When you’re out in the wilderness, a hatchet is one of the most essential tools in your kit. Whether you’re forging your way through an overgrown path, or just cutting some firewood to keep warm, this is the tool that makes it all possible.
But when you’re looking for a backpacking hatchet, there are a few considerations to take in mind. You need something compact and lightweight, as storage space is limited. You also need something durable, as you’re going to be exploring tough terrain with it’s own unique set of hazards.
In this review, we’ll be looking at the five best camping axes for backpacking. (If you’re looking for Throwing Axe instead, check out our Best Throwing Axes and Tomahawks article.)
Top Small Camping Axe Reviews
First, we’ll take a look at each individual model. After, we’ll help you select the one that’s right for you.
Gerber Bear Grylls
The name Bear Grylls is almost synonymous with survival, and this special edition backpacking hatchet was specially designed to suit the needs of the avid outdoorsman. Both the blade and the handle are machined from a solid piece of carbon steel, giving it a sleek yet aggressive look. Carbon steel is known for its extreme durability, and the blade stays sharper for a longer period of time.
The stylish rubber handle is one of the most visually appealing options we’ve seen, but also has incredible ergonomics. It’s comfortable to hold in the hand, and won’t slip while you’re using it. This allows you to make precise, clean cuts every time.
Featuring a 14 inch handle, the Fiskars X7 US made survival axe finds the perfect balance between performance and portability. It’s got a composite handle, with only the head being made of metal. This makes it extremely lightweight, but doesn’t sacrifice durability. The handle is longer than most hatchets of this size, which makes it easier to make deeper, more powerful cuts.
Unlike most small models, this one is weighted. It makes your swings more comfortable, and improves accuracy when log-spliting. When performance is your primary criteria, this is the option you’ll want to take a look at. It’s best suited for those of you who have a little experience using an axe, but beginners will still be able to use this model, as the learning curve isn’t too challenging.
Coleman Steel Camp Axe
When you’re looking for great value, it’s important to shop carefully. There are many situations when “inexpensive” is synonymous with “poorly made.” Fortunately, Coleman’s hiking axe doesn’t conform to that standard. They’re one of the most well known brands for camping gear on the market, and this product lives up to that standard.
The steel handle and ergonomic grip are both durable and comfortable to hold. Meanwhile, the drop-forged steel head is easy to sharpen, and can last for many years to come.
This design has been on the market for many years. When many of us picture a hatchet, our mental image will look strikingly similar to what you see here. But that’s not suggesting that this is a dated design. This is a tried and true design that can last you a lifetime.
Yes4All Multi Functional
Just starting to get your backpacking kit together? Then this package from Yes4All might be the best bang for your buck. The focal point of the kit is the all-black hatchet, measuring a little under 14 inches in length. Made from 420 grade stainless steel, this heat is much more durable that most. It’s extremely lightweight, making it easy to carry.
On it’s own, it competes well with the other models on this list but what makes it unique is the accessories.
The blade cover doubles as a fire starter, giving you an emergency supply of flint. Strapped to the cover is a free 12 inch saw, which allows you to cut thicker pieces of wood into choppable chunks. This kit provides everything you need gather your wood supply, making it a great starting point for those of you new to backpacking.
MTech USA Tactical
Thw MTech is one of the most compact options on the market, but still works just as well as many of the larger models. It’s made from high grade 440 stainless steel, and both the blade and the handle are machined from a solid piece of metal.
To keep the metal frame in good condition, MTech coated the entire thing with a satin finish. This is a type of powder coat that resists scratches and dents, ensuring it lasts for many years. For ergonomics and comfort, the handle has been coated with a rubber finish, preventing it from slipping during use.
Which Hatchet is Right for You?
Overall, these are our absolute favorites. But depending on how you intend to use it, one of these could be better than another. By asking yourself a few simple questions, it will be easy to find out which option is best fo you.
Are you just starting to get your backpacking kit together? If you don’t have any tools for cutting and preparing firewood, then the Yes4All is a great choice. It includes a hatchet, a fire starting kit, and a mini saw, so you have tons of functionality in a compact package.
Looking for a hatchet that can perform as well as an axe? Thanks to its weighted, 14 inch handle, the Fiskars X7 is one of the best on the market. In many situations, we learned that it performed just as well as a full size axe. This is the best choice for people who don’t want to be limited by a hatchet, but don’t have space for a full size axe.
Looking for good value? Coleman has an answer for you. Their oddly named 20000003368 might not sound like the most appealing option, but names can be deceiving. This is one of the cheapest options on the market, but it still extremely well made. This hatched is durable, comfortable to use, and easy to sharpen, so it can be an investment that lasts you a lifetime.
Have an eye for design? The Gerber Bear Gryllis is one of the most eye catching designs. Between the carbon steel blade and the dual-tone rubberized handle, it is definitely going to get some attention when you pull it out.
Is space at a premium? One of the most compact options on the market is the MTech USA. Despite being only 9 inches in length, it’s weighted and durable design makes wood-splitting easy, setting it apart from other competitors.