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The best camping hatchets are an incredibly versatile tool, making them a must-have when you’re choosing what to bring camping. A good hatchet turns logs into firewood and sticks into stakes, as well as serving as a knife, hammer, and club as needed, so it’s an essential tool to bring camping. If you want to be prepared for everything on your next camping trip, check out our camping hatchet reviews and ratings to find the best one for you.
In This Article
There are tons of axes for camping available for purchase. With all the different levels of quality and materials available online, it can be hard to narrow down your options. Luckily, we’ve already made a breakdown of all the best camping axes. Here are the top five best camping hatchets so you can choose the one that meets your needs.
The Estwing Sportsman’s Axe Camping Hatchet with Leather Grip is the best camping hatchet because its one-piece constructions means that the head will never get loose or wobbly like other axes.
The Estwing Sportsman’s Axe Camping Hatchet with Leather Grip is made from polished American steel forged in just one piece. Because the head and handle are one piece, the common problem of the head becoming loose and wobbly is nonexistent. The leather handle allows for a solid and comfortable grip, and it weighs in at just under a pound. This lightweight addition to your trip will be great for clearing brush, splitting stakes, or just giving you that rugged outdoorsman look you’re going for.
The handle is coated in smooth leather, so you may need to sand it down to get a firmer grip, but the ergonomic shape is really nice in the hand. The small size makes it easy to pack your bags more efficiently without adding a lot of extra weight or bulk. The Estwing is a lightweight and affordable option for basic outdoor tasks, making it one of the best hatchets for camping.
- Weighs less than a pound
- Genuine leather handle
- One-piece construction
- Less shock absorbent
The Estwing Special Edition Outdoor Fireside Camping Hatchet is the best camping hatchet because it’s specially designed to handle cutting wood, so you never have to worry about not being able to cut logs with a tiny hatchet ever again.
The Estwing Special Edition Outdoor Fireside Camping Hatchet is the best camping hatchet if you want something that can do everything. While this axe for camping may seem the same as the top pick, it has a few key differences. This wood cutting maul is designed for a more specific purpose than a general camping hatchet. You guessed it—wood cutting!
The maul’s duller blade and defined V-shape are made to find cracks in the wood and split them open with ease. The Estwing Fireside Friend Axe is longer than a sportsman axe, ensuring more space in the swing while still being small and lightweight enough to pack easily. Combined with its patented shock reduction grip, this is the perfect companion for your camping trips to split wood for the fire or barbecue.
- Designed for wood splitting
- Comes with sheath cover
- Not as versatile as all-purpose hatchets
The Fiskars 14-inch Camping Hatchet in Black & Orange is the best camp hatchet because it’s an affordable for campers who are on a budget and has a bit more weight to it, making it a good choice for those who like an additional heft.
This Fiskars 14-inch Camping Hatchet in Black & Orange is a sturdy and affordable option for campers on a budget. The 14″ hatchet weighs a bit under 1.5 pounds, making it one of the larger and heavier options of our camping hatchets. That extra heft and length can help when clearing brush, nailing stakes into the ground, and other camping needs.
This Fiskars axe is under a lifetime warranty and has a low-friction coating on the blade, allowing you to slice more easily. The blade is made of carbon steel, meaning it has a higher carbon content than stainless steel. Unlike stainless steel, carbon steel is capable of corroding is not taken care of well, but it is more hardy and durable than stainless. Just make sure you keep it away from too much moisture and wipe it off when it gets wet!
- Made with sturdy carbon steel
- Comes with a lifetime warranty
- Heavier than many hatchets
- Carbon steel can corrode
The Husqvarna 13 inch Wooden Outdoor Camping Hatchet is the best camping hatchet because is head was made by hand in Sweden and custom fitted to its handle, ensuring a perfect fit every time.
The Husqvarna 13 inch Wooden Outdoor Camping Hatchet is simple and sleek in its design. It comes with a leather sheath to protect the hatchet edge and yourself. The shaft is made of hickory, with both a steel and wooden wedge attaching it to the handle. Husqvarna hatchets are hand forged in Sweden with Swedish steel. Due to the wooden handle, you don’t want to store it in too hot of conditions (like a shed in Louisiana) because the heat and humidity can cause it to shrink. If that happens, the head will not fit correctly.
Each time you put away the hatchet, you must wipe and dry the axe clean before putting the cover on. If you know you won’t be using the hatchet for a while, grease it to prevent rust while it waits for your next adventure. If you’re looking for a traditional wooden hatchet, this is the option for you.
- Comes with quality leather sheath
- Wood is more shock absorbing than metal
- Requires more maintenance
The SOG Survival Camping Hatchet in Stealth Black is the best camping hatchet because it’s made with a glass-reinforced nylon handle that makes it strong and also helps it resist heat.
Finally, we have the SOG Survival Camping Hatchet in Stealth Black: our final pick for the best camping hatchet. This futuristic axe only weighs a pound and measures less than a foot in length, making it ideal for going backpacking and lightweight camping. This camping axe is made from stainless steel, so there is less risk of rust or corrosion, it and features a textured glass-reinforced nylon (or GRN) handle for comfortable grip during use.
