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TacoOffroad
Guest Paddler
 
09/16/2021 04:31PM  
Wondering if people still bring a big hatchet and saw when there is a campfire ban on?
 
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09/16/2021 05:19PM  
I don’t think I’d bring a saw, but I might bring my hatchet. With water temps cooling off, there could be an emergency situation where I dump my canoe and need to build a fire-even if there is a fire ban.
ockycamper
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09/16/2021 05:25PM  
I would go the other way. . . far more serious accidents happen with a hatchet then a saw.
RetiredDave
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09/16/2021 05:49PM  
I always bring a saw (Gomboy) and a fixed blade knife (Morakniv) for battening (sp?) the wood. Haven't used or wanted a hatchet in years. Even with a fire ban, the knife has many uses, and the saw is light and can come in handy (cutting a tarp pole).

Dave
Paddle4Hike
member (39)member
 
09/16/2021 06:34PM  
Just tripped last week. One of the last things I did in the lot at the EP was take my Small Forest Axe out and leave it in the car. Kept a saw: clear a portage, help with emergency fire building, tree falls on campsite…the normal potential.
09/16/2021 06:36PM  
Hatchet went off the packing list when we traveled with teenage boys. It never went back on the list.
tumblehome
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09/16/2021 09:54PM  
bobbernumber3: "Hatchet went off the packing list when we traveled with teenage boys. It never went back on the list."

+1

Totally unnecessary. Like bringing a bag of charcoal.
mutz
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09/16/2021 10:49PM  
Small hand axe has gone on every trip and always will.
whyzata
member (44)member
 
09/17/2021 05:09AM  
Never been on my list either. More clutter and stuff. I've gotten away from fires and rely on camp stoves. The only way I'd use a hatchet is to pound tent stakes in, but rocks work just as well.
PeaceFrog
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09/17/2021 06:35AM  
Not worth the weight. I feel like that has become clear based on 99% of the responses.
09/17/2021 06:37AM  
Not referring to a fire ban, but if it's been raining steadily for 3+ days with cool temps, you're going to wish you had brought an axe/hatchet.
JN
senior member (56)senior membersenior member
 
09/17/2021 08:30AM  
We usually bring a small axe and a compact saw. When we went a couple weeks ago, we brought the saw in case we needed an emergency fire but left the axe home. Honestly, we bring the axe more because we enjoy using it than it being necessary for making a fire. A folding saw and a good knife are adequate for emergency fire tools in the warmer months. That being said, if I was tripping later in the season with a higher possibility of freezing temps, the axe would have come along.
mschi772
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09/17/2021 08:34AM  
I don't even bring a hatchet/axe into any warm season backcountry trips when there *isn't* a fire ban. If actually *must* split something--which is almost never--my knife works just fine. Most of the time I don't even have a fire anyway. I could easily get by without a saw or a knife either to be completely honest.
Savage Voyageur
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09/17/2021 08:52AM  
No don’t bring a hatchet during a fire ban. If needed you can baton wood with a fixed blade knife. In my opinion everyone should definitely bring a fixed blade knife anyway.

Early season, Late season, days of rain, non fire ban, then by all means bring a hatchet.
BearBurrito
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09/17/2021 10:02AM  
I have never brought a hatchet or ax with. I don't think I ever will. But I always bring a small folding saw. It has too many other uses besides just cutting firewood for me to leave it at home.
09/17/2021 11:45AM  
We typically carry a saw in the BWCA/Q, but never an axe or hatchet. Seldom have a fire, but have sometimes need the saw for portage trail clearing. On a recent Algonquin trip, the portages were so immaculately maintained that when we looped past our put-in point mid-way through the trip, we left the saw (and some other unneeded weight) in our vehicle.

