OUTDOORS

Survival Hatchet Multi-Tool: The Swiss Knife of Hatchets

Survival Hatchet Multi-Tool
Dennis Owens
Written by Dennis Owens

Going on camping trips, long hikes or cross-country drives means that surprises will sooner or later pop up. Pretty much everyone can agree that having a small hatchet at hand can often be (literally) a life savior. Unfortunately, the baggage we carry most of the time can be already more than a handful. So why not opt for a survival hatchet multi-tool that incorporates several heavy-duty tools into a light, easy-to-use body, a selection of tools that sooner or later everybody will need.

These multi-tools often include absolutely necessary functions for survival (like fire starters) or even ones that are highly convenient (bottle opener). They are not meant to be used on a daily basis as they do not have the same resistance as targeted tools, but they can be a great choice for their portability and multiple usages when it comes to emergency situations.

Hatchet Multi Tool

As this is a domain that does not often receive a whole lot of screen time, first we are going to talk about what makes one of these tools a good choice and afterward we are going to present you a list of what we consider solid options based on several needs that we took into consideration. By the time you will finish this article you are going to be able to make a far better judgment regarding which model you want to be your chosen one.

Our Top Picks

ProductBuild MaterialHandle MaterialIncluded SheathPrice
UST Orange Fire Starter ParahatchetStainless steel coated with black oxideParacordYesCheck price on Amazon
ASR Outdoor Buckshot Knives Camping Axe HatchetStainless steelWoodYesCheck price on Amazon
Off Grid Tools OGT-SA100 Survival AxeCarbon steelGlass-filled nylonNoCheck price on Amazon
SE 881MA 3-in-1 Multi-Function HatchetSteelRubberized nylonNoCheck price on Amazon
Off Grid Tools Trucker’s Friend All Purpose Survival HatchetSteelFiberglassNoCheck price on Amazon
Sheffield 12301 Camper 12-in-1 Multi-Tool HatchetStainless steelHardwoodYesCheck price on Amazon
ML TOOLS Multi-purpose Survival Tool HatchetSteelFiberglassNoCheck price on Amazon

Things to Consider Before Buying

Every tool has a list of specifications, specifications that you should know before making a purchase. Some of them can be overrated, or simply added as cheap tools for marketing purposes. But some are very important that could make or break a good multi-purpose hatchet. Here we list the ones we believe are the most important ones to take into consideration before making a purchase.

The Axe Material

This is the most crucial aspect of pretty much every hatchet and for quite obvious reasons as well. The usability and reliability of the tool itself depend mostly on the fact that just how high-grade steel or other (mostly metallic) material was used. The most common of course is the stainless steel as this has a high level of resistance and makes it possible to use it in rainy conditions as well.

Axe Material

But there are other materials that can be just as good as carbon steel or even carbon fiber. This second option is still fairly rare and fairly expensive, but it comes with some serious benefits, like the lower weight and the fact that it does not generate sparks while being used.

But all in all a good quality stainless steel hatchet is arguably the best bet that you are getting a high-quality product for a fairly low amount of money.

Handle Ergonomics

This is one aspect that not many manufacturers takes into consideration and simply fit the hatchet with a low-level rubber handle or a roughly-made wooden bar. Neither is particularly good if there is a chance that you will use the hatchet for more than thirty minutes.

Hatchet Handle Ergonomics

Look out for manufacturers who actually use shock absorbent materials and also be vary to buy something that is waterproof so it won’t rot away after keeping it under the backseat for a period of time.

Nylon is the most commonly used material for hatchet handles but even fiberglass is often chosen. In these case often times, not the quality of the material itself but the way it is modeled is arguably the most important factor. Always make sure that they are well rounded and if they also have a palm print on them, it’s even better, as your hand is less likely to start hurting while using it.

Size

This is mostly down to personal preference and need, so choose wisely. Some hatchets come in at under ten inches, while others can be three times this length. Depending on what you need it both of them can be perfectly good for you.

Hatchet Size

There are some golden rules here as well. If the handle is smaller than the head, it usually means that it is ill-balanced and it will be a headache to use. Also if you need it for tracking, buying something that is on the large-side might be ill-advised, as it might stick way out from the backpack (getting stuck in the foliage) or become uncomfortable worn on a belt.

Weight

This is again a central aspect to take into consideration as both a lower and a higher weight can have serious benefits or the exact opposite. The lower weight has the most obvious one, as it won’t be hard to carry around, no matter how many things you have packed with you.

