A camping hatchet in a wooden log.

The 7 Best Camping Hatchets in 2020 – Reviewed

The 7 Best Camping Hatchets in 2020 – Reviewed

Table of Contents

    You might think that hatchets are just for the hardcore campers out there. Although hatchets might make you look seriously hardcore in a campsite they have so many uses outdoors, especially for adventurous campers looking to add a little extra utility to their gear collection. From splitting kindling and driving in tent stakes to building a shelter and starting your campfire in the evening, a hatchet will soon become your must-have camping accessory which at the end of the day feels a little like a best friend when you're out on the trail.

    A hatchet, otherwise known as a tomahawk, is a small, handheld axe used for chopping. We know that a hatchet is not something one should play around with as a child but something that can be utilized when out on the trail. As with all great hatchets, the tool needs to be heavy-duty, safely storable, and able to handle all of your camping needs.

    With this in mind, we have reviewed the top seven best camping hatchets, picking only the products that we would recommend for you and would take with us ourselves on our next backpacking adventure!

    1. SOG Camp Axe

    SOG Camp Axe - Camping Axe with Sheath, Survival Axe Camping Hatchet, Wood Splitting Axe w/ Hatchet Hammer Head, 3.1 Inch Bushcraft Axe Edge (CH1001-CP)
    • STAINLESS STEEL CHOPPING AXE BLADE: Small forest axe, camping hatchet and backpacking hatchet features a 3.1-inch blade; small hatchet measures 11.5 inches in total length

    This hatchet from SOG is a durable, portable axe that will cater to a large number of your camping needs. With an ultra-sharp 3.1” blade, this hatchet is perfect for any of your headier duty tasks, such as felling small trees or clearing your campsite before you set up your tent for the night.

    One of the stand-out features of this hatchet is its larger hammer surface area. One of the main advantages of a tomahawk for most campers is that instead of just acting as a portable axe, the hatchet also doubles up as an effective hammer to help you ground your tent and get your stakes tight or for quickly splitting wood. Despite being compact enough to transport easily, this hatchet also boasts a larger hammer surface area than many other hatchets, meaning that you’ve got both bases covered.

    This hatchet boasts many features compared to other hatchets on the marketplace and is more designed for heavy use and seasoned campers. Firstly, with its glass-reinforced nylon handle, the grip on this hatchet is perfect for more heavy-duty cutting. However - watch out! It can become slippery when wet, so depending on your usual camping locations, this might not be the hatchet for you.

    The blade of this hatchet is made out of satin-polished stainless steel, meaning that its designed to withstand rough use and harder tasks, and exposure to weather all year round. It’s more durable than some of the other models out there and is resistant to corrosion. This, combined with SOG’s lifetime guarantee, means that this is a great choice for serious campers. If you’re going to remote locations, camping often, or know that this will be a product you’ll be using for the rest of your life - SOG’s Camp Axe might just be the choice for you.

    At 1.01 pounds, this is one of the lighter hatchets out there, meaning it could be a perfect option for both hiking and camping. However, the sheath that comes with the hatchet is not as heavy-duty as the product itself. It’s slightly flimsy and doesn’t come with a belt loop. This could be a great hatchet if you have room in your backpack, but if you’re looking to transport your hatchet on your belt so it’s at hand, it might be worth investing in another sheath.


    • Stainless steel - preventing rust
    • Broader hammer head than many other designs
    • Comes with a lifetime guarantee


    • The sheath could be better: no belt carrier, flimsy. The handle is slippery when wet.

    2. Alvago Survival Hatchet: 13 in 1 Camping Tools

    ALVAGO 13 in 1 Camping Survival Hatchet, Gifts for Dad, Camping Tool Kit with Hammer, Pliers, Screwdriver, Saw, Bottle Opener, Axe, Multitool for Outdoor and Car Emergency
    • 【Versatile tool perfect for all sorts of jobs】 Outdoor camping gear with hammer, axe, knife, plier, screwdrivers, saw, bottle opener, very nice choice for camping or as an emergency survival...

    This option takes the multi-purpose benefit of an average hatchet (both an axe and a hammer) to the extreme. It’s not just two in one, but thirteen in one! For the less experienced campers out there, this might be just what you’re looking for. As well as functioning as a hammer and an axe, these are the extra features offered with Alvago’s tomahawk: knife blade, pliers, wire cutter, wrench, slotted screwdriver, serrated blade, bottle opener, Philips screwdriver, cutting knife, camping saw and nail file.

    If you’re new to camping in the great outdoors, this option provides you with almost all of the tools you could need. More experienced campers will probably already have their own, more heavy-duty, versions of these tools, and thus it might not be the best option. But if you’re looking for the one-size-fits-all approach, look no further. Imagine you’ve just cleaned your plot with the hatchet, and set up your tent with the help of the hammer. Now you can relax in your home for the night, and even open a beer with the same tool! It can be used, not just for camping, but also as a very useful DIY accessory.

