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The Best Camping Hatchets of 2024

We've rounded up the best hatchets available so you can keep your camp stocked with dry kindling, stay occupied with bushcraft projects, and complete any number of camp chores.
Best Camping Hatchets — Whittling(Photo/Erika Courtney)
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While there are a million ways to camp and as many tools for the job, there is a solid case to be made for keeping things simple with a classic camp hatchet. Lightweight, capable, and just dang fun to swing, camping hatchets are versatile tools for outdoor adventures, and we’ve swung the best of them to stock your kit with.

Whether you need a tool to pound tent stakes, split wood, or are looking for a survival hatchet in case of emergency, take a look at our list of the best camping hatchets of 2024 before making your purchase. Our experts have been whittling, chopping, and splitting since 2021, and have tested more than 25 different hatchets across the backwoods of the U.S.

And we’re not just talking wall hangers here, either. Every hatchet is put through our rigorous testing regiment in order to test its ability to process wood, do fine work while carving, clear trail, and be a backcountry companion. We feel confident in every one of the tools below, and they’ve earned their spot on the list.

If this will be your first camping hatchet, visit our buyer’s guide and FAQ below to learn more. For a quick rundown of prices and specifications, check out our comparison chart. Otherwise, saddle up and read on.

Editor’s Note: We updated our Camping Hatchets guide on May 15, 2024, to introduce a new award category for the ‘Best Tomahawk’ — along with our award winner, the TOPS Hammer Hawk.

The Best Camping Hatchets of 2024

Best Overall Traditional Hatchet

Fiskars Norden N7 Hatchet


  • Weight 1 lb., 7 oz.
  • Overall length 15"
  • Bit length 2.6"
  • Steel type Carbon steel with low friction coating
  • Handle material Hickory
Product Badge The Best Camping Hatchets of 2024


  • FiberComp™ overstrike protection
  • Low-friction blade coating
  • Balanced weight


  • The recycled leather sheath
Best Budget Hatchet

Fiskars X7


  • Weight 1 lb., 6 oz.
  • Overall length 14"
  • Head length 5"
  • Steel type Hardened forged carbon steel
  • Handle material FiberComp composite
The Best Camping Hatchets of 2024


  • Highly affordable
  • Suitable for splitting kindling or small logs
  • Relatively lightweight design


  • Best suited for small to medium-sized logs
  • Concerns about blade chipping
  • Requires more regular maintenance to keep in prime condition
Best Modern Hatchet

Gerber Bushcraft Hatchet


  • Weight 2 lbs., 6.4 oz.
  • Overall length 15.25"
  • Head length 5.5"
  • Steel type Forged & coated stainless steel
  • Handle material Synthetic polymer with rubberized inserts
The Best Camping Hatchets of 2024


  • Reliefs in head allow for easier penetration
  • Advanced ergonomics and shock reduction
  • The stash pocket is awesome


  • Doesn’t come sharpened from the factory
Classic Good Looks Hatchet

Hults Bruk 325-Year Anniversary Axe


  • Weight 2 lbs., 2 oz.
  • Length 15.2"
  • Bit length 3.3"
  • Steel type Hand-forged Swedish steel
  • Handle material American hickory
The Best Camping Hatchets of 2024


  • Beautiful design
  • Ergonomic design promotes comfort and safety when in use
  • High-quality construction
  • 325 years of heritage


  • More expensive than other options
  • Heavier than other options
Best Tomahawk Hatchet

TOPS Hammer Hawk


  • Weight 2 lbs., 3 oz.
  • Overall length 14.5"
  • Head length 4.5"
  • Steel type ⅜” 1075 carbon steel with tungsten Cerakote finish
  • Handle material Canvas Micarta
The Best Camping Hatchets of 2024


  • Single piece construction
  • Massive 4.5” blade
  • Advanced ergonomics
  • Well balanced


  • The hammer could be thicker
  • Most of the knives we own are too big for the slot in the belt frog
Best Compact Hatchet

Hults Bruk Jonaker


  • Weight 1 lb., 5 oz.
  • Overall length 9.4"
  • Bit length 2.8"
  • Steel type Hand-forged Swedish steel
  • Handle material Hickory
The Best Camping Hatchets of 2024


