Gear Review - Blazing Blade Hatchet
With the end of the dreadful winter of 2014/15 finally in sight, many of us outdoorsmen and women realize that most of our trails and paths as well as hunting and fishing areas will have suffered great collateral damage. For those of us who venture out on an ATV in the spring, leaving home without a tool to clear downed brush and make things passable again is not an option. Of course, we could carry a chainsaw with us, but wouldn’t it be great if there was a lightweight, ridiculously sharp tool that could do the job easily without the bulk or breaking the bank? The folks at the Resourceful Redneck claim to have just the tool for us. We put their claims to the test for the newly released “Blazing Blade” hatchet.
The “Blazing Blade” Orange is a small and light hatchet in a distinctive blaze orange colour. The product has a clever name as the “blazing” blade could refer either to the blaze orange colour or the “blazing” speed with which you can clear brush and branches with this lightweight hatchet.
At first site, we noticed the unique shape of the molded handle. We’re not sure if this actually helps ergonomically, but handling of the tool seems natural, so we didn’t foresee it as anything other than “interesting”. In bright orange with such a unique handle, the Blazing Blade catches your eye, that’s for certain.
Weighing in at just 1 lb, 2 ounces, the Blazing Blade certainly has the lightweight thing figured out. However, unlike many products on the market, lightweight doesn’t seem to indicate “cheap” at first touch. At first, we were slightly wary of the light one-piece handle’s durability, but real world testing proved us very wrong.
The hatchet when it arrives is already well-honed to a level of sharpness that you rarely find in a hatchet. The company deftly claims it is the “sharpest tool in the shed” and they are right. The stainless steel blade has been honed to a fine edge.
The hatchet can be purchased either alone or as part of the “blind builders special.” When packaged as part of that combo, it comes with the “jumbo anvil ratchet lopper.” The hatchet is tie-wrapped to one of the limbs of the ratcheting lopper and it offers a bit of a cost savings versus buying the two items separately.
Manufacturers Claim: This IS the sharpest tool in the shed! The stainless steel razor sharp blade will never let you down
In the field:
The distributors at a local outdoor show in Moncton, NB were demonstrating the edge by shaving their arm hair easily. It seemed so sharp that we were skeptical that they hadn't done some “touching up” of their demonstration model. We didn't expect the one we ordered to come with that same knife-edge, but were amazed when it did. Be aware when handling this hatchet... it is extremely sharp!
Manufacturers Claim: Weighing in at just over a pound
In the field:
One of things we were most impressed by in using this tool was how much you can cut without feeling fatigue from the weight of the device. In an axe, sometimes additional weight is a benefit simply due to the physics of the swing, but with a hatchet made for easy transport and storage, we were very happy with the 18 ounce tool in our backpack after snowshoeing a mile into one of our Bear Sites recently.
Manufacturers Claim: One piece moulded handle is lightweight, yet can take anything you can throw at it.
In the field:
This was the claim we had the most concern about testing. When we first picked up the Blazing Blade, we thought such a light weight moulded handle could perhaps flex or bend in use. Once we actually got it out in the field, we were shocked. We swung the hatchet through frozen limbs on downed trees across our trail on several occasions and didn’t feel the slightest risk of bending or warping. Whatever technology the Resourceful Redneck team has used to keep the weight down was not at the expense of strength and (seemingly) durability.
Cost: $24.95 retail price on www.resourcefulredneck.com
We purchased the blazing blade hatchet as part of the “blind builders special” which saves you several dollars over the individual retail price of buying them separately.
Real World Thoughts:
The blazing blade hatchet is a very versatile little hatchet. As the company says, it weighs slightly over a pound which makes it very easy to backpack into an area if you're travelling a distance. It is also barely over a foot long which means it will fit easily into a backpack or trunk of your ATV. We would have no problem carrying in this hatchet for long distances.
The hatchet comes in a blaze orange coloured molded handle that you normally don't see on trimming tools. Since it is geared toward hunters, it seems an appropriate choice. Should you be out in the woods making some noise while clearing an area; the added safety of having the blaze orange colour may assist in keeping you safe from an over-eager hunter who comes to investigate.
We were also happy to find that the construction of the hatchet allows for the metal of the other side of the blade to extend past the molded plastic handle. Should you have any reason to “hammer” on it (perhaps when you have gotten it wedged someplace or you need a little extra force) you will not need to fear about breaking that plastic handle off.
In testing we found the blade to cut very well and although we only used it on one outing, there was no evident damage to the blade. It has a very good and balanced feel and a comfortable handle. We were impressed by the depth of cut even with a single swing of this very sharp hatchet. We are looking forward to using it further to clear for blind assembly as the weather clears and will update our review upon further testing.
The sheath, is a sticking (pun intended) point for us. It’s both a “Positive” and a “Negative”. The hatchet arrives with a snug-fitting black sheath of synthetic construction. It does a good job of protecting the blade and protecting you and your other equipment from the sharp hatchet. Without a sheath it would easily work its way through any backpack you put it into, so this is an essential accessory that the company has included with your purchase. However, with all that being said, the Wilderness Obsession team is not a fan of velcro. It makes a very loud, unnatural sound and we would much rather have something fastened with some other method such as snaps. Although the sheath is of good quality, it fastens with velcro which is something to note if you're planning to do a bit of trimming in an area immediately prior to hunting. If we planned to take this hatchet back in the woods in a situation like that, we would have to replace the sheath or possibly remove the velcro and add snaps.
The Bottom Line:
The hatchet is a solid, lightweight product that seems well worth the cost. If you purchase it in the “blind builders special” then the two tools present a good value and a formidable package for clearing and preparing a hunting area. The hatchet also presents a good value when purchased separately, especially when compared to similar products by other manufacturers.
We hope future renditions will come with a snap-sheath, but regardless, we’ve already planned an order for another two of these fine Resourceful Redneck “Blind Builders Specials”. That should speak volumes on its own.
If you would like to have one of these hatchets for yourself, head on over to www.resourcefulredneck.com where you can find this and other products and order from them. Watch for their items at hunting shows and in some outdoor stores in the near future, as well as a slated appearance on CBC's “Dragon's Den.”
Contact us and let us know!