Having the best backpacking hatchet makes a big difference when you’re fending for yourself in the great outdoors. Why?
Because the best hatchets for backpacking make light work of crucial camping, hiking, and general outdoorsy tasks!
It doesn’t matter whether you’re making shelters, lighting fires, or protecting yourself from wild animals. Where bush craft’s concerned, a backpacker hatchet helps.
With masses available, though, the tricky bit is finding the best backpacking hatchet for your needs. Knowing which hiking axe, camping axe, or backpacking axe is right can be a challenge.
Know the struggle and want some help finding the best backpack hatchet for your future outdoor adventures? Keep reading for 8 comprehensive reviews of the best backpacking axes on the market.
[Last Updated: February 2021]
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The Best Backpacking Hatchet – Summary Table
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Best Hiking Axe, Camping Axe, & Backpacking Axe Options:
Camp Hatchet Review Guide
1. Fiskars 14” Hatchet (Best Backcountry Hatchet)
High performing blade
Featuring the signature high-quality blade design of all Fiskars axes, this 14” axe is a top choice for the best backpacking hatchet.
Crafted with a unique proprietary grinding technique, the blades excellent at chopping firewood and ensures cleaner cuts than most competitors.
The low friction coating over these blades enables them to power through wood easily without getting stuck.
More power at impact
The weight distribution of the axe has been carefully perfected, creating an optimal power to weight ratio.
This significantly increases swing speed and magnifies power output. In other words, you expend less energy for the results you need! That’s good news when you’re tired at the end of a long day on the trail.
Thanks to a combination of high-end materials and superior build-quality, Fiskars’ axes are virtually unbreakable!
The FiberComp handles are stronger than steel, and the moulded heads are inseparable from the rest of the axe. If you’re looking for a durable, long-lasting hatchet that’ll stand the test of time, then this would be a great bet.
- Lightweight hatchet
- Sheath included for safety, blade protection, and ease of carrying
- The lifetime warranty offered makes buying this product a risk-free purchase
- Perfect for cutting firewood into smaller and more manageable pieces
- Chops deeper with each swing to get more done faster
- Doesn’t fit on a tool belt for easy portability
- The handle might feel slippery in wet conditions
2. Estwing 14” Sportsman’s Axe (Best Backpack Hatchet)
The Estwing Sportsman’s Axe is forged in one piece, making it one of the best made hatchet options here.
Unlike other axes, it carries no risk of breaking at the joints that hold the different pieces of axes together.
You get a durable, high-end axe that won’t let you down when you need it.
To ensure the safety of the user and minimize any chance of accidents, this hatchet comes with a protective cover too.
The durable nylon sheath not only prevents unwanted cuts but also helps keep the blade in top condition.
Genuine leather grip
The real leather grip is another security feature that happens to be aesthetically pleasing as well!
That high-quality leather’s great to look at, but also anti-slip in nature. You’re able to keep better hold of the handle, reducing the chance of accidents occurring.
Furthermore, it’s meant to be incredibly comfortable to hold/carry/use. That’s good news for anybody who’s got a lot of wood to chop!
- Good length to weight ratio for backpacking
- Multipurpose outdoor hatchet performs a variety of chopping tasks perfectly
- Made locally in the USA
- Premium quality manufacturing materials
- The leather grip may get damaged if it stays wet for too long
3. Schrade SCAXE10 11” Hatchet (Best Hiking Hatchet)
This hatchet has an overall length of 11.1 inches, and a blade length of 3.6 inches. It weighs about 1.4 pounds.
That’s an awesome length to weight ratio, making this hatchet an ideal size to carry along on any backpacking/camping trip.
The Schrade’s smaller size has certain limitations, but it should be able to handle most chopping tasks on the trail with ease.
It’s lightweight enough to be carried around comfortably, but with enough bulk to provide enough power for all-but the biggest hunks of wood.
High-quality manufacturing materials
This hatchet is made with the best available materials.
The head’s crafted out of powder-coated 3Cr13 stainless steel. This makes it incredibly durable and resistant to damage. The handle is wrapped with a black TPR rubber for a firm, comfortable, non-slip grip.
The Schrade SCAXE 10 is much more versatile than a regular hatchet. You can use the back of the axe as a hammer to nail down tent pegs; a lanyard loop for your wrist provides greater control in slippery/cold conditions.
- Full tang
- Lanyard loop for your wrist
- Quick and easy access with the convenient black thermoplastic belt sheath
- Slip-free grip design makes this hatchet incredibly safe to use
- Lightweight, durable and long-lasting
- The rubber grip is excellent for an anti-slip design but compromises on the comfort.
- Sheath is lower-quality than you’d hope for.
4. Lexivon Axe Reviews- 9” Camping Mini Hatchet (Best Lightweight Hatchet for Backpacking)
Fiberglass composite handle
The Lexivon V9 camping hatchet is another top camping hatchet made with high-quality materials.
The handle’s constructed with lightweight fibreglass, making it easy to carry without sacrificing on strength or durability. It boasts an ergonomic grip that’s non-slip in even the wettest conditions.