TZ
papalambeau
senior member (64)senior membersenior member
 
09/17/2021 12:45PM  
Not during a fire ban but all other times a small hatchet and saw make the trip. Love our evening camp fires.
PeaceFrog
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09/17/2021 02:30PM  
I digress. For me it is not worth the weight. I like to trim weight and travel light. It's clearly personal preference. No matter what you take, use it safely to ensure a good trip. Cheers!
SinglePortage
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09/17/2021 11:05PM  
For winter trips splitting wood with a fixed blade knife doesn't cut it. October and November trips the small forrest axe usually comes too. I hate the extra weight, but I usually stay a little closer to the entry point when nasty weather might force a hasty exit.
IowaFishinGuy
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09/18/2021 07:53AM  
Everybody hating on hatchets...during a fire ban, I would still bring something along that would allow you to cut trees that are in your way, make improvised tent poles, start emergency fires, etc. If you feel more comfortable using a small hatchet over a folding saw, bring the hatchet. Personally, in a fire ban situation, I would go the folding saw & knife route, but no fire ban I bring a hatchet every time
09/18/2021 08:06AM  
IowaFishinGuy: "....something along that would allow you to cut trees that are in your way, make improvised tent poles, ...."

Especially trees blocking your view of the lake or overhanging the trail to the latrine.... Some trees are just in the way of your perfect tent site as well!
mschi772
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09/18/2021 09:00AM  
bobbernumber3: "IowaFishinGuy: "....something along that would allow you to cut trees that are in your way, make improvised tent poles, ...."


Especially trees blocking your view of the lake or overhanging the trail to the latrine.... Some trees are just in the way of your perfect tent site as well!"


I think it took actual cringe damage from this.
whyzata
member (44)member
 
09/18/2021 09:01AM  
100% percent agree with Peace Frog. Less weight and clutter is always my objective.
09/18/2021 11:44AM  
In fifty plus years of camping trips I have never needed to clear a tree for any reason. For bwca trips I usually leave the hatchet and saw at home. For wabakimi and Canada canoe trips where we might be running rapids the saw and hatchet are necessary as is my machete. While I have never done it my brother has had canoes wrapped in rapids. He was stuck on the the winisk river for two days before they dislodged their canoe. Had he brought tools he could have easily removed his canoe from the obstruction. On river trips I also bring a set of pulleys and good rope. Never needed them but the Boy Scout motto ‘be prepared’ is thoroughly a part of my planning
tumblehome
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09/18/2021 09:42PM  
IowaFishinGuy: "Everybody hating on hatchets...during a fire ban, I would still bring something along that would allow you to cut trees that are in your way, make improvised tent poles, start emergency fires, etc…..I bring a hatchet every time"

Help me out people. Is this for real or am I being punked?
09/19/2021 07:41AM  
tumblehome: "IowaFishinGuy: "Everybody hating on hatchets...during a fire ban, I would still bring something along that would allow you to cut trees that are in your way, make improvised tent poles, start emergency fires, etc…..I bring a hatchet every time"


Help me out people. Is this for real or am I being punked?"


I took it for real.
09/19/2021 06:12PM  
tumblehome: "IowaFishinGuy: "Everybody hating on hatchets...during a fire ban, I would still bring something along that would allow you to cut trees that are in your way, make improvised tent poles, start emergency fires, etc…..I bring a hatchet every time"


Help me out people. Is this for real or am I being punked?"
I took it to mean tent poles from downed trees, and cutting trees over the portage that are down.
09/19/2021 06:13PM  
bobbernumber3: "tumblehome: "IowaFishinGuy: "Everybody hating on hatchets...during a fire ban, I would still bring something along that would allow you to cut trees that are in your way, make improvised tent poles, start emergency fires, etc…..I bring a hatchet every time"



Help me out people. Is this for real or am I being punked?"



I took it for real. "


I took it to mean making poles with downed trees and clearing trees down on portages.
09/19/2021 11:42PM  
okinaw55: "bobbernumber3: "tumblehome: "IowaFishinGuy: "Everybody hating on hatchets...during a fire ban, I would still bring something along that would allow you to cut trees that are in your way, make improvised tent poles, start emergency fires, etc…..I bring a hatchet every time"



Help me out people. Is this for real or am I being punked?"




