The Best Camping Hatchets in 2021

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A hatchet is a must-have piece of gear for any camper, but finding the best camping hatchet can be pretty tricky.

With so many great hatches and axes out there to choose from, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by your options. Choose the wrong camp hatchet, and you might end up cold and exhausted at your campsite without a roaring fire to keep you warm for the night.

Thus, finding the best hatchet for your next camping trip is essential.

Read More : 3 Things to Look for in a Camping Hatchet

On this page, we’re here to help with some top tips on the things you’ll need to know before buying a camping hatchet and also our favorite ones.

Our top picks

Here’s a quick summary of our top picks for camping axes and hatchets. Read on for more details.

Budget Pick : Estwing Camper’s Axe
“An affordable option for campers on a tight budget.”

Value for Money : Adler Rheinland Hatchet
“An environmentally-friendly choice for campers that want a quality and budget-friendly wooden hatchet.”

Compact Sized : Husqvarna Wooden Hatchet
“A classic small hatchet for use in any camping situation.”

Lightweight : Schrade SCAXE2 Axe
“Weighing in at slightly over 1 pound, it’s one of the smallest on the market”

For Backpacking : Gerber Freescape Hatchet
“Forged steel head with a unique wrap-around shaft design provides maximum durability throughout years of wood chopping”

Estwing Camper’s Axe

Estwing Camping Axes
Photo Credit : Estwing
  • Length : 18.8”
  • Handle Material : Forged steel
  • Blade Material : Forged steel
  • Weight : 2.3lbs / 1.0kg

The Estwing camper’s axe is an affordable option for campers on a tight budget. It has a unique design that features a single piece of American drop-forged tempered steel for long-term use.

Although many campers are used to having axes made from a separate handle and axe head, this single-piece design makes it impossible for the head to ever fall off. The axe head is also polished and hand tempered to hold an edge even after hundreds of strikes.

Estwing also made this axe with a shock-reducing grip that can reduce impact vibration by up to 70%. It also comes with its own heavy-duty sheath for easier transport to and from your campsite each night.

What We Like

  • Very affordable axe for all-around use.
  • Tempered blade holds the cutting edge very well.
  • Shock reducing grip for comfort and injury prevention.

What We Don't Like

  • Packing can be challenging due to a very long handle.

Adler Rheinland Hatchet

Adler Rheinland Hatchet Camping Axes
Photo Credit : Adler
  • Length : 14”
  • Handle Material : Wood (American Hickory) 
  • Blade Material : Forged steel
  • Weight : 1.9lbs / 0.9kg

The Adler Rheinland is a modern take on a classic wood hatchet design. This hatchet has a 14-inch handle made from US-sourced hickory that features an anti-slip black paint for a better grip.

Alder created the head on this hatchet in the classic German Rheinland pattern, which provides a larger and more efficient cutting surface. However, they also managed to balance the weight of the large head with the handle for a more natural swinging motion.

Plus, Alder produces all of its hatches in Germany and uses the wood waste from manufacturing handles to power the entire factory. This makes them an environmentally friendly choice for campers that want a quality and budget-friendly wooden hatchet.

What We Like

  • Rheinland pattern head for a larger cutting surface.
  • Wooden handle has a non-slip black paint for better control.
  • Balanced head and handle provide more natural swing.

What We Don't Like

  • Takes time for some to get used to chopping with Rheinland head.

Husqvarna Wooden Hatchet

Husqvarna 13 inches Wooden Hatchet Camping Axes
Photo Credit : Husqvarna
  • Length : 13”
  • Handle Material : Wood (hickory)
  • Blade Material : Forged steel
  • Weight : 2.2lbs / 1.0kg

Husqvarna’s 13” hatchet is a classic hatchet for use in any camping situation. It features a traditional blade pattern that’s made from hand-forged Swedish steel.

The company uses both wooden and steel wedges to attach the head to the hatchet handles, which provides a more secure fit over its lifetime. This hatchet also has a curved wooden handle made from polished hickory that’s designed to give you a better grip throughout your swing.

