When you’re heading out backpacking you’re definitely going to want some type of hatchet to take along with you. Whether you want a small one or a larger one, you’re definitely going to want something that can get the job done. When you first walk out into the wilderness, whether you’re backpacking through the woods, the mountains, the desert or anywhere else, you need something to help you in case of an emergency. That’s where a hatchet is going to come into play. But you don’t want just any old hatchet. You want the best hatchet for backpacking and that’s going to be easy to find.
With any of the options that we’ve found here, you’re definitely going to be more than happy because they provide durability, power and a whole lot more. Just take a look at the different options and see which one is going to work out the best for your next backpacking trip. Each one offers different features that you can enjoy and they’re going to come in at different price points too, so you can find something that fits your needs as well as your budget. Just take a closer look and you’ll see why each of these has made our list.
1. Gransfors Bruk Mini
- What we like: Small and lightweight for easy transport wherever you go.
- What we don’t like: It can be too small for some tasks.
This mini hatchet is moderately priced and provides you with a simple design that’s easy to use. The wooden handle is set through the blade, which provides more durability and a stronger connection between the two. You’ll also have an iron blade, which is durable and long-lasting. The leather sheath is easy to snap over the top to protect not only the blade of the hatchet but yourself and those around you as well. On top of that, you’re going to like the fact that it’s lightweight and therefore much easier to wield than some of the larger options out there.
Great for those who want something for smaller tasks or less frequent tasks, this hatchet is well made and designed to last. The blade stays extremely sharp, which means you’re not going to need to worry about how to sharpen it when you’re heading out on that next backpacking trip. You’re also going to have options to add on a great quality sheath that will make it easier to carry with you. Whether you want to carry it on your backpack or even on your hip, you’re not going to have a problem getting anything done.
2. Gerber 9-Inch Hatchet
- What we like: Excellent for splitting even more solid wood.
- What we don’t like: Handle is hollow and slightly off on balance.
This hatchet definitely looks sleek and interesting and it’s definitely going to provide you with the durability that you’re looking for as well. You can choose between the 9” option or you can opt for larger ones all the way up to 36” (which isn’t quite a good thing when you’re talking about backpacking). But you’ll find something that fits all of your needs. On top of that, the blade of the hatchet actually goes directly through the handle, so there’s little risk of the two pieces coming apart in any way.
The blade itself is coated with PTFE, which provides a cleaner cut every time you swing and the head is made of forged steel, which keeps it more durable. The handle is actually a composite material that’s designed to be long-lasting and also shock resistant, in case that wood you hit is more solid than you expected. There’s even a sheath included that’s designed slim enough to stay out of your way while you’re using it but still protect the blade from damage and those around you at the same time.
3. Fiskars X11 Splitting Axe
- What we like: Easily cuts down mature trees.
- What we don’t like: Can be too long of a handle for some users.
This slightly larger hatchet is going to still give you the lightweight aspects that you need in order to take it with you on that next backpacking trip. You’ll easily be able to handle it with just one-hand, which makes it simple to get the job done. You’re also going to get plenty of efficiencies and you’re going to have the perfect balance between the handle and the blade. The power-to-weight ratio is designed to give you faster swing speed while increasing the level of power as well.
You’ll have a sheath to protect the blade and yourself and you’ll have several different size options that range from the 17” up to 36”. Not only that but you’re going to get a lifetime warranty included with the product, which is definitely going to let you know that you have something you can count on. The company ensures it’s going to last and the features you’re going to see will definitely reinforce that. There’s a coated blade for added power and forged steel for the blade along with a smooth handle that’s easy to hold.
4. Gerber Bear Grylls
- What we like: Simple to carry on your hip or on a backpack.
- What we don’t like: Blade is not fully usable right out of the box.
If you want an inexpensive option that’s still going to get the job done then this is a great way to go. It’s a small hatchet that actually has only a 3.5” blade, but that doesn’t mean you’re not getting power. The blade is actually a full tang, which means that it fits all the way through the handle to provide more durability and to increase the power as well. Not to mention it’s made of carbon steel, which increases your strength and durability even more. Add in the fact that the handle is ergonomic and non-slip and you’ve really got a winner here.
This hatchet is precise and helps you increase the speed of each cut. Not to mention it’s simple to take with you wherever you want to go. It has a nylon sheath that also includes belt loops so you can carry it along with you wherever you go and it’s lightweight enough you’ll hardly even notice that it’s there. You can get a comfortable grip for any task and you can protect yourself and the blade with the nylon sheath.