On the other hand, from a usability point of view, a heavier hatchet means that you will be able to cut and break things with a higher force. If you want it mostly for cutting branches or wood, then we would most definitely recommend getting a heavier one.

Hatchet Weight

Image credit: outlandequipment.com

Also, take into consideration the weight balancing as well. This is something that does not only influence the way you use the hatchet but the safety level as well, as it is far easier to injure yourself with an ill-balanced one.

Included Tools

How many included tools does a multi-tool hatchet needs to have, so you can consider it a worthy purchase? That’s a question that only you can figure out, depending on what you want it for but there are at least some that are mostly good to have.

A crowbar and hammer ending is a great plus if you plan to carry it in a car, while a fire starter kit is better served for outdoor environments. Hex sockets, on the other hand, can become handy in both instances as they are often good to have in case a biking session is involved during a trip.

Hatchet Tools

Then there are the more niche tools as well that you might find: saw, scissors, beer opener and many more. They might be a good idea at first glance, but always keep in mind that these are there for emergency use and they will probably not replace a “made for” product. Also, some of them might even make the hatchet less usable by adding extra weight or mobile elements that might break sooner than expected.

Ease of Sharpening

This factor is mostly down to three things: the sharpening tool, your own skills and the material the hatchet is made from. The first two is not related to the hatchet itself in a direct manner but the last one is most definitely is.

This is also a fairly tricky aspect to get right, as most hatchets are made from stainless steel. Depending on how it was made, this can result in a very sharpening friendly axe or one that will be a nightmare to work with. Your best bet is to read up on user experiences and try to find one that can be easily sharpened as this is something that you will certainly have to do at a certain point.

Durability

Durability can be influenced by many factors when it comes to a survival hatchet that also includes a plethora of other tools. It might be naive to think that only the metal that is used influences the durability of it, as there are many more factors.

Hatchet Durability

For one there is the way how other tools are implemented. If they are mobile additions, chances are that they will break faster than if they are molded from the same body. Also, the way it was intended to be transported might also influence it, as most head perforations can take away from the durability especially if a hammerhead is also included.

The good news is that these hatchets are usually used in emergency situations and not every day, so even if you do not hit the jackpot at this section, you could still find yourself buying a fairly reliable one that can potentially last you a long time.

Best Products on Today’s Market

Now that we have managed to look through all the important details that you should take into account before choosing a good hatchet, let’s take a look at some of the tools that we managed to find and that we consider that might be more than worthy of your attention.

UST Orange Fire Starter Parahatchet

Price: $10 – $15UST Orange Fire Starter Parahatchet

Weight: 11.4 ounces

Dimensions: 9.7 x 3.4 x 0.75 inches

Specific features: Compact design, lightweight, integrated cord cutter, usable paracord handle, included hex wrenches, included fire starter

Best use: Hiking, camping, car emergency, disaster relief, branch cutting, home backup tool

If you are looking for a survival hatchet that can be taken anywhere and has a good enough build quality to resist in most situations, then the UST Orange Fire Starter Parahatchet can be considered a pretty good choice.

The small form factor guarantees that it will probably never get into anyone’s way and the stainless steel that used for manufacturing gives it a surprisingly high level of resistance. Not only that but the way the extra tools are added to its body make pretty much everything that is included easy to operate.

The included magnesium fire starter is also handy, so if you ever tried to light a fire in the old-school way you will find this set surprisingly good. The fire starter is kept separately in the sheath and adds an extra thickness to the overall package but it is not overly noticeable.

There are a couple of negatives aspects as well. The sheath is of a fairly low quality. Be prepared to buy a new one once the hiking season is over. Also, the paracord handle (that can be used separately in emergency situations) is not the most ergonomic choice that will be presented in this list.

When it comes down to the weight factor, it becomes a double-edged sword. Even if it is comfortable because of the lower weight, and what is there it is well balanced, it might become a bit uncomfortable in use as the low weight does not result in a strong punch.

But if you are looking for a good emergency situation hatchet that you can have on you pretty much everywhere you go, this one might be a strong choice.

PROS:

  • Small form factor
  • Well implemented extra features
  • Quality fire starter
  • Easy to sharpen
 CONS:

  • Handle needs some getting used to
  • Weight can be low
  • Included sheath could be better

Related: No matter how good the steel that the hatchet is made from, the blade will lose some of its edges sooner or later, and having something like the DMD Pocket Diamond Sharpener is a great way to always remain prepared. This is a very small and reliable sharpener that can be carried around even on a keyring. But don’t let the size fool you, this can be used on everything from a fish hooks to your newly purchased hatchet.