It comes with its own leather edge cover, which is particularly beneficial for campers that want a quality sheath without much bulk. This Husqvarna 13” Wooden Hatchet is also one of the more affordable wooden models on the market, so it’s a good choice for budget-conscious campers.

What We Like

  • Affordable price for a wooden hatchet.
  • Easy to transport using the slim leather edge cover.
  • Durable head is attached using steel and wooden wedges.
  • Ergonomic grip with a curved hickory handle.

What We Don't Like

  • Fairly heavy for something this size.

Schrade SCAXE2 Axe

Schrade SCAXE2 Camping Axes
Photo Credit : Schrade
  • Length : 11.8”
  • Handle Material : Fiberglass
  • Blade Material : Titanium-coated stainless steel
  • Weight : 1.4lbs / 0.6kg

Schrade’s SCAXE2 is a lightweight survival axe that’s compact enough to bring on any camping trip. At just under one foot in overall length and weighing in at slightly over 1 pound, it’s one of the smallest on the market.

It’s made with a fiberglass handle for weight savings that doesn’t sacrifice durability. The handle also has a molded grip to provide more security and control on every swing. Additionally, it has a titanium-coated stainless steel head for added robustness.

To make it more versatile, Schrade designed the SCAXE2 Axe with a hammer pommel and a large Ferro rod for starting a fire that’s hidden inside the hollow shaft. It also comes with a thermoplastic sheath that can be attached to a belt or backpack for easy transport.

What We Like

  • Light and compact among its competitors.
  • Molded handle for a better grip.
  • Durable titanium-coated stainless steel axe head increases durability.

What We Don't Like

  • Hollow shaft design can cause a lot of vibration.

Gerber Freescape Hatchet

Gerber 14 inches Hatchet Camping Axes
Photo Credit : Gerber
  • Length : 14”
  • Handle Material : Composite
  • Blade Material : Forged steel
  • Weight : 1.4lbs / 0.6kg

The Gerber 14” Freescape Hatchet offers a solid combination of weight savings and premium performance. Its forged steel head with a unique wrap-around shaft design provides maximum durability throughout years of chopping and splitting wood.

The blade also has a black PTFE coating, which allows it to hold a sharper cutting edge. It also has a low-friction surface coating that helps it to make deeper, more efficient cuts in wood.

Furthermore, the Gerber Freescape Hatchet is made using a composite handle with shock-absorbing properties. This is useful in preventing overstrike injuries, while the hatchet’s 3D grip also offers excellent control and added comfort as you prep kindling for your fire.

Due to its lightweight and burly construction, the Gerber 14” Freescape Hatchet is a good choice for backpackers and anyone venturing far into the wilderness.

What We Like

  • Unique wrap-around shaft design for added durability.
  • PTFE coating blade for a shaper cutting edge.
  • Composite handle absorbs shock to prevent overuse injuries.
  • 3D grip for better control on each swing.

What We Don't Like

  • Top-heavy to some people.

MTech USA Camping Axe

MTech USA Camping Axes
Photo Credit : MTech
  • Length : 11”
  • Handle Material : Stainless steel with rubber grip
  • Blade Material : Stainless steel
  • Weight : 1.8lbs / 0.8kg

The MTech USA camping axe is a single-piece stainless steel hatchet that’s budget-friendly and perfect for new campers. It’s made from satin-finished high-carbon stainless steel that holds an edge well after routine use.

The single-piece design allows for ample durability and eliminates the possibility of the head falling off. It also has a rubber grip handle covering for a more comfortable grip and vibration reduction.

Thanks to its compact size, the hatchet is easy to pack on backpacking trips to remote destinations. The MTech USA Camping Axe also comes with its own black nylon sheath to prevent it from damaging your gear while you hike.

What We Like

  • Very affordable price for new campers.
  • Easy to transport with a nylon sheath.
  • Single-piece design for durability.
  • High-carbon steel head holds its edge well.

What We Don't Like

  • Fairly short handle length limits it to smaller pieces of wood.

