Design-wise, camping hatchets and axes are relatively similar. The main difference between them is the size, which leads to fundamental differences in the way each tool is handled.
Hatchets are smaller, lighter, and easier to handle than an ax. They are built with one-hand operation in mind; thus, they have shorter shafts and are more suitable for lighter rather than heavy-duty applications.
The heads of the two tools are also fundamentally different, with hatches presenting a slightly narrower head with a larger cutting blade compared to traditional axes. Needless to say, their smaller size and lower weight make them easier to carry for lengths of time, so most hatchets are suitable for backpacking and car camping alike.