Best Camping Axes Reviewed and Tested
Gearing up for your next big adventure in the great outdoors? No matter if you’re into survival camping in the wilderness away from the convenience of a modern campsite or just enjoying a great campfire with your friends; don’t forget to bring an axe. No camping trip is complete without a campfire, and building a good fire means cutting wood, splitting logs, and carving tools. Whether you are roughing in the deep backcountry, cutting down trees and hacking apart logs, or sleeping in a luxury RV and breaking up sticks, having a one of the best camping axes available today could aid you in building the perfect fire, no matter where you go.
Our Top 3 Picks
When you go camping or hunting, you could often find yourself in desperate circumstances where a freak summer storm blows in and you obviously don’t want a snow storm to interrupt your trip you’ve been planning for so long. But because you have a good camping axe at your disposal it could come in handy to help you survive your trip rather than struggling to chop wood with a knife or hammer. You would realize the importance of a camping axe the moment the temperature starts dropping and you’d find yourself in a desperate need for a warming fire. So this is where a camping axe turns out to be your best camping companion.
Why Do You Need a Camping Axe?
When camping in the deep backcountry away from the hustle and bustle of the city life you left behind, having a tool to aid you is a must. Cutting wood, splitting logs, and even animal butchery can be aided by the use of a proper camping axe. They also come in handy when sharpening sticks for roasting food over the fire, or to hunt. Axes or hatchets are far more efficient and useful in the wilderness. Studies suggest that prehistoric humanoids who used axes and hatchets were more advanced and had better hunting skills than those who used knives only.
After all, no matter if you’re an active survivalist or a professional hunter, you need to be aware that axes and hatchets can bring you far ahead of your enemies and gives you an heads-up to speed up your game when it comes to hunting. Some axes are designed for only one job, but some of the best camping axes for an all-round camper are designed to do many things. They can help you in an emergency situation when you need to break some wooden pieces after a freaky storm, or in extreme situations, self-defense. They have a whole host of survival uses and are a perfect camping tool to have around.
Choosing the Best Camping Axes
Having the right axe can make a huge difference in your whole camping experience, but how odd you decide which one is right for you? The best camping axes can be used for more than just chopping a few logs during your journey into the wild. Whatever the situation is, an axe will be an invaluable item in your inventory. The axe you choose depends largely on how you plan to use it. If you’re looking for a hand axe for the family cabin, you might want to have one that’s great for chopping wood, while a hatchet or a surviving axe for an alpine hike should be lightweight and replace as many tools as possible.
Understanding the Parts
Knowing about the parts of a camping axe or a survival axe and what makes for good or bad quality with these parts help you with your selection of your axe.
Handle – This is the most crucial part of any survival or camping axe and is made from a straight-grained piece of wood, usually hickory. With technological advancements, camping axes have come a long way. Today, many axes have handles made of fibreglass or metal. An axe handle directs the force on the axe head, and takes all the hard beating so you need a great handle for your surviving tool. Take a note of the grain before choosing a wooden handle axe. The grain of the wood should be directed towards the blade as this is the strongest orientation of the grain to withstand force. The horizontal grain, on the other hand, is more likely to break under severe force.
Head – This is the part of the axe which bites into the wood. The best quality axes are those made out of forged steel with a high carbon cutting edge. Just so you know, the entire blade of the axe doesn’t have to be high carbon steel, in fact the head is better off being low carbon steel to give the blade more flex. The Vikings used to make their axes the similar way – low carbon steel head with a high carbon steel cutting edge.
Factors to Consider
Choosing the best camping axe or hatchet is an essential part of a great outdoor and camping experience, whether it’s a fun camping trip just a short drive outside of town or a serious hunting trip out in the middle of nowhere. Below are some features and qualities to look for when looking out for the best camping axe for your outdoor experience.
Size – This includes weight as well as physical dimensions. The biggest difference between a full-fledged tree chopper and a camping axe is the size. If you’re out in the wild on a camping trip, you certainly don’t need to carry a big lumberjack axe that’s originally designed for chopping down trees. As it needs to be carried around, a good camping axe or hatchet should be between 12-inch and 24-inch. Some axe heads detach from the handle which makes them easier to carry. A longer handle, on the other hand, can reduce effort by increasing the momentum of your swing and are harder to carry around.
Weight – Knowing the weight of your axe is extremely important, especially when you’re on a camping trip. Having a few extra weights in your backpack is fine, but unnecessary weight can be exhausting when walking those extra miles in the wild. How the camping hatchet feels on your hands should be a top priority because you don’t want your camping pack to be too heavy, especially when you’re planning on carrying it with you all the time.
Agility – Camp axes or hatchets are usually smaller and lighter than those heavy-duty surviving axes, so you get a pretty good range of movement. They can be very helpful when you need to clear small amounts of bush or dead limbs or at times, removing rocks from the campsite. Sharpness isn’t as important as with other chores, such as chopping wood or splitting logs.
