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Lightweight chopping hatchet
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Paul Cronshaw
(beemancron) - F

Locale: Southwest US
Lightweight chopping hatchet on 01/16/2006 20:48:41 MST Print View

Looking for some input on a chopping ax that can fit into my Gossamer Mariposa.

Thanks for any input.


Locale: Pacific Northwet
Belt hachet on 01/16/2006 21:22:11 MST Print View,1277.html

Pricey, but this is a really nice belt hatchet that weighs 12 oz.


Douglas Frick
(Otter) - MLife

Locale: Wyoming
Re: Lightweight chopping hatchet on 01/16/2006 21:27:16 MST Print View

If you must chop, Gerber makes a 9" hatchet ("Back Paxe") that weighs 19 oz. (I think they also have a model with a small knife in the hollow handle.) Trail Blazer makes a 13" hatchet that weighs 17.4 oz. Google for "lightweight hatchet" and you might find others. (Daniel: thanks for that link. The lightest Granfors Bruks I could find had a head weight of one pound.)

I prefer a saw. Fiskars 6" Sliding Blade Pruning Saw with Belt Clip, 3.9 oz. This thing will rip through almost anything (it's what I use for trail maintenance). Survival wire saws weight less than 2 oz, but you also need gloves or carabiners if you're going to use one very much.

Edited by Otter on 01/16/2006 21:31:35 MST.


Locale: Pacific Northwet
Re: Re: Lightweight chopping hatchet on 01/16/2006 21:56:12 MST Print View

Here is a better picture I found that gives a better sense of scale:

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Chopping Axe, or... on 01/17/2006 00:05:48 MST Print View

I have the small Gerber hatchet mentioned. IME (in my experience), a small axe or a hatchet is not worth's it weight, nor is it big (pun intended) either in the performance category. You have to exert a tremendous amount of energy to chop anything of a slightly larger size with the small axe/hatchet. The retracting 4oz saw (6" saw blade i think it is) Gerber makes is so much more useful. There are other longer saw options that still weigh less then the smallest hatchet. The saw cuts wood so much faster than the small axe or hatchet. The small axe or hatchet makes some nice little chips which are useful as kindling. A sturdy knife blade can easily make fuzzy sticks to perform the same purpose.

It's going to take 2+ lbs to get into the true small axe category. Even then, a longer, heavier axe is what you really want for a good camp/cabin axe. If you want a fine camp/cabin axe, Gerber makes those. For general backpacking though, go with the Gerber Saw. oh...if you primarily use rivers as transport, then maybe a longer, larger camp/cabin axe (3-4 lbs) would be 'ok' - especially if your portages are not too long.

Edited by pj on 01/17/2006 00:07:17 MST.

David Spellman
(dspellman) - F
Re: Lightweight chopping hatchet on 01/17/2006 17:35:38 MST Print View

Most small axes sorta suck at chopping. Instead, I like the Ghurka tool -- the Khukri (that big bent-loooking knife) -- because if you've GOTTA carry a small chopping tool, you may as well have a piece that can do a lot more things for the same weight. Khukris are great choppers, but will also work well as slicers and dicers, pry bars and more.

Ryan Faulkner
(ryanf) - F

Locale: Mid atlantic, No. Cal
Re: Re: Lightweight chopping hatchet on 01/17/2006 17:39:35 MST Print View

You know those survival wire saws, they work well for cutting larger logs and the saws on the swiss army knives work for the smaller stuff

my 2 cents

Reginald Donaldson
(worth) - MLife

Locale: Wind River Range
Back Paxe on 01/18/2006 06:42:51 MST Print View

I carry and use the Back Paxe strictly for splitting wood when paddling in the Canadian boreal forrests. I would be afraid to swing the hacthet for chopping wood. The hatchet is usually a luxuary item unless we have been experiencing allot of rain.

Richard Matthews
(food) - F

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Saws on 01/18/2006 07:18:37 MST Print View

A couple of times I used my wire saw in the backcountry and was disappointed with the performance. I thought it was because I did not know how to use it so I tried using it to trim trees in the yard. I threw the worthless 1.5 oz. thing away and replaced it with a Coghlans Pocket Sierra saw - 1.5 oz. In the winter I also carry a Coghlan Sierra saw - 5.8 oz.

A saw cuts wood better than a hatchet, but a hatchet splits wood better.

Edited by food on 01/18/2006 08:48:55 MST.

jacob thompson
(nihilist37) - F
Wood cutting on 01/18/2006 07:30:05 MST Print View

A friend of mine brought his swiss knife along hiking with us last weekend. A saw on a pocket knife is a common thing. I always thought they were a bit of a joke. But he mannaged to cut through a piece of wood about 4" across in only a few minutes. I was most impressed. Then I began to think how heavy that knife was and whether there were ways to only have the uselful things on a multitool. Then I kinda got carried away with thinking about weight reduction.

see if you can find a cheap one and have a go.

