Why You Always Should Carry A Survival Hatchet in the Wilderness

Is there a survival hatchet in your home? Perhaps we would be better off to ask the question, is it important to carry a survival hatchet? What are some the qualities a survival hatchet should have? As with any type of survival gear, there are always going to be pros and cons and certain things that need to be traded off.

Understanding The Difference Between A Hatchet And A Survival Axe

A survival hatchet is basically a various form of a survival axe. In fact, it is the smallest version of an axe with a hammer attached on the back end. An example of this would be the fact that Survival Cache shows various types of axes, including the Forest Axe, Felling Axe, and the Small Forest Axe and Hatchet.

The hatchet would be the axe in the smallest of the group. Hatchet had will typically weigh in the range of 1 to 3 pounds and will offer of 3 to the 5-inch blade as well as an overall length from 10 to 16 inches.

Keep in mind that all of these measurements are rough estimates as there is no specific standard size for an axe to be considered a hatchet. This site advises that the hatchets are should be the shortest, lightest and smallest of all axes available. It’s just one of the many valuable pieces of information about wilderness survival they offer on there.

Basic Components Of A Survival Hatchet

Hatchet For The Woodsman

There are two essential parts of a basic hatchet. It is going to be the handle and the blade. In fact, that is all there really is to the perfect hatchet. However, there are multiple facets to these two basic and individual aspects.

The Basic Parts of a Hatchet

  • Toe Of Bit
  • Bit/Blade
  • Poll/Butt
  • Axe-Side/Cheek
  • Shouldernwlwbnr
  • Belly
  • Throat
  • Back
  • End Knob
  • Grip
  • The Head

If you’re looking to find the best hatchet, the most important aspect you should look at is the head and ensure that it is high quality. It is absolutely essential that the head of the hatchet is able to cut well.

This is not only going to be determined by how sharp the head is but how thick it is as well.

If the area that is directly behind the edge of the blade widens very quickly, you will have a tough time penetrating the wood regardless of how sharp the blade is. In addition, many times, it will glance off of the tree when it is swung at a sharp angle instead of cutting directly into the wood.

It is also important to make sure the head of the hatchet is nice and smooth. Any types of dings or abrasions that can be found on the head tend to reduce its ability to penetrate.

The Handle

There are two Pacific aspects to a survival hatchet handle, and that includes the material and overall length. Generally, the longer the handle is, the better you’ll be able to swing the hatchet with speed and force. However, a longer handle is typically heavier and will not fit into most packs easily.

Handles generally come in three different options: fiberglass, metal, or wood.

A metal handle is going to be the most durable and strongest; however, it also tends to be the heaviest. A wood handle is typically a decent choice however, they can become rather slick if they get any type of water or lubricant on them.

In most cases, you do not want a slippery hatchet while you are swinging it, that could ruin your day!

My personal favorite handle is the fiberglass one. In particular, I enjoy a hollowed-out fiberglass handle that features a good rubber grip. Fiberglass is a material that is light but also very strong. And when it is hollowed-out, it reduces its weight immensely, and the rubber grip will ensure it doesn’t accidentally slip out of your hands.

Of course, I always carry this type of survival hatchet in my personal bug out bag, and this may not be the best choice for somebody who is planning to carry a hatchet on a hike or backpacking.


It is always a wise decision to ensure that your survival hatchet offers good balance. It is best to have the balance point of a survival hatchet located at the point where they handle the head.

This location will offer the best point of control for carving and swinging.

Three Survival Hatchet Techniques

There are three basic methods considered when using a hatchet: carving, splitting, and chopping.



A hatchet is the perfect tool for chopping small trees.

Keep in mind, though, that the larger a tree’s trunk is, the longer you are going to be chopping it. A larger axe is going to be the better tool for chopping a large tree, always keep this in mind when planning on chopping a tree.

In addition, the proper chopping technique is always required, and that is a topic out of the scope of this article. However, it is always best to plan out your attack angle that are going to be equal to the diameter of the trunk.

Take a trunk that is 4 inches thick, your total top and bottom cut to be about 4 inches as well.


In order to have kindling for a fire, you are always going to need to split wood. While this is a straightforward skill, there are a couple of things to take note of when using a hatchet as opposed to a full-sized axe.

It is always best to begin splitting wood from your knees and not while standing up.

Consider the fact that a hatchet is always going to be shorter, and if you’re trying to split a piece of wood standing up and you miss, that hatchet is going to end up right in your kneecap!

Another essential tip, never split wood on the ground. If you consistently hit the ground with your hatchet, over time, it is going to damage the blade and make it much less effective.

Recommended article:  Quick Guide To Axes – Getting The Right Axe


In order to carve properly, you want to slide your hand all the way up to the head of the hatchet. Now slide the head of the hatchet down the piece of wood.

Using this particular grip, you will be able to control the bite angle decently and have the leverage needed to power through particular sections as needed.

For me personally, I find it is easier to create a wood carving with a hatchet as opposed to a traditional survival knife. However, if you plan on doing any type of detailed carving, a survival knife will be your best friend.

How To Maintain A Hatchet

Let’s talk very quickly about the maintenance of a hatchet, and we’ll make this as straightforward as possible.

You always want to maintain the blade sharpness just like you would with a knife by simply touching the edge up with the sharpening stone.

Always keep a dry, so it does not rust and believe or not that’s all there is!

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