Pros: Head Material, Balance, Construction, Weight, Handle Material
This little hatchet compares favorably with offerings from Wetterlings and Gransfors Bruk that cost much more. Like its more expensive counterparts, it performs well as a carving axe, a claim which similar products from comparably priced offerings from other manufacturers can't match. There is not another comparable product on the market that can do as much as well as this one does for the price. As a general camping tool, its light weight belies its ability in competent hands. For shelter production and campfire fuel, this hatchet is master of its own realm if wood not over about 61/2" to 7" in diameter is used. Due to its size and weight, it overlaps the utility of a machete and larger axe in some applications. If you are hacking your way through a thicket or jungle, the utility of a machete supersedes this item handily. If your need for firewood and shelter trends toward larger logs, a heavier axe offers obviously greater utility. For other campsite activities, such as carving and fashioning camp utensils, etc., the functions of this tool overlap substantially with a knife. While this tool is not an an adequate substitute for any of the above mentioned tools, its light weight and design features offer an indispensable option for the weight conscious backpacker. Although I initially purchased my specimen as a novelty, it quickly replaced other hatchets by Estwing, Husqvarna and others as my first choice for overnight camping trips and day hikes. As with any other cutting tool, it is only as good as its edge. My specimen takes and holds an edge very well. While I rate this item very highly, I do have some concerns with this and other Condor products that many would consider trivial. For instance, all illustrations of this item present the bit as representing a nearly straight line from toe to heel. This is desirable. My specimen is a bit more convex than I would prefer, but has not so far been a detriment. Similarly, I bought a Condor knife on-line that did not resemble its illustration very closely, much to my disappointment.