Best Survival Hatchet in 2018 – Top 7 Reviewed

When piecing together a survival bag or a go bag weight is always a consideration. The survival hatchet should be one of those items you spend the precious pounds on.

If you cut the handles off your forks and spoons or employ other great tricks to cut weight, make the exception for a first-rate hatchet.  A powerful, durable hatchet is an integral part of any outdoorsman’s toolkit.

A quality survival hatchet will do much more for you than just hang off your bag. In fact, it will also go beyond cutting wood. Here is a short list of uses for a quality survival hatchet:

  • Starting fire with flint
  • Crafting shelters
  • Hammering posts or stakes
  • A weapon (We are talking survival here.)

Until you find yourself cutting branches with a manual chain or a survival knife you won’t fully appreciate what a good survival hatchet can do. When we are talking about harvesting and processing firewood the hatchet is truly unmatched. There is nothing you can carry, of similar size, that can compare.

We are going to review six of the best survival hatchets on the market. These models will span many brands. We will offer many compositions including the traditional wooden shaft. I think you will be surprised at just how many different styles exist on the market.

Estwing E24A 14-Inch Sportsman’s Axe

In every review you have at least one product that is the very soul of authenticity. In this review that product is the Estwing Sportsman’s axe. Though it’s called sportsman’s axe this is very much a hatchet and really the most beautiful one on the market. The Estwing is built in such a classic design that any tool enthusiast will shudder at the craftsmanship. This powerful weapon is forged from one piece of steel and has a genuine leather grip, sanded and lacquered for a unique, flush and top notch feel and look. The cutting edge is hand sharpened and comes with a rugged nylon sheath to protect it.

This hatchet wears its emblem of MADE IN THE USA proudly on its stainless still frame. This company has been forging tools in America since 1923.

That counts for something in the eyes of this reviewer. Walking the American woods with a quintessentially American tool on your back is an experience all its own.

The Estwing reviewed so well among buyers. There were over 1000 reviews for this thing! The only modification that was encouraged was to sand off the varnish on the handle and rub the leather down with a leather preservative like neatsfoot oil. This is said to give the handle a longer life.

Coming in at under $40 this beautiful piece of craftsmanship is one of the best survival hatchets for the price.

Pros

  • Beautiful design
  • Quality craftsmanship
  • Great price

Estwing E24A Axe Summary:

  • High Quality Forged Steel 
  • Genuine Leather Grip
  • Authentic Hand Sharpened
  • Well priced at $40

Kershaw 1071BWX Tinder Personal Axe

When you are out to buy a specific tool it’s rare you should look for several tools therein. In my experience the more thinly a design is spread the more it suffers. I think Kershaw has found a way to flirt with that line better than anyone else with the Tinder Personal Axe. In this tool, you have your cutting blade, a pry point, nail remover, hammer, bottle opener and a set of four hex tool sizes built into the blade.

The design of this tool creates holes in the cutting blade where the hex tool exists. This not only works well for the tool itself but it also cuts the weight of this 10-inch hatchet to under 1lb.

It’s in this combo of size and weight that you find yourself holding onto a powerful survival tool. Its full tang construction and fixed blade mean that this hatchet is no slouch when it comes to its cutting blade. It also come with a plastic cover to protect that edge. The tool reviewed well by others who remarked on its solid shape and size.

They also enjoyed its ability to carry well. It packs up nice because of its lightweight and unobtrusive design. This is a tough hatchet to beat for the price.

Pros

  • Multi-functional
  • Super lightweight design
  • Powerful cutting blade

Kershaw 1071BWX Tinder Summary:

  • Built-In Hex Tool Sizes
  • Full Tang Construction
  • Solid Shape Design
  • Lightweight Hatchet

New Husqvarna Curved Handle 13″ Hatchet

There is something to be said about a classic. I am not sure if it’s the ability of these tools to just get the job done, whether it’s the durability of the powerful hand forged metal or if it’s just that familiar combination of wood driven through metal that is so common when you think of an axe or hatchet. It also comes with a leather sheath just to drive home that classic feel.

This model by Husqvarna has all the best parts of a quality, traditional hatchet. Though it’s a little larger than most of the survival hatchets we reviewed thus far it’s still very much a reliable tool and the traditional build is what gives it much of the appeal. Husqvarna states that it’s a 3” hatchet but it is listed at 15” and 2lbs on the head.

To me these classic tools all must start with a solid hickory handle. This one is ergonomically curved to provide you with a grip that is designed for the human hand.

New Husqvarna Curved HandleThis may seem like it’s there for looks more than anything but if you are doing real work over a period of time this will do wonder on your hands.

Owners of this hatchet were all very impressed with its quality design and affordable price. Many were also very happy with the blade showing up ‘work ready’ or sharpened to the point that it could be useful at arrival. When you receive a hatchet from people who make and use hatchets you simply can tell the difference.

This hatchet comes in priced at an unbelievable value for the quality. Its uncommon to find a tool like this for under $25 and Husqvarna has hit a high note here. It is definitely of the best survival hatchets you can buy and well worth the price.