Hults Bruk Almike Hatchet

Hults Bruk Almike Hatchet Camping Axes
Photo Credit : Hults
  • Length : 16”
  • Handle Material : Wood (American Hickory)
  • Blade Material : Forged steel
  • Weight : 2.8lbs / 1.2kg

Hand-forged in a Swedish steel foundry, the Hults Bruk Almike is designed for all-purpose use in the backcountry. It features a high-density steel head, which makes it robust enough for frequent use.

Additionally, the head has a tempered steel blade that’s built specifically to hold an edge throughout repeated sharpenings. To make the Almike even more functional, Hults Bruk also crafted this hatchet with a curved handle. This provides a more ergonomic grip for added comfort in the wood chopping process.

For added durability, the American hickory handle on this hatchet is treated with linseed oil, which protects it from sun and water damage.

Finally, the Hults Bruk Almike Hatchet comes with a traditional leather sheath, making it a good choice for regular use for anyone that needs a solid all-around camping hatchet.

What We Like

  • High-density steel blade for added durability.
  • Ergonomically shaped handle for comfort during prolonged use.
  • Leather sheath for storage and transport.

What We Don't Like

  • Fairly expensive, but it is handmade.
  • Heavy due to the solid wood shaft.

Council Tool Hudson Bay Camp Axe

Council Tool Hudson Bay Camping Axes
Photo Credit : Council
  • Length : 18”
  • Handle Material : Wood (American Hickory)
  • Blade Material : Forged Steel
  • Weight : 2.0lbs / 0.9kg

Council Tool’s Hudson Bay axe is one of the largest one-handed camp axes on the market. It has a unique pattern that’s similar to a Rhineland pattern but is slightly more compact for ease of use.

This made in USA axe has a large 18-inch hickory handle that’s curved for added comfort with each swing. It’s treated with linseed oil to create a smooth, water-resistant finish.

Additionally, the handle on the Hudson Bay Camp Axe is pre-dried to minimize any shrinkage and to prevent the head from loosening over time.

Unlike many other companies, Council Tool uses aluminum wedges to attach the head to the handle. This makes it so that none of the handle wood sticks out through the head, creating a smooth finish and a more durable overall design.

What We Like

  • Made in the USA with American materials.
  • Large cutting area with a unique pattern.
  • Pre-dried handle prevents the head from loosening over time.

What We Don't Like

  • Slightly longer, 18” is a bit long for extended backpacking trips.

Gränsfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet

Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet Camping Axes
Photo Credit : Gransfors
  • Length : 13.5”
  • Handle Material : Wood (hickory)
  • Blade Material : Forged steel
  • Weight : 1.3lbs / 0.6kg

Gränsfors Bruks is a Swedish company that’s known for making quality hatchets and their Wildlife Hatchet is no exception. This hatchet is made with a traditional scouting design with a forged steel handle that’s specifically crafted for splitting kindling and felling small trees.

It has a modestly-sized handle that provides a good mix of control and versatility. The hickory handles feature a very slight curve with a narrow diameter at the base, which is ideal for people with smaller hands.

The Gränsfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet comes with its own vegetable-tanned leather sheath, which protects your gear from the sharp blade. While this is one of the more expensive hatchets on the market, it’s handcrafted in Sweden to high-quality standards for the utmost in durability.

What We Like

  • Very lightweight for a wooden hatchet.
  • Suits smaller hands with a slightly narrow diameter at the base.
  • Powerful axe despite the short handle length.

What We Don't Like

  • Expensive for a hatchet.

CRKT Birler Compact Axe

CRKT Birler Compact Camping Axes
Photo Credit : CRKT
  • Length : 16”
  • Handle Material : Wood (Tennessee hickory)
  • Blade Material : Carbon steel
  • Weight : 1.1lbs / 0.5kg

The CRKT Birler is a tactical compact axe that’s both lightweight and durable. It was designed by Elmer Roush, a Vietnam veteran, and expert blacksmith, and was crafted specifically with quality and functionality in mind.

