are more suitable for other endeavors.
Hatchets come in a wide range of weights, depending on the metal used for the blade, the length of the tang, and the material of the handle. A heavier hatchet will have more power to it but will be more difficult to raise and swing.
Most hatchets will come with a cover for the blade. Newer, more innovative brands have incorporated carry handles or straps into these covers, so you can easily and safely tote your blade along with you. You can also find some great personalized options on Etsy, if you’re looking for a unique gift to accompany your hatchet purchase.
For this guide on the best camping hatchets, our team spent 2 hours researching the most popular options from over 9 brands and manufacturers big and small. We then read about forty user reviews (both positive and negative) to discover what shoppers thought about each camping hatchet. After comparing this data, we narrowed our list down to the top 7 on the market. You can count on this research to guide you to a mindful purchasing decision.
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