Should I Take A Machete Or Hatchet Camping?

Whenever one is out in the field, there will come a time (well, plenty of times, really) when a problem or two occurs. As for the problems, you need two things to solve them fairly quickly and with efficiency.

  • You need a sharp mind that is geared towards solution-based thinking.
  • And, to make things easier on yourself, you need problem-solving tools.

A man with the right tools for the right job is a prepared man. For example, let’s say that there were two pals out on a camping trip that decided to take a hike through the thick foliage of the forest, and both of them were in a heated debate about their tool of choice that they chose to take with them. One is toting a machete, while the other one is carrying a hatchet.

Machete versus the hatchet is the name of the game, but who’s right? Let’s find out below.

Round One: Jerry’s Machete

As the grizzled duo prepared to leave the camp, Pal #1, who’s name is Jerry, sparked the heated debate. Since he knew that they would be travelling through the forest and coming across plenty of choppable obstacles, he went to his kit and brandished his blade of choice.

The machete.

“Yeah, this bad boy is gonna get us exactly where we need to go!” Jerry said as he gave the air a few test swings. He could already see all of the limbs, vines, and other woodland obstacles downed in just a few swings, “It’s way better than that hatchet of yours, Harry.”

With his hatchet in hand, Harry took offense to that, “Pfft. A hatchet is going to be way more versatile. If I was out here by myself, I’d definitely take this over a machete any day!”

“And you’d struggle to get past the first bit of brush that blocks your path.” Jerry said with an eyeroll, placing his bag on his back and his machete in its sheath, “Let’s compare as we hike, walk, and talk.”

The two began their journey towards their destination, a nearby cliffside that was visible from their camping spot. And already within the first twenty minutes of hiking, Jerry had found a few practical examples to argue his stance.

They came across a clearing that had a good amount of thorny vines hanging in their way, which gave them a momentary pause. “Go ahead,” Jerry said with a smug grin, “Clear us a path to take with your little hatchet.” Harry grumbled and went to work, and after a good five minutes of getting accidentally snagged on the thorns and pricked repeatedly, he stepped back with a few weeping cuts, breathing heavier than before and frowning at the still-standing blockage.

“Gotta bring the right tools for the right job, Harry!” Jerry laughed triumphantly as he began to hack away at the vines, “Lightweight, better range, and better at chopping!” Within less time than it took Harry to cut down a few vines, Jerry cleared the path and pointed forward with his tool, “I think that’s a point for the machete on the scoreboard.”

“Whatever, the hatchet still has its uses.” Harry snorted as they continued.

Jerry took his time as he gloated about the features of his blade, “You see how easy that was with a machete? Look at you! You’re out of breath and you barely got any of that out of the way. The machete’s blade is made for situations like that back there. It’s longer than a hatchet, weighs less than a hatchet, and is always gonna make a chopping job like that a piece of cake.”

The two walked for another few hours as the afternoon sun began to set. They came across a few more thick patches of vegetation that Jerry was happy to cut down. He even let Harry take a whack at chopping down anything that impeded their travel.

Even Harry had to begrudgingly admit that the machete was earning its keep on their trip, but he was still confident that his hatchet would have its time to shine.

Once visibility began to go down to a level that wasn’t suitable for hiking through the wilderness, they paused and made to set up a camp for the night. 

“We’re gonna need some firewood.” Jerry noted as they pulled out sleeping bags and tents, “I’ll go fetch some.”

Round Two: Harry’s Hatchet

Harry’s ears perked up at hearing that they would need firewood. That sounded like a job that would need a bit of weight and power behind it, and he had exactly what they needed to get the best wood, “Nope, that sounds like a job for a hatchet, son. You just sit back with your little lightweight machete.”

Of course Jerry didn’t sit back.

The two walked a few feet away from camp to find some firewood, finding a clearing with some trees thick enough to serve as firewood.

Jerry went to work, slicing off the thinnest branches that would fall with a swing or two from his balde before hearing Harry chuckle behind him, “Those little twigs are gonna serve as our firewood? I think not.” He held the handle of his hatchet out, “When that machete superiority fails you, I got what you need right here.”

As much as Jerry had been gloating about his blade, he didn’t want to give Harry the satisfaction of admitting that the hatchet might be better for this job. Waving away the hatchet, he took a few wide swings at the tree, but started to get embarrassed as the blade barely put a dent in the bark. It even got stuck in the few shallow cuts it made.

“Done struggling yet?” Harry laughed with a knowing grin as Jerry pried the machete out of the groove, “I think I’ll give it a go now.”

Jerry didn’t show it outwardly, but he was glad that the hatchet fared far better with felling the tree and chopping it up into decent logs for their fire. The duo took the logs back to the campsite, started a fire, and sat around it and ate the food they brought as the nighttime chill began to breeze through the area.

“See, your machete may be better at tackling the vegetation and green wood, but for a job that involves dry, thick, and dead wood?” He took his hatchet and slammed the blade into the log he was sitting on, smiling at how deep the tool went with just one decent swing, “Yeah buddy, you’re gonna need something with just a little bit more weight.”

“Eh, whatever. About time that your hatchet was useful for something that the almighty machete couldn’t handle.” Jerry taunted, snickering and getting ready to turn in for the night, “I’m gonna get some shut eye, so I’ll finish setting up the tent.”

During his tent setup, Jerry noticed that he was missing something necessary to keep the tent in one place, “Hey, do you have a hammer with you? I forgot to bring one and I don’t wanna try to beat these things in with the machete.” He asked as the wind began to blow, almost knocking his tent over and sending it flying.

In response, Harry’s hatchet embedded itself in the dirt a safe distance from Jerry.

“Almighty machete.” Harry chuckled to himself, “It doesn’t come with a built-in hammer on the opposite side of the blade like the almighty hatchet.”

Ok, Jerry had to admit that the hatchet came in handy when it was time for dealing with anything camping-related. The hammer on the back of the blade made nailing the tent down such a breeze.

Still, he had his hill and he was willing to die on it. The machete was superior, and he’d continue to argue about it once the sun came up.

Bonus Round: Self-Defense

Once the duo woke up from the previous night, had a bit of breakfast, and packed everything up, they continued up a trail that was going to lead them to the cliffside.

The argument was still going, though not for the same reasons as yesterday.

Jerry acknowledged that while his machete was surpier in terms of the weight, cutting and clearing ability, and overall coolness, it lacked in the power department, as well as the functionality for camping.

Harry also had to acknowledge that while his hatchet had better power and ease-of-use for camping activities, it still didn’t outright beat the machete in their contest.

If they both knew that there were strengths and weaknesses for each weapon, then why were they still arguing?

“And I’m telling you, that a machete is better for self-defense!”

“They’re both good as weapons!” Harry shot back, “… But I have both blunt force and hacking power! Plus, I could throw it like a tomahawk!”

“Please, you don’t even know how to throw it!”


As the two sat on the cliffside, soaking in the view, they finally came to a conclusion.

The better tool all around was a machete for general purposes, but it all came down to what you were going to be doing.

If you knew that there was going to be a need for firewood and other camping activities, bring a hatchet. 

If you were going to clear out some bush and vegetation, bring a machete.

If you want to be prepared for whatever came your way, bring both.

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