Edited by nihilist37 on 01/18/2006 07:31:19 MST.

Ben Lyon
(Dynamo) - F
Re: Lightweight chopping hatchet on 01/18/2006 10:14:31 MST Print View

I have the Gerber BackPaxe and find it too heavy for its functionality to bring along. I was givien a Sven saw for Christmas and at 14.1 oz. it will rarely be left behind on cold Winter hikes from here on out. I took it on a canyon-hiking trip this past weekend where I encountered a 27 degree low, and an abundance of deadfall in a cozy cedar stand where we made camp. I highly recommend this saw if cutting wood is your thing...and resources are not abused.

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Lightweight Saw on 01/18/2006 11:23:42 MST Print View

I have owned one of these for over 20 years. It is called a Fast Bucksaw. It is 21.5" long at the saw blade and they weigh 16oz.

Yes, I know this isn't light in todays world but 20 years ago it was just another pound. I have cut a lot of tree branches with mine. It was great to carry while dog sledding and on winter hikes with a group that divides the weigh of some items between them.

I think a clever person could make a saw like this but about half the size and cut the weight to about 8oz. maybe less.

Fast Bucksaw Link

james w glenn
(bark-eater) - F
A small axe head with a long handle can be very usefull on 01/18/2006 12:55:12 MST Print View

Ive salvaged a number of old axe heads and have found that a small axe head with a thin blade kept razor sharp mounted on a long handle is an efficant tool. the handle gives "edge" speed not leverage for chopping. care must be taken not to "stick" the blade into a log.The idea is to take a log apart into chips, not hacking thru conan style. A little tv time watching timber sports will be instructive as to technique. As the blade is thin and sharp it can be used as a knife to pare wood or skin a critter. Some of the best hatchet heads ive seen for this type of axe are cheap dollar store chinese hatchets. They are light and have a very thin blade. A shingling hatchet also has a simular geometry. Another real advantage of a long handle is safty. a short handled hatchet can easly bury itself in your knee as it has such a small circle of blade run out. A thin blade is not optimal for spliting fire wood but any thing is possible with enoght patience and wedges..

Edited by bark-eater on 01/18/2006 12:57:53 MST.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: A small axe head with a long handle can be very usefull on 01/18/2006 13:32:33 MST Print View

Interesting. Sounds more like a tomahawk (small axe head, light weight, very sharp edge, long handle), than a hatchet. Can understand why it's "not optimal for splitting fire wood" given its weight and edge. Sounds like you have a good double duty piece of gear here. However, i'm sure it weighs more than a 4oz mini-saw. BTW, what does it weigh?

David Olsen

Locale: Steptoe Butte
hatchets etc on 01/18/2006 13:48:45 MST Print View

I have a Marbles belt axe that does a good job of
splitting wood for its size. and is well made with good high carbon steel. Smokey Mountain Knives
has some cosmetic 2nds for less than $20. Works
well for skinning Moose too.

A machete will do many of the same things as
a hachet and if you hold the handle with one hand
and hit the far end of the blade with a piece of wood, you can split rounds.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Saw Delight on 01/18/2006 15:05:04 MST Print View

I've used a Sandvik pruning saw around the house for about ten years. I've literally cut down whole trees with the thing--it's great.

No chopping though.

6.4 oz.

Felco makes a nice one too, but the Sandvik's handle is easier to grip and has a better blade lock.

Ryan Faulkner
(ryanf) - F

Locale: Mid atlantic, No. Cal
Re: Re: Saw Delight on 01/18/2006 15:09:40 MST Print View

Try midwest native skills

they have a 21" Buck saw for 13.5oz

Silky has a large selection of foldable saws, check out the pocket boy series

Edited by ryanf on 01/18/2006 15:16:34 MST.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
light weight saw on 01/18/2006 16:19:05 MST Print View

The Sawvivor is a very good light weight saw.

(RavenUL) - F
Saws and Hatchets and Such on 01/18/2006 16:22:26 MST Print View

A person can make do, quite well, without a saw or an ax if their knife is of sufficent quality.

Even a knife too light to chop with, can be baton'd through most anything, and a really good knife can be baton'd through a tree.

Batons cost, and weigh, nothing... you pick them up from the dirt when you need them.

Pocket Chain Saw on 01/18/2006 16:53:48 MST Print View

Pocket Chain Saw - obviously not a hatchet, but have a look.

5 oz., $16