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The Best Damn Hatchet in a Long Time: Gerber Bushcraft Hatchet Review

If you thought modern hatchets had tapped all the innovation they could, Gerber unveils its Bushcraft Hatchet to prove you wrong.

Gerber’s Bushcraft Hatchet(Photo/Nick LeFort)
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Modern hatchets are generally a departure from their historically significant, wood-handled predecessors. In place of a hickory handle, you’ll often find a polymer handle that reduces shock and increases ergonomics. Taking facets from splitting mauls, the heads are forged into hybridized shapes, intended to help you do more and swing less.

The whole approach behind these designs addresses ease of use and allows you to do more tasks with a single tool, instead of a handful of them.

Gerber’s Bushcraft Hatchet is a lightweight modern hatchet and hammer with increased ergonomics, reduced shock, and a head forged with reliefs that make it more effective when chopping and splitting. Like many modern hatchets, it aims to reduce the number of tools you need to bring on an adventure, while also reducing the work you need to do.

But Gerber did not stop there. The Bushcraft Hatchet also sports a water-resistant gear storage compartment in the handle. This will carry paracord, a small lighter, and even tinder. All this comes together in a veritable multitool disguised as a badass hatchet.

In short: Gerber’s Bushcraft Hatchet is an effective multipurpose tool with expanded possibilities. Its modern design, materials, and onboard stash compartment help make it the one tool you need to gather wood, start a fire, and keep it going. And that’s just the beginning of what it can tackle — all for only $70.

Gerber Bushcraft Hatchet


  • Head Forged & coated stainless steel with a 5½” bit and hammer poll
  • Handle Synthetic polymer with rubberized inserts
  • Overall length 15¼”
  • Overall weight 2 lbs., 4 oz.
  • Sheath Nylon
  • Price $70


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


  • The paracord holder is a little meh
  • Doesn’t come sharpened from the factory (which I am totally cool with)

Gerber Bushcraft Hatchet: Review

Gerber Bushcraft Hatchet - First Impressions
(Photo/Nick LeFort)

First Impressions

I’m a traditional guy and generally avoid modern hatchets and axes. It might have something to do with the heritage and style of a traditional hatchet, or it might be because they look cooler on Instagram than in real life. Either way, the Gerber Bushcraft Hatchet changed my mind in many ways.

I went to REI with my kids to pick out an end-of-the-year gift for my daughter’s teacher. Having bonded with this fellow over the timeless classic, “Hatchet,” earlier in the year, I had a vision in my mind of what to give. In fact, I had a sales associate put the Adler Classic Scout Hatchet aside while we were shopping. But then I saw the Gerber Bushcraft Hatchet and figured I should at least see what it was all about.

There’s no denying that it looks incredible. The blackened head juxtaposed with the coyote polymer handle is what I consider to be a desirable color combination. I also liked the over-stylizing on the head and the angling of the handle, which is reminiscent of modern ice axes.

Overall, in this case, form benefits function in three key ways:

  • The synthetic handle is designed for comfort and to reduce impact shock from traveling through your hand and arm. (No more tingles!)
  • Head reliefs benefit both chopping and splitting dry and wet wood.
  • The hammer actually works as a hammer without fear of rolling the edge over or ruining the head.
Gerber Bushcraft Hatchet - Secret stash
Gerber Bushcraft Hatchet — secret stash; (photo/Nick LeFort)

Suffice it to say, I was sold on the opportunities the Bushcraft hatchet presented after just an initial glance. Then I found the secret stash compartment in the handle and all of my outdoor survival synapses began to fire in my brain.

It was then that I realized this hatchet could be one tool to rule them all; something to effectively collect wood and store the bits and pieces I needed to burn it.

I Gotta Be Blunt

Gerber Bushcraft Hatchet - Blade
(Photo/Nick LeFort)

The Bushcraft Hatchet comes from the factory ground but not sharpened. And this is totally fine by me. In fact, I appreciate the fact that Gerber did this. I come from the school of thought that a hatchet doesn’t need to be razor-sharp to be effective. After all, you’re going to dull that edge within the first couple of swings, so why bother?

That said, to get the edge where I wanted it, it took 10 swirlies down the edge on each side of the heel with the coarse side of the Lansky Puck. It took another five on each side with the medium side. Just be aware this hatchet won’t retail with a super-sharp edge. It’s up to you to hone and maintain this tool.

In the Field

Gerber’s Bushcraft Hatchet in the field
(Photo/Nick LeFort)

Hatchets were invented to be easier-to-carry axes. They’re not designed to drop the big ash tree in your backyard, but they could help you gather a few limbs for a fire, time and time again. At around 2.5 pounds, the Bushcraft Hatchet presents a fine example of the balance between portability and effectiveness you want in a hatchet.

Just like axes, a good hatchet will have a majority of its weight in the head. This aids in swinging, and helps the tool do the work when it hits the wood.

Each time I hit wood with the Bushcraft hatchet’s angled, half-hollow synthetic handle, I got the results I desired. I have no way of giving you an exact comparison, but I feel as if this hatchet made its way through a couple of hefty limbs with less effort.

Putting the Gerber Bushcraft Hatchet to the test
(Photo/Nick LeFort)

I have a dozen trailheads within 5 minutes of my house, and I have found myself removing and moving more limbs and timber this year than ever before. Most of the stuff obstructing the trails is dead, so it’s easy enough to chop through.

However, out on a hike, I don’t plan on spending my time chopping wood. In the last week alone, I chopped and bucked five trees, ranging from 6 to 10 inches in diameter, to clear the trail. In each instance, the hatchet made easy work of the task.

Out by the fire, the Bushcraft Hatchet proved equally adept at splitting kindling, while also carrying the onboard tools necessary to get that fire going. I would have ditched the spool of paracord and made a second compartment for either tinder, or some fishing line and a couple of hooks. Now you’ve got a tool that can chop wood and start a fire as well as catch dinner for it.

Think outside the box and you’ll never find yourself confined!

Gerber Bushcraft Hatchet: Conclusion

The Gerber Bushcraft Hatchet is destined to become one of the best hatchets of 2023, if not for its superb balance, then for its rough-and-tumble multitool capability. I’ve always appreciated modern hatchets, but never wholly embraced them like I have traditional variants. The Bushcraft hatchet showed me what I was missing and that the benefits here are hard to ignore.

Though I’ve never snapped a wooden hatchet handle, I have worn one out and had to replace it. That would prove near impossible with the synthetic handle of the Bushcraft Hatchet. And the synthetic polymer handle spared me the familiar tingling hands after an afternoon chopping wood.

If you’re still not convinced, think about it like this: You won’t have to replace the Bushcraft Hatchet in your lifetime. It’s a tool you can rely on and it will help carry the essentials to help you survive in the wild.

That’s quite an achievement for $70.

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