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hether you’re preparing for a campfire, an axe-throwing competition or hiding in the mountains awaiting the zombies, you need to be able to rely on your chopping companion. A quality hatchet or ax can make camping trips with the family or with the guys easier. They help get the fire started ready for those tasty burgers and chilling ghost stories. They’re also a great tool to help you bond with the kids and teach them a valuable life skill.

Axes and hatchets have been around forever – which means many companies are making them. This also means there are more to choose from, but choosing can be harder. To help you find the best hatchet or ax for your camping trip, we have found the models that are a cut above the rest.

We found models that are aimed at different uses and will be ideal for different hatchet and ax shoppers. We also found some budget models that still ooze quality and some exceptional backpacking designs too. Read on to discover these camping essentials, but first, let’s take a look at some common questions.

What Are A Hatchet And An Ax Used For?

An ax and a hatchet come in useful for different things. They can both be used to chop wood. The type of wood, its thickness, and its location will determine which one of these tools is best to use in each instance. While camping, chopping wood will be one of your main objectives with these cool tools. After all, what is a camping trip without a cold beer and interesting conversations on an evening – and what is a top evening without a campfire and some sizzling sausages?

For some men on camping trips, their intent will be to go hunting as well. An ax and hatchet will come in useful for any guy going fishing or looking for game in the wild. We won’t spell this out for you because some of our squeamish readers may be listening in.

A camping ax and a camping hatchet are not toys. Yet, this doesn’t mean you cannot have fun with them. They can be thrown towards targets as part of games and people even run ax and hatchet throwing competitions. Before Dave loses an ear, keep reading to discover a safe throwing technique.

What Is The Difference Between An Axe And A Hatchet?

Most people aren’t tool experts. Those that are will tell you that the majority of the population are incorrectly using the terms “ax” and “hatchet” interchangeably. Although they look similar and have similar purposes, they can be distinguished with a little more insight.

The most notable difference is in their size. A hatchet is smaller than an ax because a hatchet is designed to be used with one hand. In comparison, an ax is used with both hands. Through functioning slightly differently, they come in handy – pun definitely intended – in different situations. A hatchet can be used to take down smaller pieces of wood and is especially useful in tight areas where there may not be room for much backswing. Alternatively, an ax is more useful for thicker pieces of wood that require a long backswing and brute acceleration.

That brings us nicely on to the hand ax which is designed to fend off zombies. We’re joking of course, but a hand ax is a mixture of both the hatchet and the ax. It can be considered the love child of these two tools. Often, a hand ax is just called an ax or a hatchet. Can you spot them in our buyer guide?

How To Choose The Best Hatchet Or Ax For Camping And Survival?

When choosing the best make and model for you, you need to consider a few things. To help you buy smart, here are out two key considerations when buying a hatchet or an ax for camping.

Use – do you just need to cut wood? How big of a blade do you need for your wood? The main use for a camping tool like these is to prepare firewood. However, some models include other useful things such as a hammer head. This head is great for hammering in tent stakes when the ground is tough. Another thing to think about is if you have any use for an ax or hatchet in your garden or in DIY projects? What do you need from these tools in these situations? Or, are you about to compete in a throwing competition? Considering your uses is the first step before buying any hatchet or ax.

Size and weight –when it comes to axes and hatchets, size is important. Remember to choose one that will fulfill your needs, but also one that is light enough for you to carry and one that is compact enough to keep on you at all times if needed. If you will be wandering around looking for firewood you don’t want to be out of breath and too tired to swing by the time you find it.

Looking for models that have sheaths, and hook and loop attachments will work even better for men that want to transport their hatchet or ax. To fulfill this requirement, these guys should take a look at our specific backpacking hatchets section near the end of our list.

How To Use An Ax Or Hatchet For Survival?

Some of you will be first-time ax or hatchet buyers. For you guys, we have put together a clear guide on how to use these tools effectively and safely. We already established these tools are not the same and they are held differently. Therefore, we have separated our coaching to tailor advice to each tool. We also brought the Men’s Gear ax throwing specialist along to teach you how to throw safely.

To use an ax safely, the first step is to clear your backswing and ensure you aren’t going to make contact with anything else. If you did, your ax would be sent off course and you will miss your target. Remember, these are two-handed tools. Place your non-dominant hand just above the bottom of the handle and the hand you write with a few inches below the top of the handle.