Check the price on Amazon

ASR Outdoor Buckshot Knives Camping Axe Hatchet

Price: $25 – $30ASR Outdoor Buckshot Knives Camping Axe Hatchet

Weight: 12.8 ounces

Dimensions: 10.5 x 4 x 0.8 inches

Specific features: Compact design, lightweight, integrated cord cutter, included hex wrenches, wooden handle

Best use: Hiking, camping, sporting events, emergency work, disaster relief, home backup tool, branch cutting

When looking at the ASR Outdoor Buckshot Knives Camping Axe Hatchet it becomes obvious that the manufacturer wanted to create a reliable tool the old way and they mostly succeeded in it as well. No low-par added tools, just the bare necessities included in this package.

The hatchet is made from a pretty sturdy stainless steel and the handle from nicely finished wood. Synthetic materials are only used in the (admittedly low quality) sheath. When holding it in the hand it becomes clear that there was plenty of effort put into designing this as a well-balanced tool.

Both the cord cutter and the hex wrenches are made with reliability in mind. They do not try to offer many sizes or uses in general but what they do offer is pretty good and it will probably be usable for years to come.

Yet with all the pros at hand, this model also hits its limitations pretty fast for the same reason why we are recommending it: size. This is an emergency hatchet, make no mistake, using it on a daily basis becomes both cumbersome and impractical as the weight gives it very little punch to work with.

Still, taking into consideration the low price point and the fact that it manages to fulfill its intended tasks, this is one hatchet that you might want to consider buying.

PROS:

  • Comfortable to use
  • To the point extra tools
  • High-grade stainless steel
 CONS:

  • Very poor quality sheath
  • Wooden handle could break after vigorous use

Related: If your new multi-tool hatchet does not come with a fire starter kit, a Schrade SCHFS1 Striker Plate and Lanyard might be a good option to look into. This is a very light optional tool (coming in at only 0.06 pounds) that you will easily manage to carry around by simply tying it to your hatchet or just dropping it into your pocket. This way your survivor collection will be mostly complete.

Check the price on Amazon

Off Grid Tools OGT-SA100 Survival Axe

Price: $60 – $70Off Grid Tools OGT-SA100 Survival Axe

Weight: 25.6 ounces

Dimensions: 11.7 x 4.9 x 2.2 inches

Specific features: Hammer, heavy-duty claw, large selection of hex sockets, replaceable saw blade, emergency glass breaker, rope and belt cutter

Best use: Emergency situations, hiking, camping, backup tool for vehicles, disaster relief

This manufacturer is pretty well known and their name is pretty well respected for the same reasons why the Off Grid Tools OGT-SA100 Survival Axe is a pretty safe choice when looking for a multi-tool hatchet, and multi-tool was probably the keyword when they made this piece.

Where can we even start on this one? It has support for four different hex sockets, a bottle opener, built-in hammerhead, heavy-duty claw, glass breaker, seat-belt cutter, and even a replaceable six inch saw blade. This is a nice list to have in pretty much every emergency situation.

But when looking at it, naturally the question that comes to mind is, just how sturdy the build is, considering all the included additions? The good news is that pretty much every component uses high-grade materials and from what we can tell, they won’t break on you when using in emergency situations.

There is a downside and it comes in the form of the handle. This might not be the most comfortable model out there and we would recommend wearing a work glove when using it for more demanding tasks, or at least make some adjustment to it with sandpaper, if you are up to the challenge.

The weight is also pretty good (same is true for the balance) and this time around there is some surprisingly strong cutting power hidden behind this smallish tool. If you can spend the somewhat higher amount of money on it, this one could be a good gift for yourself that will keep on rewarding you for years to come.

PROS:

  • Sturdy build quality
  • Good selection of extra tools
  • Replaceable saw
  • Emergency situation layout
 CONS:

  • Somewhat uncomfortable handle
  • Higher price tag

Related: Carrying around a hatchet without a properly made sheath can be hard and dangerous at the same time so investing into a high-quality Off Grid Tools OGT-SABLS Leather Sheath is a wise choice. This is not a one-time use cheap plastic one either, as it is made from highly durable leather and it also has a good belt loop so you can attach it to pretty much anything. This sheath is also model-made so you will know that it will be a perfect fit for your hatchet.

