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What's the Difference Between Axe and Hatchets?


So, you are planning your next camping trip. And you have decided to finally buy an Axe or a Hatchet. And you think, boy they look a lot alike. Which one do I need? How are they different other than their size? No worries we are going to make it very clear their differences so you can make an easy decision.


In this article, we will show you the differences between axes and hatchets. Give you a list of each to choose from. List the pros and cons of axes. List the pros and cons of hatchets.


The Differences Between Axes and Hatchets.


There is three significant difference between an axe and a hatchet. Obviously, the first is the size. Axes usually have longer handles from 29 inches to 36 inches long. The axe head weights between 2 and 4 pounds depending on the use.


Hatches on the other hand weight from just under a pound to 2 pounds and have handles from 12 inches to 18 inches and of course this is all depending on their use as well. For instant, throwing hatches are much smaller and lighter than hewing hatchets.


The most practical difference between axes and hatchets are their uses. An axe, being larger and heavier is used for chopping or notching trees, poles, or splitting larger pieces of would into smaller pieces. The latter is done primarily for making kindling for starting fires.


Hatches can do most of the same things an axe can do like chopping trees and splitting wood. However, due to the size of a hatchet, all these things require more work than using an axe. If on your camping trip and need to cut down large trees to build a shelter and split a lot of wood for an extended stay, then an axe is your best choice.


Read this article I wrote, How to Choose a Camping Axe, to give you more ideas and help you make a better decision.


On the other hand, hatchets have a better advantage over the axe when needed. Let’s say you are going hiking for a couple of days or a week out in the bush, then you need a hatchet. A hatchet is much lighter and shorter for these types of camping trips and will take care of just about every need you would have to use an axe for except cutting down large trees.


Read this article I wrote, What is the Best Camping Hatchet, to give you more ideas and help you make a better decision.



Camping Axe List (Pros and Cons)


Hudson Bay Axe


Our first axe is one of the smaller ones out there that still qualify as an axe. It is made in the US and is built sturdy. The axe is great for those looking for something to bring along on a hike or a short trip out into the woods. It is not made for major wood splitting, but it is still a very useful tool to have at hand for your basic chopping needs while roughing it. The axe comes with a leather sheath that is sure to last as long as you have the axe. Simple in design but efficient at what it does. Definitely a good purchase.


Sog Axe


The next axe on our list is a real workhorse. It is tough, has multiple uses, and holds its edge well. The axe is small, light and made from stainless steel. The head is sturdy and can even be used to hammer things in so you can use this one tool for multiple things; freeing up some space in the pack if you are planning to be out in the woods for an extended period of time. The blade does not take much work to sharpen when you feel the need to do so. The sheath it comes with is simple and can be tricky to put on so be extra careful when doing so. This is also a good throwing axe, the throw is smooth and can be a good starting axe for those who are looking to learn. Keep in mind this is still something that can easily cut through things so handle it with care. Still a great axe to add to the pack.


Fire Axe


Here is an example of a simple and straightforward fire axe. This axe was made to chop wood and can also be used as a display piece. The weight is about six pounds and there are three different lengths to the handle that are made available. The handle is solid hickory, so it is tough to break. The edge may need some work when you first get it and there is no sheath included with this axe. This axe does need some effort to be placed into it but still good to have around.


Fiskars Axe


The axe here is longer and a bit heavier than the ones listed above. In the description, it states it is intended for taller users but really, I think this is meant to make sure the people who are strong enough purchase it. The blade is very sharp, and the axe is designed to be swung hard and fast so those who are new to axes may injure themselves if they are not used to the motion and the level of control this axe needs. The handle has a grip built into it to ensure you have a good hold on it the whole way through. The handle on this one is not wood but still very solid and durable. It is a larger axe coming in at six pounds, but it wouldn’t be the heaviest or largest thing to bring. If you need something good at chopping and doesn’t need too much sharpening, this is a good choice.



Camping Hatchets (Pros and Cons)


Sog Hatchet


When looking for a survival hatchet, this is a good place to start. It is versatile, small, tough, and comes with little features that make it a real tool to bring along. The blade itself is sharp and tough. It is not made for major log splitting but is great for cutting and chopping kindling. There is a fire-starter rod inserted in the handle which can be used with the hatchet head to start fires. There is an edge on the back that can be used for wire cutting or prying open things. There is also a holster that can attach to your belt or pack for easy access. The manufacturers for this axe have a policy listed that states as long as you take care of the hatchet, they will provide replacements and repairs. I know that sounds too good to be true but feel free to look into the fine print on that and if it checks out then it is a great deal. A hatchet is a great tool so I doubt you will need to use it much if at all.



Estwing Hatchet


If you need something, that is super light and quick, while also being solid and useful then I give you this hatchet. It is made of one solid piece of steel so you don't have to worry the axe head will ever come loose or the handle needing to be changed. The grip reduces vibration from chops so there is less shock taken in by your arm and hand. The grip reduces blisters, as well, even if you are not wearing gloves. The back end of the hatchet can also be used for breaching and excavation so if you need to break a window or pry open something super tough, this is a great time to help with that. It isn't rustproof though so I wouldn't suggest just hiding it away for emergencies. The hatchet needs upkeep and to be oiled to avoid it degrading away over time due to the elements. The sheath is durable and does a good job of maintaining the edge when covered. The hatchet is a few inches longer than a foot so still small and easy to bring with you, definitely would say it is useful to have when going camping.


Fiskars Hatchet


Here we have the little brother to the Fiskar’s extra-long axe listed above. This hatchet is built just like its larger counterpart but sacrifices nothing in terms of quality. If you purchase both of them together, you will have covered your chopping needs. This hatchet can handle small to medium-sized logs and will split them with little effort so once you chop the trees down with the Fiskar Axe the hatchet will make the clean-up simple. The hatchet comes with a great sheath. This is another great tool to bring on a weekend out in the woods for chopping up kindling.


Gerber Hatchet


Another workhorse hatchet, this one will be sure to please. The handle has some length to it which helps give the user some more control and momentum when using it. The head of the axe is made of forged steel so it can take a few hits and still hold up. The handle is also made to reduce vibration, so you don’t get tired out as fast. The sheath is great to protect the blade as well as your hand and is also great for storing the hatchet. All in all, this is something to keep in mind for work around the yard and for trips to the woods.


Throwing Hatchet (for fun)


Our last entry here is a fun one. This set of three throwing hatchets are something great to enjoy with the older kids and even the adults while outdoors. It is a set of three small stainless-steel hatchets that all fit into one sleeve that comes with the set. They are lightweight and all together weigh about two pounds. Each hatchet also comes with a bottle opener on the back so you are always prepared. The blades come very sharp so be careful when handling them. Since they are small and light the edges can tend to wear down after continual use, but they should still work great for throwing. These may not be meant for working but are still great to bring along for fun and some sport.


That’s all for today. Got to run. It’s my oldest daughter's birthday!


All the best,


Alex Anderson

 
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