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SUL Camp Hatchet
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Lawson Kline
(Mountainfitter) - M

hatchet on 01/05/2010 20:33:44 MST Print View

I agree that a steel head and a wood or plastic handle would probably make the most sense due to cost and performance but I can buy a small fiskars or gerber hatchet. This is something I want to build. As my original post stated I have the carbon fiber and titanium and know how to work with both materials.

Sure the titanium would be softer than tool steel and the carbon fiber has a chance of breaking due to a miss but who cares? I am not looking to build this to sell. I was just asking if anyone else has ever thought of building or carrying a SUL hatchet.

Edited by Mountainfitter on 01/07/2010 10:54:05 MST.

Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Re: hatchet on 01/05/2010 22:11:29 MST Print View

This may sound crazy, but how about filling the head with water, or maybe sand. If the inherit disadvantage of a lightweight hatchet is that it is light, then adding weight (at the camp site) should be fairly easy. I have no idea if this is practical, but I could see some sort of design involving a hollow head, with a screw on cap. Without anything in it, it would be OK (a little on the light side) but filled with water (or sand) it would be ideal.

With or without the fillable head, I think the general idea is worth pursuing (a lightweight hatchet). Yes, it may be "too light" but that just means that it is bigger. Bigger is better for chopping, right? In other words, if the thing weighs only 10 ounces, it may be the best 10 ounce hatchet around.

Steve .
(pappekak) - F

Locale: Tralfamadore
SUL Camp Hatchet on 01/05/2010 22:20:25 MST Print View

What about a Marbles Small Belt Axe (MR000)? Is this just a toy or heavy?

Edited by pappekak on 01/05/2010 22:31:22 MST.

Jeff Antig

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: SUL Camp Hatchet on 01/06/2010 00:57:05 MST Print View

Department stores like Lowes and Home Depot are nice places to find small axes. They have them in the hammer section. Small head, wooden handle.

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: hatchet on 01/07/2010 10:47:04 MST Print View

Lawson, your OP question was "Would you carry a 4-8oz SUL packable backpacking/camp hatchet?" The people who've posted have answered that question; instead of answering with a simple yes or no, they've explained their reasoning. It's just part of normal discussion and idea development. Everyone has been working along with you and trying to help you... no need for a retort such as this.

Lawson Kline
(Mountainfitter) - M

SUL Camp Hatchet on 01/07/2010 10:53:32 MST Print View

Hey Brad,

Your right, its normal part of conversation. I wasn't looking for a yes or a no just some actual feedback from someone who's been there and done that or has similar feelings. I guess I was just getting frustrated.


Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Re: SUL Camp Hatchet on 01/07/2010 10:56:22 MST Print View

"Would you carry a 4-8oz SUL packable backpacking/camp hatchet?"

No. It just wouldn't be anything that I would find useful as I never build a fire, I rarely even use my knife.

Joseph Morrison
(sjdm4211) - F

Locale: Smokies
Re: hatchet on 01/07/2010 20:52:34 MST Print View

Of course we have all thought of making everyhting lighter. This is a forum on BTW.

Do you really have the equipment and know how to shape and heat treat Titanium? You can't just grind a block of titanium into something that resembles an axe head and be done. If you do know how to correctly shape an axe then I suggest you send it off to a proffesional to be heat treated

Also be aware that titanium is brittle, much more than steel. It also has less strength to weight ratio compared to steel.


Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: SUL Camp Hatchet on 01/07/2010 22:36:53 MST Print View

I find the combination of 'hatchet' and UL' to be a little ... silly. (A hatchet *needs* some weight to chop.)


Matthew Perry
(bigfoot2) - F

Locale: Oregon
Re: SUL Camp Hatchet on 01/08/2010 11:36:29 MST Print View

Just got this for Christmas:

Haven't used it yet, but it is very well built, light and for under $10.00, i won't feel too bad if it breaks or gets scratched up.


jimmy benson
(biggyshorty) - F
revival on 09/16/2013 17:21:33 MDT Print View

I am reviving this OLD thread because I've been thinking about this hatchet vs knife situation. I want the GB mini hatchet because it seems so useful for "light" wood collection when bike camping. The next bigger size, the Wildlife hatchet, also seems beautiful.

Even though they're small it still seems like they're better than a knife when, say, you come across a big log somewhere and you want to hack it to smaller fire-size pieces...

On the other hand, I do believe in the "right tool for the job" - Do you all have newer thoughts on the topic?

James DeGraaf
(jdegraaf) - MLife

Locale: Bay Area
SUL hatchet on 09/16/2013 18:27:14 MDT Print View

Suluk46 UL hatchet

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: SUL hatchet on 09/16/2013 23:52:57 MDT Print View

Maybe I'm missing something, but a cursory internet search finds the Rockwell hardness of titanium 6AL-4V as 36 and that of 6061-T6 aluminum as 40. So for a lot less money, you could just make such a axe out of aluminum and it would be harder.