  • Hand-forged Swedish steel
  • Leather sheath can be used to hook the Jonaker to your belt
  • Blackened finish that reduces friction and increases corrosion resistance


  • Pricey
Best Backpacking Hatchet

Gerber Pack Hatchet


  • Weight 1 lb., 8.5 oz.
  • Overall length 9.5"
  • Head length 3.5"
  • Steel type Stainless steel
  • Handle material Rubber overmold
The Best Camping Hatchets of 2024


  • Compact packed size
  • Tall grind maintains sharpness
  • Finger grooves for choking up on fine detail work


  • Less durable sheath
  • Not meant for bigger jobs
Best of the Rest

Kershaw Deschutes


  • Weight 1 lb., 9 oz.
  • Overall length 14"
  • Bit length 3.5"
  • Steel type Black oxide coated 3Cr13
  • Handle material Glass-filled nylon with rubber overlay
The Best Camping Hatchets of 2024


  • .24” thickness makes for easy cutting
  • Innovative sheath with carry strap


  • Too thin to hammer with

Husqvarna Swedish Style Hatchet


  • Weight 2 lb., 2 oz.
  • Overall length 15"
  • Bit length 3.3"
  • Steel type Hand-Forged Swedish Steel
  • Handle material Hickory
The Best Camping Hatchets of 2024


  • Classic design and build
  • Hand-forged Swedish Steel
  • Budget price at $60


  • Doesn’t come with a full sheath
  • She’s a wee heavy

Gränsfors Bruk Wildlife Hatchet


  • Weight 1 lb., 4.8 oz.
  • Overall length 13.7"
  • Head length 4"
  • Steel type Recycled steel
  • Handle material Hickory
The Best Camping Hatchets of 2024


  • Blacksmith-forged head with stamped initials
  • Polished cutting edge
  • Quality vegetable-tanned leather sheath


  • Price
  • Simple fit and finish

CRKT Chogan Hatchet


  • Weight 1 lb., 5 oz.
  • Length 13.19"
  • Bit length 3.16"
  • Steel type Manganese phosphate coated 1055 carbon steel
  • Handle material Glass-reinforced nylon
The Best Camping Hatchets of 2024


  • Lightweight but effective
  • Forged 1055 carbon steel head for long-term abuse


  • Doesn’t come with a sheath
  • Ideally suited for splitting kindling, not much bigger

Estwing Sportsman’s Axe


  • Weight 1 lb., 6 oz.
  • Overall length 12-14"
  • Head length 2.75"-3.25"
  • Steel type Tool grade steel
  • Handle material Stacked leather
The Best Camping Hatchets of 2024


  • Single forged design is durable and comfortable to hold
  • Works well as a small task axe or bushcraft hatchet


  • Larger wood chopping tasks a real challenge
  • Axe blade could be much sharper
  • Takes some front end work to maximize usability

Adler Rheinland Hatchet


  • Weight 1 lb., 14.4 oz.
  • Length 14"
  • Head length 4"
  • Steel type C45 steel
  • Handle material U.S. hickory
The Best Camping Hatchets of 2024


  • Beautiful design
  • Ergonomic design promotes comfort and safety when in use
  • High-quality construction
  • Eco-friendly manufacturing


  • More expensive than other options
  • Unique shape of axe head takes a bit getting used to
  • Heavier than other options
  • Not the best for backpacking

Hults Bruk Almike


  • Weight 2 lbs., 12 oz.
  • Overall length 16"
  • Head length 3"
  • Steel type Forged steel
  • Handle material American hickory
The Best Camping Hatchets of 2024


  • Functional design
  • Incredibly durable
  • Holds edge even after many uses
  • Exceptionally sharp blade out of the box


  • One of the most expensive hatchets on our list
  • Hand-forged steel can sometimes lead to uneven grinding
Gerber’s Bushcraft Hatchet
We did the test swinging so you don’t have to; (photo/Nick LeFort)

