If you’re into survival camping, taking yourself out in the wilds and away from the convenience of a modern campsite, then an axe is a very useful tool. Cutting wood, splitting logs, carving tools and even animal butchery can be aided by the use of a good camping axe.
Some axes are specialists, designed for only one job, but the best camp axe for an all-round camper should be designed to do many things. It can be confusing, so this guide to choosing the best camp axe should help you along.
What to Consider When Choosing Your Camp Axe
- Size. The biggest difference between a full-on tree chopper and a camp axe is size. As it needs to be carried, a good camp axe or hatchet is usually between 12”-24. Shorter hatchets are easier to carry, but more dangerous as your body is closer to the blade. A longer handle can reduce effort by increasing the momentum of your swing, but is obviously less wieldy when stowed in your pack.
- Strength. Your axe has two parts – head and handle. In a well-constructed axe, both should be strong and solid and the join should be firm. Newer on the market are one-piece solid axes, where handle and head are forged from the same piece of steel. These are usually lighter than two-piece axes and less likely to break.
Top 6 Best Camping Axe Suggestions
|1. Estwing E44A 16-Inch Steel Camper's Axe with Leather Sheath||16” / 2.9 lbs||$$$$||4.8|
|2. Estwing E24A Sportsman's Hatchet Metal Handle||14” / 14.9 oz||$$$||4.7|
|3. Fiskars X7 Hatchet, 14-Inch||14” / 1.4 lbs||$$||4.7|
|4. Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet [31-002070]||9.45” / 1.3lbs||$$||4.5|
|5. Gerber Gator Combo Axe II [22-41420]||15.6” / 2lbs||$$$||4.4|
|6. TEKTON 3284 20-Ounce 14-Inch Fiberglass Camp Axe||14” / 20 oz||$||4.3|
Top 3 Best Camp Axe Reviews
An all-round, all-in-one axe that just screams quality, the 16” Estwing campers axe is the finest camp axe we found.
The size is just perfect for a round of tasks: big enough for felling but small and light enough to split logs without getting tired. Beautifully balanced, the one-piece forged steel construction makes this as solid a camp axe as you’re going to find and the generous 4” cutting edge makes an impact on trees in far fewer swings.
16” is still a great size for smaller tasks, such as notching timbers or sharpening poles without losing the impact that the swing of a longer handle affords. The blunt back-end can be used as a hammer for driving in tent pegs when the ground is dry and hard. We like the Shock Reduction Grip which reduces impact shock by 50% and reducing fatigue.
This is a great camp axe for serious campers who need a serious tool without being hampered by weight.
Another solid tool from Estwing, the E24A Sportsman’s Hatchet is smaller and lighter than its 16” counterpart, making it more portable if you’ve long distances to walk.
A hatchet is perfect for smaller tasks where you don’t need so much weight behind your swing. This lightweight one-piece forged steel hatchet is super-strong and ideal for splitting small firewood or cleaning branches off logs. When finished, it packs away with a leather sheath that slips simply onto your belt.
This hatchet has a concave blade which is likely to stick if you’re splitting larger logs, but it’s still impressive for its sharpness and durability, as well as its striking good looks. The smart polished leather handle and ergonomic form feel like an extension of your arm when you’re preparing your fire and it won’t weigh you down when it’s time to move on.
Perfect for making small fires and carving useful tools, this strong and lightweight camping hatchet will last you for years.
Light and easy to carry, with the perfect power-to-weight ratio to make cutting easy and quick.
The Fiskars X7 Hatchet has a slightly unusual design with its small, narrow head inserted into a super-strong lightweight handle that they promise won’t break. It feels a little flimsy but the construction is very sound, promising to stay solid and true over many years of use.
The handle forms to match the contours of the axe head, allowing the axe to penetrate further into the wood when you chop. This means that, as well as being light and easy to swing, you cut less times to complete your task, saving energy and reducing the impact on your hand and arm.
It’s a small, narrow blade, which makes it likely to nick, but it doesn’t easily blunt. Sharp and effective, this is the best camp axe if you want your work to be light.