When it comes to the world of bushcraft, there’s a long list of essential tools to have on your packing list. You need a waterproof tent and tarp, a warm sleeping bag, knives, cooking utensils, etc. However, one of the most important things to remember is a sharp and reliable bushcraft hatchet.
You’ve come to the right place if you’re serious about surviving in the woods and fending for yourself. Let’s look at the best bushcraft hatchets to add to your arsenal of survival necessities.
Considerations for the Best Bushcraft Hatchet
Finding the best bushcraft hatchet for you means more than finding one with a sharp edge. There are many things to keep in mind when choosing your hatchet, and we’ll go over each of them in detail. Being informed is the best way to make the right choices with your outdoor gear.
One of the distinguishing features of a hatchet is that it’s smaller in size than an ax but larger than a knife. There’s no standard ruling of how big a hatchet can be before it becomes an ax, but the general rule is that you should be able to comfortably handle a hatchet with one hand.
When choosing the best bushcraft hatchet, size is one of the most essential components. You’re going to be carrying many different items on your back or around your waist, so you don’t want a hatchet that’s too heavy. However, you also don’t want one too small to do the things you need to be done.
Toeing the line between having a hatchet large enough to get the job done but small enough to handle easily is a fine one. However, to make your life easier, each of the hatchets on this list will meet those requirements.
Whether you’re on an extended hiking trip or camping trip, you only have room for so many different tools to carry. Choosing versatile tools with more than one function is extremely important. The best bushcraft hatchet should be usable for more than just cutting wood or hacking at trees.
Though it should be versatile, you never want to sacrifice quality for gimmicky tricks. The main purpose of your hatchet, after all, is cutting and chopping, and you don’t want the ability to do that to come with the addition of quirks and built-in tools.
You also don’t want to be replacing your hatchet every couple of months or years. Choosing a durable hatchet made of quality material will ensure a long-lasting tool and a high-quality one. The better and more durable your hatchet is, the less maintenance and sharpening it requires.
How sharp your blade can get and how long it maintains its sharpness are important factors in being a quality hatchet. Sharpness isn’t as important with axes and sledges because they have more weight. Hatchets, however, have very little weight or momentum when you’re swinging them, which means a sharp blade is the only thing that will cut wood.
Overall Best Bushcraft Hatchet
Now that you know what to look for in a quality bushcraft hatchet let’s dive into your top options on the market.
1. Gransfors Bruk Hand Hatchet
Gransfors is one of the best names in the ax and hatchet industry, and the Gransfors Bruk Hand Hatchet is their incredible contribution to the world of best bushcraft hatchets. It’s definitely on the smaller side at 9.5 inches long and 1.5 pounds in weight. However, it’s one of the most quality and durable hatchets that you will find.
This best bushcraft hatchet is made of 1095 carbon steel hand-forged in Sweden. This best bushcraft hatchet is reminiscent of what Vikings and other Scandinavian conquerors would have taken with them to battle or on an adventure. While the blade is made of carbon steel, the handle is carved out of the finest hickory wood available.
Another big advantage of this best bushcraft hatchet is that it’s sharp enough to manage light to medium cutting, and it’s small enough to wear around your waist in a leather sheath that it comes supplied with. This means that you’ll have more room in your pack for a saw or larger ax if you so choose. In terms of overall quality and sharpness, the Grandsfors Bruk Hatchet is tough to beat.
- Extremely lightweight and portable at 9.5 inches long and 1.5 pounds heavy
- A durable head and handle designed for longevity and quality
- It includes a protective leather sheath fr easy carrying around your belt
- The overall quality can’t be matched
- It’s slightly on the small side, even for hatchets, and won’t be able to do heavy cutting or chopping.
- On the pricy side, at just under $200
Best Bushcraft Hatchet on a Budget
2. Estwing’s Sportsmans Axe
Though the name implies that it’s an ax, the Eswing’s Sportsmans Axe is more of a hatchet. At right around two pounds and just a shade longer than one foot, it’s the ideal size to be the best bushcraft hatchet. This best bushcraft hatchet is American-made, through and through. The head is made of hand-sharpened American steel, and the handle is as well.
The handle is also wrapped in hand-made leather to make for easy handling and swinging. It’s large enough to handle small chopping and cutting jobs but not big enough to handle heavy chopping, but most hatchets aren’t.
One downside that you’ll run into with the Estwing’s Sportsmans Axe is that the blade needs frequent sharpening and isn’t as durable as carbon steel. For the price point that this best bushcraft hatchet is listed at, however, you should expect this downside.
- Lightweight and easy to carry on camping or hiking trips
- It comes with its sheath for protection and easy transportation
- 14″ handle makes it long enough for medium chopping and cutting jobs
- Very affordable at under $40
- While it’s fairly durable, the steel isn’t as quality as other options and will require frequent upkeep and maintenance.
Other Best Bushcraft Hatchets
3. Gerber Freescape Hatchet 17.5″
If you haven’t heard of the Gerber brand yet, you will do well to acclimate yourself to it. Gerber is the American version of the more popular and renowned Finnish brand, Fiskars. However, when it comes to quality and longevity, it’s hard to tell the difference between the two. Products from both brands are made by the same company with the same materials.
