The Best Hatchet for Camping & Backpacking – 2017 Reviews

In this article, we review the best hatchet for the outdoors available on the market in 2017.

Comparison chart

Our Buyer’s Guide

In the buying of any such axe, it is important to take into account the materials used to make the blade and those used for the handle.

So if we are looking at outdoor hatchets (commonly known as a ‘wildlife hatchet’, ‘camping hatchet’, or a ‘forest axe’), we are going to need an axe that is durable enough to withstand all of our outdoor needs. Water resistance, dependable handle strength, a long lasting firm grip, etc, etc.

Blade size/Handle length
Hatchet for Camping & Backpacking

Going to need a relatively short handle with a ton of grip for the purpose of best packability. Same goes for the blade of the hatchet, it is going to have to be compact enough to fit in your pack, but also be strong enough to actually be useful.

We are talking about the best backpacking axe, and the best hatchet for camping collectively here. So the more lightweight and compact, with the least sacrifice to striking power, the better.

​Material of the Handle

Wood is great, no dispute. We are not in the business of making enemies out of wood here, but the case for a fiberglass handle over its archaic brother is a strong one. Mostly because of the longevity fiberglass offers, the grips are better moulded for best purchase, and the fact that no amount of moisture will warp the handle, or cause it to rot.

Fiberglass is really the better way to go in that respect. But that being said, there are some great hardwood handles out there. Gives a real authentic feel to the experience of using it, you just have to keep an eye out for good grip mouldings on the handle of a hardwood.

​Top 3 - Best Hatchet For The Outdoors

1. Schrade SCAXE10

  • Powder Coated 3Cr13 Stainless steel 3.55 inch blade
  • ​Full-tang 5.91 inch handle with hammer pommel
  • ​Molded TPR grip
  • Comes with thermoplastic belt sheath
What others have to say:

The Schrade SCAXE10 has great shock absorption thanks to the comfortable TPR grip, which also provides a good non-slip resilience to the handle.

Lightweight and tactile, at 11.08 inches total in length, it is small enough to take anywhere.

What we love:

Keeping the blade’s edge sharp won’t be much of a problem as the 3Cr13 Stainless Steel (3% Carbon, 13% Chromium) gives the head a toughness that proves hard to dull.

All this, in our opinion, makes the Schrade SCAXE10 the best hatchet for backpacking - at least in this review.

  • 16.5 inches in length
  • ​1.4 inch carbon steel blade
  • ​Fibercomp® handle
  • ​Comes with sheath - as seen in photograph
What others have to say:

The blade comes already sharp (no need to sharpen it right away), comes with an easy-to-carry sheath, and is an extremely lightweight tool.

What we love:

By using Fibercomp® plastics to make the handle, the shock from each strike you blow is absorbed with ease. Would have preferred it if the handle was not hollow, but that attributes to the whole lightweightedness of the axe.

  • Thermoplastic rubber handle, with a ABS core
  • ​Non-slip grip
  • ​Compact at 7 inches in length
  • Head and blade made from 3Cr13 steel with a black oxide protective coating
​What others have to say:

Could be a little heavier to aid in a swing, but this axe’s lightweightedness and large blade make it a pretty good survival hatchet as well as an outdoors one.

​What we love:

Having a 3Cr13 steel bladed hatchet this light (1.2 pounds) is a definite must have. Featuring a full-tang ergonomic handle, as well as the materials used for the blade, this is no kids toy.

Honourable Mentions and further Options - from the Forest Axes to Survival Hatchet Reviews

Hopefully, you have seen your next axe from the list above, but a list of three of the best hatchets on the market right now, is not a long enough list to be shown. Below we have compiled a few more tools to help refine your search.

Estwing E44A

Camper’s axe by name, does whatever you want it to by nature. This 16” long tool, 4” of that being the cutting edge, will meet all of your outdoors needs with ease and comfort.

What we like is the shock absorbing grip on the handle, comes in a special edition black colour scheme or the regular silver & blue, and it comes with a free heavy-duty nylon sheath.

It is a little weighty, but the right owner could easily put that heft to good use.

Now this is what you think about when you think outdoor hatchets. Beautifully crafted handle (improved design so it is without a steel wedge inside), with an already razor sharp 3 inch blade edge.

Beautiful axe. A little pricey, but you are paying for quality, and receiving a twenty year warranty along with it.

Though the Browning 231 stands a bit of a packing problem with the fact that it is mostly handle, that shouldn’t deter you from giving it a chance.

The handle is a blend of fiberglass and polypropylene which outlasts the traditional hardwood that usually comes with this type of axe. It really works to your advantage by offering better leverage.

Compact with plenty of swing, SOG BCA (Base Camp Axe) reigns in at 16 inches at full length with a 3.4 inch blade of 1055C steel to top it off.

The SOG has a beautiful curve in the handle that is wrapped in thermal molded rubber, which means your grip on it isn’t going anywhere. All in all, this axe does what it says on the label. Perfect camper’s tool but it will heavy your load a little, weighing in at 2.1 pounds.


We found during each hatchet review, that the Schrade SCAXE10 is the best hatchet for outdoor use on the market. Schrade have made some of the most highly regard hatchets in recent years, and they just keep on hitting the right marks. The SCAXE10 is affordable, dependable, and formidable when set to any task.

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