What Would You Suggest?



Hunting and camping season is coming up fast.

My family is actually getting ready to have our first reunion/camping trip since my father passed away, and I have to say that I am excited!

One thing that it has me thinking about is good camping gear and one of the most important pieces of gear that I can think of where we camp out is a good, sturdy hatchet.

We camp in East Texas.

The Piney Woods National Forest out on Lake Sam Rayburn to be exact.

It is absolutely beautiful out there!

And out in these pine forests, if there is one thing we are not lacking, its a good source of firewood.

So I have been looking for a decent hatchet that didn't cost me an arm and a leg.

I ran across this one online and even found a short video review of it.


Now, I have to say that I have always been a fan of the more traditional, wood handled hatchet, but this one caught my eye.

Here is just a bit more about it.

  • Lightest 8-inch hatchet on the market
  • Non-break polypropylene handle
  • Ergonomic handle for less stress and comfort
  • Lightweight, only 13.6-ounce
  • Durable and made to last

Check out the short video review below:

Coming in at around $35.00, I'm thinking about picking one of these Trail Blazer Hatchet's up…

What do you think?

Should I grab this one or would you suggest another hatchet to pack with me?

Let me know in the comments below.

Read more with these related articles from our site:

Make a Pack Basket for Camping

Survival Hatchet: A Lesson in Failure

Camp Like A Genius | 25 Additions For Your Camping Gear

Continue Reading


  1. R. Sorensen

    September 13, 2013 at 8:46 AM

    Save your money, there are much better products. You get what you pay for. A small hatchet or axe is an invaluable tool in the woods, don’t skimp.

    • PAUL

      September 13, 2013 at 7:15 PM

      I would say that would be good for a bug out bag. reality ! the blade is not thick, or the hammer end would not be very durable . the handel is too short. I would get a constructon hatchet with a hammer on the back side. It’s thick and it will split logs and you could use it to hammer rocks into samll sizes , or pounding in steal tent stakes. I have one with a wooden handel. you could pull the hatchet head off the wood handel and by a durable poly platic handel, better grip. you get what you pay for.

      • howard w moore

        November 5, 2013 at 1:58 PM

        Estwing CARPENTER’S HATCHETS and axes are almost indestructible but they will be heaver

    • Linda

      September 14, 2013 at 11:17 PM

      I agree with you. Also, the lighter the hatchet, the more muscle you have to use to get anywhere with it.

    • John

      September 15, 2013 at 5:35 PM

      A folding saw would be better,with spare blades. plus buy a 20 oz framing hammer. buy a Stanly ..(don’t skimp). If your going backpacking skip the hammer and the extra blades.John

  2. Chris Park

    September 13, 2013 at 9:25 AM

    We have lived in the high country in Co. for 40 yrs. I carried a hatched for yrs and found that I did not really use it that much.In our woods there is plenty of small stuff to burn. I found that a good folding saw gets a lot more use

  3. Al Breit

    September 13, 2013 at 9:44 AM

    I camp enough to know that a camp shovel ( actually I’m thinking entrenching tool ) is about the 2nd handiest carry tool to have. I have an old WW1 model that I have tempered and sharpened one edge (axe). In the woods I usually just pick up twigs and small stuff don’t have to cut large stuff up and it can be used to dig a fire pit. The #1 carry tool to have is of course the best medium size knife you can get your hands on. Again I went with military grade, an old KaBar.

  4. Paul R.

    September 13, 2013 at 9:50 AM

    Save your money and the added weight. A strong back knife should be able to handle any all chopping needs if any should arise. If you have to break large branches for your fire needs use the “crook” of a tree. Unless your the lead man on a large multi-day adventure a hatchet really isn’t needed, and even then it really isn’t at least for fire and cooking duty. If your vehicle camping (within walking distance from your motor vehicle) bring a full size ax.

  5. art

    September 13, 2013 at 10:00 AM

    I agree a folding saw is easier and faster than a hatchet. You may also consider a machete or khurki type knife that is more adaptable

  6. BodySnatcher Bob

    September 13, 2013 at 10:10 AM

    Looks like a knuckle buster to me. The handle is way too short to provide any force when cutting. For the price conscious, the “Cold Steel” Trail Boss axe makes is excellent choice.

