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Topic: Hatchet Anyone?, Anyone carry a small hatchet< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 18 2012, 9:34 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I plan on carrying a Fiskers X7 hatchet with me on an upcoming 2 day backpacking trip.  It will be great for firewood and camp setup, but more importantly a last line of defense against predators.

Bears are active this time of year, and I want to go down swinging if one attacks.  The Fiskers X7 weighs just over a pound, and performs similar to the more expensive hand made swedish hatchets from Gransfors and Wetterling.  

Anyone carry a hatchet?
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 18 2012, 9:46 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Fiskars makes a great axe. I use one myself, but never if I'm going any more than a couple miles, and camping in a very well  established camp site.
Never chop down living trees btw. It damages the forest, and it won't burn well.
Just so you know, a bear really has no reason to attack you. You aren't their food. Keep your food out of your tent, and act properly around them (look up the proper conduct for the type of bear in your area before you head out) and you'll be just fine.
If you want to defend yourself against a bear, go pick up some bear spray. One, it's humane, and two, it's more effective. Good luck with that axe. A bear, if it was to attack, (I've never heard of it actually happening in my area, ever) is going to pounce on you anyway. An axe would be pretty well worthless at that point.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 18 2012, 9:55 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Uh, no.

In my view a hatchet is an inherently dangerous tool, but not to bears, unless of course you get the opportunity to shove it down a bear's throat which, I have been told, is moderately effective in defense.  Of course I heard that tale from the most reliable liar I know so it probably ain't so.

Whatever, no.  The hatchet is heavier than a collapsible saw and less useful and I never pack one.

Drake
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 18 2012, 9:58 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Last line of defense? Dream on.

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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 18 2012, 10:26 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I sometimes carry a Fallkniven S1.  Around 6oz but will do more things than any hatchet.  Plus I can shave with it.

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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 18 2012, 10:44 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I use...the boot if needed. I rarely have a fire and if I do, I find the boot to be plenty.

Bears don't laugh or so I'm told so I doubt your hatchet will do much to make it laugh itself to death. I would recommend you use it lop of a limb and feed it to the bear. Hopefully, it will be full enough so that you can hop away while it is distracted.

Seriously though. Bear spray will be MUCH more effective than a hatchet unless you're standing in front of a director and there are cameras present.


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 18 2012, 10:54 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Yea, any hand tool is pretty much useless against a large bear.  The black bears around here are not that aggressive, but there have been several deaths from bear attacks in the past few years, mostly tourist.  

I never go more than about 5 miles, so the extra pound is not a back breaker.

When fishing in Alaska, I had the chance to get up close and personal to some Brown Bears.  It is unbelievable how large they actually are and how fast they can move.  Check out some of these pics in the album.

http://s743.photobucket.com/albums/xx78/bigredd1/
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 18 2012, 11:04 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I have a Gerber/Fiskars Gator hatchet, the one with a super short handle and a small companion knife that stores in the hollow hatchet handle. The hatchet chops better than a large knife and the companion blade is good for wittling.

But I don't carry it backpacking because of the weight. I usually carry a 4 oz. SAK or a 3 or 4 oz. Mora. I don't chop firewood; if it is too long I stick one end in the fire and feed the rest of the length in little by little as it burns. Or break the branches if they break readily.

As far as a bear, i guess if you could connect full power with a hatchet to the snout or skull, you might crack bone. But I agree that bear spray would be a better (and lighter) choice.

---George
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 18 2012, 11:20 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

http://www.kabar.com/knives/detail/39

Overkill? Hell yes, but it is fun to use and does everything.  I use it as I would use a hatchet, a machete, a knife and a shovel.  It really excels at battoning.  

You can buy it at half the listed price at amazon.

I live in black bear country and can tell you if the spray doesn't work, play dead.  Do not irritate a bear with a hatchet, it will kill you.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 18 2012, 11:30 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Those pictures made me depressed.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 19 2012, 1:05 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

OP- Bear spray is probably the best line of defence if you are concerned - after a firearm of course. Seeing as how you are in serious griz country up in Alaska, depending on the locality, that might not be a bad idea. I don't carry - even if I wanted to it's illegal in Canadian Parks. I don't hike in grizzly country though. Just lots of black bears.

I virtually always make camp fires when I backpack, and if there's plenty of deadwood, a hachet is a great tool for making kindling. I usually carry a folding saw which is light and very effective at cutting up the larger pieces you'd probably use. For smaller pieces, I don't usually have much trouble rounding up kindling from the bush. As much as I love a good hatchet, I can't actually see it being more useful than a folding saw and sharp eyes for wood prep.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 19 2012, 3:00 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

This is the Ka-Bar I have. I use it to clear local trails and to prep firewood. It could be used in self defense if it came to that. Wont carry on anything over 3 days unless I know were having a fire every night.