Glass-reinforced nylon is incredibly strong, stiff, and heat-resistant. If treated well, this axe will last a lifetime. That is why SOG promises repairs and replacements for your SOG Camp Axe that has been properly maintained and cared for, making their products some of the best camping axes.
- Comes with a lifetime warranty
- Glass-reinforced nylon handle
- Glass-reinforced sheath to cover the blade
- May be too small for some uses
Features to Consider for the Best Camping Hatchet
While hatchets may all seem the same at first, our camping hatchet reviews have proven otherwise. Before you choose the best camping hatchet for your needs, consider these different features.
Stainless versus Carbon Steel
Stainless steel and carbon steel are both made of the same components: iron and carbon. For carbon steel, carbon is the main element that binds the metals together. Stainless steel, on the other hand, has a high chromium content. That is why it resists corrosion and rust, unlike carbon steel. Carbon steel is generally harder and stronger, making it popular for hand tools, but doesn’t resist corrosion as easily.
Wood vs Glass-Reinforced Nylon (GNR) vs Leather Handle
If you choose a hatchet with a wooden handle, make sure you know how to care for wooden tools. Cared-for handles last longer and give you more life out of the tool, saving you money in the long term. Don’t wait to care for wooden handles when they’re already cracked or damaged. At least yearly, you should clean, smooth, and burnish the wooden handles on your hatchet and other tools.
Nylon is a common material for knife and axe handles because it is both heat- and impact-resistant. Glass-reinforced nylon (GRN) is created by adding glass fibers to the nylon, strengthening those characteristics even further and more than doubling the tensile strength and heat resistance. Glass reinforced nylon is the cool new composite on the block, and you can expect to see it in the best camping axes.
Another handle option, like the two Estwing camping hatchets above, is a leather handle wrap over the steel or other material. Leather is a more traditional, firmer grip, but not the most forgiving on your hands. However, it is easy to sand or adjust for a firmer or looser grip and relatively easy to care for. Leather handles provide a natural feel in the hand that allow quick feedback in return for not absorbing as much shock.
Curved Hatchet vs Maul
There are many different axe and hatchet heads designed for different actions. A maul, for example, is a more rectangular and wide shape that allows for splitting wood more easily. Curved edges serve for more general purchases. While you don’t want to try to fell a tree or split large logs with a hatchet, these general use hatchets are great for making kindling, clearing brush, using as a knife, or for processing small game. The traditional curved shape is going to be better for general uses such as these. Which one makes the best camping axe is purely up to personal taste, so get the one that seems bet to you.
Benefits of Using Camping Hatchets
While some occasions do call for a full-sized axe (like felling a tree or heavy-duty firewood chopping), it comes with a cost. While great for their own purposes, axes are heavy and bulky. That’s probably not what you need for your backpacking trip! Leave your big specialty tools at home, and bring the camping hatchet with you on your trip.
The best camping hatchet is a great tool to have on hand for all sorts of situations, like solar camping lanterns. They’re small, lightweight, and incredibly versatile. Hatchets can be used for gathering wood, splitting small logs, chopping through ice or frozen ground, hammering down tent stakes (with the back), and clearing brush, among other things. An adventurous hunter or fisher can even process small animals with a sharp hatchet if they don’t have the proper fillet knives with them. A good hatchet can even be an important part of a camping emergency kit.
For those who enjoy glamping who are curious how having the best camping hatchet can help them, there is of course the art of hatchet throwing. Whether you’re a regular hobbyist or just want to throw your hatchet at a rotten stump for entertainment on your camping trip, hatchets are easy entertainment. Just make sure you’re making sure no one is around before you make your throw.
While you could get similar mileage out of a knife, machete, and folding saw together, there is something satisfying about swinging a hatchet down to provide the wood for your campfire.
Precautions of Using Camping Hatchets
Camping hatchets are small, but they are still sharp and can be dangerous if used poorly! Just like you need to know how to use a compass, you need to know how to use your hatchet. Perhaps this goes without saying, but you want to keep them away from children and try not to fool around with them too much.
Even the best camping hatchets will require some level of care, but what exactly is needed depends on the material of the hatchet. Make sure you’re familiar with all the components of your hatchet and willing to commit to the level of care necessary to make it last. In some cases, improper care will void warranties, so keep that in mind if you ever need repairs or replacement!
Although stainless steel won’t rust, it still needs to be maintained and cared for. Anything that causes abrasions (i.e. steel wool) can actually scrape away the protective layer and cause it to rust. Industrial cleaners may contain acids that damage stainless, as well, so be careful before you use them on your best camping axe.
Wood, leather, and carbon steel have their own maintenance needs. Wood needs to be cleaned and oiled so it doesn’t crack. Similarly, leather needs to be cleaned and oiled so it doesn’t dry and tear. Carbon steel is at a much higher risk of corrosion and rust, so moisture is your enemy. Know your hatchet and know your care routines to make sure it has a long and productive life with you!
In our opinion, the best camping hatchet is the Estwing Sportsman’s Axe Camping Hatchet with Leather Grip! This is a great general use camping hatchet, offering a quality stainless steel hatchet at a reasonable price. The Sportsman Axe is medium weight and size for hatchets, making it great for backpacking and camping alike. The stainless steel and leather make a classic and easy to maintain combination, which is perfect for novice hatchet owners.