There's nothing quite like the versatile tool of the survival hatchet. Intentionally made to be a small and lightweight axe, a hatchet has been a classic household staple for centuries. Its defining features include a shorter handle and a double-sided axe head with a sharp blade and a flat hammerhead butt.
Since these axes are lightweight and compact, nearly anyone can use a survival hatchet single-handedly while still delivering a strong and accurate swing. They are great for small chopping projects around the house and won't tire you out like other heavier axes.
As implied by its name, survival hatchets are a favorite choice amongst outdoorsy folk and avid backpackers. They tackle tasks like chopping small to medium logs, preparing kindling, felling small trees, and even food prep. The hammerhead end of the axe is also great for staking tents and driving in nails when needed.
But this axe isn’t only for camping. The survival hatchet is also a useful tool for emergency or landscaping needs around the house and can help you cut down scraggly tree branches, chop up unruly shrubs, and even dig up roots too. It's also an excellent axe for throwing!
Whatever your needs, here are ten of the best survival hatchets on the market.
Top 10 Survival Hatchets
1. Schrade SCAXE10
Boasting an impressive 4.6 stars out of five, this survival hatchet from Schrade is a crowd favorite. It measures up to 11.1 inches, with a blade length of 3.6 inches and a total weight of 1.5 pounds - making it super easy to use.
The blade is constructed from durable 3Cr13 stainless steel that continues down the handle into a full tang design. Covering the ergonomic steel handle is a shock-absorbing and non-slip rubber grip so you don't have to worry about slippage. The end of this axe also features a hammer pommel.
- Full tang hatchet with hammer pommel.
- Durable and sharp steel blade.
- Ergonomic and non-slip rubber grip.
- Lower-quality sheath included.
This axe is best for outdoor survival camping and everyday tasks.
2. Fiskars X7 Hatchet
A company that's been around for hundreds of years, Fiskars has been consistently crafting powerful and durable tools that customers can trust, and their X7 hatchet is no exception. This hatchet's handle is constructed with Fiskars' stronger-than-steel fiberglass, which is pretty impossible to break.
The blade of the X7 has been expertly designed for chopping deeper and swinging faster, so you don't have to exert too much energy. It's also been constructed using a unique blade-grinding technique that ensures your blade cuts through wood like butter without getting stuck. This little guy is a camper's best friend and is a top choice for chopping kindling and medium logs.
- Perfected balance for a powerful yet accurate swing.
- Super sharp blade technology that cuts deeper and cleaner.
- Lifetime warranty.
- Slim ⅝” hammer butt makes it difficult to nail.
This axe is best for chopping kindling and small to medium-sized logs.
3. Gerber Pack Hatchet
Made specifically to be packable, Gerber's pack hatchet is compact and lightweight, so you can easily carry it on long camping trips. The end of the handle has a lanyard hole so you can tie it up with rope, and it also comes with a nylon sheath that is mountable to any pack or belt.
This survival hatchet has a full tang construction that delivers strength and a perfect balance with each swing. The axe head is made from 3Cr stainless steel and has a tall blade grind, so it maintains its sharpness even after many uses.
- Full tang construction for strength and power.
- Rubber grip and mold for comfort.
- Lanyard hole for secure travel.
- The shorter handle may make your swing less powerful.
This axe is best for small chopping tasks and creating wood curls.
4. Casavida Survival Hatchet Set
Whether you're looking for something that can effectively take on the great outdoors, a pile of logs, or even the zombie apocalypse, this Casavida survival hatchet set has all of the bases covered. The axe head is constructed from durable stainless steel and boasts a super sharp blade for taking on kindling, logs, and small trees.
The handle is designed to have a textured and ergonomic grip to fit your hand perfectly and has a sturdy aluminum alloy base. Aside from the actual axe, this bad boy also comes with handle extension bars, a sheath, flint, whistle, compass, safety hammer, and a knife.
- A multi-use hatchet set that comes with: a knife, hammer, flint, etc.
- Stainless steel construction and light enough for throwing.
- The handle comes with extension bars.
- Weight is heavier than other survival hatchets at 2 pounds.
This axe is best for extended camping trips, long backpacking excursions, and emergency needs.
5. SOG Camp Axe
Another respected name in the world of axes, this SOG axe is a heavy-duty yet lightweight survival hatchet. It weighs just over one pound and measures a total length of 11.5 inches for a comfortable swing. Its stainless steel blade quickly chops firewood, and the broad hammerhead is ideal for pounding in tent stakes. The handle is made from glass-reinforced nylon to absorb impact and provide a sturdy grip. This axe also comes with a nylon sheath for storage.
- Made from durable materials; a stainless steel blade, a strong nylon handle.
- Broad hammerhead for more hammering surface area.
- Reputable customer service for any maintenance issues.
- Comes with a flimsy sheath that offers little protection.
This axe is best for camping and tasks that require a small and lightweight hatchet.
6. Estwing Sportsman’s Axe
Estwing's Sportsman's Axe is a versatile tool forged in one piece from American steel for ultimate durability. As a tool that's proudly made in the U.S.A, this axe was made to chop logs, take down small trees, as well as split firewood with one swing. It features a genuine leather grip that's hand-sanded and lacquered to a smooth and comfy finish and measures 14 inches. It also comes with a ballistic nylon sheath that'll protect your axe's edge.
- Forged from American steel.
