American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) advertises their Ono Camp Hatchet as a Jeeper’s best friend, but does it really live up to their marketing claims?
When I think of a Jeeper’s best friend, I think of Dana 60 axles,
a friend with a trailer, HEMI swaps, and big ole’ mud tires. Now AEV is known for making some pretty serious equipment (good enough to be used by an OEM manufacture), but a hatchet? Has AEV finally sold out in the same fashion as when Carol Shelby started putting his name on Durango’s (yes this really happened)?
AEV’s Ono Camp Hatchet is made by Silky in Ono Japan. Weighing in at just under 2 pounds, and made of alloy steel, the Ono Camp Hatchet is designed to process small diameter timber and “clear trail”. It also features a custom fit sheath, and a loop in the rear that allows you to attach a lanyard.
During the DirtRoadTrip Summer 2015 Camp Out I spent about an hour processing small pieces of dead fall with the camp hatchet and it proved to be an ergonomic design. The rubber handle allowed me to keep a firm grip (even with my sweaty hands) and it was easy to swing with plenty of force.
Although everything wasn’t perfect, right out of the gate I had a few issues with the camp hatchet. The first one was that it wasn’t very sharp. It might just have been the one we got from the factory, but it didn’t have a very good edge. The second major issues is that I think it’s false advertising when they claim this is a great tool for “clearing trail”. Now I realize that it’s a pretty open ended term, but the average Jeep owner is more likely to run into some pretty serious dead fall that will require a chainsaw. Even for smaller tasks, you would be better served by a machete.
Finally I was surprised that AEV would blatantly re-brand a foreign product, especially when they pride themselves on manufacturing so many of their products in the United States. The good news is that you’re not paying a premium for the AEV branded version (which is not the norm for the industry), it retails at the same amount as the Silky model. The bad news is that all you’re getting is a AEV badge.
Overall the AEV Ono Camp Hatchet is a good hatchet and when sharp does a great job around the camp chopping wood. If you’re a big AEV fan and you have to own everything they make with their logo, then I would fork over the $148.95. If you’re not that guy, I would take a pass on this one and just stick to their awesome bumpers.
- Good for processing small timber under 2″ in diameter.
- Comfortable rubber handle
- Well built sheath.
- Not very sharp from the factory
- Not good for “clearing trail”
- Made in Japan/re-branded item