Before swinging, mark your stance out by clearing any loose debris and standing with your feet at shoulder-width apart. Swing down towards your target from over your shoulder and lower your dominant hand down the grip slightly as the ax accelerates towards the target. The technique can differ depending on the exact task you’re carrying out. Always choose accuracy over full-blown power.

A hatchet is used slightly differently. As a hatchet is more apt for smaller areas, you will not need to check your swing path as meticulously because you won’t be swinging as far back with it as you would an ax. That doesn’t mean you couldn’t try and tackle the camping firewood with a hatchet using big swings – but a safer use for the hatchet will be in a somewhat similar manner to when you use a hammer.

Throwing either of these tools is a fun camp game when done safely. Not all models are suitable for throwing. Heavier models can be a certain “no” if you value your fellow campers’ toes. Check with manufacturers for their guidance on this. Some models have been specifically designed for throwing with curved grips and the perfect weight distribution.

When throwing, grip the tool low down at the bottom of the handle with two hands like you would hold a baseball bat. More advanced throwers can use one hand. Ensure the blade is pointed forwards to make sure it sticks into your pre-agreed-upon target. Bring the ax over and behind your head just like soccer players do when they take a throw-in. Never bring it over one of your shoulders! Now, accelerate your hands forward back over your head and release with your arms fully extended in front of you. How did you do? Communal finger count?

How To Sharpen Hatchets And Axes?

Sharpening an ax or hatchet isn’t going to blow your mind. With some extra bits, these tools are really simple to prepare for the weekend camping trip and can be done in just minutes. Some common methods include filing or using whetstones, grinding wheels, and rotary tools. Here, we will zone in on two of those methods that are most suitable for sharpening an ax or a hatchet.

Ax sharpening – to sharpen an ax, the first step is to clamp the head of the tool in place using a vice. Then proceed to file the original bevel. Make sure your filing technique includes long strokes and follows the bevel as it was originally crafted. Remember to turn the head over, re-clamp and repeat to the other side of the ax’s head. This method is best to tackle an ax and you should always avoid just sharpening the tool’s edge.

Hatchet sharpening – a great option to sharpen a hatchet is using a whetstone. Simply run the hatchet blade across the whetstone at an angle to regain a sharp edge. Again, remember to do the opposite side by reversing the angle.

What Are The Best Brands For Axes And Hatchets?

When we use an ax or hatchet, we put our safety in the hands of the product’s manufacturers as well as our own. We rely on these tools being durable and put together reliably so they do not cause us significant injury during use.

This is one reason why we should choose renowned brands that have established a reputation based on the quality of their hatchets and axes. The best brands for hatches and axes have become known as such because of their attention to detail, customer service, and their safety record.

To ensure you buy a quality hatchet or ax, we have compiled our buyer guide by chopping down the current crop of options to uncover the best of the best. Next up are 15 outstanding options coming from the likes of Estwing, Gerber and first up – Fiskars.

1) Fiskars X7 Hatchet

The Fiskars X7 Hatchet is our first point of call when searching for the best hatchet for men. This black and orange slicing machine will come in useful when preparing the campfire as it’s designed to take on small- and medium-sized logs and kindling. It also has a hammer head on the opposite side for multifunction usage – which will help get those tent stakes in the ground.

The designers took their inspiration from a standard aluminum baseball bat to enhance the weight distribution and make it more feasible to carry for long treks. By making it strong but light, they have made using it more efficient. You can swing the head much faster to accelerate through your target for deeper cuts.

Another thing that makes this model an efficient operator is that it has been sharpened using proprietary-blade grinding. These cleaner and sharper cuts are then protected with a complementary lifetime warranty! To keep your Fiskars X7 Hatchet in top working order, the product includes a protective case that locks in place over the blade and the hammer head.

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  • Lightweight for performance and portability
  • Strong blade
  • Multifunctional head
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Protective design inclusions
  • Protective casing adds bulk

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2) Estwing Sportsman’s Axe

Blade Width
N/A
Weight
1.86lbs
Overall Length
12in
Head Material
Hand-polished steel
Rockwell Hardness
N/A

By making use of quality American steel, Estwing has produced one of the best hatchets on the market. It’s not surprising seen as though they have been in the tool-striking game for over 75 years. With this sort of experience and expertise, you will be buying a product you can trust.

Their design comes available in its standard leather design and also a special edition model. Focusing on their original model, the grip is made with genuine leather. This leather has been sanded and lacquered to add both durability and comfort to its use.

