In the Newberry Award winning book “Hatchet,” by Gary Paulsen, the main character struggles to survive in the Canadian wilderness following a plane crash in which all other passengers died. While ingenuity, vigilance and a positive attitude all contributed to his survival, his most vital tool — used for everything from protection from predators to carving spears — was his trusty hatchet. While hatchets are often the fodder of horror movies and old expressions about making nice after an argument, these small, single-handed axes continue to be indispensable tools both in everyday and emergency conditions.
From the Frontier to the Contemporary Home
The pioneers used hatchets for a variety of domestic tasks, such as splitting and cutting kindling, as well as hunting, killing and field dressing game. While life has grown more sophisticated since then, hatchets still maintain a prominent domestic role. In a pinch, these lightweight and malleable tools can substitute for a kitchen knife and be used to chop vegetables!
In the Wilderness
In addition to the above chores, hatchets can also be used in the wilderness — both as a camping accessory and in extreme survival situations. The ability to build a fire is one of the most important survival skills needed; if you are in need of warmth or light, a hatchet can be use to shave wood for kindling; the same wood can be chopped into a splint to treat broken bones.
Meanwhile, the hatchet’s metal head can also be used as a reflector to signal for assistance in an emergency.
During the winter months, a hatchet can be used to dig and cut through snow in order to build a fire pit or shelter; this is not only an effective means of getting the job done, but also spares your hands from dangerous exposure to the elements.
While hatchet-wielding mass murderers may abound in the movies, in real life a hatchet can be a useful deterrent against threats in the field. Whether hunting or being hunted, a hatchet is a powerful defensive weapon.
In all of these situations, the hatchet is particularly useful because of its compact dexterity, making it easy to manipulate and transport. When choosing a hatchet, seek out a lightweight, durable model, such as the popular Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet or other hatchet options, depending on your specific requirements.
No one likes to consider the worst case scenario, but taking the time to do so now is a critical part of surviving in the event that the catastrophic does occur. A hatchet is an invaluable tool that offers a multitude of everyday applications as well as unparalleled utilitarianism in the event of an emergency.
Joanna Hughes writes on all subjects, ranging from lifestyle and home to sports and outdoor activities.
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