We come across some interesting stuff in our line of work. Researching a story on the growing popularity of ax-throwing (really!), we found that one of our favorite knife companies, Columbia River Knife & Tool, better known as CRKT, had such an offering. Reaching out, we received its Jenny Wren Compact hatchet as an example of a small, lightweight ax suitable for such competitions. Other, more purpose-built “axes” are clearly in the same vein as the “throwing knives” one sees hawked at various sideshow locations—no handle, questionable steel, etc. This is not the case with the Jenny Wren hatchet, however.
When it comes to EDC gear, you’re almost certainly not going to think of an ax or hatchet. These tools have limited application as something to have on you every day, right? Well, yes and no. While you might not need a hatchet on your person, it’s a supremely handy tool to have stashed away with your emergency gear in your car—or lashed to a bug-out bag as a “just-in-case” item. For those that live in northern climes, where snow and ice sometimes bring down tree limbs across roadways, for example, having a handy cutting tool in your vehicle might make a difference.
While I’ll admit that my formal hatchet training is significantly lacking (read: none), I’ve had many opportunities to employ one while camping. As a general survival tool, they’re quite handy to have around, more portable than a standard wood ax, but with the same general properties. No, you’re not going to split a cord of firewood with a hatchet, but if you’re trying to get a fire started, there’s little better for splitting kindling. With a triple-edged blade and SK5 steel, the Jenny Wren Compact can split small branches for your fire, then (with proper cleaning, of course) be used as a cleaver to get dinner ready. It’s a versatile tool worth considering for your bug-out bag, camping kit or vehicle-emergency gear.