5. Husqvarna Wooden
- What we like: Non-coated handle provides better fit and comfort.
- What we don’t like: Sheath does not fit and protect well.
Looking for something that’s going to be simple to use and a little less with the fancy features? You’re getting that with this option. It’s inexpensive, which makes it within the budget of just about anyone who’s looking to head into the wilderness and it comes in several different sizes and handles options. The 13” even comes in a composite or a wood handle. You’ll also have other options that go all the way up to 32”, for added versatility.
This lightweight hatchet is great for smaller tasks but can definitely perform anything you throw at it, including splitting wood. There are steel wedges and a wooden wedge attaching the head to the shaft so you get durability and far less danger of the two pieces coming apart. There’s even a leather edge cover included making sure that the sharpness of the blade is well protected, no matter where you’re traveling. All you need to do is decide which one of these hatchets you want for which kind of tasks.
6. SOG Tactical Tomahawk
- What we like: Great option for everyday carry.
- What we don’t like: Handle and head are quite small and thin.
Here you’re actually getting a tactical unit that’s designed for throwing and for security, but it’s definitely going to perform for just about any task you throw at it. Even better, it’s lightweight and it’s small. There’s actually a 2” blade and a pick at the back, so you’re going to get more than just chopping out of this too. Weighing in at only 19 ounces, it’s definitely going to be easy to hold and to maneuver, especially with the non-slip handle. The whole thing is screwed in together to provide added durability and longevity as well.
The ax blade is actually hammered and the spike gives you piercing ability. It’s even made with high-quality carbon steel and stainless steel that won’t rust and will keep you going for longer than you might think. Use it as a throwing ax or use it to chop anything you might need, you’re not going to be disappointed in the outcome. At this inexpensive price, you’re definitely going to want to have one in your pack (or on your belt) every time you head out into the wilderness.
7. Estwing Sportsman’s Axe
- What we like: High-quality hatchet that powers through just about anything.
- What we don’t like: Handle can be somewhat slick with varnish.
This hatchet definitely looks sleek and interesting, and it comes in at a low price point as well. It’s actually made with a polished and forged steel and also has a grip that’s made with genuine leather. That means it’s going to look great and it’s also going to provide you with more comfort and a better grip while you’re holding it. The blade itself is full-tang, which means that it extends into the grip and makes it more durable and far less likely to break over time. It’s even made in the USA with American steel.
With this option, you’re going to have something you can use for chopping and splitting wood. Plus you’re going to have a great sheath to go along with it. The sheath provides you with protection against the sharp edge and makes sure that it stays that way for a long time. If you’re looking for a moderate size hatchet that will get the job done then you’re definitely looking in the right place and you’re going to find it with this stylish option that definitely doesn’t shirk from work.
8. Fiskars X7
- What we like: Comes with a lifetime warranty.
- What we don’t like: Coating over the top chips easily.
You want a high-quality hatchet that’s going to provide you with durability and this is it. It’s a moderately-sized option that’s going to let you chop up to medium-sized logs with ease. Not only that but it has a great balance between the handle and the blade, which makes it a whole lot easier for you to chop anything you want. Plus, you’re going to have better swing speed and a whole lot more power than you’ll get with similarly sized hatchets. It even uses a proprietary blade-grinding technique to make sure you’re getting the best edge possible.
There’s a lifetime warranty included, which lets you know the company is going to stand behind this product, and there’s a coating over the blade that makes it even easier to get through any type of wood without getting stuck. You’re going to have what’s considered a ‘virtually unbreakable’ handle and the company says that the heads are inseparable from the handle. That means you’re going to have something you will be able to use for as long as you want, with no worry about how it’s going to keep working for you.
9. Gerber Freescape
- What we like: Splits larger pieces than you would expect for its size.
- What we don’t like: Can dull quickly though it’s easy to sharpen back up.
This high-quality hatchet comes in a range of different sizes from 9” all the way up to 36”, but this one comes in right near the middle at 17.5”. You’re going to have a length that’s easy to wield but not so small that it can’t accomplish larger tasks. There’s a PTFE coated blade that keeps the friction level down and still makes sure that you’re getting a clean cut. You’re also getting forged steel under that coating, which means that it’s durable and it’s built to last. Add in the composite handle that works to reduce the level of shock you’ll get when you’re working on more difficult tasks and you’re definitely going to be off to a great start.
