The Mini Hatchet from Gransfors Bruks qualifies as the sporting blade you didn’t know you need. Carrying the belt axe or tomahawk is an option many people don’t even think about today, but it used to be standard equipment on the frontier. Lennart Pettersson, one of the smiths at the Gransfors Bruks foundry in Sweden, based this new axe pattern on the belt axe of early America but redesigned it for today’s hunters, backpackers, and other adventurers.
The Mini Hatchet is surprisingly small with a 2-1/2-inch cutting edge and an overall length of ten inches. The Mini weighs 12 ounces, heavy in backpacking terms but still light enough to comfortably carry. For the same weight investment as a large Bowie knife, you could be carrying a more efficient hickory-handled chopping axe. If chopping is what you do, whether in camp work or when field dressing large game animals, the hatchet does better work.
You’ll notice considerable difference between this completely hand forged axe and any factory-made hatchet you’ve used. Most camp axes today are ground with thickly wedged bits and work poorly unless you have the time and the skill to reshape the cutting edge yourself. There’s a fine balance between an acute wedge that cuts well and one that folds over against hard wood. The same bevel that works perfectly in one axe could fail in the next because of differences in temper the factory didn’t even notice. An axe like the Mini Hatchet that’s right from the start is a real find.
Gransfors Bruks includes a leather sheath for the cutting edge. It’s possible to comfortably carry this axe by looping the sheath strap around your belt, frontier style. I’ve not found this practical when wearing a backpack. Tuck the axe in a backpack pocket and you won’t lose it.