Ever considered a tomahawk? Cold Steel makes some that are pretty cheep as long as your willing to do some finish work on it, the handles need to be shaped so the heads fit properly.


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 19 2012, 6:35 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

i have never used a hatchet for hiking/backpacking.  they can be useful for making kindling and splitting wood at campgrounds where you already have split wood, car-camping.  it's possible to split smaller pieces of wood in the field by "batoning" it, using a sturdy knife to whack it apart, using a boot, rock or small log to hit the spine of the knife like a wedge.  i haven't ever encountered the need to do that.  if you actually plan to build fires while backpacking, a small folding saw is a much more effective tool for making a fire out of dead/down wood (as someone said, live branches don't burn well) than a hatchet or knife.  get a sven folding saw, weighs less than a pound.    

it's worth searching for and reading US National Park Service literature about bears.  Different species of bear respond differently to human behavior, and there are a lot of misconceptions about how to respond to bear in the wild. Yellowstone's site has excellent information:  bear safety

if you find yourself close enough to a bear that you could try to injure it by throwing or swinging a hatchet, you are already very likely to be seriously injured or killed and exceedingly unlikely to injure the bear.  these animals weigh between 100 and 600 pounds, can run up to 35 miles an hour, and are several times stronger than any human being, their claws enable them to climb trees fairly easily.  one swipe can do major if not fatal damage.  if you have concerns, educate yourself about safe human behavior around bears, get some bear spray and understand how to use it effectively.  firearms....well, most people aren't capable of using them effectively in the face of an agitated bear.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 19 2012, 6:44 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

A bear's sense of smell is many times more sensitive than even that of dogs -- use it against them with bear spray. As virtually everyone else has said, a bear's skull, bones, fur, muscle tissue, size, weight, and speed are no match for a hatchet, don't let a bear use that against you.

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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 19 2012, 6:54 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

If you are going to use a hatchet then use it correctly and DO NOT SWING it. Use a pc of wood to whack it into and split the wood. Swinging a hatchet just increases your risk of it hitting you, causing an injury. or if you are holding a pc of wood with one hand of hitting that hand or finger and causing an injury. Otherwise I agree with the others a lt wt collapsible saw works a lot better. I usually carry both when canoe camping and use the saw  a lot more than the hatchet.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 19 2012, 7:08 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Yes I do occasionally carry a hatchet. It is a wood-handled drywall hatchet and I only carry it in winter on sled-packing trips to use on tent stakes. I would never carry one for 3-season hiking as I don't make fires and can find an adequate rock then.

While black bears don't pounce on their prey (mountain lions do that) they also don't prey on humans. If you are worried, get some bear spray like everybody has recommended. Otherwise have fun playing Daniel Boone. ;-)


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 19 2012, 8:18 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I have an X7 at home that I use for splitting kindling for our wood stove.
I would say it would be a decent backpacking hatchet, but it really doesn't carry enough weight to split anything larger than 5 or 6 inches.
I usually just carry a sven saw and stick to smaller pieces of wood.

Unless you are planning on becoming an expert in Native American style tomahawk throwing, I wouldn't even consider it a form of defense.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 19 2012, 9:07 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

If there is ample wood on the ground, as in a mixed conifer and deciduous forest, a fire can be made from pieces up to 2" in diameter (which can be broken with your foot), or 3" (which can be cut with a small folding saw). Those diameters don't need to be split. I'm sure a folding saw can cut through more than 3", but it gets a bit labor intensive and it's easier to use smaller pieces if available. Kindling can usually be found without needing to split it.

A hatchet is used for splitting wood, not cross-cutting it. It would be unusual to find wood that is already the right length but too big to burn, like 16" long and 10" in diameter. You just don't find that lying around in the woods.

So I don't much see the usefulness of a hatchet, and I don't even carry a folding saw backpacking because of the weight. I do carry one for kayak camping and find it useful.

Use smaller wood and keep your fires small.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 19 2012, 9:19 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Took one one time.  A pruning saw is more useful but, wood small enough for a pruning saw should be breakable by boot if it's dry enough to burn.

Old trick my uncle showed me for dealing with bigger wood: find a twin tree...one with two trunks that diverge close to the ground in a "V" shape.  Wedge in a longer stick, push or pull to break.


