10 Best Camping Hatchets (Reviews and Buyers Guide)

Are you looking for the best hatchet for camping?

If you need a little help deciding on which camping hatchet to buy you’ve come to the right place! In this article you can quickly compare the best rated camping hatchets on the market today.

All the information you’ll ever need to make the right decision when buying a camping hatchet is right here.

My hatchet reviews below are the result of many, many of hours of research and testing to ensure everything you need is in one place, making it easy for you find the right hatchet to suit you personally.

I hope you find this comparison and buyers guide helpful in your search for the best possible camping hatchet.

First, a quick overview of what a good camping hatchet is…

What makes for a good camping hatchet?

The key attributes for a good camping hatchet is strength and reliability. You don’t want to be stuck in the middle of nowhere with a broken hatchet, right?

They should also be portable and lightweight with a sharp cutting edge to be able to handle any jobs you would undertake in a camping situation – chopping small trees, splitting firewood, limbing branches for shelters and tripods, sharpening stakes, etc. They can also be used for hammering tent stakes with the poll end.

A cheap hatchet is made form cheap materials. Poor quality steel and sub-standard handles are just not durable enough to withstand any serious chopping or wood splitting.

Paying just a little more on a decent hatchet will go a long way to make your camping experience an enjoyable one, rather than slogging through jobs with a poor quality cutting tool.

A good quality hatchet is an indispensable tool for any camper or outdoors person but not all hatchets are as good as the next – knowing what makes a good hatchet will ensure you make the right choice.

The good news is, all the hatchets listed in this article are of a high quality, some more expensive than others and feature different materials to cater for a range of users preferences. There is a hatchet to suit everyone here, so read on and find YOUR next high-quality camping hatchet!

Hatchet Reviews & Buyers Guides

Disclosure: The hatchets recommended below are tried and tested quality products that I can personally vouch for. I don’t promote poor quality products on this site – and I never will! As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases made through the links as a way to support this site. If you buy any product on this site, you won’t be charged anything extra, but I’ll get a small commission to help keep this site going. I hope you find my advice helpful and discover the best hatchet for your own needs on this list.

1. Fiskars X7 Hatchet

Weight: 1.4 lb / Length: 14 in.

For an entry-level hatchet at around $30 the Fiskars X7 is a no-brainer when it comes to camping. It’s small, light and versatile – great for limbing small branches as well as splitting wood for the fire.

It feels really good in the hand thanks to the comfortable composite handle which is hollow and makes for a powerful swing. Fiskars axe heads are encased in the handle material so there’s no fear of the head coming loose – but of course this makes it nearly impossible to change the head if you damage it beyond repair.

The blade has a good working edge on delivery but could benefit from a sharpen to really get a nice cutting edge on it. All-in-all though, its a really useful, hardy tool and for $30, it’s well worth the money as a basic camping hatchet.

Check current price on Amazon

2. Hults Bruk Tarnaby Hatchet

Weight: 2 lb / Length: 15 in.

Those looking for something a bit more traditional may be tempted by this beauty. Hand-forged in Sweden since 1697 Hults Bruk are renowned for their quality cutting tools. The Tarnaby hatchet combines a high-carbon steel head with a USA sourced hickory handle treated with linseed oil for the finish.

The factory finish on this hatchet is sharp and will stay sharp if you treat the edge with a little honing after each use as recommended. The curved handle feels great and is weighted perfectly, and I really like the little circular metal wedge used to secure the head of the axe – a nice detail.

It’s a stunning looking hand-made hatchet that bears the slight imperfections you’ll find on all hand-made axes – but this all adds to the character, so don’t expect a highly finished specimen – this is a quality working hatchet!

Check current price on Amazon

3. Husqvarna Composite Hatchet

Weight: 2 lb / Length: 13 in.

If a classic wooden handled hatchet is not your thing, this small hatchet from Husqvarna has a distinctive fiberglass-reinforced handle making it both highly durable and robust.

The axe head features a drop-forged blade with a non-stick coating providing less friction and easy entry into the wood when chopping or splitting firewood. It can also be used to hammer stakes and wedges with the poll end which is handy for a camping scenario.

As an all-round hatchet it performs adequately at most tasks and is a tough little tool – great for the average camper. If you’re looking for a budget priced, maintenance-free composite hatchet for general duties around the campsite, the Husqvarna is the one for you.

Check current price on Amazon

4. Prandi German Style Hatchet

Weight: 1.9 lb / Length: 14 in.