Camping Hatchet Comparison Chart

Camping HatchetWeightOverall LengthHead LengthSteel TypeHandle Material
Fiskars Norden N7 Hatchet1 lb., 7 oz.15″2.6″Carbon steel with low friction coatingHickory
Fiskars X71 lb., 6 oz.14″5″Hardened forged carbon steelFiberComp composite
Gerber Bushcraft Hatchet
2 lbs., 6.4 oz.15.2″5.5″Forged & coated stainless steelSynthetic polymer with rubberized inserts
Hults Bruk 325-Year Anniversary Axe
2 lbs., 2 oz.15.2″3.3″Hand-forged Swedish steelAmerican hickory
TOPS Hammer Hawk
2 lbs., 3 oz.14.5″4.5″ 1075 carbon steel with tungsten Cerakote finishCanvas Micarta
Hults Bruk Jonaker
1 lb., 5 oz.9.4″2.8″Hand-forged Swedish steelHickory
Gerber Pack Hatchet1 lb., 8.5 oz.9.5″3.5″Stainless steelRubber overmold
Kershaw Deschutes
1 lb., 9 oz.14″3.5″Black oxide coated 3Cr13Glass-filled nylon with rubber overlay
Husqvarna Swedish Style Hatchet2 lb., 2 oz.15″3.3″Hand-Forged Swedish SteelHickory
Gränsfors Bruk Wildlife Hatchet
1 lb., 4.8 oz.13.7″4″Recycled steelHickory
CRKT Chogan Hatchet
1 lb., 5 oz.13.1″3.1″1055 carbon steelGlass-reinforced nylon
Estwing Sportsman’s Axe1 lb., 6 oz.12-14″2.75″-3.25″Tool grade steelStacked leather
Adler Rheinland Hatchet
1 lb., 14.4 oz.14″4″C45 steelU.S. hickory
Hults Bruk Almike
2 lbs., 12 oz.16″3″Forged steelAmerican hickory
(Photo/Nick LeFort)

How We Tested Camping Hatchets

At GearJunkie, we’re not collecting hatchets to hang on our wall to stare at. We’re using and abusing them so that we can make proper recommendations to you. 

Our team of testers spends hours carrying these hatchets into remote locations and using them to split and chop wood and anything else they’re designed to do. Sometimes it’s out camping. Sometimes we’re out on the trail clearing debris. Sometimes it’s just gathering wood in our backyard for a fire in our firepits. But whatever we’re doing, we’re doing it to test each tool to its limits.

Our approach is to prove or disprove manufacturer’s claims about their products. That covers form and function, as well as the materials that are being used. So, while testing we’re looking to see if a certain steel holds up in wet weather conditions. We’re checking to see if synthetic handles absorb shock better than wood handles. We’re also thinking outside the box to see what else we can do with these hatchets. We want to cover all of the bases so that if you have questions, we have answers.

Beyond that, we’re following trends. We’re looking to see what’s new in the market that could be a game changer; the next big thing. This allows us to keep our info up to date so that you can rely on us to help you choose the right hatchet for your next adventure. We also reviewed the Best Axes for Splitting Wood for those looking for a heavier-duty splitting tool.

It’s important to us that we’re using these tools in real-life situations. Because, after all, that’s where you’ll be using them. It also allows us to consider weather conditions, fatigue, and any other variable that can come up in life that may not be in a controlled environment.

Best Camping Hatchets — Wildlife Hatchet
(Photo/Nick Belcaster)

Testing History

For our most recent update, we tapped contributor Nick LeFort to fill his backpack and head into the woods to see what this year’s batch would be. LeFort spent weeks in the woods of Vermont and Connecticut, as well as in his own backyard, discovering the current cream of the crop in the world of hatchets.

LeFort is an outdoor enthusiast, engineer, and knifemaker who has worked and played in the outdoor industry for more than 20 years. He brings with him a wealth of knowledge about materials, engineering, manufacturing, and marketing, and has nearly 30 years of experience in the outdoor world. What’s more, he’s been testing and reviewing knives, tools, and gear for more than a decade. He’s dedicated to the cause, has a lot to say, and wants to make sure you’re getting the best information you can from us.

Three hatchets
(Photo/Nick LeFort)

Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Camping Hatchet

When seeking out the best camping hatchet, there’s a lot to consider. Ultimately, the best hatchet for you may not be the best hatchet for someone else, and it will take weighing some personal pros and cons before you gain full confidence in your decision.

