Best Campsite Hatchets
Alright, Summer is just about to wrap up and if your anything like me you might be starting to keep an eye out for those outdoorsman tool sales that go on at the end of the season. It’s like a month-long black Friday only in September and just for camping gear.
So this year my primary focus is going to be picking up a good campsite hatchet. How about we take an in-depth look at the hatchet to get familiar with whats on the market?
Hatchets are a necessity when going on a camping trip especially if you do any dispersed or primitive style recreation. If you happen to find yourself in a hazardous situation a good hatchet is going to be your favorite campsite tool. Knowing the style you have, and what its designed for, is a high priority as well. You don’t want to get stuck out there and be unfamiliar with the hatchets uses.
Camping Hatchet AKA The Camp Ax
A campsite is going to be better off if there is a camp ax involved. It not only is there for protection for just in case scenarios but it’s a marvelous tool that has a never-ending achievement list.
Whether you are on a day hike or setting up a primitive camp for a 10-day retreat, you will come to a point where you will need one of these bad boys. Unlike there larger brothers the Splitting Axe. Made for portability in mind they will fit in your backpack or your belt.
Although the camping hatchet does not take the place of a great knife, it can and will do many of the same things if your Camping knife gets destroyed or lost somehow.
From cordage cutting to gutting and quartering hunting game. The hatchet is such a diverse outdoor tool there is not much you will have to worry about when in the wilderness If you have it in your gear.
What can a Hatchet be used for?
Chop Down A Tree
If you need to chop down a tree, you will have the right tool to do so. Again a larger ax might be a better fit. If you need shelter and there are trees the right size around, you will be able to fall them and use them as seems fit. Make sure to judge the fall correctly.
Start your cut on the underside of the lean. (Trees tend to lean toward the sun) Chopping downward and upward creating a wedge-like notch. You want this area to be roughly the same size as the diameter of the trunk of the tree you are trying to fell. Once about ¾ through, start chopping from the other side just above the center of the first causing the tree to fall in the direction of the notch.
BEWARE: trees tend to kick back and up and will knock you back and injure you. I saw My dad fly about ten feet through the air by a large tree kicking back on him. It does happen.
Once felled the tree can be used as supports for a shelter or some other structures if you are going on a bushcraft or primitive trip. You can use your camp ax to buck it up to the lengths you will need. A freshly cut down tree probably won’t be great for firewood unless it was already dead though.
Limbing a Tree
If you stumble upon dead or fallen trees or you fall one your self, you will want to delimb the tree to have better access to move it or buck it up. It makes this job so easy if your hatchet is sharp.
Safely walk down the side of the tree and start chopping all the branches off at the trunk, making your cut as smooth as possible. Just make sure you never cut toward yourself. Alway swing the hatchet in a direction that it cannot come into contact with your arms or legs or any other part of your body for that matter.
Pounding with the Poll
The backside of a hatchet is called a poll or butt it is usually a broadened flat portion of the head that can be used to pound and hammer objects as needed.
I have used it to:
- Set up a tent by pounding in the stakes.
- Making a heat reflector made with bucked up branches and pounded into the ground. Then stacking more branches in between building a small wall like structure.
- Clubbing game to eliminate life.
- Banging hardwood dowels into trees for gear hanging.
As with other types of hammering tools, it has a vast selection of activities it can be used for. It just keeps building the case for an essential campsite tool.
If you are counting on yourself to find food, And hunting, snaring or trapping your meat is your method of feeding yourself. Than a hatchet comes in pretty handy as well, For ending the games life to dismembering, it does it with ease.
For a smaller game such as rabbit and birds cutting cartilage and breaking joints is light work if you have the right campsite hatchet on duty.
Harvesting big game such as deer, elk and bear can be a bit cumbersome though. A sharp and steady hand will need to be maneuvering the blade with the big boys.
Have some fun!
Throwing hatchets is a great way to blow off some steam when boredom takes over. After being out for a day or so in the wilderness, and for as fun and fantastic as I think camping is, in all forms. I do get bored from time to time, and I bet you do as well.
