Monday, May 11, 2015

Condor Tool and Knife Classic Hatchet Field Testing

I have been testing a wide variety of axes and hatchets over the last year or so trying to determine what my go to kit would be for most of the year. I have had my reservations on choosing anything aside from a mid to full size axe but there were a few along the way that surprised me and I thought I would start to review those here. The smallest by far was the Condor Tool and Knife Classic hatchet and I have to say it performed all of the camp tasks quite well. Now don't get me wrong you can't take on a large standing oak with this thing but smaller camp tasks are not a problem. Below is a link to where you can get one for your kit!
 
GREAT LOOKING PIECE OF KIT: First of all the Condor is a good looking piece of kit! The leather mask/sheath is one of the better available on the market that comes with an axe as stock. The dark leather with snap button leave you with the ability to still use this tool as a hammer with the edge being protected. While this little hatchet is the smallest I tested it still packs a huge punch and blows some of the larger hatchets out of the water with the amount of value and versatility it adds to your kit.
FIT/FORM: One of the first thing I look for is fit and comfort. If the tool isn't comfortable to use then you won't practice with it and you won't use it long term. This knife as you can see below fits the hand well in every position and is perfectly balanced in the hand. So how did I use this tool for testing? Feather sticking and fine carving, chopping, scraping (use as a spokes shave) and as a hammer. In each of these tasks the hatchet performed at or above expectations. Like I said before, don't expect to chop a large tree down with this hatchet but a 6" diameter tree isn't outside the realm of reason.

SPLITTING WOOD: The largest piece of wood I was able to split without any problems was ~12" in diameter and split in two swings. While I wouldn't want to split a cord of wood with this little thing it would be fine for processing fuel into smaller fire materials. I only tried to chop down three small trees to make a tripod and it accomplished this task with ease, while my Bacho Laplander would accomplish the task a little faster it was still functional.
CRAFTING: So I needed to make a few tent stakes and could have made all four out of this one log but decided to make to so it was easier to see in the pictures. Simply split the wood and make two or three swings to make a nice sharp point for the tarp stake.
Hammer: This little hatchet shines as a camp hammer. While testing it out I probably used it than anything as a hammer. It was used to crack open walnuts, drive tarp stakes, drive a digging stick into rocky soil, drive posts to make fire reflector and beat gear back into shape (frozen Stainless steel water bottle with bulging bottom).
FIRE PREP: I already established that this little hatchet will make larger fuel into manageable
smalls for your fire lay but it also make great feather stick to use as tinder to get your fire started. You can easily make a pile of feather sticks to get your tinder and fuel all in one and have a roaring fire ready to go in just a few minutes. 

Need An Axe? Try One of These:
 

Conclusions:
While I have never been one to carry anything other than a large "survival" knife and a larger axe during the winter. I can see a lot of utility in this little tool for those who don't believe in or who avoid batoning wood with their belt knives at any cost. If a hatchet were going to make it into my kit it may very well be this one to leave in camp to process wood each night for my fires to save my primary knife for long-term survival tasks. Overall this little hatchet performs as well as you would expect (assuming you are not expect to act like a lumber jack) and exceeded my expectations at almost every turn. If you are in the market for a hatchet for your kit this would be an excellent place for anyone to start!

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