Few would argue about the value of a good fixed blade knife should you find yourself lost in the wilderness. For that matter, a good knife is a must have tool for any emergency situation. However, a knife isn’t the only edged tool that could help you pull through troubled times. There are times when the task at hand requires something a bit bigger than a knife, and this is when the axe, or its smaller sibling, the hatchet, comes into play.

I doubt anyone could ever discover when man made his first knife, but being a resourceful animal, it wasn’t long after that he invented the hatchet. He found he could increase his chopping ability by attaching the blade to a shaft and the hatchet has been a useful tool ever since. Early man probably had no concept of the theories of leverage, but it worked and that is all he cared about. Apparently the value of the axe, or hatchet, is still recognized today, since just about every major knife company produces at least one model. TOPS Knives is no exception and has several models in their current product line. Recently, they began production of a new model named the HAKET.

Designed by Allen Jenson, the Hawk And Knife Emergency Tool (HAKET) has carried the usefulness of the hatchet to the extreme. Most hatchets have a fixed head with a single bit, or cutting edge. The butt, or poll, of the head may be used as a hammer, but that about ends the versatility of the standard hatchet. The HAKET incorporates a removable head that is similar in concept to the spiked tomahawk. The head is 1095 carbon steel with a small hatchet blade on one end, and a knife blade on the opposite end.
It is available with a choice of either an Outfitter’s Head or a Tactical Head—the only difference in the two would be the shape of the main cutting edge. The shaft, or handle, of the hatchet is a chrome-molly alloy with a slot for inserting the head and a heavy-duty bolt to hold everything together. The hollow handle is 14.5 inches long and is cord-wrapped at one end to provide a comfortable and secure grip. The HAKET is supplied with a two-part leather sheath and a TOPS Alligator Alley tool.

Field Test

I value versatility as much as the next man, and if you want to keep me entertained for a few hours just hand me a multi-tool. However, when I first saw the HAKET, I wondered if the added features would diminish the quality of the original tool. After all, the first job of a hatchet is to chop, and if it can’t take hard use it isn’t worth carrying the extra weight. The sample was supplied with the Tactical Head, which has a tri-beveled edge of a steeper grind when compared to the single bevel of the Outfitter’s Head. In theory, the Outfitter’s head should work better for chopping wood, while the Tactical Head should be designed for harder uses such as a breaching tool. However, both heads are only 3/16 inches thick, and I wouldn’t imagine a major difference in the two when it came to chopping small saplings. Also, with the heads being hardened steel, I was more concerned with the strength of the slotted handle and bolt. Using this new tool to clear the woods around my rifle range proved that the HAKET could hold up better than I could.

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