The Manual may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

The Best Hatchets for Camping, Backpacking, and Survival

Few tools are as essential to the outdoorsman as a well-made hatchet. They’re compact, lightweight, and incredibly versatile — a must-have for campers, preppers, and post-apocalypse survivalists alike. From ultra-packable half-hatchets to full-sized, multipurpose crash axes, these are the best for upping your outdoor game

Ontario Knife Company Wyvern Crash Axe

Best for any emergency

Ontario Knife Company Wyvern Crash Axe

Ontario Knife Company has been crafting sharp things for more than 140 years, so it knows a thing or two about well-made blades. The Wyvern Crash Axe is among its flagship products. Don’t let the name fool you. At less than 19 inches long, it’s more hatchet than axe with the versatility of both. Where most axes offer a singleness of purpose, the Wyvern is a military-grade tool with a curved, powder-coated, seven-inch blade capable of felling trees and breaking open vehicles, stuck doors, and various wreckage in an emergency.

Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet

Best for minimalists

Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet

There’s a lot to like about Bear Grylls’ own branded line of products for Gerber. Almost all are simple, well-designed, and functional. The Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet is no different. At less than 9.5 inches and weighing just 21 ounces, it’s ultra-lightweight and compact enough to toss into a daypack. The 3.5 high carbon steel blade features a full tang design for durability and added rigidity. Plus, the non-slip rubber grip handle feels good in the hands and stays put in rainy conditions.

Estwing Sportsman’s Axe

Best for no-nonsense woodsmen

Estwing Sportsman’s Axe

There’s a rugged beauty in the simplicity of Estwing’s products. Its mainstay Sportsman’s Axe eschews fancy composite materials and “tactical” add-ons for a straightforward, all-business design that hasn’t changed in decades. The 12-inch version is drop forged from a single piece of American steel with a hand-sharpened edge and neck. The genuine leather-wrapped handle is hand-sanded, then lacquered for a durable and comfortable finish.

SOG Survival Hawk

Best for hardcore survivalists

SOG Survival Hawk

SOG cut its teeth working with the U.S. military, so it knows a thing or two about tactical gear. Its Survival Hawk is a tomahawk purpose-built for survivalists. The business end features 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 Hatchet

Best for budget-conscious backpackers

Fiskars X7

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

Best for big-spending doomsday preppers

Spyderco Genzow Hatchethawk

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.

Zippo 4-in-1 AxeSaw

Best for backcountry versatility

Zippo 4-in-1 AxeSaw

Zippo is best known for its 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.

Schrade Axe

Best for extreme weather conditions

Schrade Axe

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.

Looking for more gear? Here are our picks for the best survival knives, the best everyday carry pocket knives, and the best multi-tools. You may also be interested in how to build a bug-out bag.

Editors' Recommendations