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 19 2012, 10:05 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I've never hatchetted anyone, although I might have been tempted to.  I've come close to hatchetting myself once or twice.  :)

You folks have already covered all the points I was going to make.  Strong work.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 19 2012, 10:31 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks for the input guys.

I have leukemia and very low blood platelets.  A small cut can cause severe bleeding so I must be extremely careful with sharp tools.  Those folding saws are nice, but also have lots of sharp pointed edges and easy to cause bleeding when handling.   A hatchet or kukri seems the best tool for me.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 19 2012, 10:37 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

With that kind of problem, I'd just be using a stove, or breaking small sticks.

Using a hatchet or axe while backpacking is a waste of weight. You don't need a bonfire.


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 19 2012, 10:42 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(TrailTramper @ Oct. 19 2012, 9:07 am)
QUOTE
......A hatchet is used for splitting wood, not cross-cutting it.........

I have to disagree.
While no hatchet, axe, or maul truly performs a cross-cut, both hatchets and axes make fine tools for falling dead timber (of porportional size), or making shorter pieces out of a longer length.  Mauls are actually the tool designed only for splitting.

Beside the point though.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 19 2012, 10:48 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(bigredd @ Oct. 19 2012, 7:31 am)
QUOTE
Thanks for the input guys.

I have leukemia and very low blood platelets.  A small cut can cause severe bleeding so I must be extremely careful with sharp tools.  Those folding saws are nice, but also have lots of sharp pointed edges and easy to cause bleeding when handling.   A hatchet or kukri seems the best tool for me.

There's no sharp edges on boots or bearspray....

Each area is different. The wood we have in the PNW is plentiful and will easily break with a boot in most cases. I am sure it is not the same in all areas. Sappy spring wood burns great but isn't so easy to break. Good luck with your campfires.


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 19 2012, 11:19 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

This is off topic and you're probably way ahead of me, but have you looked at quikclot sport for backpacking?
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 19 2012, 11:26 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(SnidelyWhiplash @ Oct. 19 2012, 8:19 am)
QUOTE
This is off topic and you're probably way ahead of me, but have you looked at quikclot sport for backpacking?

They sent me some in the mail last year from a drawing. I have it in my kit but haven't had to use it yet. It looks good enough that it made it into my kit.

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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 19 2012, 11:29 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(SnidelyWhiplash @ Oct. 19 2012, 11:19 am)
QUOTE
This is off topic and you're probably way ahead of me, but have you looked at quikclot sport for backpacking?

I have a picture somewhere from the late 40's of my grandfather's knee wrapped in a bloody sheet after he buried a hatchet in his kneecap.   He didn't want to interrupt the trip, so it was almost two days before he eventually got to the hospital.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 19 2012, 12:39 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

As big_load and others pointed out, I'm not sure if you noticed bigredd, but hatchets have sharp edges too.

The argument "I'll go with a hatchet because I might cut myself with a saw and that'd be really bad" is kind of a shake-my-head thing to read.  In that case, go with Tigger's advice and break sticks to burn (which has always worked for me, btw, how big a fire do you need?) and carry spray for the bears.


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 19 2012, 2:42 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(UlightBandit @ Oct. 19 2012, 10:42 am)
QUOTE
both hatchets and axes make fine tools for falling dead timber (of porportional size), or making shorter pieces out of a longer length.  Mauls are actually the tool designed only for splitting.

Beside the point though.

First, I believe the environmental rule is to not touch standing timber or any branches on it. So dead trees should not be felled.

Second, if I had to cut up 50 pieces of wood for a fire I would hate to have to do it with a hatchet. It would be much easier to break up smaller pieces.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 19 2012, 4:04 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE


(TrailTramper @ Oct. 19 2012, 2:42 pm)
QUOTE

(UlightBandit @ Oct. 19 2012, 10:42 am)
QUOTE
both hatchets and axes make fine tools for falling dead timber (of porportional size), or making shorter pieces out of a longer length.  Mauls are actually the tool designed only for splitting.

Beside the point though.

First, I believe the environmental rule is to not touch standing timber or any branches on it. So dead trees should not be felled.

I agree, but that is neither here nor there.  I know cutting down dead trees might not be kosher, but if one is dead right beside a campsite, I don't see the harm.  Widowmakers are known to end lives or break bones.  I personally don't carry a hatchet, or chop down trees in the wilderness.  I collect branches & limbs that can easily be broken.

QUOTE
Second, if I had to cut up 50 pieces of wood for a fire I would hate to have to do it with a hatchet. It would be much easier to break up smaller pieces.


Once again....I agree, but what I said was that a hatchet was a fine tool, and was not, as you mentioned, "only for splitting wood".
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