On a random trip to the wonderful world of Walmart with the wife. I decided to browse through their camping section, just to see if they had anything interesting. While browsing through the camping hatchets, I found this interesting little Ozark Trail Para Cord Hatchet With Fire Starter. At a price point of just under $13, I decided to pick it up and try it out while doing some bushcraft practice.
The first thing I noticed was how light weight the para cord hatchet was. Which comes in at 11.2 ounces. The blade had a cover in the packaging, so it was hard to tell how sharp it was without opening the package. My concern was that the weight and length would make it hard to do much, other than cutting small limbs for a campfire.
One thing that I really liked with the para cord hatchet, was that it was flat. I figure the hatchet is either 440B or 440C steel. It is all one piece, and the para cord is wrapped tightly. It comes with a nylon case that Velcro’s together, similar to a Velcro wallet. The hatchet also has 3 sizes of hex wrenches built into the head. A 3/8″, 1/2″, and 5/8″ for repairing your gear in an emergency.
Once we made it home, I went straight outside to test my new para cord hatchet out. Being that it came with a magnesium alloy fire starter, I figured I would gather up some firewood and start a fire. I scoured the floor of the forest and found some different types of limbs to test the hatchet on.
The first type of branch I tried the para cord hatchet on, was a loblolly pine branch. The hatchet surprised me and made rather quick work of the branch. After the success with the pine branch I was feeling good. So I tried an oak branch. The oak branch was much harder to cut through. It took me a few minutes to cut through a roughly 2 inch thick branch. Never the less, it got the job done.
Next, I shaved some wood for tinder and pulled out the magnesium alloy fire starter. I shaved some of the magnesium onto my tinder, and flipped the hatchet around to the flat back piece. My tinder was lit in 2 strikes from the fire starter.
Overall I would recommend this bushcraft hatchet for light use. I wouldn’t try to cut larger branches with it. The lightweight design is definitely a pro and a con. As most of you know the more a hatchet weighs and the longer it is, the more leverage and energy it will have to make deeper and faster cuts.
The para cord hatchet is cheap enough, as well as small enough to keep in your pack for emergency use. It can be a great supplement to your main bushcraft hatchet. I didn’t try splitting tender with it, but I feel like it would do a good job if you hit it with a piece of wood. Hitting the head of the hatchet with something metal is an unknown. I will have to give it a try and get back to you.
I really feel that Walmart is really trying to step it up when it comes to their camping equipment. They aren’t trying to compete with the big name outdoor outfitters. But their gear has come along way from what is used to be. For a standard camping trip, one that isn’t in extreme weather conditions. Walmart camping gear can get the job done pretty easily.
I am pleasantly surprised with this Ozark trail para cord hatchet. I feel that it is a perfectly acceptable tool to bring on your next adventure. This para cord hatchet would really shine in your ultralight backpacking setup. It’s so lightweight and flat, that it doesn’t even feel like it should count in your backpack. This tool is great for beginners and campers on a budget! In conclusion, this is a more than adequate hatchet for beginners and experts alike.