    • Mark

      September 13, 2013 at 10:24 AM

      I was thinking the same thing about the knuckles.
      Also, for a weekend camp trip there are many cheaper, not cheap quality, hatchets out there for less than $20.
      I also like to have for long-term survival a hatchet/axe with a wood handle. Why? It can be replaced when broken with a tree branch if needed. I don’t see how the head on this one could be replaced.

      • BodySnatcher Bob

        September 13, 2013 at 11:31 AM

        Perhaps this would be a useful hatchet when dressing large game or small camp projects.

  7. Greywolf

    September 13, 2013 at 10:22 AM

    Nothing wrong with this piece of eq. Anyone of the reasons
    I’ve read so far NOT to get it are lame. I’ve been”bushing ” it longer than most preppers have been aware that the bush even exists.Any tool is useful,how long it lasts is another story, But! , is it light weight? , sturdy? ,etc…… A small hatchet is always useful. Testosterone has no place in prepping, it can get you killed. 🙂

  8. Busso

    September 13, 2013 at 11:15 AM

    This is one of the worst items I’ve seen yet, what’s wrong with a good Bowie knife or better yet a Machete, both of these have more multipe uses. This hatchet is a future sale item. The best is a stout machete as it’ll provide well as a defense item, yeah the little axe will work but you’ll need to be quite close for defense. Would you go against a machete with this axe? Always consider multiple use items when prepping.

  9. Sonny Calta

    September 13, 2013 at 11:16 AM

    The hatchet is OK, but not for heavy work. You lose leverage with such
    a short handle. It’s nice if you’re doing twigs, but your back will
    suffer if you need larger wood. One of those sharp “emergency” saws, cut almost as fast as a chainsaw!! I’m amazed when we go for Christmas
    trees. I made the mistake of buying a new hatchet that had an ugly,
    curved point on the back. I realized my mistake when I thought of
    pounding tent stakes. Anybody want a “DEAL”!!! Contact me at, pappyc Never used at all!!

  10. Revernd Idaho Spud

    September 13, 2013 at 11:17 AM

    The survival knife, axe etc. that is best is the one that you have with you when you need it. I have been looking for the perfect knife as an example, large but not too large etc. but recently found myself with one knife, an old Gerber 400 with a 2 1/2 inch blade. It made me laugh when I thought about the 40-50 knives in my collection at home.

    Likewise in hatchet selection, until you use one you don’t really appreciate how much energy it takes to cut just a 3-4 inch limb. The hatchet you are reviewing looks like it’s best purpose is battoning which you can do with a large knife. Hatchets are a perfect example of physics. I am not a physicist but I am smart enough to know that when you chop into something and the result is miniscule then you have wasted energy or enjoy doing a lot of work.

    With a large knife for battoning you get into the argument of why not carry an axe in the first place? In axes, some of the best in my opinion are those typically called boys axes or foresters call them cruiser axes. Estwing makes a steel axe with about a 26 inch handle and will last three lifetimes. It weighs about 3 pounds and can do some serious cutting. Some small wood handled axe heads come with 12 inch handles which, when put to real use become an exercise in futility. I believe taking one of these small head, approx. 1 1/4 lb. to 2 1/2 lb. and re-handling them with at least a 15 inch and better, a 19 inch handle increases their efficiency while conserving on weight. I call this a trekking axe. It is also a suitable size for some level of self defense. As one commenter mentioned earlier, a small saw is totally functional as well and should not be over looked. Just my 2 cents.

    • BrooklynResident

      September 14, 2013 at 12:49 AM

      Your trekking axe sounds like the old Viking axe…

  11. Jan

    September 13, 2013 at 11:40 AM

    Nope. Been camping, roughing it, most of my long life. Get a good wooden handled axe, not a hatchet. A folding saw is OK…a ‘finger saw’ is even better because you can put a hunk of wood in it to use as a handle. I carry a folding shovel, finger saw and a single bit axe in my truck, along with survival gear, all the time. I live in the middle of Montana, with no near neighbors; we’re on our own here.