Just like the first hatchet we saw, this one is primarily used to tackle small logs and kindling ready for the evening’s campfire. On top of its undeniably high performance, this model is one of the most durable. It has been forged together in a single piece, so you can feel safe and confident with every strike. The hatchet is even provided with a nylon sheath for convenient transportation and blade maintenance.

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  • Forged for durability
  • Lacquered leather grip
  • Ballistic nylon sheath included
  • Renowned branding
  • Special edition option
  • Supplied unsharpened

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3) MOSSY OAK 2-Piece Camping Set

For impeccable value for money, choose this two-piece set comprising of a survival ax and a machete. The set is perfect for your hunting trips, or these tools can be used around the garden. Both tools boast solid quality blades which are corrosion resistant to outlast competitors.

The ax tool can be used to cut, but it has a hammer head attached to it as well. Go hunting then come home and build a man shed with this tool! The machete is just as multifunctional. Along with the reliable blade, there is a gut hook and a hole which is perfect to attach your lanyard through.

Another way that this design is perfect for the hunters among our pack is through its aesthetics. Both of the tools in this set have camouflaged handles. This helps you activate stealth mode and stay unseen. The grips also host ridges to increase friction and your control – not to mention they look awesome! Both come with a nylon sheath that have a hook and loop attachment to let you keep them at arm’s reach at all times.

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  • Includes a machete as well
  • Both tools have multiple functions
  • Easy to carry
  • Protective sheath
  • Camouflaged and functional grips
  • Do you want a machete?

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4) Marbles Camp Axe

Blade Width
4in
Weight
2.4lbs
Overall Length
15.75in
Head Material
High-carbon steel
Rockwell Hardness
N/A

Next up is the Marble Camp Axe. It will come in useful when chopping small and medium logs in preparation for campfires. On the opposite side of the high-carbon steel head, there is a hammer design to save your hands and the bottom of your sneakers from trying to get tent stakes in the hard ground.

As mentioned, the blade on this design is four-inches long and made from high-carbon steel. It’s tough and sharp enough to become part of your camping gear for a long time and will not falter easily. Yet, the most unique features on this camping ax are on its handle.

The handle itself is made from American hickory to add a rustic aesthetic to an already masculine piece of kit. Now cast your eyes to the lower part of the handle. Here you will notice an enlarged hole. This hole is perfect for attaching a lanyard or can be incorporated into your kit for easy transportation.

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  • Unique American hickory handle
  • Enlarged lanyard and transporting hole
  • Relatively long blade edge
  • Hammer feature for multifunctionality
  • Protective sheath sold separately

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5) Oak Curve Outfitters Camp Axe

Or maybe you would prefer to get hold of this Camp Axe from Oak Curve Outfitters? Unlike some other hatchet and ax providers, they supply their lightweight design sharpened and ready to go. It’s perfect for splitting, chopping and will even come in useful for domestic building or woodwork projects. Why? This is another head which doubles as a hammer!

Another excellent part of this model is the handle and grip. The handle has been made to withstand adverse weather so you always feel safe and in control. It’s also shock resistant so you can work with it for longer without feeling aches or fatigue. However, once you’re done for the day, simply slide it in its accompanying nylon sheath for protection and ease of carrying.

The US outfit even offers a 30-day money back guarantee without asking any questions, and hand over a one-year replacement warranty for purchasing peace of mind.

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  • Provided already sharpened
  • Use for campfires and woodwork projects
  • Hammering function included
  • Shock-resistant grip
  • Warranties provided
  • Higher Rockwell ratings elsewhere

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6) Schrade Large Survival Axe

From Schrade, we welcome you to the tribe! Their Survival ax is almost 16-inches in length and has one of the longest blade lengths on our buyer guide at 4.2 inches. It’s also one of the lightest models we will be featuring.

The head of this hand ax is made from stainless steel which has been given a titanium coating for added durability. On the opposite side to the blade, you will notice a small steel block. This pommel can be used for any hammering requirement from tent pegs to nails.

The handle is just as impressive. It’s made from TRP and PA but has been enhanced with a glass fiber filling. Two of the coolest aspects of the handle are that it’s flexible and that it’s cold resistant. If you’re rallying the troops for a camping trip in the colder months, this Schrade model will be your best friend – especially when your other ones choose to stay home and warm.

Other noteworthy features of this product are the inclusion of an XL ferro rod kept inside the tool’s shaft and a polyester sheath.