I took it for real. "



I took it to mean making poles with downed trees and clearing trees down on portages."


In Boy Scout days we would need straight pieces to erect our canvas baker tents. Often you would find these left from previous campers. That was the good old days.
mjmkjun
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09/20/2021 05:04AM  
Hatchet +thick leather gloves. Even a small ax is justifiable. Only, not during a fire ban.
Handy when a site has been picked clean of firewood but there's that huge tree laying on its side with all branches sawed off/used.
( No, don't pick it up when your bored and start whacking at thing to express your creativity or lack of. Keep to the 'Leave No Trace ethics. It ain't the 1800's, ya know?)
09/21/2021 03:30PM  
When I was about 11 I camped alone on a trout stream in Mich. I brought my BSA hatchet into the tent with me, I needed it to fight off the boogey man.
I don't bring a hatchet on BWCA or warm weather trips but I always bring a light weight Fiskers hatchet on late fall and winter trips, even day hikes. I do however bring a pair of small pruning shears or nippers along to cut fuel for my twig stove in the BWCA.
HayRiverDrifter
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09/22/2021 02:57AM  
bobbernumber3: "Hatchet went off the packing list when we traveled with teenage boys. It never went back on the list."

+1
In fact, the 12 year old that came on my recent trip decided to grab a hatchet at home last year to cut down some brush and proceeded to drive it into his knee. An accident like that is a trip ending event. No hatchet on my trips.
MidwestFirecraft
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09/22/2021 06:48AM  
HayRiverDrifter: "bobbernumber3: "Hatchet went off the packing list when we traveled with teenage boys. It never went back on the list."


+1
In fact, the 12 year old that came on my recent trip decided to grab a hatchet at home last year to cut down some brush and proceeded to drive it into his knee. An accident like that is a trip ending event. No hatchet on my trips."


Not going to argue with either of these statements. I do want to note how sad it is that very few boys and girls (men and women) have been shown how to use an axe/knife/saw, etc. safely. There is of course and inherent risk anytime you use an edged tool, so if you choose not to bring one I am not arguing with you. I have been taking children as young as 8. They have their own fixed blade knife and help with cutting and splitting firewood. They have all seen me properly use a blade, and must demonstrate they can safely and responsibly do so before hand.
I am in my 40's and when friends ask to borrow my chainsaw I immediately say "no, but I will come cut what you need." I have personally seen several cuts from bow saws, hatchets, and knives from people who just picked one up with no training. Non of these cuts compares to what a chainsaw in the hands of the untrained will do. These are apples and oranges, and no one is talking about chainsaws, my point is any cutting tool used by the ignorant is dangerous, and it is sad how very few now adult men and women have any idea how to use them.
09/22/2021 08:21AM  
One boy has a brain
Two boys have half a brain
Three boys have no brains at all.

We had three boys. End of hachet.
JN
senior member (56)senior membersenior member
 
09/22/2021 09:29AM  
MidwestFirecraft - I agree. It is sad how people are no longer learning how to use tools. And even more sad that the trend is to remove certain tools from use as opposed to teaching how to properly use them. I would rather raise confident, competent youngsters.

Certainly, the BW is not an ideal place to teach or to learn how to use an axe, and even people skilled with an axe would be wise to take extra care when in the backcountry. If an axe is not a tool you are comfortable with, there's no shame in recognizing that and leaving it home. In fact, I would count that as wisdom. My group usually brings an axe (or two). The guys who use the axe have been doing so since childhood. The rest of the group doesn't use it. We also bring a complete trauma kit, and I and a couple of the other guys are trained how to use it. It's like canoeing - you can drown. So you learn how to swim and wear a life jacket. You know your limits and don't paddle on rough waters.
JN
senior member (56)senior membersenior member
 
09/22/2021 10:05AM  
bobbernumber3: "One boy has a brain
Two boys have half a brain
Three boys have no brains at all.


We had three boys. End of hachet."