This classic (Italian made) German style hatchet is a must for camping and bushcraft. It looks like it belongs in the forest! The bearded axe head allows you to choke up on the handle for precision jobs like carving and feathering, and the high carbon steel edge really bites into wood for chopping tasks.

The head and handle are finished with a varnish coating which is pretty, but many people choose to remove this and add linseed oil instead to improve grip since the varnish will eventually rub off anyway, but to each his own.

The blade is reasonably sharp on arrival but like most cutting tools, a quick hone with a whetstone or puck will result in a razor-sharp edge.

The size, design and weight are perfect for carrying on a backpack or on your side and this little axe holds an edge really well. As a bonus the Prandi is shaped perfectly for throwing so you’ll never be lost for something to do when camping!

Check current price on Amazon

5. Estwing Sportsman’s Camping Hatchet

Weight: 1.9 lb / Length: 14 in.

Estwing tools are as sturdy as they come – solid, dependable and made in the USA! This camping hatchet is forged from a single piece of steel – so no worries about your axe head coming loose!

The profile of the head is slimmer than other axes due to the full tang aspect (no hole for the shaft to go through) so this makes it better for chopping but not so good for splitting anything bigger than 2 inch logs.

The distinctive leather-wrapped grip is coated with lacquer to stop moisture ingress which I find a bit too smooth for a good grip, but for a budget hatchet this isn’t a deal breaker.

If you’re looking for a reliable, budget-friendly camping hatchet, this one is a great starter axe.

Check current price on Amazon

6. Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet

Weight: 1.3 lb / Length: 13.5 in.

Ahh, the mighty GB Wildlife Hatchet! Gransfors Bruk produce some of the finest axes in the world and the Wildlife hatchet is one of my favorites. It does everything you want a camping hatchet to do – split wood, chop trees, limb branches, carve stakes… and it stays sharp throughout!

The blade is the sharpest I’ve seen in a brand new axe and the quality of steel is unsurpassed, my only bugbear is the price… It IS expensive for such a small axe but then again you’ll probably NEVER need to replace it.

The hickory handle is beautifully shaped with great ergonomics, it feels awesome to swing and choking up on the handle allows you to perform precision work – pretty much any job you would use a knife for.

This awesome little hatchet is really well-made and is just a beautiful piece of craftsmanship, if you’re willing to pay the hefty price to own a Gransfors Bruk axe you won’t be disappointed.

Check current price on Amazon

7. Council Tool Sport Utility Camp Hatchet

Weight: 2 lb / Length: 14 in.

This Dayton Ohio pattern axe from Council Tool is high quality craftsmanship, proudly made in the USA.

It comes with a decent factory edge that requires only a little honing for a razor sharp bit if you have whetstone or puck to hand.

Once sharp, this baby can chop down small trees and branches with relative ease and makes short work of light splitting and kindling firewood for camp.

Check current price on Amazon

8. Snow & Nealley Penobscot Bay Kindling Axe

Weight: 2 lb / Length: 17 in.

Snow & Nealley are another USA based manufacturer that produce fine cutting tools with the best of materials. Their steel is among the strongest I’ve seen, their edges really hold up well.

The straight handle is made from ash and coated in lacquer for a glossy finish which – as stated previously – is best replaced with a few coats of linseed or tung oil to get the best feel and grip, but not absolutely necessary.

The enlarged knob at the end of the handle ensures the handle won’t slip away from you when swinging and the balance is perfect for splitting and kindling.

The downside is the blade is not sharp enough from the factory so it WILL need a good honing before use, not a problem if you have the skills to do this. Otherwise it’s a gem of a hatchet, produced in Maine by skilled artisans – a beautiful piece of American craftsmanship.

Check current price on Amazon

9. Hultafors Hultan Trekking Outdoor Hatchet

Weight: 2.2 lb / Length: 15 in.

Hultafors Hultan Trekking Outdoor Hatchet on Amazon

This classic trekking hatchet is the perfect outdoor companion, whether you’re hiking in the wild or performing general camp duties.

Ideal for processing fire wood, building shelters or making stakes, the Hultan is just a fantastic cutting tool. Made in the same forge as Hults Bruk in Sweden, this hatchet bears the same high quality materials and attention to detail.

