Axe or a hatchet on my next fishing camping trip?

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CarolHunter's picture
Joined: 4/5/18
Axe or a hatchet on my next fishing camping trip?

Hi guys! I have a doubt and I want to hear your thought

Should I take an axe or a hatchet on my next fishing camping trip? I have already done some research on google and thinking that I will buy and take a hatchet but just wanted some feedback from others that I am doing the right thing. This article says that axe or hatchet depends on if you need to carry it and how much wood cutting and splitting you plan on doing. I will be camping near a river and I estimate will need to walk only about 150-250 yards to get to the camp site from the car. We will be staying for 3 nights and plan to cook on a small campfire each night. I can chop wood that is nearby but most of the time will be spent fishing. We don't need the fire burning al night as we will be sleeping early and getting up early to fish each day. So, will a hatchet be sufficient or should I go for the larger axe? 


Thank for your help!!

dschaible's picture
Joined: 4/3/09

Axes are alot of work. If you really need to bring a primitive tool with you to cut wood take a bow saw.  

option 1. bring cut wood with you

option 2. gradually slide wood into the fire that you can grab around the area, no tools needed.

option 3. chain saw

option 4. bow saw

option 5. axe 


Pat's Place's picture
Pat's Place
Joined: 2/19/16





I have used all of the above. They all have plus and minuses, subject to a lot of opinions. You asked, so here' mine:

A bow saw generally is good for cutting branches of a couple inches or less (if they are in reach...), and will not split firewood or fell a tree. if you are planning an intimate cowboy fire and wood is readily accessible from the ground a bow saw works good. Then again, I can break most softer woods without tools for campfires of this size, but hardwood needs a bowsaw (chokecherry, crabsapple, oak, etc).

A hatchet will cut smaller stuff like a bowsaw, but it better be sharp and can still take some energy. A hatchet will split wood into nice kindling when no small branches are around, something a bowsaw won't do.

An axe will impart the most energy of the hand tools, so it will be best if all the low branches are gone and now you need to fell a tree in order to get some wood. It will also split larger pieces, for larger/longer lasting fires.

A chainsaw will do it all except splitting. The noise, fumes, weight, bulk  and fuel/oil are a big negative.

I would assess the type of firewood you will have access to...and what tool will be best to harvest it. Note that it is generally better to use local wood than to transport bugs/diseases in imported firewood. The badlands are that way, the USFS encourages you to use locally scrounged firewood...for a week long hunting camp there I take a chainsaw.



NDSportsman.'s picture
Joined: 7/13/03

We always just took a hatchet along camping. Light weight and easier to pack. Never saw the need for a saw or axe.

rhino76's picture
Joined: 4/24/02

Maybe something like this?

Lightweight and easy to carry.  Plus it's sharp and cuts well.  I have one at home for cutting branches.

bobkat's picture
Joined: 12/16/01

I’d go with a a compact, even takedown bowsaw.  Only 3 nights in the Bush?  Could get by easily with nothing, breaking dead wood branches.   I’d never cut down a living tree for a lot of reasons among which they don’t burn well.  Lots of dead falls and dead wood laying around and you can pick smaller, then larger branches for a fire.

I was a physician in central BC for a few years and we used to call hatchets “knee axes” especially when used by inexperienced people, adults and kids. I lost count of the number of opened knee joints and lower limb cuts, some serious, by the owners “boy scout axe!” Second only to inexperienced chain saw operators,or dull way too big 12 inch  pig sticker knives .  but that’s another topic.

A regular axe is more versatile, but for only a three day trek, a collapsible packable bowsaw would be my recommendation.