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#296107 - 05/14/20 10:58 PM Re: What do you have in your bug out bag ax or hatchet [Re: EthanJames]
Hanscom Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 11/23/05
Posts: 83
I'm told that Transport Canada reported that in airplane accidents a primary injury was a broken hand, usually the dominant hand.

I believe that my trying to use an axe or hatchet with my left hand would rapidly lead to disaster.

A saw can handle the bigger wood efficiently and a smallish machete can turn it into kindling. I read that the man who designed the USAF emergency kit included a 12" machete as an all-purpose tool.

It can do some useful chopping and is far better than an axe if faced with vines.

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#296108 - 05/14/20 11:28 PM Re: What do you have in your bug out bag ax or hatchet [Re: Hanscom]
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 7292
Loc: southern Cal
About machetes and chopping wood. I recall with some distaste an episode in the piney woods of Oaxaca. gnawing my way through a log bout 6-8 inches diameter that blocked our 'roadway,'. it took forever, and i was wishing I had either a decent ax or some sort of a saw. None of out three vehicles had any such - a grievous error. Still I did whittle my way through the obstacle and we made camp.

Silky saws and similar "pruning" saws are quite different from the traditional buck saws used by early lumberjacks and I doubt that trappers downed any redwoods, or at least only a very small number.

I rarely backpack with them, but i keep a hatchet and saw in my vehicle. My absolute favorite tool of this nature is a pulaski - think single bit ax joined with a grub hoe. Give your fire crew those and shovels and your wildfire will be contained.
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#296110 - 05/15/20 12:50 PM Re: What do you have in your bug out bag ax or hatchet [Re: hikermor]
MDinana Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/08/07
Posts: 2196
Loc: Beer&Cheese country
Originally Posted By: hikermor
About machetes and chopping wood. I recall with some distaste an episode in the piney woods of Oaxaca. gnawing my way through a log bout 6-8 inches diameter that blocked our 'roadway,'. it took forever, and i was wishing I had either a decent ax or some sort of a saw. None of out three vehicles had any such - a grievous error. Still I did whittle my way through the obstacle and we made camp.

Silky saws and similar "pruning" saws are quite different from the traditional buck saws used by early lumberjacks and I doubt that trappers downed any redwoods, or at least only a very small number.

I rarely backpack with them, but i keep a hatchet and saw in my vehicle. My absolute favorite tool of this nature is a pulaski - think single bit ax joined with a grub hoe. Give your fire crew those and shovels and your wildfire will be contained.

Hikermor, being a fellow SoCal boy, I'm disappointed in that last paragraph.

You know good and well that time, fortuitous rain, and Mother Nature do more good on stopping wild fires than a crew with pulaskis and a brush truck. Maybe if it's in the initial stages...

I would agree that most firewood - if there's actually wood for a fire - can be found with minimal collecting effort. I'd also submit that if you're cutting up large pieces into small pieces, you're probably better off walking a bit more for more small stuff. I don't think the juice is worth the squeeze.

Regarding machetes. Probably too thin for actual hard wood harvesting; great for softer stuff. Khukris could conceivably be used, as they're thicker, but IME they can glance off or spin in the hand rather quickly. I'm not a fan of batoning wood (remember that whole 'right tool for the job?') but a large knife is obviously key there. While a machete could work, I think most are still a bit thin for that. A good 8-12" Scandi knife or similar would be good if that's your preferred method of wood processing.

Going to the redwoods. If you pull up some of the few old pics remaining, you'll see guys with 2-head axes and 20' saws in the same picture. Obviously they can compliment each other.

In the end, it's OP's choice. Both are good options, both depend on his environment, skill and preference.


Edited by MDinana (05/15/20 12:53 PM)

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#296112 - 05/15/20 07:24 PM Re: What do you have in your bug out bag ax or hatchet [Re: MDinana]
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 7292
Loc: southern Cal
Originally Posted By: MDinana

Hikermor, being a fellow SoCal boy, I'm disappointed in that last paragraph.

You know good and well that time, fortuitous rain, and Mother Nature do more good on stopping wild fires than a crew with pulaskis and a brush truck. Maybe if it's in the initial stages...


You are perfectly correct in that weather conditions are extremely important in the development of wild fires. But so are initial attack crews (and their support, especially aerial attack these days). Their efforts just don't make the headlines like a major wind driven blaze.

i have been on about a dozen wild fires over the years. On all but two of them I was on the initial attack. Conditions were favorable, and they were extinguished while still small. On my last, just two years before I retired, we had to deal with a strong wind, but we were blessed with a light fuel load, so nothing got out of hand.

These experiences gave me great affection for the pulaski. wonderful as an ax, and great for grubbing in the dirt and chopping roots. I saw one for sale a few years ago and it has a treasured place in my tool shed. But i didn't reach for it when we evacuated from the Thoms Fire two years ago - just left quickly. Houses about a quarter mile away are now being rebuilt from that blaze. in the final analysis, wind does rule....
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#296118 - 05/16/20 09:34 PM Re: What do you have in your bug out bag ax or hatchet [Re: EthanJames]
Teslinhiker Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/14/09
Posts: 1408
Loc: Cranbrook BC (Finally)
I wouldn't carry an ax nor a hatchet in a BOB. However for me, being a lifelong user of both an ax and hatchet, I would prefer either over a saw in a survival situation.
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Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books.

John Lubbock

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