Any prepper worth his salt knows the value of a good hatchet. This single-handed tool has a multitude of uses, and is lightweight enough for most members of your party to use. Most hatchets are approximately 18” long and weigh between 1 ½ – 2 pounds. Chopping, cutting, and hacking are all necessary duties of living in the wilds, and a decent hatchet will make easy work of them.
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What to look for when buying a hatchet
Most importantly, the head should be forged steel; the forging process puts more layers into the steel. Hatchets with cast steel heads are cheaper, but will weaken in time.
Many prefer the traditional wooden handle for comfort, but with reinforced plastic or metal on offer, there is a choice. Plastic, though lighter than wood, can’t be replaced if broken, and any nicks or dents will dig into your hand, making it painful to use. Metal handles increase the weight considerably, and for a small axe, such as a hatchet, could be seen as overkill. If you do pick a wooden handle, avoid one that’s heavily varnished as this gets slippery when wet. However, if that’s your only option, take some sandpaper to it, giving the shaft some grip, or wrap electrical tape around it.
We’ve tried out the best selling hatchets, and here’s what we think.
In a masculine black and orange, this looks every inch the finely tuned tool, and comes with a lifetime warranty – we assume this is void if the SHTF! The blade is stylishly shaped to be effective with an easy action, and the balance is perfect.
Although this looks about as far removed from the shack-in-the-woods scenario, it’s an effective piece of kit. Allowing a smooth swing, and a decently deep bite, the low friction head pulls out easily every time. In an eye-catching color, the FiberComp handle is super tough, and incredibly strong.
Being traditionalists at heart, the orange and black handle hurts. But at least it’s easy to find buried in a pile of logs.
If you’re looking for a lightweight, easy to wield hatchet, that holds an edge and bites well, you’ve found it.
Sporting the Bear Grylls name, this has a lot to live up to, and for a hatchet it’s wildly stylish. With a rubber grip handle, designed to remain non slip in the wettest condition, a high precision carbon steel blade and accompanied by a mildew-proof holster, this is looking good.
It has to be said, we were slightly dubious about this Bear Grylls approved hatchet, along with its ‘wild testing’, but we’re on our second helpings of humble pie. A really well designed hatchet, the grip makes wielding it easy, and even in a torrential downpour, you can achieve a great swing with the toughened carbon steel blade biting deep without getting stuck. There’s even a hole for a lanyard as an extra safety measure, and a free copy of Bear’s Priorities of Survival Pocket Guide – what more do you want!
This one-piece hatchet has no joins to weaken it. Drop forged out of tool grade steel, with a polished leather grip and an ergonomically designed handle, it’s a lovely looking piece.
Accessorized by a durable ballistic nylon sheath, this hatchet combines modern sleek innovation, with the best of tradition to create a modern, effective and reliable tool. Supremely comfortable cuts wood like a knife through butter, and has a useful sized head if you need to hammer something in.
It could be argued that the handle might get slippery if wet, so we sanded away a small section at the end to provide friction. This worked perfectly, and didn’t alter the appearance.
Stylish, flawlessly tough, and very comfortable, this is reliable hatchet comes in at a very budget friendly price.
Estwing Sportsman's Axe - 14" Camping Hatchet with Forged Steel Construction & Genuine Leather Grip - E24A