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  • Longer length and lighter
  • Extra-large ferro rod included
  • Polyester sheath
  • Cold-resistant handle
  • Hammer pommel
  • Past customers don’t like the sheath

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7) MTECH USA Camping Axe

Do your best Viking impression with the MTECH USA Camping Axe for men. It’s one of the smallest and most compact designs that you’ll find on our buyer guide, but good things do sometimes come in small packages!

Its size makes it one of the most portable options on the market. If you’re going on a camping trip with a number of stop offs and even doing a spot or two of wild hiking, this will be a fantastic choice. The blade is manufactured with 440 stainless steel and finished in a black satin to help it strike effectively – as well as strike fear.

The awesome aesthetics are continued into the rubber handle which has been made to be both durable for product longevity and comfortable for extensive use at one time. A black nylon sheath matches the overall design and keeps the sharp blade from any minor damages and scrapes – to you and to the blade!

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  • Cool design
  • Compact for portability
  • Protective nylon sheath
  • Durable rubber handle
  • More sheath complaints

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8) Prandi German-Style Hatchet

The Prandi German-Style Hatchet will be a much-loved part of the camping kit for years to come. It’s another model that has a rustic handle aesthetic thanks to the inclusion of American hickory. The grain orientation on this handle is solid and is then enhanced with varnish for protection. With this in hand, your firewood doesn’t stand a chance.

The steel head is also of immense quality and next to it is a cool emblem. Even though the manufacturers have not claimed that the opposite side of the head could be used to hammer, a lot of past customers have taken it upon themselves to utilize this flat chunk of steel for such purposes.

Unlike most designs which come with a nylon sheath, this one is a bit more durable and a lot cooler. It’s supplied with a leather sheath that just covers the blade and has some metal studs and a stud button for a fine finish.

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  • Unique handle material
  • Solid grain orientation
  • Cool emblem
  • Leather studded sheath
  • Not enough friction on the grip

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9) CAMAQUI Hatchet

For a little more money than standard, campers can become happy campers with the CAMAQUI Hatchet for men. This design comes in two different styles that exhibit the same qualities. The head of the hatchet is made using hand-forged high-carbon steel for a hot-knife-through-butter cutting action.

The handmade handle is equally impressive and consists of durable rosewood. It’s an ergonomic design to help you feel comfortable and in complete control from your backswing to follow through. Together with the head of this hatchet for men, a perfect weight distribution is achieved to enable you to make accurate and powerful blows.

They will even supply it with a 100% cow leather sheath and a money-back guarantee in case you’re not satisfied!

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  • Two styles available
  • Impressive weight ratio
  • Ergonomic handle for comfort
  • Leather sheath
  • Guarantee supplied
  • More expensive than some competitors

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10) Estwing Special Edition Camper’s Axe

If you like quality and also place buying locally as a priority, you will have to consider the creations from Estwing. Their camping hatchets and axes are made in Rockford, IL, and make good use out America’s finest steel.

This model doesn’t fall too far from the tree of their previous model we showed you. It’s made to tackle firewood logs, and tree branches in your garden or around the area you set up camp. It’s length, weight, and blade width allow it to accelerate faster into the wood to make more effective strikes. You can enjoy this level of performance for a long time due to the product’s durability and being forged in a single piece.

The same level of reliability is found in its lacquered leather grip. Never feel unsafe or out of control when making powerful strikes to logs and keep the blade maintained and safe to transport with an accompanying ballistic nylon sheath.

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  • Uses USA steel
  • Perfect for camping or gardening
  • Forged in one piece
  • Lacquered leather grip
  • Nylon sheath for protection
  • Arrives unsharpened

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11) Schrade Full-Tang Hatchet

Back to the Schrade camp to see another one of their camping hatchets for men. You can even get it as part of a set that includes a fire striker. The perfect campfire set?

This is an exceptionally durable product made from a host of long-lasting materials you can count on. The blade is made from sturdy stainless steel and the ergonomic handle is manufactured with grooved black rubber. These grooves let you stay in control when the weather is out of control.

You can be confident using this model to chop wood or you can dial down the swings and turn it around to take advantage of its other feature. The head also includes a hammer pommel to take some arguments out of setting the tent up.

This is one of the best-looking hatchets we have on our list. It combines ruggedness with sleek modernity to provide one hell of an option for any guy. It’ll stay looking this cool too because it comes supplied with a thermoplastic sheath that can be attached to your belt for ease of, and safe, transporting.

