Survival Tools

Survival Axe vs. Machete: A Comparison

If you are going to be in the wilderness or in any type of survival situation, no matter how light you pack, one thing you need to carry is a survival ax or a machete. If you are trying to pack super-light, you may want to carry one or the other.

Which will you need the most? This article will look at each tool and what they are used for. You can then decide which you need for any situation (whenever possible, we highly recommend carrying both an ax and a machete when in the wilderness).

What is a Machete?

A machete is a tool that is basically a knife with a very long blade that is 10 inches or more in length. This tool is made to chop and hack through just about anything, including dense brush. In your research, you will learn that there are many different types of machetes from all over the world, each having its own unique use.

Features

Blade

The blade on a machete is long and made of steel (carbon or high carbon). It is thicker than other types of knives but much thinner than a hatchet blade. It is traditionally used for hacking and chopping. It can also be used to skin an animal.

Handle

The handle of a machete is short and can be made from various materials, including plastic, wood, and Micarta. In the past, ivory was used, but this is no longer a practice.

Weight

A machete is a lightweight tool that is easy to use and wield. If you are in the wilderness and need to hack through dense brush, this is the tool to use.

Price

There are machetes to fit every budget. They can range in price from as low as $20 to $200 or more, but many lower-priced models are high-quality and reliable.

Disadvantages

Chopping Power

While a machete is ideal for chopping through dense brush, it is not so great chopping through wood. Some machetes will chop through wood, but it takes a long time, and you won’t get a clean cut.

Safety

Because a machete has a short handle, it is much more dangerous to use, especially for novices. It is essential to learn how to properly use a machete before taking it into the bush.

Survival Ax vs. Machete

What is a Hatchet?

A hatchet is a small ax that has a shorter handle than a traditional ax. The head is designed to give it a sharp side for cutting and splitting wood, with the other side resembling a hammerhead. A hatchet is vital because it can be used for many purposes. If necessary, it can even be used as a weapon.

Features

Head

A hatchet head is generally made from carbon steel, ranging from low to high. The material used will depend on the intended use.

Handle

The handle, also known as the haft, is elongated – up to 18 inches in length – to allow users to wield it properly. Traditionally, the haft is made from wood. Today, you can find newer models with handles made from composite materials, which tend to be the most popular.

Weight

Most hatchets weigh between 20 and 32 ounces. The head is the heaviest part. The weight distribution makes this the best kind of tool for chopping wood because you can get more power behind the wield.

Price

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a good-quality hatchet. They range from $20 to $150, and in many cases, the lower-priced models are just as reliable as the higher-priced ones.

Disadvantages

Weight

While the weight of a hatchet is the reason why you can get so much force in each stroke, it can also cause your arm to tire faster. After a few swings, you are going to feel it in your arm and shoulder.

Self-Defense

The hatchet is a good combat weapon when there is nothing else available. Two common self-defense maneuvers using hatchets involve swinging and throwing (the latter should only be done by those who have knowledge of the technique).

Need to Cut a Tree? Use a Hatchet!

Let’s say that you are in the woods and need to build a shelter or cut wood for a fire. A machete isn’t going to be much use when you need to cut down small trees. A hatchet or a small ax is the best choice in this type of situation. It would be pretty much impossible to cut even the smallest tree with a knife, but even the smallest of hatchets will let you get the job done. Hatchets are also great for chopping firewood.

Lots of Brush? Use a Machete!

Chopping and hacking your way through dense vegetation requires a sharp and lightweight tool; the machete is ideal for this purpose. Unlike when using a hatchet, your arm isn’t going to tire as quickly, so you can work for longer periods. If you want to cut a path through brush, this is one tool that should be in your kit.

Verdict

So, which is the better tool, the hatchet or the machete? It all depends on the application. Each has its own merits and disadvantages, but they both get the job done when used as they are intended.

For chopping wood, an ax is the tool you need. For chopping brush and even skinning animals, a machete is the best tool. To be on the safe side, carry both tools with you when you are in the wilderness.

 

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