When throwing camp axes, be safe. Make sure your cleared down range before ever thinking about tossing the weapon. Because once you get it in your head, you are going to throw the hatchet, that is precisely what it becomes “a weapon.”
Make yourself a target and let it fly. This is not, at all, a useful trait, but like I said before it can swing moods and turn that frown upside down.
Don’t be stupid and never let children try this unsupervised.
How to choose the best campsite Hatchet
Oh Boy, You want to know how to pick the best campsite hatchet? Well, that is a huge question, and I don’t know if I can answer that for you. I guess that’s why you are here though so let’s give it a try, shall we?
Where will you be camping?
Probably the most critical question that is going to determine what type and style of camp ax you will want to purchase. Will you be camping in the nearest “pay to camp” campground 40 miles outside of your hometown? Or will you be trekking deep into the unknown wilderness not knowing where you will end up? These scenarios are very different and will need camping hatchets just as diverse.
What will you be using it for?
Will you be using the hatchet as we described earlier in the article. Primitive or bushcraft style? Making your structures. Felling trees and delimbing branches for structures?
Will you be out on a hunting trip setting up multiple tents for you and your family or buddies and needing a hatchet as more of a utility tool than a mandatory campsite essential?
In some cases, there is no need for a hatchet. I have been in these types of settings where I have everything we need right at the campsite. We brought our wood from home and nothing we will be doing needs a campsite hatchet.
What Price Range are you Looking In?
If you are starting out in this hobby, you might want to stick with the more inexpensive camp hatchets. There is an abundance of low-cost options that are decent enough to get you to buy as you are learning. And as long as you are not going out for weeks at a time, they will suffice.
Because of their low cost, there are drawbacks of course. Quality will lack, durability as well. You will not get all the bells and whistles that might come with some of the different styles as well. Just keep these in mind.
My opinion best 3 in Low-cost range
Medium price range will put you into some beautiful hatchets. You will be able to get your desired campsite hatchet, and it will last for years if taken care of properly. This range will get you excellent quality steel heads and wood handles if that is what you are looking for. Bells and whistles will be there and most likely be name brand.
My best 3 in middle price range
High-dollar expert-level camping axes and hatchets are very desirable but costly. They are built the best and are worth every dollar if you ask me. Super high quality steel the best wood handles. There are tactical camp axes as well; they come with some pretty outstanding extras.
I am not a snob I promise. I have used all types and have owned very cheap hatchets that I still have and use these days. Although these high-class hatchets are like driving a Lambo vs. driving a VW bug, they both get you from one place to another, but one will get you there much faster and in style.
My best 3 in high price ranges
Will it last? If taken care of and not misused I think so. At least I hope so. Here we get into the price range of the hatchet. Low, medium, and high. Which do you think will last the longest? I know I probably will put my money on the later of the ranges. Only because of the quality of craftsmanship that goes into some of the higher priced Tools.
How does it feel?
Depending on your size and again what you will be doing. The feel and weight will come into a factor.
If your a smaller person, and you’re swinging a heavy ax for a few hours at a time, collecting firewood, your arms are going to be shot.
If you’re a bigger person, you don’t want a little ax, that can’t cut it for the job you need it for.
The feel of the camping hatchet in your hand will be the number one aspect of choosing which is best for you. That’s why I said I could try to help you. Honestly, its how it feels. Its how it will swing with you behind it. How it will cut into the wood as you make contact.
No doubt about it. This is a personal choice, and all I can do is maybe give you a few options to peek at to get you on your way.
Well at least for this article. This is a large topic, and I am not by any means an expert and I could still write another couple thousand word on the campsite hatchet but I won’t for now.
Enjoy. Relax. Have Fun!
Hi, Dennis and Shelly Jackson here, we are the faces behind Campsite Planning. We are parents of 4 great kids and a little dog. And we are sharing some of our experiences with the site. I hope you enjoy and please do not hesitate to contact us for any reason.
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