In any survival expedition, having a piece of handy equipment for different kinds of situations that warrant different solutions is a must. In terms of using either a knife or a hatchet, an age-long debate has been ongoing, and there’s likely going to be no winning tool between the two in the long run.
Although loads of people in the survival community definitely prefer the knife, a surprising number still prefer the use of a hatchet.
While there is no tool for every situation, a strong argument can be made that the hatchet is the more versatile tool. Here’s why:
Cutting Down Trees and Chopping Firewood
Without a doubt, the hatchet lords over the knife in this instance. For heavy duty tasks such as cutting down trees and chopping firewood, it would be stupid to make use of a knife. Why? It’ll not just be an effort in futility and a waste of time, it will also dull the edges of your knife and thereby ruin its usefulness.
But this isn’t the case with a hatchet. With its strong handle and blade, a single swing packs enough power to dig deep into the trunk of a tree and bring it down in a matter of minutes.
Although expertise in using the hatchet to fell trees would help save time, even a newbie using a hatchet to cut down trees would find it much easier and more possible than using a knife.
Chopping firewood and preparing it for use in campfires and for raising your tent is much easier with the use of a hatchet and nearly impossible to get done with a knife.
As a survivalist, you should always put into consideration that you might need to defend yourself – whether from wild animals or intruders. The knife could truly come in handy as a weapon for self-defense, but it actually falls short when compared to the hatchet.
Amongst many features suited for a self-defense and offense weapon, a hatchet is usually more effective than a knife due to its length. Striking first is crucial in terms of self-defense, and with the length of the hatchet’s handle it is easier for the blade to reach your enemy/opponent and to block a strike from your enemy with ease.
Besides the length advantage, the hatchet packs a greater deal of punch than a knife. Its impact is capable of eating deep into an enemy’s flesh and can be used to beat down an enemy if you do not wish to draw blood in your self-defense.
When surviving out in the woods, you will need a hammer for situations such as driving tent stakes into the ground and softening food.
With the heavy rear of your hatchet’s blade, you can easily get your hammering done without having to carry an actual hammer, and it beats using a knife that’s too light for hammering.
Although there are knives that are durable, hatchets by design are guaranteed to be more durable than knives because they are intended for heavy work such as chopping wood and felling trees.
With no intention to burst your bubble, though, as much as the hatchet is better suited for a number of situations where the knife cannot be used, and also capable of resolving situations where the knife is to be used.
The knife is still a champion in its own respect in terms of basic cutting and sharpening of sticks for traps and the basic survival bow and arrow.
It is still very much more efficient at skinning and cleaning meat than the hatchet; its weight and size is still an added advantage as it is easy to carry and conceal; and it is pretty much the best in terms of starting a fire, cutting up bandages, puncturing infected wounds, and cutting ropes.
To summarize, although the debate between making use of a hatchet or a knife has been going on for decades now and will continue for many more years, the ideal thing to do would be to have both tools and save yourself the indecision.
If you can’t, make your decision based on your choice of terrain and likely situations you might find yourself in. The bottom line, however, is that you can never predict accurately what you’ll face and will have to adapt to circumstances as they arise. This is why you’re a survivalist after all.
Remember, irrespective of your preference and the circumstances you get to face, ensure that you’re not equipped with a cheap, low-quality knife or hatchet. Whether a knife or a hatchet, get yourself a durable, easy to sharpen, and multipurpose tool.