    The product’s convenience isn’t just in its excessive list of features. It also comes with a very handy belt loop and sheath, meaning you can take it on long hikes with ease. This is one of the smallest and lightest hatchets on the market: a nifty solution for most camping problems.

    However, we wouldn’t recommend this hatchet for more experienced campers. The extra features of this hatchet probably match the tools you already carry with you when traveling - and are maybe of lesser quality. The hatchet itself is too small and light for more heavy-duty hatchet needs, like cutting down small trees. Lastly, the hammer has a small diameter, so when using it you have to be very accurate, so if you’re wanting to use the hammer for anything more than putting in tent stakes maybe another option would be better for you.


    • Small and portable 
    • Has many components and functions
    • Belt pouch included
    • Stainless steel


    • Not enough power for heady duty hatchet needs
    • Small hammer diameter, have to be very accurate

    3. Estwing Sportsman’s Axe

    Estwing Sportsman's Axe - 14" Camping Hatchet with Forged Steel Construction & Genuine Leather Grip - E24A
    • FORGED IN ONE PIECE – The most durable, longest lasting striking tools available

    Estwing is one of the biggest names when it comes to camping hatchets and axes. This design, in particular, has been produced by Estwing since 1923! So if you’re looking for longevity and tried and tested design: this could be the right hatchet for you. Estwing sportsman's axe blade is hand-forged out of one piece of carbon steel, meaning that it’s well balanced and very durable. It’s chic design and quality materials mean that this option has stood the test of time. Maybe it will for you too!

    This option is one of the heavier and bigger options out there, measuring thirteen inches in length and weighing 1.86 pounds. This means it’s great for tasks such as chopping logs, small trees, or splitting firewood and kindling. However, if you’re looking for a hatchet that’s easy to transport on long hikes, this option might be too big and heavy for you. However, it does come with a ballistic nylon sheath to protect its sharpened edge, and make it easier to carry and transport.

    One of Estwing’s classic design features for this hand axe is the genuine letter strap. It looks chic and provides a comfortable, soft grip for your hands, meaning it’s great for heavier duty hatchet tasks like chopping wood. The leather grip is hand sanded and lacquered for an attractive, comfortable finish. However, this doesn’t come without the appropriate maintenance. Leather features often require sanding and oiling to stay in the same condition. So ultimately if you put love and care into this product, in the long run it will reward you. But this isn’t as good for someone looking for a more low-maintenance approach.


    • Balanced: head and handle forged in one single piece of forged carbon steel
    • Sheath and belt loop included
    • Leather hickory handle 
    • Trusted American company: made in the USA and same design since 1923
    • Durable


    • Heavy
    • Might need to be sharpened
    • Need to care for the leather handle strap

    4. Coleman Camp Axe

    Coleman Camp Axe
    • Camp axe ideal for camping or backyard

    The Coleman Camp Axe is one of the most popular hatchets on the market, probably due to its affordability. It comes with an ergonomic non-stick handle, meaning it’s easy to hold and chop larger pieces of wood. This is a good option if you’re buying with a smaller budget, or wanting to try using a hatchet for the first time to see what it adds to your camping experience. It also has a very useful extra feature: a notch cut into head to pull out tent stakes with ease. So if you’re looking for a cheap hatchet to help you put up a tent and make kindling, this is a great option, but for any heavier-duty tasks, think again.

    This hatchet is probably the least durable out of all of the options we’re suggesting. You might need to sharpen it often, and it’s not as reliable as the other options. Also, it doesn’t come with a holder or sheath, so this might be an extra expenditure for you before you take your trip. It’s also one of the heaviest options and is quite large at fourteen inches in length. Maybe if you’re driving to a campsite and just need an easy, cheap solution to stow in the trunk of your car, then this hatchet suits your needs. But for hikes and heavy-duty tasks, the other options will be better for you.


    • Notch cut into steelhead to pull out tent stakes with ease
    • Ergonomic non-stick grip
    • Cheap
    • No holder or sheath
    • Longer handle


    • Heavy: 2 pounds
    • Need to sharpen often
    • Not so durable

    5. Estwing Camper’s Axe

    Estwing Camper's Axe - 14" Hatchet with Forged Steel Construction & Shock Reduction Grip - EO-25A
    • FORGED IN ONE PIECE – The most durable, longest lasting striking tools available

    Estwing’s Camper’s Axe has many of the same features and benefits as their Sportsman’s ax: it’s durable, has a classic design, is forged out of one piece of steel for the perfect balance and durability, and is perfectly suited to year-round outdoor use due to its high-quality materials.

    However, if you were put off by the maintenance of the Sportsman’s leather handle, then the Camper’s Axe might be more your style. The handle is the real selling point of this product. Estwing’s ergonomic handle fits perfectly in your hand, and stays there, meaning it’s safe and easy to use for heavy-duty tasks. Furthermore, it’s made of a patented shock reduction grip, which is durable, comfortable, and reduces the impact vibration by 70%. For the most adventurous campers, this could be the perfect option for you: with the designs and vibration reduction, you can chop wood and trees to your heart’s content!

    This option is seriously heavy duty. But that comes with a cost. It’s one of the heaviest camping hatchets, weighing 2.23 pounds. It’s also one of the biggest, with a fourteen-inch length. It might be a little too heavy for a long hike, but depending on the purpose for which you are purchasing your hatchet, it is one of the best solutions out there. Also, it comes with a heavy-duty sheath, protecting the razor-sharp edge, and a belt loop for easy carrying.


    • Its length means it’s more effective
    • The high carbon steel blade is forged in one piece of steel 
    • The axe head is an inch wide and is heavy enough to split small pieces easily 
    • Ergonomic handle, shock-absorbing


    • Too large for long hikes

    6. Gerber Pack Hatchet Camping Axe

    Gerber Pack Hatchet Camping Axe - Coyote Brown Handle/Black Blade [31-003484]
    • Full tang construction means steadiness in hand and the strength to power through swinging chores

    This camping hatchet looks a little different from the rest. In proportion to the handle, the blade is quite large. One of the main features of this design is the full tang handle, meaning that it’s constructed from blade to handle in one continuous piece of metal. This construction feature means that your hand is steadier, due to the balance fo the product, with the strength to keep swinging effectively. The handle is also covered in a rubber overcoat, with added finger grooves,  for extra grip and comfort while you’re completing repeated chopping tasks.

    This option also features a tall blade grind, meaning the angle at which a blade is sharpened. This feature means that the camping hatchet is razor-sharp, and stays that way for longer, meaning less maintenance for you! It also comes with a nylon sheath to protect you from the bade when not in use, and to make it easier to carry and transport. However, there’s no flattened back to use as a hammer, so this camping hatchet is better used for cutting rather than splitting timber or putting up a tent. It’s therefore only a good option if you’re looking for just a hatchet - no bells or whistles attached.


    • Rubber overfold handle with finger grooves
    • Full tang construction
    • Sheath included


    • No flattened back to use as a hammer - just the hatchet

    7. BladeMate Survival Camping Hatchet

    This camping hatchet’s main feature comes in the title: it’s best used as a survival axe in your camping trips. With the biggest blade out of all of the hatchets we have seen, it’s not just perfect for clearing brush or chopping up firewood, the razor-sharp blade or axe head can also be used for hunting and personal protection. It could even help you if you’re processing wild game: it’s much more effective than a dressing knife. If you’re an experienced camper, who likes to go to remote and sometimes dangerous locations, then look no further. It also comes with a lifetime warranty, so you can be protected for the rest of your life.

    BladeMate is a company that you can buy into. Not only do they trust in their designs so much that they provide lifetime warranties, but they are also a veteran-owned American company: 10% of their profits go to supporting the Wounded Warrior Project. So if you like to feel virtuous when you shop: this could be the brand for you.

    This camping hatchet is not only the virtuous option, but it’s also incredibly durable. The 4.5-inch blade is fortified with allow to prevent corrosion in even the most severe weather conditions. However, as with most blades, it does require regular sharpening to keep it in tip-top condition. To give you a strong grip, this blade also comes with a comfort grip handle, designed ergonomically to support your hand when you’re completing heavy-duty tasks.


    • Lifetime warranty
    • Ergonomic non-slip grip
    • 10% of profits go to charity
    • Light considering the chopping capability
    • Made in the USA


    • Needs regular sharpening

    Final Thoughts

    So we’ve outlined our recommended best camping hatchets, but how do you make the final decision? As you can see, there is a big variety of these products, which shows the different uses and purposes a hatchet can have. So before you decide on the best hatchet for you, ask yourself the following questions:

    Will I be hiking for a long time before I set up camp? If you’re looking to take your hatchet with you on long hikes, a lighter option is the best for you.

    What kind of tasks will I be completing with my hatchet - light or heavy-duty? If you’re only looking to make firewood, use it as a fire starter, and set up a tent with your hatchet than you should choose a light, smaller, option. You might even go for one of the cheaper options too. But if you’re looking to fell small trees, clear woodland, or even to help with self-protection or processing wild game, then choose a larger, headier hatchet with a bigger blade.

    How many tasks do I want my hatchet to complete? Most of these camping hatchets come with a flattened back to be used as a hammer as well as an ax. But if you’re looking for even more functions, consider one with extra features.

    So, depending on your needs and demands, there’s something here for everyone in our list of the best camping hatchets. One final thing to consider when looking for the best hatchet is your trust in a brand (you could also consider Gränsfors Bruks, Schrade or Fiskars x7). With a product such as a hatchet, quality is key. You want it to last for years and to never fail you or the consequences could be potentially dangerous! It’s worth investing in a good quality hatchet, from a brand you trust and potentially with a lifetime guarantee if you’re a committed camper.

    Riley Draper is a writer and entrepreneur from Chattanooga, Tennessee. As a world traveler, he has been to more than fifty countries and hiked some of the most elusive trails in the world. He is the co-founder of WeCounsel Solutions and has published work in both national and global outlets, including the Times Free Press, Patch, and Healthcare Global. When he's not writing, he's probably on a hiking trip or climbing in the mountains.