If you are in the market for a new survival hatchet, then you’ve probably already taken a look at what’s available out there. Choosing the best survival hatchet for you specific situation and use-cases can be difficult because there’s a lot of brands and products to choose from, and they pretty much all claim to be the best. We’ve have made a list of the best options available so that you can narrow down your choices to the best of the best. Your best bet is to go with one of the top picks above based on your budget.
Blade material and size, handle material, design and construction all factor into which survival hatchet will end up being the right choice for you. Think about whether you want stainless or carbon steel, what kind of grip material you think you’d like, and how you’re likely to use your survival hatchet. These factors will help you determine which survival hatchet is the best for you. If you want to take a deeper look and really figure out the best survival hatchet for your specific needs, we’ve put together a survival hatchet buying guide at the bottom of this page.
- 12.1 inch, stainless steel
- 3 inch blade
- Ballistic nylon sheath, can be attached to belt or gear
- Firestarter and claw spike included
- Full tang paracord handle
This SOG hatchet option is a tactical hatchet that is great for survival situations that also comes with a fire starter survival rod that can help you build fires quickly when necessary. This option has a 3-inch hard-cased stainless-steel blade that is strong enough to cut through anything and is great for being in the wild where you never know what you will encounter.
This option comes with an in-handle ferrocerium firestarter rod that has glass-reinforced nylon and paracord grip so that it will last through many trips, and will sit comfortably in your hand. This will help to reduce the strain on your hands while in use so that you can use it for a longer time.
This SOG hatchet comes with an included sheath with a purchase that is made from ballistic nylon so that it is durable and long-lasting even with heavy use. The sheath can be hung on your belt or backpack for easy access in emergencies and easy carrying when camping or hiking.
Check price of the SOG Outdoor Survival Hatchet and Tactical Tomahawk
- Comes with in-handle Firestarter rod
- Ballistic nylon sheath included
- Comfortable paracord grip
- Stainless-steel blade for strength and durability
- The threads on the loop for attachment are not as durable
- Paracord wrapping is a bit slick initially
- Proprietary grinding technique provides a sharper edge
- Low friction coating on blade
- Optimized power-to-weight ratio
- Fibercomp handles and inseparable axe heads allows for excellent durability
- Small size and weight allow for excellent portability
This Fiskars hatchet is designed for perfect balance so that you can get the best power-to-weight ratio and increase your swing speed significantly. This great balance and speed will allow you to get a better swing with more power and chopping ability.
This hatchet comes with proprietary blade-grinding technology that helps to provide a sharper cutting edge so that you get a cleaner cut every time. This technology also helps to make better contact with the wood so that you get a better cut.
This option also comes with a low-friction blade coating that helps you power through the wood and aids in the prevention of the head getting stuck in the wood. This also helps you to avoid strain on your body because you won’t have to use force to pull the hatchet out of the wood when stuck.
Check price of the Fiskars 378501-1002 X7
- Great balance and power-to-weight ratio
- Increased swing speed
- Blade-grinding technology for sharper cuts
- Low-friction blade coating for less sticking
- Factory edge is known to chip
- Head is a bit narrow
- May rust easily
- Hand forged axe-head
- Made from high quality Swedish steel
- Traditional hickory handle
- Leather edge cover included
- Traditional style wooden hatchet
This Husqvarna wooden hatchet is a compact option that is great for smaller jobs like cutting thin branches or splitting smaller pieces of wood for a fire. This can also be used for any other small jobs that you find along your way.
The head of the hatchet is made from hand-forged steel for durability and strength, and the handle is made from tough and durable hickory wood. The head is attached to the handle with a steel and wooden wedge to help securely fasten the head to the shaft.
This option also comes with a durably built leather blade cover that attaches to the head of the hatchet and is usable for storing the item so that the blade won’t dull while not in use, and so it won’t accidentally hit something when being moved.
Check price of the Husqvarna 13″ Wooden Hatchet
- Compact and lightweight option
- Made from hand-forged steel
- Head is securely attached with steel and wood wedge
- Comes with a leather blade cover.
- Head is known to split and need welding
- Head tends to not be hung well
- Higher price
- Full tang, high carbon steel construction
- Non-slip rubber grip is comfortable and secure in wet conditions
- Nylon sheath with belt loops included
- Back of axe works as hammer-like striking tool for camp dutes (like pounding tent stakes)
- Compact size and weight
This Gerber Gear hatchet model has a 3.5-inch blade that is compact enough for easy travel and quick responses and offers precise cuts through softer woods. The hatchet is made from high carbon steel for better durability.
This hatchet option comes with an ergonomic and non-slip rubber grip that will help you hold on tight even in rainy, wet weather conditions. This grip helps you to avoid strain on your hands when using the hatchet frequently, or for longer times.
This option also comes with a mildew-resistant nylon sheath that covers the blade and keeps it sharp, even when in storage. The sheath also comes with attachments to hang from belt loops so that it can be accessible in emergencies out in the wild.