  12. R L Diehl

    September 13, 2013 at 12:12 PM

    I don’t think it’s worth the money. My choice is a large knife, my Cold Steel Trailmaster Bowie will chop as well or better, baton thru a log better and handle other cutting chores as well. If you prefer a hatchet I have a small Buck ax with all-steel head which retails for under 30 dollars. It may weigh a little more but all the weight is in the head where it belongs. It is 12 1/4 inches OAL, head is 5″ w/3″ cutting edge, so still not very much to carry.
    Another choice under certain circumstances might be some sort of tomahawk—with a hammer poll opposite the cutting edge!
    Aqain, Cold Steel makes a couple-Rifleman’s Hawks, they call them-and sells their Camphawk for $26.99+S&H.
    Which brings up the issue of self defense; this is where that short 8 inch handle really is a drawback. I guess which one is best would depend on specifics of the particular event. Aint it great that we have so many to choose from!

  13. Jamie Rask

    September 13, 2013 at 1:06 PM

    This would be a nice addition to any survival kit especially for the price but I like the axes that are on the surefire website. They are more expensive but I know the quality is there as well as it being extremely sharp, light, strong and versatile. It has a hammer on the other end so it is a multitool as well. I also have a suggestion for an awesome flashlight. Surefire has a bunch on their site but again they are expensive. Britestrike’s website has an awesome,powerful and compact flashlight that runs on 2 AAA batteries and has a high, low and a strobe setting on it. I know that if anyone would get into a bad situation that the strobe is an awesome tool to disorient attackers long enough to either get away or use some means of force to defend yourself and the price is right at 79.95.
    Thanks for all your efforts and I also believe it is always better to be safe than sorry. Even if you never need survival tactics they are always nice to know in case of emergencies.


  14. Old Ump

    September 13, 2013 at 2:21 PM

    Just looking at the hatchet in the picture i wonder if the “hammer” side woulf be rugged enough. In general hatchets are pretty heavy. I’ve been using a gerber folding saw for camping and hunting recommend it. In the end though, it’s each individual’s preference.

  15. Maverick

    September 13, 2013 at 5:28 PM

    I watched the video. very seasoned wood; spliting length way not sideways. I would like to see it demonstrated how it may actually be used in the woods. ie. to shorten limbs to fit into a fire, or a debris hut. Then you are cutting across the grain. Also the wood will tend to be greener. It may have a little (I stress little) more leverage than an average knife, but not worth the extra weight and space of a tool that other tools can perform the same job. 13oz does not sound like much, until you have to carry it 15 miles or so. Every ounce adds up. I concur with the other opinions. A good knife and saw will do all of it. I would take a matchette over this.

  16. Charlie Brown

    September 13, 2013 at 10:14 PM

    Around 68 years ago, the Boy Scouts came out with a larger axe – a bit larger head and an 18 inch shaft. Worked better than the usual Scout axe, but was heavier. If weight were no object, I’d go for what used to be called a “cruiser axe”, shorter and lighter than a normal axe, but just as effective.

    Has anyone thought of a shingler’s hatchet? About a 2-1/2 inch cutting edge with a hammer back. Any hardware or home store has’em. It would probably split wood, and cut small branches, and has a normal hammer-length handle.

    Charlie Brown

  17. BrooklynResident

    September 14, 2013 at 12:43 AM

    Try one of these: …I have two. They can be taken down, and they have a nice feel. Easy to sharpen.

    I also like the Eastwing, of which I have…two. A good, durable design.

    Then there is my old German meat cleaver. I have it so sharp,I used to use it to cut bread…it’s heavy enough to cut such wood as you need.

  18. KAINT B Tamed

    September 14, 2013 at 2:19 AM

    I have to agree with GREYWOLF. it was not ever mentioned you needed this for protection. You wanted it to clear small brush, limbs, twigs, and hammering tent post. I think it would be GREAT. I also have camped, very primitive at Sam Rayborn and Lake of the Pines. I wouldn’t want to chop big firewood or fight off a mountain lion with it. But what you want to do with it, as light weight, and for the price. I would certainly think it would work well. You can always carry an axe for the big stuff. Thanks for showing this. I am gonna by one.

  19. Marquis Crocker

    September 14, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    Fiskars makes a better hatchet for about the same price or cheaper.

  20. Nick

    September 14, 2013 at 3:19 PM

    Hey Joe,

    I know “llight weight” sounds like a great idea but you’ll want weight behind that blade so your arm doesn’t have to do all the work! It would be good for a backpacker but I think you’d find a suitable hatchet at home depot for chopping up fire wood.