Hultafors composite axes are pretty darn good but this traditional style hatchet rivals some of the best brands out there in performance – the cutting edge comes SHARP, the high-carbon steel head is expertly mounted to the shaft which is finished with linseed oil, and the ergonomics are excellent

Not the cheapest axe out there by any means… but worth every penny!

Check current price on Amazon

10. Schrade Stainless Steel Hatchet

Weight: 1.7 lb / Length: 12 in.

Lastly, one of my guilty pleasures… The Schrade stainless steel hatchet is a budget tool with bite! The titanium coated stainless-steel head with hammer pommel is encased in a black glass fiber filled PA handle and rubber grip.

It looks good, and as small and light as it is, it’s surprisingly good as a little chopper around the campsite. The finger placements on the grip are comfortable and prevents slipping, and the pommel comes in handy for driving tent stakes (don’t use the pommel on metal – this is bad!).

The blade holds a good edge and as an added bonus, an extra-large ferro rod with a lanyard is conveniently stored inside the handle for starting fires. A great little camping hatchet for people new to axes.

Check current price on Amazon


Best Camping Hatchet

Additional Information on the Top Rated Camping Hatchets – Q&A

If you’ve read through the camping hatchet reviews above and still need more information on how to make the best decision, the following Q&A section will answer all of your questions.

Do I NEED a hatchet for camping?

While you don’t necessarily need a hatchet for camping, it makes life so much easier… and a lot more fun! A hatchet is a versatile tool that has so many uses around camp and out in the wild, and when you get out there with your trusty hatchet in hand you’ll wonder how you ever got by without one!

Of all the stuff you bring with you on an outdoor adventure there is only a few things that are absolutely essential if you think about it… Tent, food, water, the means to start a fire etc. the rest are just comforts.

A hatchet provides the means to harvest firewood, prep kindling and logs, carve stakes and spears, clear away branches and brush or anything else you can think of. Sure you don’t NEED a hatchet for camping… but without one, it’s certainly more of a chore!

What can you use a hatchet for?

A hatchet is one of those tools that you keep finding uses for. Among all the basic stuff like chopping, splitting, limbing branches, driving tent stakes, slicing and kindling firewood, a good quality razor-sharp hatchet can create tinder to help start a fire by shaving or ‘feathering’ sticks.

It can be used for carving things like stakes for building tripods for cooking, or for harvesting wood for shelter building. It can be used as a snow and ice tool for breaking up blocks of ice or making a fishing hole in a frozen lake!

You can use it as a knife to process fish or game or you can practice your axe-throwing skills… Hell you can use it as a bottle opener or stick it in a tree to hang your coat!

I’m sure some of these things probably won’t appeal to some but trust me the more you get outside with your hatchet, the more things you will discover it can do.

What is the best hatchet brand?

It’s generally accepted in the axe world that Gransfors Bruk make the finest axes available today. I would agree, they are beautifully made with the highest levels of craftsmanship and they perform wonderfully… but they are quite expensive!

Don’t get me wrong, you don’t need a second mortgage to buy one, but expect to pay anywhere between $200 to $300 for one of their axes – including a hatchet. Of course, this seems a lot of money to part with for a hatchet, but would you rather pay this once for a hatchet that will last forever or replace a lesser axe every few years?

How much does a good hatchet cost?

Hatchet prices can vary greatly depending on brand, production methods, materials used etc. You can pick up a cheap hatchet for as little as $10 or you could hand over $200 for a classic hand-made heirloom piece if that’s your thing.

My best advice would be to ignore those cheap mass-produced hardware store hatchets – they won’t last a day of serious chopping. The steel is just too soft to hold an edge for any length of time and they will chip and ding easily – that’s if the handle doesn’t snap first!

If you are looking for a decent hand-forged wooden-handled hatchet for example, but want to keep the costs down, I’d recommend number 4 on the above list of camping hatchets: The Prandi German Style Hatchet.

You can buy this excellent classic camping hatchet for around $60 and you’re getting a hand forged high-carbon steel cutting tool complete with sheath. That’s a pretty good deal.

If classic hatchets aren’t your thing, just go for the Fiskars X7 hatchet. For $30 it’s a decent camping hatchet that gets rave reviews.

Should a hatchet be sharp?

Yes! A hatchet is a versatile cutting tool that should be razor-sharp, able to chop down trees and branches, clearing brush, be capable of intricate cutting and carving, and even skinning an animal after a hunt.

The value of a hatchet in an outdoor scenario such as camping, hunting or survival situations can only be fully appreciated if you have one that can do all these things effortlessly.