The Gerber Freescape Hatchet is extremely durable, sharp, and versatile. At 17.5″ long, it’s more of a short axe than a hatchet, and it has more capabilities than many of the other hatchets on this list. Despite being near twice the size of the Grundsfors Bruk, it weighs nearly the same amount. This is thanks to the composite handle that’s lightweight and shock-absorbent.
The head of this best bushcraft hatchet is made of alloy steel that’s coated with PTFE and is extremely sharp. The coating also adds protection and sharpness to a blade that’s already top-notch without it.
- The long handle makes it possible to handle larger chopping jobs than smaller hatchets, thanks to the momentum you can build up with each swing.
- The composite handle is lightweight, shock-absorbent, and resistant to rust.
- The handle is molded around the ax head, which makes it all but impossible to dislodge
- Very affordable at right around $50
- It comes with its own sheath that adds protection and portability
- The steel blade is quality but still prone to growing dull over time
4. Husqvarna Wooden Hatchet
Husqvarna is a brand that’s more popular for its weed-eaters, lawnmowers, and leaf blowers than for hatchets. However, the Husqvarna Wooden Hatchet is one of the best bushcraft hatchets. This bad boy means business with a 13″ handle made of solid wood and a head made of C50 carbon steel.
The handle and head combined weigh less than one pound, making it one of the lightest best bushcraft hatchets on this list. If 13 inches isn’t big enough to do all the things you need to be done, Husqvarna has a number of other options. The sizes range from 13″ to 32″ long, and you can choose between wooden handles or composite ones.
However, while this is a top-notch ratchet, there are a few areas of concern. The shape of the blade and the handle are slightly curved and different from most other hatchets. This takes some getting used to, but you can learn to live with it once you’re acclimated to it.
- Very lightweight and easy to handle in terms of size and portability
- The high-quality handle and head are made of wood and carbon steel respectively
- The 13″ handle makes it just long enough to handle light to medium chopping jobs
- The irregular curve of the blade and handle take some getting used to
- The eye is narrower at the top than the bottom and there are gaps around the bottom of it
5. Zippo AxeSaw
Out of all the bushcraft hatchets we’ve looked at so far, none of them serve as anything other than a hatchet or makeshift hammer when you turn it around. The Zippo AxeSaw, however, is a completely different breed of best bushcraft hatchet. As the name indicates, this dynamic tool serves as a hatchet, a saw, or a hammer! If you’re short on packing space but require multiple tools, this is the one for you.
To break this tool down, we’ll have to take it one step at a time. From top to bottom, the entire device is 20 inches in length. It’s shaped like a hatchet in that it has a sleek handle and a 5-inch blade. It also has a flattened head on the back to act as a mallet. Then, from the bottom of the handle to the bottom tip of the hatchet, there’s a detachable blade that you can install and remove as needed.
The saw blade is 15 inches long and surprisingly sharp, with the ability to cut through most trees and branches. If you want to use the saw, there’s a handled sheath that slides over the blade of the hatchet for safe and easy use. The blade detaches when you’re not using it and can easily be stored in the hatchet handle. No matter what type of job you need to do, the Zippo AxeSaw can get it done.
- The most dynamic and versatile tool on this list
- It can be used as a hatchet, a mallet, or a saw
- Self-adjusting tension compensator for the saw blade to aid in the cutting process
- Additional blade storage option
- Slightly bulky and heavy at 20 inches long and 2.5 pounds
- The versatility of this tool comes at the cost of quality in its specific components
6. Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet
We started this list with a Gransfors hatchet, so it only seems right to end it with a similar product. The Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet is made of the same high-quality hand-forged carbon steel that all Gransfors hatchets and axes are made of. It also features a hickory handle that’s lightweight and durable, as well as a leather sheath for easy carrying and protection.
This best bushcraft hatchet has slightly more capabilities than the first Gransfors hatchet on this list thanks to the 13.5″ handle. It’s an extremely comfortable and easy hatchet to swing and the edge rarely needs sharpening. There are also few to no gaps or flaws in how the head fits around the handle.
One of the main upsides of this hatchet is that it comes with the Gransfors guarantee of quality and longevity. Gransfors is arguably the best name in the axe and hatchet industry, and each of their products is hand-made with high-quality products and care.
- At 13.5 inches long and 1.3 pounds in weight, this hatchet is lightweight and easy to carry
- Flawless design and quality as with all Grandsfors products
- The blade is extremely sharp and rarely needs re-sharpening
- It comes with a fairly steep pricetag
Choosing Between a Hatchet and an Axe
In an ideal world, you won’t have to choose between the two. The best option is to have a hatchet small enough to wear around your waist while carrying an ax or saw in your pack. However, if you must choose between the best bushcraft hatchet and the best bushcraft axe, the main thing to consider is what you plan to do.
If you’re going to build a shelter from scratch or fell large trees, you’ll need something larger than a hatchet. Many bushcrafters and survivalists pack a saw with them for these purposes, since a hatchet isn’t large enough. Therefore, your best option is to have a hatchet as well as an ax or saw. If you only have room for one thing, however, axes are the better option over hatchets.
Wrapping Up the Best Bushcraft Hatchet
As you can see, having a sharp and reliable hatchet is extremely important, and choosing the best bushcraft hatchet for you depends on your needs, budget, and goals. However, selecting any of the options on this list will set you up for success in the wilderness and beyond.
If you are considering a bushcraft axe as well, take a look at The Best Bushcraft Axes to find the best one for you.