This One Simple Tool Could Save Your Life

survival-axe-hatchetThe hatchet was immortalized in the novel Hatchet by Gary Paulsen. Remember reading it in your middle school English class? It’s the tale of a city boy whose plane crashes in the vast Canadian wilderness. He survives, though the pilot isn’t so lucky; he learns how to stay alive in the wild for 54 days with nothing but — you guessed it — a hatchet.

The small axe is one heck of a survival tool, and it lends itself to numerous applications that help you not die. Let’s review some of these applications before you go hatchet shopping.

Fire Starter

A hatchet is very helpful when needing to start a fire. It not only makes it much easier to cut large pieces of wood, but also functions as a striking tool to create sparks. Make sure to use your hatchet for this purpose only if necessary , such as when dealing with a lack of matches, paper and flint strikers. This is to avoid premature dulling.


Finding yourself face to face with a large predator such as a cougar or bear is never ideal, and there’s no running away, as it sends a clear message that you’re food rather than a potential threat. If nothing else works and the animal runs at you, it sure is helpful to have a hatchet in your hand. Use a hacking motion to maintain your defense.

Ice Cutter

Cutting ice and hard snow for water is much easier when you have a hatchet, as is digging out a snow shelter.

Splint Assistance

Should you need to create a splint, a hatchet again comes in super handy. It makes it easy to cut and fashion a splint, whether for you or an injured party member.

Light Reflector

The metal section of a hatchet works as a light reflector, which sure is helpful if you’re alone in the wilderness and need to be rescued!


The hatchet’s back end works as a very nice hammer.

What are your favorite uses for a hatchet? Share them in the comments section!

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