- Genuine leather grip.
- Comes with a quality sheath for safekeeping.
- A lacquered handle which can make the grip slippery.
This axe is best for splitting kindling, taking off tree limbs, and pruning shrubs.
7. Schrade SCAXE5 Survival Hatchet
This hatchet from Schrade rocks a 3.1-inch, SK-5 steel blade mounted on a nylon fiber handle that looks as epic as it sounds. It measures up to be 12.8 inches and weighs 1 pound and 9 ounces for a weighted but comfortable feel in your hand. The kind folks at Schrade have designed the handle with your grip in mind, and it features a curved ergonomic design with a non-slip texture. This axe also has a spiked pommel and a nail pull on the end of the handle.
- A firm and secure grip molded to fit your hand.
- Durable carbon steel blade paired with a nylon, spiked pommel handle.
- Nylon sheath for safe transport and storage.
- The bulky handle design isn't for everyone.
This axe is best for chopping medium logs and projects requiring a nail pull/pry bar.
8. Best Choice Survival Hatchet
This Best Choice survival hatchet is a killer option set at a price that can't be beaten. It's thoughtfully designed to be well-balanced to optimize swing speed and multiply your chopping power so you can take on most splitting tasks quickly. The head has been deep forged from alloy steel and has a fully polished finish that protects it from rust. The 14-inch fiberglass handle has an anti-shock and anti-slip rubber grip for ultimate comfort and control. This tool ain't too shabby for the price!
- A quality axe backed by positive reviews, at an affordable price.
- Alloy steel sharpened 3.5-inch cutting blade.
- Comfortable fiberglass 14-inch handle.
- May arrive a little dull and need some sharpening.
This axe is best for budget shoppers looking for a quality axe to tackle small to medium chopping projects.
9. Estwing Special Edition Camper’s Axe
This special edition axe from Estwing is a beaut that's coated in an all-black finish from the tip of the head to the end of the handle. As an axe from Estwing, you can trust that this American made tool is forged from the most durable steel that'll last for years. The handle is also wrapped in genuine leather that's been expertly hand-sanded and lacquered for a comfortable and protective finish. With your purchase, it comes with a ballistic nylon sheath so you can protect yourself during storage and transportation.
- Forged in one piece from American steel.
- 16-inch genuine leather handle for one or two-handed use.
- Ballistic nylon sheath for protection.
- Black finish may rub off from wear.
This axe is best for those seeking a beautiful tool that chops logs, small trees, branches, and kindling and can be used for throwing too.
10. Helko Werk Germany Camping Hatchet
Hand-forged and crafted using traditional German methods, this hatchet performs. Best for taking down branches, splitting kindling, and carving, it’s also an excellent choice for survival and throwing fun. Helko Werk's blades are always carefully drop-forged by an expert blacksmith from high-grade carbon steel. It's then securely attached to an American hickory, 150-grit handle treated with linseed oil for a smooth finish. All Helko Werk axes come with a premium leather sheath and protective oils to prolong your hatchet's life.
- Hand-forged from C40 high carbon German steel.
- 14-inch handle made from grade A American hickory.
- Comes with protective oil, metal treatment, and a leather sheath to protect your blade.
- Doesn’t arrive as sharp as some may like.
This axe is best for craftsmen and survivalists who appreciate a traditional style hatchet for cleaning up shrubs, small trees, and logs.
How to Buy the Best Survival Hatchet
There are a few essential things to look out for when shopping for a brand new survival hatchet. Here are our top buying tips to ensure you walk away with the best one for your needs.
When it comes to the axe head of your survival hatchet, what it's made of matters! Stainless steel axe heads are always a solid choice because of their resistance to rust and pitting. These axe heads typically maintain a sharp edge for a long time, meaning less maintenance for you, even with heavy use.
As great as stainless steel is, it usually doesn't hold as sharp an edge as carbon steel. Carbon steel is a harder and stronger material that can be sharpened to a much cleaner edge that cuts through logs quicker and easier. But one downfall of carbon steel is that it's more prone to corrosion and requires careful attention to possible rust. Both have their pros and cons!
As for the handle, they are made in a variety of ways. Many survival hatchets feature a full tang, but not all. While a one-piece construction can mean better durability, the axe is often unfixable if the handle does ever break. That's where an axe that has a separate head and handle can be handy. If the handle ever breaks in this scenario, you can generally replace it pretty easily without getting rid of a perfectly good axe head.
While shopping around, you'll find that many handles are made from wood, and more specifically hickory. Wooden handles are a more traditional design and are often considered more attractive too. Handles are also often made from fiberglass or steel, and then usually wrapped in rubber grip.
Weight and Balance
Lastly, it's essential to consider the weight and balance of your survival hatchet, which contributes significantly to the control and power of your swing. These particular axes are explicitly made to be small and easy to use with one-hand. That means you don't want anything that's too long or too heavy. We recommend choosing an axe around 14 inches in length and that doesn’t weigh more than 2 pounds for optimum balance.
The Best Survival Hatchet: Fiskars X7 Hatchet
You can never go wrong with a trusty tool from Fiskars, and their X7 hatchet delivers on every front. This incredibly sharp, durable, and useful tool does exactly as it’s supposed to and stands the test of time. You also can’t beat its lifetime warranty from a company that treats its customers right.
There you have it! The ultimate guide to buying the best survival hatchets!