I own a lot of hatchets. Some might say too many, but I would have to disagree.
There are hatchets that I keep handy for everyday backyard chopping and splitting. Others are for camping, and quite a few are simply beaters that are there for when somebody feels like doing some backyard hatchet throwing, and I don’t want to sacrifice a good hatchet just to watch it smack broadside against a piece of wood over and over again.
But there’s only one hatchet that I would consider my absolute, number one, go-to hiking and backpacking hatchet, and that’s the Fiskars X7. This 14-inch hatchet is simply unbeatable in the backcountry, and it’s so light that I can stuff it in a backpack and forget it’s even there.
And did I mention that it splits with the power of an axe twice its size? Okay, that might be an exaggeration, but just barely.
Fiskars X7 Hatchet: First Impressions
I’ve used a Fiskars hatchet for a while now, having first bought one about 8 years ago. That being the case, I’ve become accustomed to it being very lightweight. Even still, I remember picking one up for the first time and being taken aback by how little it weighed. It still occasionally catches me off guard when I’ve been using another hatchet recently.
The Fiskars X7 is a very modern-looking hatchet, with a black-and-orange handle that makes it easy to spot if you drop it in the woods. It’s easy to swing and fits my hand perfectly.
Fiskars is a Finnish company, originally founded in the town of—you guessed it—Fiskars, Finland. They’ve been around since 1649, making them Finland’s oldest company. Fiskars makes all kinds of tools, from axes and mauls to hedge shears and reel mowers, but they’re probably best known for those omnipresent orange scissors that seemingly reside in every classroom in the world.
Design & Construction
The Fiskars X7 Hatchet is designed to be two things: lightweight and durable. The handle is hollow, and made of Fiskars’ proprietary FiberComp® material, which is essentially a nylon-fiberglass composite that is just shy of indestructible. I’ve quite literally seen people back their car over it without damaging it in the least. The hatchet weighs a trim of 1.4 pounds.
The head is insert-molded into the handle, making the two pieces virtually inseparable. I’ve heard—on extremely rare occasions—of Fiskars handles breaking, but I’ve never heard of the head separating from the handle.
The way the hatchet is designed, the balance point is directly behind the head. The Fiskars Hatchet is extremely weight-forward, which gives it splitting power well above its weight class. Having all the weight at the head allows it to bite deeper and makes it shockingly effective.
Using the Fiskars Hatchet
I’m starting to feel like I’m beating a dead horse, but I can’t stress this enough: the Fiskars X7 Hatchet is an amazingly effective splitter for its size. It’s effortless to swing, and bites deeper than a typical hatchet on each swing, allowing you to split wood more easily. Simple as that.
It’s ideal for kindling, but also handles medium-sized firewood handily. I probably wouldn’t want to have to chop down a tree with it, but I could if I had to. The flat bevel also makes it well-suited to detail-oriented tasks like feather sticking.
The hollow handle is shock-absorbent as well as lightweight. Another possible advantage of the hollow handle is that it can be used as storage space for other items. I’ve heard of folks sticking a whole mini survival kit in there, including fire starters, paracord, tinder and even a small knife. A lanyard hole is located at the end knob of the handle.
The handle is not exceptionally grippy; it has a smooth plastic feel with some subtle texturing, and I’d say the grip feels comparable to that of a wood hatchet. Rest assured, it won’t go flying out of your hands if you keep your wits about you.
Although the hatchet doesn’t have a traditional sheath, it comes with a plastic sheath-like device, which locks onto the head and helps protect the cutting edge while providing a handle for easy carry. I wouldn’t necessarily keep it on when I take the hatchet into the woods, but it’s a handy way to hang it up in one’s shed or garage.
Final Thoughts on the Fiskars X7 Hatchet
I love this thing. I can get a little obsessive about weight when I’m hiking—yes, I’m one of those guys who saws the handle off his toothbrush—and the Fiskars Hatchet is light enough that I pack it on just about every backpacking trip I go on. It’s simply the best ultralight hiking hatchet I’ve found.
I know the plasticky handle look isn’t for everybody. I like a good hickory axe handle as much as the next guy, but you just can’t beat this nylon-fiberglass composite for strength and lightness. And if you’re concerned about the longevity of a hatchet with a hollow handle, allow me to remind you that I’ve been using the same Fiskars 14” X7 Hatchet for 17 years now.
Fiskars Hatchets are also a great buy in their price range, even though they’re not quite as cheap as they used to be. You used to be able to get these for around $25, but they more often go for close to $40 these days. It’s still a price I feel confident paying.
Blair Witkowski is an avid watch nut, loves pocket knives and flashlights, and when he is not trying to be a good dad to his nine kids, you will find him running or posting pics on Instagram. Besides writing articles for Tech Writer EDC he is also the founder of Lowcountry Style & Living. In addition to writing, he is focused on improving his client’s websites for his other passion, Search Engine Optimization. His wife Jennifer and he live in coastal South Carolina.