Both knives and hatchets can be lifesaving survival tools and I love both of them.
And they’re each versatile enough to deal with many different situations.
But, what if you could have only one in a survival scenario, which would it be?
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each, so you can see how they stack up…
One of the most important functions of cutting tool in a survival situation is to chop wood for building a fire or shelter.
Using a hatchet makes these jobs less strenuous and faster.
This is clearly because of the larger, heavier blade, and added leverage on the handle.
But, even the biggest knives won’t stand up to a limb more than a few inches in diameter.
Another thing to consider: every tool you carry should have more than one function.
A good survival hatchet will usually have a large hammer on the backside of the blade.
A knife lacks the same leverage as a hatchet and will take much longer when using it as a hammer.
Finally, self-defense is a top priority in a survival situation.
In any type of hand-to-hand fighting, a hatchet can be better than a knife because of its longer reach.
Plus, a hatchet will give you more momentum when swinging toward a threat.
Also, it can be used to defend against an enemy’s knife or their hands, while keeping your distance.
Another major function of a bladed tool is the ability to skin and dress game.
If you are forced to bug out, you may need to hunt for food.
Which means you’ll need to prepare your food before cooking.
And in this case, a knife is going to be more useful than a hatchet.
The process is much easier with a knife thanks to the precision with the blade as well as the sharpness of the edge.
Another advantage to a knife is that if you plan to fish for food, a knife will help you to clean fish and remove bones. A hatchet will be much too large to be of any use during this process.
Another thing is that a small, agile blade can come in handy for first aid.
For example, you may need to cut a shirt into bandages, pierce blisters, or even cut string for stitches.
The precision of a small knife blade makes a it a better choice for any of these tasks over a larger, heavier hatchet.
Lastly, a knife is usually smaller and lighter than a hatchet, making it easier to carry around if you are bugging out.
So, while a knife and hatchet each have their place in survival situations, there is no doubt that they serve different purposes.
In an ideal situation, you would get the best of both worlds by carrying both tools.
And, this is why I’d throw both of them in all your bug out bags.
But, if I could only carry one item, it would be a knife. In the long run, the knife just has more uses.
Just remember, whichever of the two you choose, never go cheap because your life may literally depend on it one day.