While chopping through a log is easier with a very sharp axe, splitting wood doesn't require a sharp axe.

I think the lowest weight / least effort combo would be a very light cross-cut saw (to buck short rounds) and a lightweight axe (to split those short rounds).

If I carefully judge my crosscuts, I avoid the knots at the annual growth of branches and the splitting is MUCH easier.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: SUL hatchet on 09/17/2013 02:16:25 MDT Print View

Hi David

> Rockwell hardness of titanium 6AL-4V as 36
That's in the annealed state. You very rarely buy 6Al4V sheet annealed. Mostly it is 3/4 hard or fully hard. I am quite sure 6061 aluminium can be EASILY scratched by commercial 6Al4V sheet! And I know which is harder when machining too!

But the whole idea is pretty silly anyhow.


NW Hiker
(king2005ify) - M
Yes on 09/17/2013 08:01:11 MDT Print View

I would!

I use my small 1 lb, GB for knocking limbs off, splitting small rounds etc. and since it's light I baton most of the time anyway so I definitely would carry a UL axe.


Buck Nelson
(Colter) - MLife

Locale: Alaska
Camp hatchets: rarely necessary, leave scars on 09/17/2013 08:29:47 MDT Print View

For a fixed camp a small axe can be handy. For backpacking I never carry one so the lightest hatchet would be no hatchet. Another thing to consider on weight is the lighter the head of the hatchet the less useful they tend to be because of reduced inertia.

I also think it's worth noting that hatchet-less fire-less backpacking/camping leaves a much lighter hand on the land. Hatchet marks can easily last for decades on stumps or branch stubs. Fire traces can last even longer, especially with escaped fires which become wildfires, which is all too common.

Of course, thoughtful use of fire or hatchets can be useful and have little long-lasting impacts. They are simply tools I do without while backpacking.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Re: SUL hatchet on 09/17/2013 13:36:03 MDT Print View

Roger, thanks for the info on hardness. Makes sense.

I was pondering the whole axe question and while I'm with Buck - an axe just doesn't go backpacking with me, for those were so inclined:

Saws are lighter and far more efficient to crosscut a branch, small (dead!) tree trunk, or log. So the purpose of the axe, in my mind, is to split those rounds into kindling, to get to dry wood inside a round, or to make small pieces for your wood-burning stove.

You could avoid needing head weight and handle length if you bring a wedge instead of an axe. Whack the wedge with a rock or a 2-3" diameter stick to split the rounds into firewood.

An old axe head makes a cheap wedge if you want to try the concept, although not UL.

An old axe head, with the eye cut off and the reminder cut in two, could make two small cheap wedges. As could bar stock in any number of alloys. There are times you want two wedges - like when you get the first one stuck (usually because you tried to split something with a knot in it). Any chainsaw shop sells plastic wedges to hold open a cut (but be safer around a chainsaw blade). In a pinch, I've used those to free a splitting wedge. Cheap ($6?) and light.

By cutting short rounds with a saw, you could not be asking so much of the axe and could use a wedge and (found) hammer to split it up.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: SUL hatchet on 09/17/2013 14:17:37 MDT Print View

I agree with Roger, the concept of a SUL hatchet is a misunderstanding of how chopping and splitting tools work. Most of the small hatchets we see are the great-grandchildren of ones used in kitchens for splitting stove or fireplace kindling. An example is the Vaughan ZS1/2 Supersportsman's Sub-Zero zxe. It is light and cheap and IMHO, virtually worthless due to the light weight and short handle. Unless you have dry straight-grained wood, you won't do much with it. Gransfors Bruks makes a number of small axes with better head design and good steel, but you still won't do much with it if trying to split real-world found firewood vs dry cordwood. Until you get some weight in the head and a handle long enough for a good two-handed grip, you won't get much real chopping or splitting done.

If you want to split small stuff, I think the lightest option is something like the Mora 330. It was designed for farriers, but is much like a mini version of a splitting froe, a tool used for centuries to split shingles and other wood products. In this case you are hauling the blade and providing the heft with a stick found at your campsite-- batoning.

Mora 330 knife

Personally, I would just rely on something like the Mora Robust or Bushcraft paired with a light folding saw and be done with it.

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: SUL Camp Hatchet on 09/17/2013 14:43:34 MDT Print View

isn't the term " SUL Camp Hatchet " an oxymoron ?

or do you leave your 8 oz down quilt at home,
so you can keep your base weight under 5 lbs.

jimmy benson
(biggyshorty) - F
re on 09/17/2013 15:51:16 MDT Print View

Mora 330 looks wonderful! In your opinion it'd be better for UL (and bike camping) than a GB mini? On the forums here some people have mentioned they use GB mini for bike camping.