We’ll assume you already have the survival knife and basic Ten Essentials, and are assembling the rest of the tools needed for a portable survival kit. Do you need to add a hatchet or a small saw?
by Leon Pantenburg
It depends. Some might call this collection a “Bug Out Bag, ” or something along those lines. Or you may be a backpacker, hunter or fisherman who needs a light, easy-to-carry wood cutting device. A hunter may be looking for a tool that can cut wood and that will also be useful in quartering and field dressing a big game animal. Choice of tools is important, because there isn’t much space, and you need to keep the weight down.
So, is the best choice a hatchet or a saw?
Either choice has advantages and disadvantages. When choosing any tool for wilderness or urban survival, start by anticipating where you might be when you may need the tool, and what tasks it will need to perform.
Will you be in a cold wilderness environment, where gathering firewood to keep a campfire going will be critical for survival? Will the tool be mostly carried, or do you anticipate remaining somewhat sedentary and that the tool may be used a great deal? Will you need to saw or hack bones to butcher large animals?
Or will the tool be used in an urban setting, where the primary uses might include breaking up pallets and splitting wood scraps from a dumpster for firewood? In an extreme situation, might you need this tool to break down a door, gain forced entry into or egress from, a locked vehicle? In a really extreme situation could this tool be an effective weapon?
A hatchet is a small axe that can be wielded with one hand, and the flat part may be used as a hammer. A hatchet is a great tool for splitting wood, limbing trees and hammering in tent stakes.
Many settlers on the American frontier had an axe as their primary tool. The axe may have been the only tool available
for making a log cabin, splitting rails for a fence and cutting firewood. Essentially, the axe only had two parts: the head and the haft, or handle. If the handle broke, it was possible to whittle another out of a piece of hickory or some other hardwood.
A hatchet can also be sharpened easily with a flat rock. This meant, that for long-term survival, the hatchet could be a tool with incredible durability.
And there’s no question that an axe or hatchet makes a formidable weapon! From the stone age flint war axe, to Viking battle axes, to the tomahawks used on the North American frontier, these edged tools have been the weapon of choice in many eras.