Protective carrying sheath included
This hand hatchet comes with a carrying case that locks around the head of the hatchet.
This keeps the blade safely tucked away and reduces the risk of accidents. The protective case also features a comfortable carrying handle at the top, making it easier to transport the hatchet on the trail.
Great value for money
For the price, this is a great camping hatchet for outdoor use. With a little sharpening and honing, you can get the blade to cut through small logs and kindling perfectly.
- Clever, ergonomic, safe design
- Super small and lightweight
- Ergonomic grip protects against slipping, especially in wet environments
- The carrying case protects both the carrier and the axe
- The super-thin handle might be uncomfortable for someone with large hands.
- 9” might be too small for thicker chunks of wood
5. Casavida Survival Hatchet Set (Best Budget Survival Hatchet)
Complete survival camping axe
Anybody looking for a complete camping survival kit will love the Casavida.
My pick for the best survival hatchet features 9 different, yet essential, tools that you’d want by your side on any backpacking activity.
There’s the hatchet itself (with sheath), a knife, flint, whistle, safety hammer, compass, rope, saw, extension bars, and an all-important bottle opener.
Textured, easy-grip handle
The handle of this camping hatchet is textured and ergonomically shaped to fit the contours of your palm.
This guarantees a sure grip that shouldn’t slip while you’re using it. Even better, there’s a lanyard loop for your wrist, which should provide even more control in wet/cold conditions.
Weighing 2.04 lbs, this hatchet isn’t the lightest option on this list. Ultra-lightweight campers might want to look elsewhere.
For everybody else, though, that extra weight should make lighter work of your chopping!
- Essential camping tools in one compact product
- Lanyard loop for your wrist provides more control
- With this by your side, you will be ready for anything
- The protective sheath protects you and the blade
- Use the hammer side without having to remove the sheath
- At 17”, it might be too long for some backpackers
- A heavier hatchet option versus others on this list
- The compass that’s included doesn’t seem to work perfectly!
6. SOG Outdoor Tactical Tomahawk (Best Survival Hatchet)
Razor-sharp stainless steel blade
The sleek black Tomahawk Survival Hatchet has a razor-sharp 420 stainless steel blade that ensures a fast and true swing.
It packs a punch that helps you get more chopping done in less time. Of course, this tactical backpacking hatchet would come in handy in self-defense situations as well.
As a tomahawk, it’s also likely to be the best throwing hatchet on this list too!
Has a hammer edge and claw
The SOG could easily be the best hatchet for survival on this list.
Along with an exceptional hatchet blade, this product also features a checkered hammer edge to handle your tent pegs and a claw spike for prying things open/cutting wires.
Throw in a fire-starter rod that fits in the handle and you’ve got all the tools necessary for a successful outdoor expedition!
Lifelong customer support
Buy the SOG Tomahawk Survival Hatchet and you’ll get unmatched customer support as well.
As long as you take the proper care of your hatchet, the company will perform any repairs or replacements you might require on the product over time.
- Great value for money
- Comes with a ballistic nylon sheath for safety and blade protection
- Glass-reinforced nylon and paracord non-slip grip
- Fire-starter included (that fits in the handle)
- Versatile, tactical design
- Not full tang
7. Schrade SCAXE2 11.8” Stainless Steel Axe (Best Titanium Hatchet Backpacking)
This 11.8” Schrade axe is a high-performing, cost-effect axe that provides great bang for the buck.
The blade is made of reliable 3Cr13 Titanium coated stainless steel that guarantees strength and durability over time. Similarly, the handle is fashioned out of a black, glass fiber filled PA & TPR material.
In terms of its design, construction, and materials, this hatchet’s hard to fault.
The black rubber covering of the handle makes sure that it won’t slip from your hands while in use. This superior grip is especially great to work with when it’s raining, it’s cold, or when your hands get sweaty. You’ll remain in control and be able to deliver the same level of power as normal.
Additional tool support
The camping axe also features two additional tools for extra versatility.
Its head has a solid hammer pommel on the rear end to nail things down; the shaft stores an extra-large Ferro rod for your fire-starting needs. A black, thermoplastic sheath keeps everything safe when the hatchet isn’t being used, protects the blade, and allows for easier transportation.
- Sheath provides easy access, safety, and blade protection
- Durable, versatile design
- Lanyard loop for wrist provides extra control
- Great length to weight ratio
- Occasional reports of breakages when using the hammer end
- Its size may mean it struggles to chop through thickest chunks of wood
8. Estwing 16” Camper’s Axe (Best Camping Hatchet)
Shock reduction grip
A shock reduction grip is bonded to the handle, which means it’ll a) never slip, and b) reduce impact vibration by over 70%. The result?
Less strain on your hand, wrist, arm, and shoulder as you chop wood on the trail. That’s one reason I’ve named this the best camp hatchet on this list.
Attention to detail
From designing the axe to choosing the raw materials for construction, this camping hatchet has been made with incredible attention to the detail.
