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Hatchet or axe for Personal Survival Kit

Joined
Aug 1, 2006
Messages
730
Aloha to all. I am slowly but surely putting together a PSK that I will packed and ready to go at a moments notice. One thing I would want to have is a small axe or hatchet, something that I could easily carry either on my belt or packed in a medium to large backpack. I do live in a tsnami zone area as with the power plant and the recent earthquakes here in Hawaii got me motivated to be prepared. So if the SHTF I want to have the essentials to be able to do what I need to do and I feel a good *small* axe or hatchet would come in handy. The Gransfors Bruk mini hatchet is quite the talk of the forums so this one is on my list. Is there an aspects I should look for in a small axe or hatchet to meet my needs as part of my PSK? Mahalo in advance.
 
I have a Gransfors mini but it's pretty tinee. The wildlife hatchet has a lot more power and the small forest axe more still. I'd get the biggest that your bag will handle.
 
I would also choose the biggest that fits in the bag. My PSK is a woods canoe pack , so either the my GB wildlife hatchet or my Wetterling hunter axe. Either one will cut wood and build a shelter.
 
Check the Blade disscusion room for the title "little upgrade". It's a SOG tomahawk... Might be your answer....
 
The CS shovel is not an axe but it can double as one and is my choice for my car kit. One of the advatages is it is very inconspicous compared to a machete or axe. It is also more usefull in other areas.
 
Mahalo guys for all your responses so far. I was thinking traveling light but I guess going with the biggest axe that could fit in my bag would be more appropriate. I am still looking around but I am really gravitatign to the Gransfors Bruks because of its popularity among many of the members but I will forgo making any decisions until I really do my research.
 
If I were you (living in your region that is...), I would add the best quality personal flotation device I could find. The hand axe won't do you much good if you can't stay afloat.
 
The CS shovel is not an axe but it can double as one and is my choice for my car kit. One of the advatages is it is very inconspicous compared to a machete or axe. It is also more usefull in other areas.

I'll second that. The CS shovel is one of the more underrated tools out there IMO. It doesn't really replace an axe, but chops a lot better than you might think. I keep one in my truck pretty much all the time.
 
If I were you (living in your region that is...), I would add the best quality personal flotation device I could find. The hand axe won't do you much good if you can't stay afloat.

Hehehehe! Most likely we will have a warning via Civil Defense before the first wave hits so I will make it to higher ground and would forego any PFD:D. Well that would be the best case scenario:).

I checked out the CS shovel and it looks like a perfect tool to also have. But I still would rather have an axe or hatchet for clearing brush, breaking down doors, removing debris, etc. It looks like members are suggesting to get a tool that has a longer handle than just a small hatchet or axe. I can see that it would be easier to swing and have more of an cutting impact.
 
You cannot go wrong with a GB in any flavor but the mini is too mini for me, personally.
I have a wildlife hatchet- nice tool, and a hunter which is the same length and weight as a small forest axe. In my own cutting tests, the hunter cut thru 6" blackwalnut limbs with half as many strokes as the wildlife and less hand/wrist fatigue, yet it weighs only .5 pound more. The additional handle length is not a negative factor for me as it rides on the outside of my pack. It has just enough to allow for 2 handed chopping but not unwieldy for one hand use.
I have a day pack (a small back pack) that rides with me in the truck and is always ready. I'm either hunting or "on call" during hunting season October to mid January so everything I might need for a full day or night of hunting or tracking or extracting deer is in the pack. Surefire light, spare batteries, knife, folding saw, gloves, water, moist hand-wipes, paracord, first aid, etc.
I carry a small file, small stone and 2 grits of wet/dry sandpaper rolled up with a square of leather to restore and strop a razor edge to knife or axe.
 
You cannot go wrong with a GB in any flavor but the mini is too mini for me, personally.
.

Second that. You can get a big knife that'll chop better than a Mini, and for that matter you may want to consider a big knife.

But for hatchets you really don't want to go much smaller than the Wildlife. The minis are fun, but I wouldn't consider it a survival hatchet unless your surfival kit is no larger than a hip-bag or butt-pack.

You can do a lot more with a proper hatchet than most large knives, allowing you to carry a more reasonable sized knife for your everyday chores. A 4-6" blade ought to be more than sufficient if you have hatchet backup. Of course you should also include a quality folder in your pocket and a multi-tool somewhere in your survival kit for mundane tasks.

As for the cold steel shovel, that's a good idea, but I wouldn't expect the shovel to hold up for very long. If you expect a short survival stint, that's ok, but if you're needing cook fire wood on a regular basis you may wish you had a hatchet. With a hatchet and cheapo garden spade you may be better off. Just my opinion here.
 
Take a look at Ranger Knives Entry Tool. I keep one in my SHTF/disaster kit. It can chop, pry, & hammer. It can also be used to shut off gas valves. I really like the versatility of the entry tool.

