Hatchets are one of the most useful tools to have in your bug out bag for survival scenarios mainly due to their compact nature. Being able to slice through bushes, trees, and other plants to clear a path is a huge resource to take advantage of. Hatchets also serve as defense weapons if you’re forced to protect yourself. Finding the best survival hatchet will grant you both benefits.
The Schrade SCAXE5 Tactical Hatchet is the best small hatchet that you can use for survival situations. It has a nylon fiber handle for optimal gripping, a pre-sharpened blade, and black nylon sheath to carry it in. It is compact and fits nicely in a bug out bag.
Throughout this article, you’ll also find answers to the following questions:
- What should you look for when buying a hatchet?
- How do you use it?
- Do you need one for your survival kit?
The Best Hatchet for Survival Bug Out Bags
Getting a new hatchet for your kit will give you all sorts of uses. If you’re looking for one that’s budget-friendly and just as effective as the big brands, then try out the Schrade SCAXE5 Tactical Hatchet. It has everything you need to slice right through branches, navigate through dense bush, and create traps from scraps around you. Besides that, it looks badass.
Nobody wants to add too much to their backpack, which is why it’s nice that this hatchet only weighs 1 pound and 9 ounces. It’s 12.8 inches long with a blade length of 3.1 inches, giving you unstoppable cutting power.
At the bottom of the hatchet, you’ll find a nylon fiber handle that’s textured to provide an excellent gripping point. There are ergonomic indents to give your fingers a place to rest while you’re holding the hatchet. The setup is as good as it gets if you want to get the most out of each swing.
The back of the hatchet features a sharp pommel to use as a hammer or to create notches wherever you need to. It even has a nail puller to remove screws and nails from wood. The additional features combined with the finger indents make it a one-size-fits-all hatchet for survival.
If you choose to get this hatchet, you’ll also receive high-quality black nylon sheathe to carry it in. The sheath protects the blade from dulling, but it also prevents it from hitting you when you’re carrying it with the built-in belt loop.
All in all, this is an excellent addition to any bug out bag, hiker’s backpack, or general survival kit. You won’t find anything that comes close to the reliability and durability of this hatchet. From the carbon steel blade to the nylon fiber handle, the usability is second to none on the market.
How Do You Use a Survival Hatchet?
Hatchets are much different than axes. With an axe, you need to hold the base of the handle with your off-hand and the top of the handle with your dominant hand. As you swing downward, you have to slide your dominant hand down the handle. The combined force gives you a swift, powerful swing.
With hatchets, you don’t need to follow such procedures. Since they’re much smaller than axes, all you have to do is swing the hatchet with your dominant hand. There’s no need to use two hands. In fact, there might not even be enough room if you wanted to.
However, it’s still very easy to mess up such a simple process. Here’s a quick list of five things to remember when you’re using a survival hatchet:
- Never try to cut or swing too fast. Perform one smooth downward motion, rebuild your strength, then swing again. When you start to swing too abruptly, you’ll throw out your shoulder, cause a strain in your wrist, or botch the chopping job completely.
- If you’re removing a nail with the backside of the hatchet, use two hands. This is the only situation in which you’ll need to use both of your hands. Place one hand in the middle of the handle and the other right by the nail puller. Use the combined force to slowly and firmly remove the nail.
- Despite what all of the movies say, throwing a hatchet almost never works out in your favor. The spin has to move perfectly in order for it to stick in the target. If you blindly throw a hatchet at a tree, it’ll bounce right off and fall to the ground. Bottom line: Never throw a hatch.
- Hatchets can’t chop through logs as an axe can. They’re designed to cut through small branches, but they can’t slice through an 8-inch long. The blade size and the maximum force will only cut through a small part of a log, leaving you to chop at it multiple times before it starts to split.
- Don’t forget to examine the screws on your hatchet regularly. Many hatchets, including the suggested one above, include screws that help to hold the blade and handle together. If you’re using it often, you should look at the screws to see if they need to be tightened for a secure grip.
What to Look For When You’re Buying a Bug Out Hatchet
Hatchets are excellent to have when you need them, but you shouldn’t choose any random hatchet that you come across. They’re all built differently, and some have more features than others. Before you spend your hard-earned money, check out the tips to look for that’ll help you get the best bang for your buck.
- Consider the texture and material of the handle. Since it’s the main point that you’ll be holding every time you use the tool, it’s essential that you’re familiar with the handle of a hatchet. Some options include nylon fiber, wood, and metal.
- Think about the size of the blade in contrast to the size of the handle. If you have small hands, you might not want to lug around a massive hatchet, even if it’s lightweight. Large blades can be frustrating to deal with if you don’t know how to swing it.
- Ask yourself if you prefer more or fewer features. Some hatchets have nail pullers, pommels, bottle cap openers, blades, and more. On the other hand, you can also get a hatchet that has nothing but a blade on a handle.
- Remember that you’ll have to sharpen the blade occasionally. If you’re buying a hatchet, you should consider getting a blade sharpener with it, like my favorite one found on Amazon. You don’t want to get stuck in a bad situation with a dull hatchet! These pucks weigh far less than a pound, but they go a long way.
- Don’t forget to get a sheathe with the hatchet. They can add up quite a bit, but getting a sheathe will save you from getting injured and your blade from becoming dull. Fortunately, the Schrade hatchet from the intro has a decent sheathe that’s included with the purchase. However, you may want to upgrade to a premium sheath, like this nice leather one. (Click to see on Amazon)
Buying a hatchet for your setup is a great way to provide a quick and easy line of defense, but it also gives you multiple ways to get out of a problem. Whether you need small firewood or to clear a path through a dense forest, the portability and power of a hatchet are as good as it gets.
Here’s a quick recap:
- Remember to space out your swings for optimal force.
- Make sure the handle is ergonomic to fit your hand.
- Always examine, repair, or replace screws on a hatchet as needed.
Hey, I’m Jim, and I’m the author of this website. I have been teaching people a wide variety of survivalism topics for over five years and have a lifetime of experience fishing, camping, general survivalism, and anything in nature. In fact, while growing up, I spent more time on the water than on land! I am also a best-selling author and have a degree in History, Anthropology, and Music. I hope you find value in the articles on this website. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or input!