Each part of it is optimized to increase the performance and durability of this tool. These axes also come in different sizes and two finishes (black and polished steel).
It’s aesthetically pleasing, American-made, and the head and neck are hand-polished to make it truly stand out.
It’s no wonder the Estwing is so popular and highly-rated online.
Includes safety sheath
The hatchet comes with a protective nylon sheath that keeps the blade out of the way when not in use.
The matching protective cover fits snugly over the hatchet head and doesn’t slip unless you decide to remove it!
- Ideal for outdoor chopping and splitting
- Forged in one piece
- Shock-proof handle makes a huge difference to vibrations
- Easy to carry around
- At 3lbs and 16” long, this is a fairly big, heavy backpacking axe!
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The Best Hatchet for Backpacking- Important Considerations & Selection Criteria
Wondering how to choose the best hatchet for backpacking? The following considerations and selection criteria should help. Keep them in mind to find the best
1. Backpacking Hatchet Materials
The blade of your backpacking hatchet will almost certainly be made from steel.
However, not all steel is made equal.
Some are stronger than others, blunt quicker than others, chip more readily than others, and generally suffer more through the rigors of their role than others.
Anything other than mild steel should be up to the task though.
Stainless steel is a good all-rounder that’s corrosion resistant too. That’d make it well-suited to anybody backpacking in wet, muddy conditions who doesn’t like cleaning/maintaining their tools!
However, it’ll be softer than specialized, heat-treated steels, which would stay sharper for longer and suffer fewer chips/wear at the same time.
2. Best Backpacking Axe Size/Weight
The size and weight of the backpacking gear you buy are always key considerations.
After all, there’s only so much space in your pack and weight you can carry! Anything that’s too big or heavy can turn into a significant burden.
Keep that in mind when picking your Best hatchet for camping, backpacking, and hiking.
A two-foot axe would make mince-meat of the wood you need to chop. But you might lack the energy to wield it after lugging it around all day!
Too small, though, and you’ll struggle to generate enough chopping power. You might as well use your backpacking knife instead.
Strike a balance. Pick an axe that’s well-suited to the tasks for which you’d need it, without taking up any unnecessary space or weight.
3. Best Axe for Backpacking Balance
The best hatchets in the world are perfectly-balanced too.
It’s a key feature of any axe, which determines everything from how it feels in your hand to how effective it is at chopping.
For example, tomahawks are classic throwing axes that are usually balanced around their centre-point. The result?
They’re cool hatchets for hurling at targets but less effective at splitting wood.
Make sure the hatchet you pick is well-balanced. It’ll gather more speed through the air and deliver more downward force as a result.
4. Backpacker Axe Versatility
Classic, everyday axes are designed for one thing only:
Whether you’re felling a tree or going into a medieval battle, that’s been an axe’s sole purpose throughout history.
It’s different when you’re backpacking though!
Sure, you’ll need to do a fair share of chopping in the bush. But you’ll also have to hammer in tent pegs, build emergency shelters, strip kindling, light fires, or even defend yourself against animals.
Many of the best backpacking hatchets take those different needs into consideration.
The best wood splitting hatchet might also have a fire striking rod in the handle or a weighted head to use as a hammer. Some axes even have hidden serrated blades that you can connect up use to saw through wood.
Alongside its quality hatchet head, these kinds of additional features can be a significant help. Be sure to keep them in mind when searching for the best backpacking axe.
5. Best Travel Hatchet Aesthetics
Form and function should definitely take priority over aesthetics when it comes to picking a backpacking hatchet!
It’s all well and good to carry bad-ass-looking backpacking axes and cool hatchets. But there’s no practical benefit in bringing it along if you can’t actually chop anything with it, right?
First and foremost, then, your hatchet has to do its job.
Sort that out, though, and there’s nothing wrong with picking one that looks epic too!
There’s an occasional practical perk to enjoy here as well. Imagine dropping your axe on the trail, or losing it in the depths of your backpack, for example. Bright colours on the handle would make it ten times easier to find.
6. Backpacking Axe Budget
Like all outdoor gear, the price of backpacking hatchets varies widely.
And, as is often the case, you tend to get what you pay for.
The best backpacking hatchets don’t come cheap! But they do deliver quality.
Paying a bit more money will give you stronger steel, better balance, and a durable hatchet that should serve you well for years to come. For hardcore backpackers who go on regular trips, I’d say it’s worth paying extra cash for the best made hatchet possible.
By contrast, somebody going on occasional trips, treks, and camps should be fine with cheap hatchet models. Just expect less chopping power and a blade that dulls that bit quicker.
Time to Choose the Best Backpacker Hatchet Possible
The best hatchets for backpacking are essential bushcraft tools that make life in the outdoors ten-times easier.
Among their many benefits, having a hand hatchet means you can chop wood quickly and efficiently, split kindling with ease, build substantial shelters, and protect yourself better in dangerous self-defence situations.
The real trick is choosing the right one for the job!
Hopefully, the backpacking axe reviews and buying guide above will help you find the best backpacking hatchet possible.