Axes are pretty much defined by their size: the bigger they are, the more momentum they can generate behind the blade and therefore can more effectively chop.
As a rule, bigger axes are better, but the trade off is always portability. Hatchets, on the other hand, tend to be small and portable and thus perfect for survival.
1. Estwing Camper’s Axe
Estwing has a great name for hand tools among contractors, and their Camper’s Axe has a great name among survivalists. This 16-inch solid steel hatchet has a rubber shock-absorbing grip to prevent cramps with protracted usage. It also comes with a leather sheath.
2. Kershaw Camp Axe
A lighter and more compact axe, the 11-inch long Kershaw Camp Axe is equally popular and forged from high carbon steel with a Krayton polymer handle. Smaller and lighter means more portability and convenience, but doesn’t have as much chopping heft as a larger axe.
3. Gerber Gator Axe Combo
When you’re cutting wood, sometimes an axe is the best bet, and sometimes it’s a saw. Gerber combines the two in this combo axe, where the saw is magnetically held in place inside the axe handle. The axe is just over 15 inches long.
4. United Cutlery M48 Tactical Hawk Tomahawk
We can’t talk about hatchets without mentioning a tomahawk. United Cutlery have designed a beautiful lightweight 16-inch tomahawk here that’s certain to appeal with its modern look and nylon sheath.
5. Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet
The infamous Bear Grylls may be well-known for staging his escapades on TV, but you can’t knock his gear. The Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet by Gerber is small, even for a hatchet, at a shade under 10 inches, and has incredibly intuitive finger grooves in the neck for control when performing detail work. Very handy and comfortable to use.
6. Fiskars X7 Hatchet
Well known for its toughness and ultra sharp high grade steel, the Fiskars X7 is 14 inches long and comes with a rather unique sheath. The handle itself is made from DuraFrame, which, though lightweight, is stronger than steel.