Pros

  • Classic Design
  • Great Price
  • Ready to work blade

New Husqvarna Curved Handle Summary:

  • Hand Forged Metal
  • Comes with a Leather Sheath
  • Solid Hickory Handle​
  • Well priced at $25

Schrade SCAXE2L Survival Axe Black Handle

Schrade is a brand that comes with a serious background of quality and success. At first glance the SCAXE2L is again called an axe but really is too short to be considered such. This is a hatchet and specifically designed to be a survival hatchet.

It looks great with its titanium coated stainless steel head. The head also features a multi-purpose hammer pommel for driving stakes, nails or laying down the law in a survival situation! The ergonomic handle looks great and handles well.

It’s in this combo of size and weight that you find yourself holding onto a powerful survival tool. Its full tang construction and fixed blade mean that this hatchet is no slouch when it comes to its cutting blade. It also come with a plastic cover to protect that edge. The tool reviewed well by others who remarked on its solid shape and size.

They also enjoyed its ability to carry well. It packs up nice because of its lightweight and unobtrusive design. This is a tough hatchet to beat for the price.

Pros

  • Multi-functional
  • Super lightweight design
  • Powerful cutting blade

Schrade SCAXE2L Survival Axe Summary:

  • Titanium Coated Stainless Steel Head
  • Built-In Hammer Pommel
  • Ergonomic Handle
  • Durable Rubber Grips

Coleman Steel Camp Axe

This hatchet is everywhere! It’s everywhere for good reason. If you are on a tight budget this is the tool to get your hands on. It’s an ideal “camping axe” and when I read that I think hatchet. It’s very simplistic.

The design will not wow anybody but I know people who have taken out over 30 trees with this very hatchet and it has held up to tell the tale.

It's made of drop forged carbon steel. The blade and the handle are two separate pieces but they are both forged steel.

As I mentioned earlier this tool is designed to take a beating and will do just that. It also features a non-slip handle that lives just as long as the blade on the tool. This is a big deal. When it comes to survival.

This tool reviewed well amongst a whopping 482 reviews! That is no easy feat. The fact is this tool is an incredible survival hatchet that is the most cost effective way to add something like this to your pack.

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Durable

Cons

  • Boring, standard design

Coleman Steel Camp Axe Summary:

  • Forged Steel Construction
  • Non-Slip Handle
  • Simple Straightforward Design
  • Well priced

Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet

There is a weird feeling in the air when you are around other outdoorsman and you utter the word GERBER. You immediately draw some very real lines between people. Many survivalists and hunters are vocal about their distaste for the brand.

We are going to take a look at this survival hatchet by Gerber and in conjunction with Bear Grylls. Let’s take the names off the product and begin by looking at what is presented in this hatchet. You are dealing with a compact survival hatchet that weighs under a pound and a half. This is great news when it comes to managing the weight of a pack.

The blade is stainless steel and measures at 3.5 inches. The weight carries heavy in the head and makes for a comfortable swing.

This thing also features a zero-slip grip and it looks like a lot of design time when into that handle. It comes with a canvas sheath and a pocket survival guide written by Bear Grylls.

Looking at this survival hatchet I appreciate its design. It’s a solid piece of metal with a nice handle screwed into the metal itself. It reviewed well but for the stainless-steel blade and its potential to chip and dent. This is going to happen with stainless.

It’s on the higher end of price but comes with many great qualities.

Pros

  • One piece design
  • Compact design
  • Pocket survival guide

Cons

  • Weak steel blade

Gerber Bear Grylls Summary:

  • Compact Design
  • Lightweight Construction
  • Stainless Steel Blade
  • Zero-Slip Grip Handle

MTech USA Camping Axe

From a powerhouse brand in tactical tools and weapons the MTech USA Camping Axe is a great example of what can be achieved when you have a tremendous manufacturer who understand the needs of its customers.

This hatchet, though called an axe, is 11 inches overall and over a 3-inch satin finished 440 stainless steel blade.

The blade features a beautiful two toned design and forged from one piece of steel that is driven into a matching, black rubberized handle. The steel contains more carbon giving it the ability to retain a good working edge, longer.

The only downside to this tool is that its designed in America but manufactured in China and there are several reviews about the quality of the tool after lots of use. You see many of the quality issues one gets accustomed to when dealing with Chinese manufacturing.

This tool is compact and perfect for travel. It’s a solid survival hatchet that prices just over $20 and that’s a value that only the Coleman can match on this list.

Pros

  • Great price
  • Compact
  • Beautiful design

Cons

  • Poor manufacturing quality

MTech USA Camping Axe Summary:

  • Stainless Steel Blade
  • One Piece Forged Steel Construction
  • Durable Rubberized Handle
  • Compact Tool

Conclusion

I hope our survival hatchet review has raised some eyebrows to what is available on the market today. Many of the best survival hatchets will be sold as “axes” although they are much too short to be considered as such. When searching for a quality hatchet you may want to use that as a keyword.

I think we have a powerful selection above and should you make the decision to grab either of the top three you will have a companion tool that will follow you to the highest peaks and the deepest valleys.

On another note, you may want to consider investing in a puck style two grit sharpener for your hatchets and axes. These are available on Amazon as well and give you the power to keep all your cutting tools very sharp. This is a crucial part of maintaining these tools.

The survival hatchet will go a long way on your next hiking or camping trip. Make sure you get your hands on a good quality tool that packs well!