    This is one of my all-time favorites

  21. Andrew

    September 14, 2013 at 3:53 PM

    I highly suggest one of these. Hand forged in Sweden by Hultfors Bruks. Awesome value, close to that of Wetterlings.

  22. John Parker

    September 15, 2013 at 5:06 PM

    Hatchets are handy BUT dont forget your matches

  23. Rex

    September 16, 2013 at 3:51 PM


    It would appear you, K. B Tamed and myself are in the same general area. I can’t claim any real time at Sam Rayburn, but can at Lake of The Pines and Caddo. My son prefers Lake of The Pines, but I like Caddo (can get more privacy).

    As for the initial question, it’s like asking six hunters what is the best deer rifle. You’ll probably get six different answers. It comes down to experience and personal preference.

    I agree with many of the above comments and a couple of them stole a little of my thunder. You can get a hatchet at Tractor Supply with non-wood (yellow & black) handle for about $20 that is about as good as any (have one).

    I prefer another one mentioned several times above that’s in between a hatchet and an axe. My Dad called it a “Hand Axe” and my older brother (a former jarhead) called it a camp axe. Sort of best of both worlds in that it’s smaller/lighter than full sized axe (easier to pack/store) and 70% less labor intensive than a hatchet.

    Another good suggestion was the Khurki. The one by Cold Steel is really good and I also have one of the 1940’s military issue (much heavier). It will chop as well as a hatchet; can be used as machete and with some skill make one heck of defense weapon against almost anything not using gunpowder.

    My favorite, also mentioned above, a Tomahawk. I have/use a competition throwing (heavy) Tomahawk. It chops as well as a hatchet, hammers well, can also be used as a weapon (again with skill). So far I can throw it rather accurately up to 30 feet.

    There; there’s my two cents,

    • 'Above Average' Joe

      September 16, 2013 at 4:17 PM

      thanks for the info Rex, and i guess your right about the 6 hunters fighting over a deer rifle!

  24. Al

    September 22, 2013 at 7:56 PM

    From the review it looks like it works OK. I would like to see one on the slightly larger one mentioned. I have used several hatchets and small axes over the years and have settled on a few: I recently bought a Gransfor Bruks wildlife hatchet. It was pricey but the steel, leather sheath and workmanship is unsurpassed. Before that I was using a Cold Steel Frontier Hawk Tomahawk for similar uses. These are inexpensive, less than the one in the article, but do not come with a sheath or perform quite as well as the one featured. I have modified it a little and added a sheath for carrying. It is OK and gets pretty sharp, but not razor sharp like the Gransfor Bruks. I keep the Gransfor Bruks in one BOB and the Tomahawk in the other BOB in different vehicles. I have an old Estwing 26″ camp axe that I have had for at least 30 years. These in any size are hard to beat. They are made in USA, can be made razor sharp as well, come with a nice leather sheath and the integral steel handle cannot be broken, not as easily as wood or plastic anyway. I have kicked around the idea of using Gerbers, Fiskars etc that have handles similar to the one in the article, but I guess I am a little old-fashioned and do not trust the plastic handles. Where I live it gets down to below -50 F and I am afraid to risk it. For all around usefulness and not having to worry about replacement handles, one of the Estwings about 14″ would be a good option and is about $26 from Amazon, including shipping or probably a little higher at a near by Hardware store. These are a bit heavier than a wood or polymer handled hatchet. You gotta look at the different features and prices and make the best choice for your preferences and what you can afford. If you live in a milder climate the polymer handles might be a more viable option.

  25. TheBlindSquirl

    October 14, 2013 at 11:56 AM

    It depends on how much room you have but you can accomplish a lot with these 4 items:

    Gerber Reveal Folding Pruners

    Fiskars Hatchet

    Pocket Chainsaw

    An optional item would be the
    Fiskars Anvil Pruner You can accomplish the same task with the Reveal Pruners but the anvil pruner is a lot faster cutting smaller branches up to about 1/2″ in diameter, any larger than that and the longer handles of the Reveal Pruners give you enough leverage that you’re not struggling to make every cut.

    Altogether you’re not talking more than a few extra pounds and if you have a group, you can split the load up amongst your party.

  26. Rick Calloway

    January 3, 2014 at 9:53 AM

    Save your money. The handle is too short. Get a construction hatchet with a metal shaft and hammer on the back of the blade.

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