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Everyone takes an axe/hatchet with them, right ?

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    Originally posted by Odyssey View Post
    "Ever since I have kept a saw and hatchet in my vehicles." M. McCrea

    Uncle Mike.
    Lol that's a great scene!
    In that same vein, there's a Disney movie with Dick Van Dyke and Edward G. Robinson, Eddy G plays a mob boss ( go figure ) ... his son makes a play for Susan Plachette, Eddy says " keep your hands to yourself or I'll take them away from you "
    One of my daughters suitors came to pic her up one evening. While she was getting ready I got my knife and sharpener and waited for them on the front porch, sharpening the skinner. They came out as I was going scchhhoook, sccchhhoook, sccchhhoook on the stone. I smile and say, " have a good time sweetie", and then turned to him and said ...
    " remember keep your hands to yourself or I'll take 'em away from you "...
    sccchhhoook, sccchhhoook, sccchhhoook


      As usual in a cutting tool discussion I forgot my most often used and favorite, a pair of compact (retractable) bypass pruners.

      P9180029 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

      P9180031 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

      Stainless steel blades, 2oz weight but amazingly sturdy. I have tried and failed to find a similar pair of retractable mini pruners. Sadly there is no name or manufacturer on them; I’d love to have a couple more as stocking stuffers and for paddling friends.

      For sites with greenbriar or other thorny brush nothing else works as easily or as well. In camp, to rid a tent site of puncturing thorns, clear the trail into camp of nasties grabbing at my legs or nip off a small overhanging branch, gimme a mini-bypass pruner. An axe or hatchet won’t do it, and a saw is actually dangerous.

      Only useful on green stuff, but dry twiggy starter wood I can snap by hand.


        I don't always bring one... depends mostly on the trip, and whether I'm out to see sights or base camp and fish.

        For most trips, and it's mostly in the Adirondacks, I like either:

        GB Small Forest Ax (19", head kinda tuned to Boreal forest pine/birch). Thin geometry, cuts soft woods deep, splits them well enough. Not made for splitting hardwood logs.
        Norlund hatchet (hudson bay head, I've upped mine to a 14" handle). Typical geometry, made to split, cuts well enough, not good on twisty/gnarly stuff (for which a full sized ax is better).

        I also have a 4.5# Craftsman on a 32" handle, a 3?lb Norlund Ax on a 24" handle, and several smaller hatchets, none of which get much use. GB and Norlund hatchet are usually the ones that go anywhere.
        Take a course in good water and air; and in the eternal youth of Nature you may renew your own. Go quietly, alone; no harm will befall you. John Muir


          Mike, that is a nice little pruner, and I just spent some time looking for it and found several companies that claim to sell it but they are all out of stock or the page can’t be found. I’m going to keep looking but in the meantime how about this one.



            Boatman, I like that little multi-tool pruner, but I’d rather have the Leatherman I carry (actually an early stainless steel Gerber multi-tool with retractable pliers). And $21 a pop is a little more than I care to spend buying a handful for friends who do trips amidst the greenbriar and other smilax.

            Maybe for a friend who owns a large, overgrown woody spread. He has walking trails cut around his property and habitually carries a small bypass pruner in his pocket to clip off intruding branches and twiggy overhang.

            If that Gardenista pruner had a pair of nail clippers I would absolutely buy him one; he is the only person I have ever met who always (and I mean always) has a pair of nail clippers in his pocket.


              As a general rule, I don't take a hatchet, and I've never taken an ax. On a recent trip, I did pack a hatchet, which got used to flatten cans, was an upgrade to my usual method of pounding tent stakes with a rock, and was used once to pound a stick deep into a sand bar so I could use the stick to tie of my canoe. I didn't use the blade end of the hatchet at all.

              Routinely, I pack garden pruners. It is mostly used for customizing camp sites or pathways and is occasionally used to cut sticks for fire starters. I routinely pack a saw (currently, the Corona, 14", razor-toothed pruning saw).

              For specific trips where I think it useful, I have packed long-handled, Fiskars, by-pass loppers. I routinely take those on my local river, which is routinely clogged with strainers and sweepers. It makes quick work of anything branch/stick/sapling less than 1.5" (4cm).

              On cold-weather trips where I know we will be burning fires, I occasionally pack a chain saw. We still laugh about one winter-time trip into Assateague on which most paddlers were in kayaks. A buddy and I were in a tandem canoe. All of the kayakers pulled out at the normal access point to the Green Run site, but we paddled the canoe up a gut adjacent to the campsite for a shorter carry. We used pruners to improve a path through the briars from canoe to site. We gathered and cut wood, and had a good fire and excellent happy hour going when a ranger arrived at the site. The group all gathered around the table, I guess hoping to screen from the ranger's view the copious containers of alcoholic beverages. The ranger approached, glanced, unconcerned, at the booze, and demanded to know: who brought the chainsaw? I confessed. The follow-up question was, How'd you get it here?

              It is forbidden to pack anything into the camp sites at Assateague aided by motor-powered crafts or vehicles. The ranger had only seen kayaks at the landing, and seemed pretty convinced the chainsaw had not been packed in a kayak and had been dropped off via motorized conveyance of some sort. We had to take him over to where the canoe was pulled up to convince him otherwise. Once he saw the canoe, the ranger was satisfied and left us to our booze and fire, about which he was totally unconcerned.


                Originally posted by Chip View Post
                As a general rule, I don't take a hatchet, and I've never taken an ax. On a recent trip, I did pack a hatchet, which got used to flatten cans, was an upgrade to my usual method of pounding tent stakes with a rock, and was used once to pound a stick deep into a sand bar so I could use the stick to tie of my canoe.
                On sandy coastal trips or places where I know I may be sandbar camped without many stout trees I bring a spiral dog tie out stake. Like this one, but mine has a longer screw-in section. It screws in easily enough, but it ain’t pulling out without unscrewing.


                I’ve used it a bunch, especially where the only thing to tie off to is some frail bayberry or tammie sapling; easier than burying a deadman stake. I usually tie off my boat at both ends, preferably with the painters pulling in opposition.