You also should consider if a hatchet is going to be the best tool for the job. Processing wood outdoors can look pretty different depending on the size and scale of your endeavors, with full-sized axes being primed for tree felling, bushcraft knives working excellently for fine work, and hatchets landing somewhere in the middle.

As you shop around for hatchets, consider the following points of differentiation as you move closer to your final decision. If you’re stuck between a couple of options, there’s no harm in having multiple tools in the toolbox!

Gransfors Bruk Wildlife Hatchet
The Gränsfors Bruk Wildlife Hatchet is a high-quality camp hatchet that will process wood for many years; (photo/Anthony Sculimbrene)

Hatchet Head Anatomy

Where there are more than enough shapes and sizes for Axe heads, hatchet heads tend to all be similar; especially when we’re talking about traditional hatchets. When we get into modern hatchets, some — like the Gerber Bushcraft Hatchet and the CRKT Chogan Hatchet — may pick up attributes added in to make splitting wood easier. But for the most part, a good hatchet head is forged, and not cast. This eliminates impurities that would weaken the steel. Additionally, a hatchet head will be at or under 2 pounds and have a bit that is less than 4”.

Best Camping Hatchets — Head Shape
The broader bit of the Gränsfors Bruk Wildlife will make it a better chopper, while the more narrow bit on the Gerber Bushcraft excels at splitting; (photo/Erika Courtney)

What’s a bit? Well, we’re glad you asked. A “bit” is the blade of the hatchet head. If you want to sound really on your game at a cocktail party, you could refer to your hatchet as a “single bit” as it only has one sharp edge. Here are a few other terms you should get to know:

  • Cheek: The cheek of the hatchet head is the side profile of the head. Unless the head has splitting attributes, this will be smooth and sometimes convex.
  • Butt: The back of the hatchet which you can use as a hammer. Unless specified otherwise.
  • Beard: The beard of the hatchet head uses the bottom of the head in front of the handle. Depending on the shape, you can use the heel, or bottom of the bit, to roll and drag branches and logs. Additionally, the top of the bit is known as a toe.
  • Eye: The eye of the hatchet is where the handle slides through the head. If the butt isn’t hardened, you run the risk of deforming the eye which will cause the head to fall off.
Best Camping Hatchets — Bit Profile
The Gränsfors Bruk (left) has a carving and felling cheek profile, while the Gerber Bushcraft (right) has a splitting profile; (photo/Erika Courtney)

Head Coatings

Another feature associated with most axe and hatchet heads is some form of coating. These coatings are added to stave off corrosion and abrasion and preserve the life of your tool. These coatings come in many different forms. 

For traditional hatchets like the Husqvarna Swedish Style Hatchet and the Gränsfors Bruk Wildlife Hatchet, these coatings can be oil-based and are added during forging or a secondary finishing process. They change the actual finish on the surface of the steel and could require recoating after years of use and abuse.

Some modern hatchets, like the Fiskars Norden N7 Hatchet, TOPS Hammer Hawk, and Gerber Bushcraft Hatchet, may use modern techniques similar to what we see on knife steel. This could range from a black oxide coating to a diamond-like coating (DLC) to ceramic Cerakoting. They act as a secondary layer bonded to the head steel and are noted to reduce friction and their years of resistance.

There are hatchets out there that do not have any coating and rely on their chemistry to stave off corrosion and abrasion. The Estwing Sportsman’s Axe doesn’t have any coating on its tool-grade steel head and handle. Though it will provide you with years of reliable cutting, you need to remember to keep it clean so that it doesn’t corrode. That said, you’ll note that Estwing does offer a special edition of their Sportsman’s Axe that adds a corrosion-resistant coating to the steel.

Best Camping Hatchets — Gerber Bushcraft
The Gerber Bushcraft has a PTFE-coating that keeps it from getting hung up in wet wood; (photo/Nick Belcaster)

Head Weight and Handle Length

Two of the most important considerations when buying an axe are choosing its head weight and handle length. Both of these decisions can be almost entirely informed by determining the hatchet’s intended use.