Strength – A standard camping axe has two parts – head and the handle. In a decent utility axe, both should be strong and the joint should be firm. You can find those new-age one-piece solid axes on the market as well, in which the handle and the head are forged from the same piece of metal. These one-piece axes are usually lighter than the standard two-piece axes and are less likely to break, even under difficult circumstances.
Penetration – There’s nothing worse than chopping logs with a dull axe in the wild. Penetration is an important feature which affects the quality and durability of your axe. Penetration is a combination of sharpness, the grind of the bit, and balance. It’s important to have a good penetration ability in your axe, especially when you plan to use it for chopping firewood, shaving tinder, hacking logs, and splitting limbs. You’ll need an axe with a narrower grind, so that it will sink into the wood firmly and easily.
Durability – Knowing how your camping axe or hatchet will hold up against dire circumstances is an equally important factor worth considering before buying one. Remember camping axes are not just meant for chopping wood; they can be used for anything from landscaping to construction or even demolition. If you want a good hatchet or axe for your little camping trips, you’d probably need one that won’t rot when left out in the rain or the one that can stand up to long-term use without having to worry about the handle breaking or the blade wearing down too quickly. Always look for durable materials because not every tool is designed for all-weather conditions.
Handle Grip – The grip on the handle is important for safety as well as for fast and effective swings. It’s always a good idea to use leather gloves when handling a camping hatchet or axe, but in an emergency when the weather is rough, let’s say when it rains, you would want an axe with a good handle that you can hang onto while chopping, even with wet hands.
Sheaths – A good and reliable sheath protects both the axe and the handler, so it would be wise to choose a durable sheath of strong leather or ballistic nylon. Some have clips to attach them to a backpack, the inside of a boat, or to your belt.
Price – Last but not the least, the price, after all, you get what you pay for. As with every other outdoor equipment, you get exactly the quality you paid for. You want to go for an axe that’s the most bang for your buck while also reliable enough to perform all the functions that you need it for. If you’re an avid camper or someone who takes hunting trips often, it might be great to invest a little more money on a well-built axe. On the other hand, if you aren’t much of an outdoorsman and the quality of the axe doesn’t mean a lot, it makes sense to go with a cheaper option.
Our Top Picks for Best Camping Axes in 2017
Once you understand your needs and requirements, it’s time to take the next step. In the meantime, it’s important to keep in mind that no two camping trips are created equal; the perfect axe for you might not be an ideal choice for someone else. You should consider what you plan on doing with your axe, whether it be chopping wood, climbing steep cliffs, or hunting big game. You also need to make sure that your axe is strong enough to endure all sorts of harsh conditions that nature will throw at you. However, here’s our top picks for best camping axes that work well in a variety of situations and can fit into many budgets.
1. Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet
3.5-inch razor sharp blade
Built to perform in the toughest weather conditions
2. Icetek Sports HF075 Outdoor Camping Hunting Survival Steel Axe
Portable hunting axe
Efficient and useful in the wilderness
Nicely weighed and has a heavy-duty cover over the blade
3. MTech USA MT-AXE8 Camping Axe
Portable full-tang axe
Features a comfortable cord-wrapped handle
Sharpened spike with drilled hole and slot cut-out design
4. Rogue River Tactical Survival Paracord Tomahawk Throwing Axe
Very compact and reliable camping tool
Pretty sharp blade
Extra safe and perfect for camping
Might be too small
5. Z Hunter ZB-027 Axe
Has a 3mm thick. 2.8" black wrinkle-finished blade
Can be only used to chop branches
6. Compadre Camp Axe
Heavy-duty 5160 steel construction
Comes equipped with a durable black leather sheath
Easy and comfortable carry
Might feel too light
7. Kershaw 1071BWX Tinder Personal Axe
The back of the tool is a hammer
Might be too small depending on your needs
8. Schrade SCAXE10 Full Tang Hatchet
Multi-purpose camping hatchet/axe
Heavy-duty stainless steel
Relatively easy to sharpen
Generally small axe
9. Engraved Hunting Camping Axe
Stylish and very handy engraved axe
Comes with a sheath that has a belt loop on it
Can be used for basic chopping only
10. Morakniv Boron Steel Camping Axe
Made of Boron steel
Has a polymer handle which resists vibrations
The hatchet might be too light
Modern heavy-duty materials and incredible design have transformed the camping axes from a simple blade to a multi-purpose tool that’s easy and comfortable to carry even on a challenging hunting trip. The axe you choose largely depends on how you plan to use it. With a little research and a knowledge of your budget, your needs and requirements, your expertise level, and the conditions in which you’re planning to use this axe, you should be well on your way to finding the best camping axes for your needs.