It features a forged carbon steel blade with a unique weight-saving design to help lighten your pack. This axe also has a hand-carved wooden handle with a slight curve at the bottom to provide you with more control on each swing.

Despite its light overall weight and versatility, the CRKT Birler is also affordable, so you don’t have to sacrifice quality for the sake of your bank account.

Finally, with each purchase, CRKT donates a portion of its profits to charities that support veterans, allowing you to give back and get a high-quality axe at the same time.

What We Like

  • Light and compact for backpacking.
  • Durable carbon steel blade for long-term use.
  • Provides good control with a curved Tennessee hickory handle.

What We Don't Like

  • Does not come with a sheath for transportation.

Camping Hatchets Buying Guide

Selecting the right camping hatchet is all about knowing what to look for.

Here are 3 of the most important things to keep in mind as you shop :

Blade design and quality

The design of the blade has a significant impact on how it functions in the real world.

There are 3 main aspects of blade design to consider : 

  • Blade length, size, and surface area. Hatchet makers have to strike a perfect balance between cutting surface area and size. A larger surface area will be better able to slide through heftier pieces of wood, such as the Council Tool Hudson Bay axe. However, the larger the blade, the heavier and bulkier the hatchet, which can be problematic if you’re looking to bring your hatchet into the backcountry.
  • Hand-forged vs machine-shaped. Hand forging is the traditional way to craft a cutting blade and generally results in an overall higher quality product. Hence, hand-forged hatchets such as the Hults Bruk Almike and are generally more expensive. But, while machine-shaped hatchets are budget-friendly, they just aren’t made with the same care and attention to quality that you’d find from a master blacksmith.
  • Steel quality. Blades made with high-carbon steel such as the CRKT Birler are able to hold their edge for longer. This means less time spent on sharpening and a better overall wood-chopping experience.

Handle grip and comfort

Camping Axe Handle Grip

Although many people focus most of their attention on the quality of the blade, the handle design is equally as critical. 

There are two key aspects of handle design that you should pay attention to as you shop.

Handle material

Wood is the traditional material of choice for creating hatchet handles. It offers the best counterweight for the head and provides a more natural swinging experience. But, it’s heavier and generally more expensive.

For example, the Hults Bruk Almike, Adler Rheinland and Husqvarna hatchets are made from American Hickory wood.

Metal and fiberglass handles are lighter and more affordable, however, they don’t provide as much counterweight for the head. Additionally, they are often less durable and are more likely to vibrate on each swing.

Examples of metal handle axes include the Estwing and MTech USA axe. The Schrade SCAXE2 axe has a handle made of fiberglass.

Handle shape and grips

Many modern hatchet handles will have a slight curve to them. This allows you to have a more ergonomic grip on the handle itself, as well as a more fluid swinging motion. 

A good example is the Husqvarna Wooden Hatchet and the Gränsfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet which is designed for campers with small hands.

Plus, some axes such as the Estwing Camper’s Axe and Gerber Freescape are built with molded grips, rubber grips, or even friction paint to provide you with a more secure hold on the handle with every swing. 

This is especially beneficial if you plan to do a lot of wood chopping or if you live in a particularly moist environment.

Size and weight

The last thing to consider when buying a camping hatchet is size and weight.

Choosing a hatchet size is all about deciding between portability/ease of use vs swinging power.

Shorter handles such as the Schrade SCAXE2 and MTech USA axes are easier to carry and are lighter, so they are often easier to use, particularly for new campers that just want to chop up some kindling.

However, longer handles such as the Council Tool Hudson Bay axe provides more swinging power and actually require less effort for chopping larger pieces of wood. They are ideal for car camping but less practical for carrying into the mountains on a camping trip because they are heavy, bulky, and difficult to strap onto a backpack.

Gaby Pilson

Gaby is a professional mountain guide with a master’s degree in outdoor education. She works primarily in the polar regions as an expedition guide, though she can be found hiking, climbing, skiing, sailing, or paddling in some of the world’s most amazing places when not at work.