The average hatchet handle length ranges from 12 to 18 inches. The average head weight ranges from 1.5 to 2.5 pounds. In order to determine the right combination of head weight and handle length, you want to find balance. To check that, you can lay the hatchet across your palm just below the head. If it balances in place, then the ratio is spot on.

The reason behind all of this is leverage. You want to let the tool do the work so you don’t get fatigued. It’s a tale as old as time and something that comes with using a hatchet over and over again. If it’s well balanced, the weight of the head and the length of the handle should work in synchrony to make chopping things energy efficient.

Where you plan on using your camp hatchet the most often is also worth consideration. If the majority of your camping is done on the roadside, weight shouldn’t matter much.

If you spend a lot of time off-trail or backpacking deep into the wilderness, weight matters. In this case, sacrificing some functionality to save some weight in your backpack may be required.

The balance between the head and handle can make or break a hatchet; (photo/Sean McCoy)

Ease of Splitting

The ease of splitting is a crucial thing to consider when purchasing a camp hatchet. If you are buying a hatchet with wood shaping and detail work in mind, wood splitting may not be a primary concern. If you envision yourself felling trees and splitting wood often, then the ease of splitting should move to the front of your mind. For heavy-duty splitting projects, check out our Buyer’s Guide of the Best Axes for Splitting Wood.

Again, longer handles and heavier axe heads generally lend themselves to easier splitting as does the head and bit shape. Consider the construction of the head and shape of the handle when shopping between similar models as well.

As you explore options, if you decide you need a tool fully dedicated to wood splitting, take a look at larger axes instead of hatchets. It’s entirely possible that the more compact camp hatchets on this list aren’t what you need after all, and you require a heavy-duty, full-size axe.

Gerber Bushcraft Hatchet - Blade
The reliefs on the cheek of this Gerber Bushcraft Hatchet allow for deeper penetration when chopping and splitting; (photo/Nick LeFort)


Both materials and construction play directly into the durability of the best camping hatchets.

When shopping and considering various options, pay special attention to the materials used to create the head and, to a lesser extent, the hatchet handle. The highest-quality hatchets will have forged steel heads, with a stronger preference edging toward those that are hand-forged.

It’s also worth noting how the head is attached to the shaft. Each user will have their preference, from full tang to separate pieces, and each style comes with its pros and cons.

Do diligent research on company websites and track down user reviews. These often provide excellent metrics when gauging the durability of a tool that will surely be put to use.

Fiskars X7 Hatchet
While hardwood is traditional, a composite glass-reinforced handle can be easily as strong and durable; (photo/Sean McCoy)


If you’re headed out on an adventure, you need to be conscious of how you’re going to carry your hatchet.

Most hatchets come with either a leather or composite sheath that allows you to lash the hatchet to the outside of your pack, or even throw it inside. The sheath also protects the bit from getting banged around and beat up and from cutting into anything it comes into contact with while traveling (including you).

Unless you’re buying a hatchet to leave in one place all the time, like your backyard, prioritize the hatchets with sheaths on your final list of what you’re considering buying.

Best Camping Hatchets — Belt Carry
The vegetable-tanned leather sheath on the Gränsfors Bruk Wildlife is snug and protective; (photo/Erika Courtney)


As with any outdoor gear, price plays a role in deciding between similar products. Most hatchets, and especially those on our list above, are fairly priced. But that doesn’t always mean the price determines what the best hatchet is. However, there are determining factors in the final price you will pay.

Consider what you’re getting for the price you’re paying: How many tools can it function as? What are the materials being used? Does it come with a sheath?

But, also look out for curveballs in the mix. Case in point, the Swedish Style Hatchet from Husqvarna may not come with a full sheath, but it’s made from hand-forged Swedish steel and has a hickory handle. At $60, it’s a steal. 

Also, when comparing different makes and models, pay close attention to the accompanying warranties offered. Warranties on heavy-use tools such as hatchets can be a useful guide in helping buyers decide between options.

A hatchet that costs a bit more, but offers a lifetime warranty, may be worth the added cost compared to a more affordable option with no included insurance policy.