Didn't see your post before posting my above comment. Not meaning it as a shot at you.
09/22/2021 03:26PM  
JN: "bobbernumber3: "One boy has a brain
Two boys have half a brain
Three boys have no brains at all.

We had three boys. End of hachet."


Didn't see your post before posting my above comment. Not meaning it as a shot at you."


No offense taken. I thought you made several good points with your post.

09/22/2021 05:51PM  
I love these threads! I click on every one and it's never disappointing. Quite the polarizing topic!
Ultimately we all just need to do what we feel most comfortable with.
I bring a SFA, skipped it once and missed it. I also bring a saw. I like tools and gear and it's an enjoyable part of the trip for me. I keep a fire going in camp and cook on it for most all meals.
Fire ban would probably get them left behind though.....maybe


09/23/2021 09:25AM  


I have been wanting to get a small hand axe. As in 10" long or less. Pretty much a wedge with a handle. I'm not a fan of big swings out in the BWCA but I still want the option to split wood. I've tried the fixed blade knife approach but I didn't like it. I'd at least like to be able to do small chops with the axe to get it started or split small branches without a log mallet.

BTW: How do you end the running quote?
Castaway
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09/23/2021 11:09AM  

running quote fix (I tried anyway!)
09/23/2021 11:12AM  
A1t2o: "

I have been wanting to get a small hand axe. As in 10" long or less. Pretty much a wedge with a handle. I'm not a fan of big swings out in the BWCA but I still want the option to split wood. I've tried the fixed blade knife approach but I didn't like it. I'd at least like to be able to do small chops with the axe to get it started or split small branches without a log mallet.

BTW: How do you end the running quote?"

May be worth looking at the GB Small Forrest Axe(or the like). It's probably 20" but slides along the side of a pack easy. Can use comfortably 1 or 2 handed. You're not dropping anything so no need for anything bigger IMO. But it sure could if needed. I'm not swinging to split either, lots of info on how to go about it safely and not be chopping. You can sure split with a knife or a saw for that matter but it's not for me either, unless I'm in a situation. We do mostly shoulder season camping, no stranger to cold rain or frost or snow. We burn a lot for our purposes and I split a lot. I grew up around it living in N MN and had a cabin in N WI. Grandpa's and parents taught me and I guess I'm comfortable with it. I have a kid now and she's absolutely learning "sharp object" safety. Definitely not worth the risk if you're not proficient. As many around here can attest. I too have a friend who bounced a hatchet off a springy branch and into his cheek. 12hrs to get out to the hospital, nice scar now to go with an embarrassing story.
RunningFox
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09/23/2021 09:59PM  
Thinking about whether or not to bring a hatchet is good, but just doing it is better still.
Mocha
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09/25/2021 07:59PM  
Not needed except for extreme situations which you will never know in advance. A good saw or two will get your party out of most predicaments and cut wood for fire, too
09/27/2021 08:16AM  
Got me thinking...I do not believe I have ever been on a trip with anyone who has brought a hatchet or axe. Can't say I have missed it.
09/27/2021 11:15AM  
Isn't it about time to bury the hatchet?

TZ

09/27/2021 02:01PM  
I don’t travel alone and always take 2 hatchets to split wood as green wood burns better if it’s split for some reason. We never swing like an ax however, that’s too risky for me.
Use one to hit the top of the other one.
I’ve used an axes and hatchets my whole life but I won’t when I’m 1 to 3 days away from a surgeon.
If you want to swing an axe or hatchets on your trip I don’t care. But they aren’t allowed on my trips!
mschi772
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09/28/2021 07:28AM  
Captn Tony: "green wood burns better if it’s split for some reason"


Dead, down, and dry wood burns even better, and you don't have to break any rules to gather it.
09/28/2021 10:42AM  
mschi772: "Captn Tony: "green wood burns better if it’s split for some reason"


Dead, down, and dry wood burns even better, and you don't have to break any rules to gather it."

So I shouldn’t be cutting down trees. Who’d a thunk up that rule?
Actually I meant noncured down wood, which most years seems to be about 50% of the wood I find.
 
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