This hatchet comes with a sheath that’s thin but still plenty durable and the whole thing is going to offer you the quality that you would expect. It gets every single swing in deeper than you would get with a standard hatchet, and that means you’re going to get through that next task a whole lot faster than you might have thought. Plus, you can use it for additional tasks like making a shelter or even pounding in stakes. There’s very little that this tool isn’t going to be able to accomplish for you when you give it a shot.
10. Helko Werk Vario
- What we like: Curved handle is easy and convenient to hold.
- What we don’t like: Can be too heavy for some purposes.
This German hatchet has a whole lot to offer, even if it might not look like it. It’s considered a universal hatchet and it offers a carbon steel blade that’s not only durable and long-lasting but flows through the handle to provide added durability to the connection between the two. You get a two-tone handle that’s sleek and polished in a way that you’re definitely going to appreciate when you’re taking this hatchet with you anywhere. There’s even a vegetable-tanned leather sheath included so you can keep the blade (and those around you) better protected from the sharpness of the blade.
The moderate weight makes it easy enough to take with you wherever you want to go and the quality wood only adds to the benefits. You’re going to have no problem accomplishing just about any task because every piece of this unit is hand-made in different parts of the world to create the best possible result. That includes the American hickory handle that’s made in Switzerland and the sleek cow leather sheath that’s made in the USA. You’ll even love that the wood is all environmentally responsible and sustainably sourced.
Tips for Choosing the Best Hatchet for Backpacking
Anyone who is heading out backpacking is going to want the right tools to take along with them. The hatchet is going to be one of those tools and it could save your life in an emergency. Of course, you need to know the important information about choosing your hatchet to find out more about what it can do for you and whether the one you’re looking at is really the best. So we’ll look at everything from what the handle is made of to the overall size of the hatchet to help you figure out what you’re looking for. Whether you choose one of the options we recommend or not, these features will make it easier for you to pick out something you want to use.
The material that the handle is made out of is going to be an important factor for the durability and strength of the hatchet as well as how comfortable you are with it. You will generally find handles made of wood or a type of plastic or fiberglass. Wood is great for weight because there’s generally versatility as well as replacement and repairs. On the other hand, it can be easily damaged. Plastic or fiberglass is highly durable and lightweight, but you’ll likely have difficulty with the repair process.
The overall length of your handle and your hatchet is extremely important because it’s going to let you know what you can actually accomplish with it. If you’re not using it a whole lot you can get a small hatchet that’s easy to carry and likely a little lighter. If you’re going to be using that hatchet a lot for clearing trails, chopping wood and more, you’re likely going to want a moderate to long handle to give you a bit more freedom of movement and a bit more power behind your swing. But don’t go too long or it could be difficult to carry along with you on the trail.
The weight that you get on your hatchet is another factor that’s going to be extremely important. You want a hatchet that you can carry, that you can wield and that can accomplish the job you want. In general, a small, lightweight hatchet is going to be a good option. If you’re going to need a whole lot of hard work out of it you might want something a little heavier and you’ll have to sacrifice ease of movement and comfort while you’re backpacking, but that’s generally not necessary.
It’s not just about molle compatible hatchets but something that will at least allow you to connect to your backpack. You want to make sure that you have a sheath or some other way to hold your hatchet. That’s going to be extremely important when you’re backpacking because you don’t want to be worried about your hatchet falling off or getting lost while you’re out in the wilderness. Look for something that is going to offer you a method of connection that actually works with the backpack you’re going to be carrying along.
There are actually several different types of steel out there when it comes to your hatchet and if you’re looking for something super high quality you’re going to want high-end steel. If you opt for mild steel or high-chromium stainless steel you’re going to have something that’s not quite as high power. You will have the benefit of less risk of rusting, however. When you opt for a 1085 or 1095 carbon steel. These are going to give you even more high quality and durability but you’re going to have to be careful about rust.
No matter what you’re planning to do with it, you definitely need to have a high-quality hatchet available. Whether you’re going to be chopping wood for your campfire or your wood stove or you’re going to be using it for emergency situations, you’ll want the best. Luckily, any of these hatchets are going to work best, no matter the purpose that you’re actually looking for.