Check the price on Amazon

SE 881MA 3-in-1 Multi-Function Hatchet

Price: $8 – $11SE 881MA 3-in-1 Multi-Function Hatchet

Weight: 15.4 ounces

Dimensions: 11.8 x 4.1 x 0.9 inches

Specific features: Single-piece steel body, included hammer, included crowbar

Best use: Nail pulling, light hammering, emergency firewood cutting, hiking, home backup tool

If you are a price conscious person but still want a decent survival hatchet for those camping trips, the SE 881MA 3-in-1 Multi-Function Hatchet is one option that you could find satisfactory.

One thing is clear, as soon as you look at this tool, and that is a fact that there was not a whole lot of effort put into fine-tuning it. This is a single-piece steel hatchet with a fairly low selection of added tools and a handle that is neither a looker or a very comfortable one either.

The three in one advertised functions are there as you get a hatchet, a crowbar, and a hammer as well, and all of this at a fairly low size and weight, but still good-enough so it will perform decently for most mundane tasks.

The steel blade is not that easy to sharpen, but if you have the right tools at hand it should not be impossible. Just be careful not to break the blade.

So looking at all of this, why would we recommend it? Well for starters the price is unbeatable and in all honesty, if you don’t want to use it on a daily basis and the work is not very demanding this could become a surprisingly good choice.

PROS:

  • Single piece body
  • Attractive price
 CONS:

  • Low tool selection
  • A bit uncomfortable
  • Lower grade steel

Related: Any axe that has a somewhat dull-prone blade needs a good sharpener and this is why we would recommend the ALPHA TEK Pocket Hunting Knife Sharpener. Don’t let the name fool you, as this is perfect for sharpening hatchets as well. The base of it is anti-skid so it will always remain stable, no matter how hard the procedure might be. It also utilizes crossed carbide blades and crossed ceramic rods so it will offer a fine edge in a short amount of time.

Check the price on Amazon

Off Grid Tools Trucker’s Friend All Purpose Survival Hatchet

Price: $50 – $110Off Grid Tools Trucker’s Friend All Purpose Survival Hatchet

Weight: 42 ounces

Dimensions: 19.2 x 5.5 x 2 inches

Specific features: Curved axe, hammerhead included, nail puller, tire chain hook, pry bar, shock-absorbent handle

Best use: Emergency work, trucker necessities, hiking, camping, disaster relief, handy house tool, survival instances

This is one of the more popular multi-tool survival hatchets and the Off Grid Tools Trucker’s Friend All Purpose Survival Hatchet leaves up for the reputation of being one of those tools that many long-haul truckers like to have next to them.

This sturdy (and somewhat heavy) axe is good for many things, from creating emergency escape routes to actual self-defense. The compact body feels good from the first time you take it into your hand and the shock-absorbing grip that engulfs the fiberglass handle will make it almost certain that using it does not become an uncomfortable experience.

The hammerhead, nail puller, tire chain hook, pry bar and lever are all situated in such a position that still allows plenty of metallic integrity that will be more than enough to guarantee a long-lasting usability.

Everything about this tool makes it obvious that you are not looking for a toy or a cheap knock-off. The weight is somewhat higher then what other models offer, but this will help in most situations when you will need a powerful hit.

The downside comes in the form of its price, as it is not a cheap tool. Never the less if you need a hatchet as a truck driver, there are few other models that we could think of, that could be a sensible choice for you.

PROS:

  • Very good build quality
  • Great ergonomics
  • Good weight and weight balance
  • Easily sharpened
 CONS:

  • Expensive
  • Not as many extra options as other models offer

Related: For this high-quality survival hatchet a great sheath is needed and there are not many that fit better for this task as the Off Grid Tools Custom Deluxe Sheath. Yet another sheath that was made mode-specific that also comes with a good shoulder strap, metal D-rings, and a sturdy belt loop. These are easily adjustable so anyone can use it regardless of their body size or transportation necessity. The leather is fairly well treated, so it will resist for a good amount of time.

Check the price on Amazon

Sheffield 12301 Camper 12-in-1 Multi Tool Hatchet

Price: $15 – $20Sheffield 12301 Camper 12-in-1 Multi Tool Hatchet

Weight: 16 ounces

Dimensions: 9.8 x 5 x 1.5 inches

Specific features: Hardwood handle, spike hammer, built-in knife, built-in saw, built-in screw-driver

Best use: Camping, hiking, handy house tool, light hammering

When a manufacturer decides to combine the form factor of a Swiss army knife with a survival hatchet, the result might look just like the Sheffield 12301 Camper 12-in-1 Multi Tool Hatchet.