Check price of the Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet
- 3.5-inch blade for compact carry
- Ergonomic and non-slip rubber grip
- Mildew-resistant nylon sheath
- Comes with attachments to belt loops
- Steel blade is known to crack
- May be too top-heavy
- Handle is short and tough to swing
- Forged as a single piece for maximum durability
- Genuine leather grip
- Heavy duty ballistic nylon sheath
- Made in the USA
- 3.25″ cutting edge
This Estwing hatchet was forged as a single piece to make this option one of the most durable. This option is great for chopping wood, trimming branches, and splitting firewood.
This hatchet comes with a ballistic nylon sheath that keeps the blade from getting dull when not in use and keeps accidents from happening when moving the hatchet. This makes it safer for traveling and storage whether you are driving or hiking.
This option also comes with a hand-sanded and lacquered genuine leather grip that provides a more comfortable carry and makes the hatchet more durable.
Check price of the Estwing Sportsman’s 14″ Camping Hatchet
- Forged as one piece for durability
- Comes with a ballistic nylon sheath
- Hand-sanded and lacquered leather grip
- Curved handle for comfortable hold
- The blade edge seems to chip easily
- Blade dulls fairly easily
- Sheath may not be a perfect fit
- Hand forged tempered blade
- Short handle relative to edge ratio for portability
- Vegetable-tanned leather sheath
- Traditional wooden handle excellently crafted
- Razor sharp edge and compactness allow for high precision work
This Gränsfors Bruks option is a hand hatchet with a short handle that allows you to take care of small jobs and is easy to carry with you on a camping or hiking trip. The compact nature of this item is great for survival situations because it can be easily accessible and used for many different things.
This hatchet comes with a leather sheath that is vegetable tanned and made for durability. The dark brown color gives it a great contrast to the light wood of the handle and the deep black blade.
This option’s head is made from steel that has a black coating to give it extra strength and also gives it a tougher look.
Check price of the Gränsfors Bruks Hand Hatchet
- Short handle for small jobs
- Easy to carry anywhere
- Comes with a leather sheath for storage
- Steel blade for durability
- Higher price
- Handle doesn’t have a smooth finish
- Blade may get dull fairly easily
- PTFE coated blade
- Composite shock-absorbent handle
- Slim sheath allows for less bulky profile
- Forged steel head
This Gerber hatchet comes with a PFTE coated blade that helps to reduce friction when chopping and helps to make cleaner cuts. The blade is made from forged steel for long-lasting durability.
This hatchet comes with a handle that is shock absorbent and also helps to reduce the feeling of strain on your hands from use. The composite handle is also built to be lightweight without sacrificing durability.
This option also comes with a slimly made sheath that covers the blade and helps to keep it from getting dull while not in use. It also helps to protect you while you are traveling so that the blade does not accidentally come in contact with anything.
Check price of the Gerber 14-Inch Freescape Hatchet
- PFTE coated blade for reduced friction
- Forged steel blade for durability
- Shock absorbent handle that reduces strain
- Lightweight and compact
- Comes with sheath
- The handle is not as durable as other hatchets
- The sheath may be too bulky for some
- Doesn’t hold up for bigger jobs
- Unique hybrid knife-hatchet design
- 1095 carbon steel
- Much smaller and lighter than a typical survival hatchet
- Durable paracord handle
This Fremont hatchet option is made from carbon steel so that it is long-lasting and durable. This lightweight and compact option is great for light traveling and small jobs like trimming branches and splitting small firewood.
This hatchet is 9.5 inches in length and is small enough to take with you pretty much anywhere. The grip is paracord that is wrapped around the handle so that your hands don’t get fatigued while using it.
This option also comes with a small serrated edge of the backside of the hatchet so that you can turn it around and make use of the serrated portion to cut down twigs and small pieces of wood without much force.
Check price of the Fremont Farson Carbon Steel Hatchet
- Made from carbon steel for durability
- Lightweight and compact for light travel
- 9.5 inches in length
- Paracord grip on handle for lessened fatigued
- Comes with a serrated edge for cutting branches
- Higher price
- The paracord handle may come undone over time
- Many good uses but not great for any
- Less suitable for use on larger wood
Best Survival Hatchet Buying Guide
The factors that you should look at when deciding which survival hatchet is the best for your needs include the following.
Blade Material & Construction
The first thing you should be looking at is what material the blade of your survival hatchet is made of. Obviously, your hatchet head will be made of metal, and in fact the vast majority of axe heads are made of steel. It’s the specific type of steel that matters. Hatchet blades tend to be constructed of either carbon steel or stainless steel. Stainless steel has the advantage that it doesn’t corrode or rust. However, it also isn’t as durable or retain a sharp edge as well as carbon steel – that’s because stainless steel is softer than carbon steel. Stainless steel is also much shinier in appearance than carbon steel – and will keep its ‘sheen’.
