Summer Solstice has come and gone, July 4th is right around the corner, and here at the CRKT® headquarters that means one thing: camping season is here. Cue the maps spread out on desks and—our favorite—the rowdy debates about what actually belongs in an overnight backpack or in a car camping gear stash. The argument of the hour: the Black Woods Chogan vs. the Birler™.

Both have their place as a solid pillar in the history of human evolution; both can be credited with literally building civilizations. But when it comes down to deciding what to bring along when you can only choose one for the weekend, the office is split. For the sake of the argument, our scenario is a short overnight trip spent at a campsite that’s under a mile hike from the parking lot.

In One Corner: The Hatchet


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There are plenty of voices in the office that will defend the hatchet’s honor with serious passion. They’re effective at carving, shaving, and nearly every chore that you might put a burly pocket knife too. It’s clearly choice for more refined jobs—at least compared to a larger axe or tomahawk.

The balance a hatchet can provide wins points when it comes to field dressing big game and other one-handed situations. Plus, we can safely assume that Forged By War® designer Elmer Roush would bring along his Birler™ in this situation. If there’s anyone’s opinion we would highly respect here, it would be his.

Finally, a hatchet can be easily lashed to a belt—a clear advantage when you need to scour a wider radius for kindling and campwood.

In the Other Corner: The Tomahawk


Despite the many points the hatchet won in our debate, the tomahawk was steadfast in holding its own. Its popularity with history buffs is impossible to ignore around the CRKT® headquarters. While we don’t plan to go to war on a casual weekend camping mission, there’s still undeniable weight in the deep historical roots of the t-hawk that keeps us reaching for the formidable tool.

When it comes to utility, it does not fall short. The longer, yet still lightweight Tennessee hickory of the Black Woods Chogan handle staves off fatigue during longer cutting jobs and the superiority when it comes to balance is clear—you could chop enough wood to keep your entire campsite warm all weekend. Additionally, the hammerhead provides plenty of room and heft for pounding tent stakes.

Even with its highly effective build for more sizeable camp tasks, the subtle choil makes choking up comfortable when scraping, skinning, and putting it to more fine-tuned applications.

The Verdict

We had to end this one with a hung jury. Finesse and packability vs. power and endurance is a match that, for us, is simply too close to call. And, when you bring one along and couple it with a formidable pocket knife like the Homefront™, there’s nothing you can’t do. Which would you choose?

For more on this debate and other camp necessities, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and swing back by our blog in the near future. As always, thanks for being here and thanks for carrying CRKT®.