Reader Robert H. left a comment on Jeremy’s Estwing E44A review which got me to thinking:
For clearing small saplings and vines, I think he would find the CRKT Halfchance Parang a better tool. I also clear lots of brush on my property and ditched the hatchet and went with this reasonably priced Ken Onion designed blade.
I have reviewed the Halfachance, and it is a heck of a tool. I understand his argument that a machete is a more versatile tool than a hatchet. I think I might even prefer one as well for most tasks. As always the intended use is major determining factor.
A 3/4 or full axe is definitely the better chopping tool or large limbs and logs. At the same time it is near worthless on flexible vines and light limbs. But for the purposes of this QOD I want to focus on hatchets.
An axe really isn’t great at cutting non-fixed vegetation. However, for kindling preparation it is the safer and less awkward tool. And truthfully, how much clearing of brush do you do when you are camping?
That said, I can do a reasonably competent job with kindling prep with a machete. Neither tool is really good for backpacking unless you know that you will be doing significant wood prep. For light or emergency use, batoning with a bushcraft-style knife is sufficient.
Around the house, I grab the Halfachance for anything that I don’t fire up the chainsaw for. I think it is slightly more packable for camping, if less perfect for the task of firewood prep. However, I think the versatility of a good machete (not a Harbor Freight $9 special) makes it the tool I prefer to grab when headed out to camp.
Which tool do you prefer, a hatchet or a machete?
Did I miss any points, pro or con for either?