How do you sharpen a hatchet?

A simple mill file is all you need to sharpen a hatchet at home. If you’ve just purchased a new hatchet and the blade is not quite sharp enough, a mill file can get it razor-sharp!

If you’re out camping or somewhere in the wilderness I recommend you get hold of a sharpening puck and carry this with you. Each time you use your hatchet, just give the edge a going over with the puck on either side to keep the blade sharp. This should be a routine task for all axe users.

Related Article: How to sharpen an axe – A step by step guide

Splitting wood with a hatchet

Can you split wood with a hatchet?

Hatchets are not designed to split logs, they are more akin to a chopping axe due to their relatively thin, razor-sharp blade. A hatchet doesn’t have the required weight, length or wedge-shaped head profile to split big logs in half with a single blow.

However they are extremely good at chipping off chunks of wood around the edges of small logs to make kindling. This is the best method for ‘splitting’ with a hatchet and something you learn with experience – it’s not difficult but many people try to split a log in half with their new hatchet a find it still stuck there the next morning!

If you need to do some serious log splitting, a hatchet is definitely not the best solution.

Related Article: Top 10 best rated splitting axes for 2021

What is the best hatchet with a wooden handle?

The most expensive hatchet doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best… But in this case it’s pretty much true! It’s kind of a shame that Gransfors Bruk axes are so expensive, because most people just bypass them and go for something a bit cheaper – which is absolutely understandable.

All the hatchets listed above are great, but the best hatchet with a wooden handle is…

The Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet

Weight: 1.3 lb / Length: 13.5 in.

This mighty little axe from Gransfors Bruk is the finest example of a wooden handled hatchet available today.

Only the best materials are used in producing GB cutting tools and the craftsmanship is unsurpassed. Everything about this hand-made hatchet is high quality. The hickory handle is perfectly shaped and weighted, finished with linseed oil.

The axe head is premium grade Swedish steel forged by experienced master craftsmen. The hardness of the steel provides a cutting edge that retains its sharpness incredibly well – and the factory edge is razor-sharp!

The performance of this hatchet is a wonder to behold. It can do everything a hatchet should be able to do, and it does it with ease.

This all comes together to make a beautiful looking – but highly durable and effective wildlife hatchet… the finest hatchet around.

See reviews on Amazon

What is the best budget camping hatchet?

Not everyone needs ‘the best’ camping hatchet and there are numerous hatchets out there that are effective, durable and an absolute steal compared to some of the famous brands.

One in particular is one of my personal favorites – I have a lot of what you would call ‘expensive’ axes, but I always bring this one along for camping and trekking because it’s inexpensive, lightweight… and pretty damn effective!

Fiskars X7 Hatchet

Weight: 1.4 lb / Length: 14 in.

There is a lot to like about this hatchet. The X-series range of axes from Fiskars are predominantly for splitting wood rather than for chopping trees, so this is definitely not an all-rounder. But for $30 it’s a remarkably capable little hatchet.

The FiberComp handle is virtually impossible to break so there are no worries there. It’s also hollow which provides an increased power-to-weight ratio to help split logs.

As a splitting hatchet it’s effective because the axe head has an exaggerated wedge profile that wont just get stuck like a regular camping hatchet – but of course this means it isn’t too effective as a chopping axe.

Unlike a traditional wooden handled hatchet, there is no option to replace the handle but you shouldn’t really need to due to the FiberComp handle being almost indestructible.

The only weak point is the blade which is made of a softer steel therefore more susceptible to dulling or chipping but for $30… you can always just buy another one!

See reviews on Amazon


Things to consider before choosing a camping hatchet

Build Quality

There really is no need to spend a fortune on a camping hatchet, but you want to make sure that the hatchet you buy is at least of a decent quality so it does not break or go blunt after the slightest bit of chopping.

A key indicator in the quality of a hatchet is if the head has been hand-forged rather than cast in a die. How the head is joined to the shaft (hung) is also a good indicator of quality – good alignment, weighting and balance all contribute to a quality hatchet.

Forgings vs Castings

Forging involves the blacksmith/craftsman working the heated steel into shape and thereby altering the grain flow to provide increased strength and durability. It is a more specialized process therefore more expensive.

Casting is the process of pouring liquid steel into a die and pressing it into a defined shape – mass production of cheaper axes is done this way. These axe heads are more brittle and won’t hold a sharp edge for long.