Ranger Knives entry tool
 
I have a Ranger Entry Tool in my car, because I feel that its design is better suited for urban rescue than suburban survival. I have a GB Wildlife in my camp/survival bag.
Justin and I tested the Ranger Entry in Baghdad, pics are up on his website last I checked. We chopped through the c-pillar of a peugeaut (sp?) (little french pos car) in a minute or so. If you had nothing but an Entry Tool, 5000lb strap or chain, and your car, you could peel the roof off of a rolled vehicle in about 5 minutes to rescue the occupants. There was no edge damage to the entry tool after cutting through the c-pillar. We had to chop red masonry bricks and road-curb concrete (far, far denser than cinder-block concrete) to get the edge to roll and dent. The rolls and dents were small though, and the edge was still sharp overall. No chips at all, either. He really heat-treats his S-7 well, and the edge geometry is designed for those kinds of heavy impact work. The only weak points of the tool are that the small lip on the hammer breaks off when breaking stones, and the gas valve-shutoff hole milled into the top of the handle creates a weak point when prying. By that I mean several hundred pounds of energy, like two guys pulling at the same time. If you break it, I'm sure Justin will replace it as long as you provide the "how I did it" story. And you'd have to be a pretty big guy. So far it's been tested by several fire and combat units who've given it favorable reviews.
Hell, I'm a combat unit, and I bought one after testing Justin's, so I've put my money where my mouth is on this one.

Ok, all that said, if you need firewood, you'd be better off with a GB or Wetterling than a Ranger Entry Tool.
 
When I put my PSK/BOB together the first time I found out the hardway I couldn't carry it. It's weight when finished was 80 pounds! I was using a Gregory Palisade 4500 cu in backpack. I now have it down to 60 pounds.


The way I determined how much weight I wanted to carry the second time was to put containers of water in the backpack and walk around with it outside up hills and down hills. Then I started adding gear by weight. It makes a big difference in your choices/purchases. In your case which ax/hachet to use.

A gallon of water is 8 pounds roughly.

Just a though.

BB
 
I have a Ranger Entry Tool in my car, because I feel that its design is better suited for urban rescue than suburban survival. I have a GB Wildlife in my camp/survival bag.
Justin and I tested the Ranger Entry in Baghdad, pics are up on his website last I checked. We chopped through the c-pillar of a peugeaut (sp?) (little french pos car) in a minute or so. If you had nothing but an Entry Tool, 5000lb strap or chain, and your car, you could peel the roof off of a rolled vehicle in about 5 minutes to rescue the occupants. There was no edge damage to the entry tool after cutting through the c-pillar. We had to chop red masonry bricks and road-curb concrete (far, far denser than cinder-block concrete) to get the edge to roll and dent. The rolls and dents were small though, and the edge was still sharp overall. No chips at all, either. He really heat-treats his S-7 well, and the edge geometry is designed for those kinds of heavy impact work. The only weak points of the tool are that the small lip on the hammer breaks off when breaking stones, and the gas valve-shutoff hole milled into the top of the handle creates a weak point when prying. By that I mean several hundred pounds of energy, like two guys pulling at the same time. If you break it, I'm sure Justin will replace it as long as you provide the "how I did it" story. And you'd have to be a pretty big guy. So far it's been tested by several fire and combat units who've given it favorable reviews.
Hell, I'm a combat unit, and I bought one after testing Justin's, so I've put my money where my mouth is on this one.

Ok, all that said, if you need firewood, you'd be better off with a GB or Wetterling than a Ranger Entry Tool.

JW, those ranger hawks look very nice.
 
After all that has been said in this thread, I'm gravitating to the Gransfors Bruks Small Forest axe. You can use it as a traditional two handed chopping axe but still small enough to fit in a medium sized backpack.
 
Update:

I was able to snag a Gransfors Bruks Small Forest axe in eBay today. Hopefully I will receive it this week and see how it handles. Thanks for all your suggestions.
 
Mauible, good luck!!! And congrats on your catch!!!! I should have my VTACs soon!
 
I think the GB Mini is a great little hatchet. In one way it might work for you because it is small enough to fit in a pack but will chop stuff up to about 3 or 4" decently.

On the other hand what people are saying about the Wildlife by GB is true. I'd rank it as one of the top hatchets in that general size that I have played with.

The thing is it is much bigger and heavier. I have taken a mini backpacking a lot but the Wildife is really too big to justify taking due to the weight.

Another thing could be a folding saw. But if you want better chopping power than big knives of the same weight but portability the mini is great. Also you can choke up on it and use it like a knife.:thumbup:
 
From what I have heard the gransfors has a pretty fine edge, best suited for
soft woods. Wetterlings has a thicker edge profile and can handle harder materials, but if you really want to break in doors but still want to keep it small, the VTAC from american tomahawk company has gotten rave reviews from just about everyone that owns one (usually they own several)

A funny thing, being an axe nut, I dont even own 1 of the 3 I mentioned above, but I gathered a lot of the infor from this forum, so I think most would agree with me.
(I do plan on picking up all three sometime soon)
 
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