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#296027 - 05/10/20 03:38 PM What do you have in your bug out bag ax or hatchet
EthanJames Offline
Stranger

Registered: 01/06/18
Posts: 11
I am preparing a bug out bag. I want to include an ax or a hatchet, but not sure which one. This article Hatchet vs Axe for Survival leads me to think a hatchet is a go, but I am looking for other's opinions. Will a hatchet be enough? I could fit a hatchet without any issues, but an ax would be a stretch. Any recommendation?


Edited by EthanJames (05/10/20 03:44 PM)

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#296028 - 05/10/20 04:16 PM Re: What do you have in your bug out bag ax or hatchet [Re: EthanJames]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 7260
Loc: southern Cal
Unless you have a specific need or purpose, leave both of them behind. I assume you are looking at travelling on foot and that weight will be an issue.

If you are in a vehicle, a hatchet makes sense.
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Geezer in Chief

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#296029 - 05/10/20 04:26 PM Re: What do you have in your bug out bag ax or hatchet [Re: EthanJames]
M_a_x Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/16/02
Posts: 1083
Loc: Germany
What is your usecase for the tool? What other tools do you have? The recommendation would depend on that. The recommendation might even be a saw.
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If it isnīt broken, it doesnīt have enough features yet.

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#296034 - 05/10/20 09:28 PM Re: What do you have in your bug out bag ax or hatchet [Re: EthanJames]
KenK Offline
"Be Prepared"
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 06/26/04
Posts: 2107
Loc: NE Wisconsin
I was thinking that Doug Ritter once said that a large handled ax is a required part of a Canadian or Alaska pilot's supplies. I may not have that right though. Per the comments, I always wondered what that axe was for.

To me, axes are heavy and relatively dangerous under an assumption that there will be limited emergency healthcare. Even in a non survival world, I really only use axes for splitting wood. A saw works much faster and easier for crosscutting.

In an emergency situation, for fire it it is easier and safer to use small wood. It might be useful to have a small saw to cut standing (dry) wood, but small saws like the folding saws tend to be all too "bendable". My experience has been that a bent saw can become almost useless.

Bow-type saws are much more durable, but much bigger. Years back many used a Sven folding saw, but I found its sharp corners to be worrisome. We used to wrap the edges with cloth - that worked At one time I like something called a Takedown Bucksaw - or similar, but I'm not sure that is still around. My problem with that is that it used a very easy to lose clip - a bad design in my mind. There appear to be many folding bow saws on the market now, but I'm not familiar with them.

There are also the wire-type saws, but in general I haven't heard good things about them. I've used the pocket chainsaw, and it actually cut very well, but I was always concerned about its complexity. Too many joints to fail.

For shelter, a saw could certainly help a lot.

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#296035 - 05/10/20 10:17 PM Re: What do you have in your bug out bag ax or hatchet [Re: EthanJames]
AKSAR Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1174
Loc: Alaska
Originally Posted By: EthanJames
I am preparing a bug out bag. I want to include an ax or a hatchet, but not sure which one. This article Hatchet vs Axe for Survival leads me to think a hatchet is a go, but I am looking for other's opinions. Will a hatchet be enough? I could fit a hatchet without any issues, but an ax would be a stretch. Any recommendation?

As other have noted, it depends on your scenario. It also depends on your environment.

If you expect to carry it on your back for any distance, even a hatched is probably too much weight. (Or rather the weight penalty of the hatchet might be better used for other items.) If on the other hand you plan on using a vehicle, then weight and bulk aren't such a big deal.

It also depends on your environment. For short term survival, or if you are in an area of generally mellow climate, a small fire from downed wood or small dead branches will probably suffice for warmth and ambiance. On the other hand, if you are planning on surviving long term in the winter in interior Alaska or the Canadian woods, then more serious wood gathering tools might be a good idea.

As always, it depends. Look at the situation you expect to face, and the environment you expect to face it in. Think about how you plan to transport this kit. Then put a kit together and go test it out. If you plan to carry it on your back, hump it around for a few miles.

There is never only one right answer.
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"Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas any more."
-Dorothy, in The Wizard of Oz

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#296036 - 05/10/20 10:58 PM Re: What do you have in your bug out bag ax or hatchet [Re: EthanJames]
teacher Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 12/14/05
Posts: 910
Neither.

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#296042 - 05/11/20 03:43 PM Re: What do you have in your bug out bag ax or hatchet [Re: EthanJames]
chaosmagnet Offline
Sheriff
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 3348
Loc: USA
My emergency kit has a small and lightweight hatchet in it. If I'm planning a movement on foot more than perhaps a few hundred yards from my vehicle, the plan calls for stopping to cache or discard things that are not needed for the specific situation.

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#296043 - 05/11/20 04:04 PM Re: What do you have in your bug out bag ax or hatchet [Re: EthanJames]
Russ Offline
Geezer

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 5329
Loc: SOCAL
My truck’s kit has an axe, but in a kit I would actually carry, not enough utility for the price in weight.

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#296044 - 05/11/20 05:10 PM Re: What do you have in your bug out bag ax or hatchet [Re: EthanJames]
Tyber Offline
Sheriff
Enthusiast

Registered: 04/27/09
Posts: 296
Loc: ST. Paul MN
I prefer the Fiskars (also sold under the Gerber Brand) hatches and Axes. I would say go with a Hatchet if you are going to go with either. The advantage of the Fiskars is that all the weight is in the head and they travel well and as far as I can tell they are indestructible.

While on Trail crew I carried a Gerber (Fiskars made but Gerber branded) hatchet that was about 3 pounds, and I had found it to be as effective as a 5 pound standard ax when driving wooden spikes to make cross country ski trail.

Also during my time doing SAR in Alaska I often carried a hatchet (the same one as before) and it paid for itself often.

Do not get a super short handleed one, they seem to be more of "curio" in my opinion.

**Disclaimer** I am not in any way affiliated with Gerber or Fiskars, I am actually NOT a fan of Gerber tools.

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#296045 - 05/11/20 06:33 PM Re: What do you have in your bug out bag ax or hatchet [Re: Tyber]
chaosmagnet Offline
Sheriff
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 3348
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Tyber
I prefer the Fiskars (also sold under the Gerber Brand) hatches and Axes. I would say go with a Hatchet if you are going to go with either. The advantage of the Fiskars is that all the weight is in the head and they travel well and as far as I can tell they are indestructible.


I agree that they are excellent. But I can tell you that Mrs. Magnet was able to destroy one. This was not a fault in design or manufacturing; I bought another one without hesitation and put it someplace I hope she can't find it.

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