Gerber Pack Hatchet Whittling
The diminutive Gerber Pack Hatchet slides in under in competition in price, but you have to keep in mind its functional limitations; (photo/Nick Belcaster)


What is the best camping hatchet?

Choosing the best camping hatchet is almost entirely dependent on the individual and its intended use. Some companies certainly have a stronger reputation than others, but choosing the single best camping hatchet for everyone is a nearly impossible task.

We did our best in outlining some of our favorites above and ultimately chose the Fiskars Norden N7 Hatchet (traditional) and Gerber Bushcraft Hatchet (modern) as our overall favorites. That said, that doesn’t mean these two hatchets are for everyone.

Sort your priorities and intended uses, and weigh some pros and cons of various options. You will soon find that the best camping hatchet for you may not be the best hatchet for your camping partner.

The FiberComp™ material on the Fiskars Norden N7 guarantees years of use and abuse; (photo/Nick LeFort)
Do I need a hatchet for camping?

While you certainly do not need a hatchet for camping, it does make our list as a top tool to have on any camping adventure. Hatchets are multifaceted tools; from instruments of survival to campground maintenance tools, hatchets can be used for many things in the woods.

We can say with almost full confidence that you will never regret having a hatchet with you when camping. Inevitably, someone will pick it up to split wood, make kindling, or tinker with a small bushcraft project around the fire. There is also something to be said about learning new skills and promoting self-sufficiency when out in the woods.

What’s more fun — having firewood delivered or using newly learned skills to gather your own?

(Photo/Nick LeFort)
Hatchet vs. axe: What’s the difference?

All hatchets are axes, but not all axes are hatchets.

In short, hatchets are just small, lightweight axes. Axes can and often should be used with one hand as an all-purpose tool.

The classic grip to use a standard axe requires two hands. These axes are less utilitarian and have a more focused design for tree felling, wood chopping, and other forestry needs.

What is a hatchet good for?

Depending on shape and construction, hatchets are good for quite a lot. Their most common purpose is for chopping and splitting smaller sections of wood. Hatchets excel at cutting green wood or chopping dead wood roughly the diameter of an average forearm and slightly bigger.

Given their smaller size, hatchets are excellent tools for more intricate bushcraft tasks. They are the perfect instrument for shelter design or carving and crafting woodworking projects. In a bind, hatchets work when cutting through bone and cartilage if you do not have a field dressing knife on you following a hunt.

For a deeper, expanded look at the possibilities a hatchet can provide, check out this article.

Hults Bruk Hatchet Test
(Photo/Sean McCoy)
Do I need to sharpen my hatchet?

A good hatchet will last for generations, but it will require some upkeep. Most of the hatchets on our list are sharp straight out of the box, but some may come from the factory without an edge. Either way, every hatchet will eventually need maintenance to keep it in good, safe, working order.

The frequency with which you sharpen your hatchet will depend on how often you use it and what you are using it for. If you purchased a high-quality hatchet, only go camping once or twice a year, and use it sparingly, you may not need to sharpen it frequently.

Many hatchets come with user manuals for guidance in sharpening, or you might consult the U.S. Forest Service Ax Manual. Some hatchets even include a file and sharpening stone with your purchase. We’ve relied on this Dual Grit Sharpener for years as it’s easy to use, can restore an edge quickly, and doesn’t take up much space in your pack.

Many professionals sharpen knives and axes for a living. If you don’t have the time to give your hatchet the proper maintenance it deserves, consider taking it to someone who does.

How should I store my hatchet when not in use?

Different manufacturers may have specific recommendations on how to store your hatchet when you’re not using it. You can always refer to the included manual or their website for specific instructions.

Beyond that, we recommend you clean up your hatchet before storing it. Any moisture and debris can impact the overall quality and reliability of your hatchet over time. Make sure to clean off the head of any debris and wipe it dry before putting it back in the sheath.

As wood handles start to age, over time they may require a re-waxing or sealing. There are a few different methods for doing this, but we recommend following the manufacturer’s instructions and using any products they offer to restore the handle to its original state.

With any piece of gear or clothing, it’s best to store it in a dry place. Hatchets are a little hardier than some of the other gear you take along with you on your adventures, but that doesn’t mean that they’re not susceptible to the elements.


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