A good fixed blade knife is an absolute must to have in your survival kit, but there’s one tool that is sometimes overlooked as a critical component. That tool is the hatchet.
The reason why some people don’t include a hatchet in their kit is because they believe a good fixed blade knife will fulfill all the roles a hatchet would be able to perform. That’s partially true, but having both a knife and a hatchet with you will make the going much, much easier.
If you’re still not convinced, there are five very specific reasons why a hatchet should be in your survival kit:
1. To help make a fire. You should have at least two or three different ways to start a fire in your survival/bug-out bag. To this end, you’ll need matches, a lighter and a magnesium flint striker. But a hatchet gives you a fifth alternative. Not only does it serve the obvious use of being able to cut large pieces of wood for the fire, but it can also be used to strike against rocks to create sparks. Granted, starting a fire by striking metal against rocks is more challenging than it sounds and requires great effort. But due to the sharp edge of the hatchet, it’s made all the more easier. One thing to remember: This method serves as a backup fire-starting method. So if you have matches or a flint striker, use them!
2. To help make a split. If you suffer broken or fractured bones  in a survival situation, you’re going to be in a lot of trouble. You could be out all alone in the wilderness, nowhere near help, and in immense pain. You need to be able to fasten a splint for your broken leg or arm, and the best tool to accomplish that is the hatchet. Even if you have a good fixed blade knife and a handsaw with you, a hatchet will deliver the best cut of wood for a splint.
3. To cut ice. This falls more in line with winter survival, but a hatchet will simply be the best tool you can have for cutting through ice and hard snow if the need ever arises. Ice cutting will come in handy if you need to dig a hole to protect a small fire from the wind, if you need to dig out a snow shelter, and so on. Once again, a fixed blade knife could be used for this process, but the hatchet will make the process much easier.
4. As a weapon. Many view the hatchet more as a tool and the tomahawk more as a weapon. In all honesty, both are versatile and can serve either purpose. A hatchet is an excellent close-quarters self-defense weapon against predators in the wild. Granted, you’d probably rather have a gun or a bow and arrow to keep the predators at longer distances, but if things become too close, you can count on your hatchet. The hatchet would be best used for hacking rather than stabbing as you would use a knife.
5. As a hammer. A solid hatchet will have a hammer on the other side of the blade that will serve you in an extremely wide variety of purposes. If you have nails in your survival pack and need to use them for whatever purpose, there’s no need to include a full hammer. The back end of the hatchet will work just fine. You can also use this side of the tomahawk to drive stakes into the ground.
Some would argue that you only need a fixed blade knife in your pack, while others would argue that the hatchet is the more important of the two. The reality is that you should have both. If you don’t have a hatchet in your survival bag, consider purchasing one. Chances are that you’ll be very glad you have it down the road.
What are other survival uses for a hatchet? Leave your reply in the section below: