Few tools are as essential to the outdoorsman as a well-made hatchet. It’s a must-have for hikers, campers, preppers, and post-apocalypse survivalists. From ultra-packable, backcountry half-hatchets to full-sized, multipurpose axe-like tools, here are seven of the best for upping your outdoor game.
SOG Survival Hawk Limited Edition
For Hardcore Survivalists
SOG cut their teeth working with the U.S. military, so they know a thing or two about tactical gear. The latest addition to the catalog is the Survival Hawk Limited Edition, a limited-edition tomahawk purpose-built for survivalists. The business end is a solid, 3-inch blade capable of hacking trees and zombies with equal efficiency. However, the opposing end combines a hammering head and nail puller for added versatility. A firestarter rod inside the handle is a great backup to your fire-making kit. At roughly a foot long, it’s substantial enough to feel almost like a full-sized axe, yet packable enough for toting into the backcountry.
Fiskars X7 ‘Unbreakable’ Hatchet
For Budget-Conscious Backpackers
From tip to tip, the Fiskars X7 Hatchet measures just 14 inches making it a very packable tool. It’s ideal for small- to medium-sized jobs. However, the balance and power-to-weight ratio make it worthy of bigger tasks when duty calls. The hardened forged steel blade is designed to stay sharper longer and chop deeper with each swing. Fiskars bills it as damn-near unbreakable and backs it with a lifetime warranty to bolster the claim.
Spyderco Genzow Hatchethawk
For Big-Spending Doomsday Preppers
If you appreciate brand-name cache and elegant design in everything you own, including your survival tools, Spyderco’s limited edition Genzow Hatchethawk delivers. Equal parts hatchet and tomahawk, it’s designed to pull double duty. The blade is forged from ultra-durable 5160 steel strong enough for whatever needs chopping. The reverse features a hammer for pounding or destroying — your call. Plus, the handmade leather sheath makes the entire package handsome enough to hang on your cabin wall.
Benchmade Nestucca Cleaver
For Stealth-Conscious Survivalists
If going stealth is your biggest concern, the Benchmade Nestucca Cleaver is about as tiny as a hatchet gets while still being functional. Inspired by the Alaskan Native Ulu knife, the design combines the portability of a cleaver with the utility of a hatchet or fixed-blade hunting knife. The stainless steel blade, full-tang construction, and rust-resistant construction guarantee it’ll outlast you. Plus, in a survival situation of the “kill-or-be-killed” variety, the large finger hole allows it to be used as a hand-to-hand weapon.
Zippo 4-in-1 AxeSaw
For Backcountry Versatility
Zippo is best known for their world-class lighters. However, the company offers an incredible collection of outdoor gear as well. At 20 inches long, the Zippo 4-in-1 AxeSaw is the largest tool on this list, but also the most versatile. The five-inch, full-tang stainless steel blade is embedded in a durable polymer handle that also stores a 15-inch bow saw blade. The design also integrates a tent stake puller and a heavy-duty tent stake mallet making it the ideal tool for just about any campsite task.
Victor Axe Manitou Half Hatchet
For Proud Countrymen
If you prefer your gear wooden and handcrafted in America, Victor Axe’s Manitou Half Hatchet is a handsome bit of outdoor kit. The 13-inch Michigan-made tool boasts a beautiful, solid hickory handle dipped in red paint and topped with a forged, heavy-duty half-hatchet head. The neck and shoulders are also tightly wound with ten feet of Mil-Spec 550 paracord for whatever predicament you find yourself in.
For Extreme Weather Conditions
The blacked-out, no-frills design of the Schrade Axe features a titanium-coated stainless steel blade and a rubberized, glass-filled handle that helps bring the weight down to a scant one pound, six ounces. Wrapped in the included thermoplastic belt sheath, it’s designed to survive the worst weather conditions. An integrated hammer head and oversized ferro rod hidden in the shaft add to the versatility.