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  • Exceptionally lightweight
  • Awesome aesthetics
  • Dual functionality
  • Sheath provided
  • Belt attachment included
  • Ergonomic handle
  • Smaller length not for some

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Best Budget Camping Hatchets And Axes

12) Coleman Camp Axe

Now we’re moving on to some budget camping tools to keep the fire roaring. Keep this Coleman camping ax with you on camping trips or keep it in the shed ready for when you have the guys around and the firepit burning.

This wallet-friendly option has one of the most innovative inclusions on our whole list. It has the dual functioning head of being able to chop wood and hammer your tent pegs – but it has even more. When it’s time to pack up and get the tent pegs back out, use the cut-in head notch to lift the pegs out without hitting yourself in the head.

Along with its clever addition, it has a drop-forged steel head that won’t let you down, and a friction grip to keep you in control of every swing. This product is great for first-time buyers and fifth-time buyers. Get yours now!

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  • Multi-functional head
  • Reliable steel
  • Friction grip
  • Value for money
  • Notch to remove tent pegs
  • Needs sharpening

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13) Truper Hatchet

An alternative for budget hatchet buyers is the Truper Hatchet. This model is perfect for camping trips and home use around the garden and shed. This isn’t surprising seen as though Truper has been supplying quality domestic tools for years.

It has a hickory handle for comfort and strength, and a heat-treated blade for a formidable chopping potential. Opposite the blade is a hammer pommel and, on the blade, you will again notice a notch to help you remove tent pegs. How come these hatchets which are great value for money come up trumps for innovation? We’re not complaining; their work has to be admired!

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  • Head has three functions
  • Innovative notch
  • Heat-treated steel blade
  • Cool hickory handle
  • Steel requires frequent care

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Best Backpacking Axes And Hatchets

14) Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet

We’re ending our showcase of the best hatchets and axes for camping with two backpacking hatchets. These models are named so because they can slide into your backpack due to their compactness and overall size.

The first one has been put to the test of survival king Bear Grylls! Hence, why it has been named after him. Despite its compactness, this one still has a relatively long blade length measuring in at 3.5 inches. With this option, you get the double benefit of being super easy to transport with no added attachments needed and it delivers in performance.

This workhorse has a high-carbon steel blade and an ergonomic handle. The handle enables users to enjoy its cutting ability for long durations without getting tired or sore. It has also been covered in a non-slip rubber so you can keep using your Bear-Grylls-endorsed hatchet in any season. Even though it’s suitable to just carry in your backpack, it does come with a belt loop and is also supplied with a nylon sheath for protection.

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  • Compact for a backpack
  • Comes with a belt loop
  • Bear-Grylls endorsed
  • Ergonomic handle
  • Grooves for four-season use
  • Lightweight requires more muscle to chop

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15) BladeMate Survival Hatchet

Our final hatchet for camping on our list is the BladeMate Survival Hatchet. This compact operator will be the perfect addition to your camping kit or a Bug-Out-Bag for when the zombies, or more likely, the robots try and take over.

The razor-sharp blade will certainly take care of any firewood and will come in useful for bush clearing. Again, despite its compactness, this hatchet has one of the longest blade lengths. At a whopping 4.5 inches, you certainly wouldn’t want to be clumsy around this product. The blade will keep performing for a long time to due to its anti-corrosion qualities. On the opposite side of the blade, you can see a hook for tent pegs and alike. We secretly think this will work as a bottle opener too. Have a cold one for us!

The handle of the tool has been made to fit your hand position naturally for a stronger swing and impact. It even has multiple grooves to increase grip, which will certainly be welcome in the colder and wetter conditions. To round off a phenomenal product, BladeMate will back up their work with a lifetime guarantee without asking any questions whatsoever. Buy this one for yourself or as a gift for an outdoor-type groomsman.

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  • Multifunctional head
  • Ideal for many outdoor uses
  • Lifetime guarantee included
  • Ergonomic and friction grip
  • No lanyard hole

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Want A Slice Of The Action?

That concludes our buyer guide looking at some incredible hatchets and axes for your next camping trip with the guys. Consider your exact uses with one of these tools to make sure you get the most suitable design for you. When you do use your tool, always follow the proper technique and use it responsibly. Severed fingers only last 12 hours before doctors aren’t able to reattach them, which will make browsing the cool products on our future buyer guides much more difficult!