The first thing that you will notice about the hatchet is the collection of tools that are well-built inside the handle of the hatchet. They contain things like a sturdy knife, saw, bottle opener and even a screwdriver and on the other end, you can find a pretty strong hammer and a two-size hex socket.

The size of it is fairly small and the pouch that it comes in means that you can carry it easily pretty much anywhere you go. Most of the weight is found at the head of the axe so even if it is fairly light, it can still cut through most branches. This makes it fairly good for setting up a tent or simply clearing a patch for the campsite.

The handle is surprisingly ergonomic as well, so using it once in a while won’t present a problem. On the other hand, the added small tools are of somewhat questionable quality. The truth is that most of them will be fairly good for use in an emergency situation, but for nothing else.

But your best bet in the package is the axe and the hammer side which should last you for a while. All in all, for the low asking price this might be a worthy choice if you plan to use it once or twice a year to set up camp.

PROS:

  • Nice selection of tools
  • Affordable
  • Good handle
 CONS:

  • Low-quality side tools
  • Hard to use hex sockets

Related: If carrying around the hatchet might be an organizational issue, then investing into a 5.11 TDU Belt is a pretty good idea. This 1.5-inch multi-purpose belt is made of heavy-duty nylon and contains absolutely no metal part. The plastic buckle is of a low profile and of a sturdy build quality. A great belt to manage to attach your hatchet (or other tools as well) to pretty much anywhere you want.

Check the price on Amazon

ML TOOLS Multi-Purpose Survival Tool Hatchet

Price: $55 – $70ML TOOLS Multi-Purpose Survival Tool Hatchet

Weight: 36.8 ounces

Dimensions: 20 x 6 x 3 inches

Specific features: Curved axe, hammerhead included, nail puller, tire chain hook, pry bar, shock-absorbent handle, included blade guard

Best use: Emergency work, trucker necessities, hiking, camping, disaster relief, handy house tool, survival instances

Yet another survival hatchet that targets the trucker crowd and luckily the ML TOOLS Multi-Purpose Survival Tool Hatchet does not disappoint. This nice piece of equipment is based on the Trucker’s Friend license and it keeps every quality aspect fully intact.

The steel axe and hammerhead are extremely rugged and feel like they could withstand several years of heavy-duty use. The added pry bar and lever are positioned in such a way that they will not affect the build integrity even if they are forcibly used. The shock-absorbing handle will allow you to hit almost anything with it without hurting yourself.

The extra weight feels very good in use and the weight balancing is done in a top-notch way. You will mostly feel fully in control when using this tool. It also comes with a reusable blade guard. This is nowhere near a game changer but it is a nice added bonus.

So if you want a great universal solution and the asking price is not an issue for you, this could be a pretty good choice and one that might result in a tool that will last you for years to come.

PROS:

  • Good build quality
  • Comfortable use
  • Good weight
  • Useful included tools
 CONS:

  • A bit pricey
  • Not as portable as other models

Related: When using a somewhat heavy survival hatchet, it might not be a bad idea to buy a Youngstown Glove Kevlar Glove. With this glove, you will have a far easier job to use the hatchet for a longer period of time, and it might help you to get ahead of fairly serious injuries. The entire glove (even the side of the fingers) is lined with DuPont Kevlar fiber, meaning that cut and puncture-related accidents will drop drastically. On top of that, the palm region also has a 0.2-inch EVA foam for impact and vibration dampening.

Check the price on Amazon

Wrap Up

After reading through all of it, you might be surprised just how much is there to know about something as basic as a multi-tool hatchet. There are several types of them made for entirely different markets and people, based on their specific needs.

Survival Hatchet Multi-Tool

As one of them, you will now know exactly what to prioritize when choosing a hatchet, what are the better known and reliable manufacturers that you might want to look into, when searching for one and last but not least, what is a reasonable price, at which you will know that at least a certain level of quality can be guaranteed (and on the other end of the spectrum what could be considered overspending).

But as with every other mass-produced tool, there are just so many of them out there that it is almost impossible for a single person (or team) to cover them all. So if you believe that there is a good and reliable survival hatchet that we might have missed in our list, please do mention it in the comment section below, so we can take a look at it as well.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dennis Owens

Dennis Owens

Dennis Owens is a graduate of National Camping School and REI Outdoor School. He knows everything about what gear to take with you, how to plan your trip to stay safe and what to do if you get lost in the mountains. We are lucky to have Dennis with us as he is a ‘walking encyclopedia’ when it comes to the wilderness.