Efficiency

For a camping hatchet to be efficient, it needs to have good balance, the handle should be able to absorb shock and the cutting edge is ideally made of high-carbon steel that has been forged to provide maximum durability.

An inefficient hatchet will feel unbalanced, have poor shock absorption and is likely to be made from inferior steel that dulls quickly. It will require you to exert more and more energy to complete basic tasks.

Material

As mentioned above, the materials used to make a camping hatchet is the key difference between a poor quality, inefficient hatchet and a reliable and durable one.

High-carbon, forged steel creates the strongest axe heads. A handle material such as hickory or a composite fiberglass/plastic both offer great shock absorption for example, but the shape and ergonomics will differ from hatchet to hatchet.

The right tool for the job

If the main requirement of your camping axe is to bang in tent stakes and split some kindling now and then, is it really necessary to buy a top of the line hatchet? Probably not.

If on the other hand you want a quality hatchet that is versatile enough to perform everything from firewood prep, chopping trees, limbing branches, splitting wood and carving, while maintaining a sharp edge then you should consider one of the more elite hatchets on the list above.

The right tool for the right job!


Best Rated Camping Hatchet Brands on this List

Here are the manufacturers of the best camping hatchets reviewed on this page:

Which of the Best Camping Hatchets Should You Choose?

There are so many camping hatchets to choose from it can be hard to decide which one is best for your specific needs. Hopefully you have found one that appeals to you in this article.

If you’re still having trouble deciding on your next camping hatchet, take a look at the comparison between the top 10 best camping hatchets below:

Comparison of the 10 best camping hatchets

1. Fiskars X7 Hatchet

Weight: 1.4 lb

Length: 14 in.

Axe head: Cast/low carbon steel

Handle Material: FiberComp

Primary Function: Splitting

Price: ~ $30

See reviews on Amazon


2. Hults Bruk Tarnaby Hatchet

Weight: 2 lb

Length: 15 in.

Axe head: Hand-forged/high carbon steel

Handle Material: US-sourced Hickory

Primary Function: All-purpose

Price: ~ $99

See reviews on Amazon

3. Husqvarna Composite Hatchet

Weight: 2 lb

Length: 13 in.

Axe head: Drop-forged

Handle Material: Fiber-reinforced PA

Primary Function: General purpose

Price: ~ $50

See reviews on Amazon


4. Prandi German Style Hatchet

Weight: 1.9 lb

Length: 14 in.

Axe head: Hand-forged/High carbon steel

Handle Material: Ash

Primary Function: Bushcraft

Price: ~ $65

See reviews on Amazon


5. Estwing Sportsman’s Camping Hatchet

Weight: 1.9 lb

Length: 14 in.

Axe head: Forged/Carbon steel

Handle Material: Forged/Carbon steel

Primary Function: General Purpose

Price: ~ $45

See reviews on Amazon


6. Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet

Weight: 1.3 lb

Length: 13.5 in.

Axe head: Hand-forged/High carbon steel

Handle Material: American Hickory

Primary Function: All-Purpose

Price: ~ $280

See reviews on Amazon


7. Council Tool Sport Utility Camp Hatchet

Weight: 2 lb

Length: 14 in.

Axe head: Forged/Carbon steel

Handle Material: American Hickory

Primary Function: Cutting

Price: ~ $50

See reviews on Amazon


8. Snow & Nealley Penobscot Bay Kindling Axe

Weight: 2 lb

Length: 17 in.

Axe head: Forged/High carbon steel

Handle Material: Ash

Primary Function: Kindling/Cutting

Price: ~ $70

See reviews on Amazon


9. Hultafors Hultan Trekking Outdoor Hatchet

Weight: 2.2 lb

Length: 15 in.

Axe head: Hand-forged/High carbon steel

Handle Material: American Hickory

Primary Function: All-Purpose

Price: ~ $180

See reviews on Amazon


10. Schrade Stainless Steel Hatchet

Weight: 1.7 lb

Length: 12 in.

Axe head: Titanium-coated Stainless Steel

Handle Material: Glass fiber filled PA

Primary Function: General Purpose

Price: ~ $35

See reviews on Amazon


Conclusion

A camping hatchet is one of those tools that has unlimited uses and is essential for any adventure in the outdoors. The hatchets listed in this article are 10 of the best available today – each one with it’s own unique skillset.

Anyway, I hope this article has been of some assistance. Please post any comments you may have on the subject of camping hatchets and I’ll be happy to help.

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