There are pros and cons to each material. If you value sharpness over all else, go with carbon. If you’re likely to deal with moist and wet conditions, perhaps stainless is the way to go (to avoid rust). Most people like the aesthetics of stainless steel more than carbon steel. Carbon steel will require less sharpening, but will require upkeep in different ways to prevent damage and corrosion.
Another factor to consider when it comes to the blade is whether your hatchet head was forged or not. Forged steel allows the grains of the metal to be aligned, which means greater durability over time. The drawback is that the best survival hatchets made with forged steel tend to be more expensive, because forging steel is more expensive and more difficult than using molds.
Lastly, some companies cover their hatchet blades with low-friction coating to allow for easier cutting, particularly through high friction materials like wood. If you’re a traditionalist, perhaps you don’t like the idea of that. Whether or not a low-friction coating interests you is a question a personal preference.
Blade size is another factor to consider – the larger the blade, the more suitable it is for heavier work, but the less precision you get. It also means you’re carrying around more weight. There’s always a trade-off between the size of a survival tool and how much it weighs, so this also comes down to personal preference. If you’re looking for greater utility, large blades are appropriate, but if portability is your first priority, then you’ll be happier with a smaller, lighter survival hatchet.
Handle Material & Length
Survival hatchet handles tend to be made of one of a few types of materials. The most traditional, classic material is wood. If you’re more of a traditionalist, then you’ll likely enjoy both the aesthetics and the feeling of a good old wooden handle.
Paracord is another material that’s becoming more popular for hatchet handles. It makes for an excellent gripping material. On the other hand, in some products, paracord can come loose from the handle, and it’s not the most comfortable material to be gripping during long term usage. It definitely means your hatchet is less likely to slip out of your hand, but that comes at the expense of comfort.
Rubber is another kind of grip that is used – the plus is that it’s much more usable in wet conditions. Rubber won’t slip even if the handle and your hand are both wet. On the other hand, not everyone is a fan of the feeling of a rubber grip, and aesthetically it’s definitely the least attractive material.
Leather is another quite classic handle material for hatchets. It’s a comfortable material to hold, and allows for pretty good gripping. It doesn’t do as well in wet conditions though.
Some survival hatchet handles (not the grip itself, but the whole handle) have shock absorbing qualities, which can allow for easier and more comfortable extended usage.
The length of the handle also matters, but this is more a personal preference factor. Longer handles mean greater power in a swing (because of leverage), but potentially less precision.
Construction Style & Features
Typically, the best survival hatchets will be full tang – what that means is that the blade of the hatchet extends all the way down through the handle as one piece of metal. This allows for greater durability, and means that the blade is less likely to become loose or detached from the handle. However, this isn’t the traditional design for survival hatchets. If you’re a traditionalist, you might prefer the look and feel of a hatchet with just a blade head. This is most typically seen in survival hatchets with wooden handles.
Some of the best survival hatchets also come with additional features – firestarters, hammer substitutes on the back side of the blade, and so forth. Think about how and where you’re likely to use your survival hatchet the most, and what tasks you want to be able to accomplish with it, and work backwards to a product that makes the most sense for you. That’s how you’re going to find the survival hatchet that’s the best fit for you specifically.
Difference between a Survival Axe and a Survival Hatchet
Many people may be wondering what the difference is between an axe and a hatchet. Well, you’re not alone, and it’s a fair question. Axes and hatchets look similar and perform similar functions, so why is there a distinction? It’s especially difficult to tell nowadays, as every company that produces outdoor tools want their products to show up regardless of whether you’re looking for a hatchet or an axe.
A hatchet is different than an axe in that it is designed to be used for multiple purposes and typically comes with a smaller handle so that it is easy to hold and use for cutting down branches, splitting firewood, and chopping large pieces of wood.
Axes were originally designed for forestry, or in earlier centuries, for use in battle. Put simply, an axe is best used if you’re looking to cut down a whole tree. A hatchet is appropriate if you’re looking to break a log down into smaller pieces. Axes typically are not made to handle all the uses of a hatchet, although that doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t work in a pinch.
What it boils down to is size. Traditionally, axes are substantially larger, and hatchets have more varied uses and are smaller. However, it’s important to keep in mind that every company wants their product to fit into both categories, so you’ll often see products with names that include both the word ‘hatchet’ and the word ‘axe’. This has happened so much that now even survivalists and outdoorsmen use the terms almost interchangeably, which is a shame.
On this site, when we refer to hatchets, we mean smaller hand tools (often suitable for single hand usage), that can be used to chop logs, but also do more precise cutting work. When we refer to axes, we’re specifying something that could be uses to cut down at least a smaller tree reasonably quickly. So all the best survival hatchets on this page fall under our understanding of what the word hatchet means.
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Ronald skancke says
I own many hatchets. One favorite is made by Collins and has a quite long wooden handle.also a few plumb which have a nicely curved cutting edge.