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 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
- Gerber Hatchet
- Icetek Steel Axe
- Light Weight
- Mtech Axe
- Sharpened Spike
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 a 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 the 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 fiberglass 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.
10 Best Camping Axes
1. Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet
3.5-inch razor sharp blade
Provides superior grip
Double duty head
Built to perform in the toughest weather conditions
2. Icetek Sports HF075
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
Portable full-tang axe
Perfect grip for balance
Features a comfortable cord-wrapped handle
Sharpened spike with drilled hole
Slot cut-out design
4. Rogue River Tactical Survival Paracord
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
Features a durable black leather sheath
Red powder-coated handle
Rugged and corrosion resistant
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
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
Made of Boron steel
Has a polymer handle which resists vibrations
The hatchet might be too light
Now you have an idea of what camping axes we consider to be the best in the market; it’s time for us to explain ourselves. Putting together a group of products and naming them the best ten is the easy part. However, if this list is to be taken seriously by anyone, we need to explain a little bit more about the process of selecting the options above. Otherwise, we are just another website with an opinion.
Importance of Research
Any good review starts with an understanding of what the important elements of a particular product are. The reason why we consider ourselves an authority when it comes to all things hunting and outdoors is that we love researching this area. We accept that there are other people who may have knowledge we do not have, so, we go out to see what they are saying about what is important when it comes to a particular product.
When we check our facts, we always ensure that we do so from the best sources. We know them, we have been doing this kind of stuff for some time. We compare the knowledge we get from the experts with what we already know to ensure that we are not unfairly evaluating a given product.
We do not just stop researching these products just because we have found the first ten we like. Most of the times we start off with over 50 products which we then whittled down to the ten we end up with. The separation process is rigorous. It looks at features such as how durable the product is, what other reviewers are saying about the product, the price and value, after sales support, durability and other such issues.
Is it for camping?
In the buying guide, we are looking specifically for axes that would be great for camping. So how exactly do we tell that the axe we are looking at will be great for a camping trip?
We take into consideration the size. Since you are not going to be using the axe at home, we expect it to be lightweight. This will help you get a range of movement which is greater when you are using the axe. On the camping trip, you are not going to be cutting large trees but rather small bushes as you clear the space to lay your tent. Even though you could benefit from a sharp axe, we do not think it is as important as it would be when you are cutting wood.
Camping axes should do more than just cut stuff. It should be able to do several other things. For instance, we love axes whose other side can be used as a hammer. You could use this when setting up your tent and driving in the stakes. An example of a camping axe that will do more than one thing is the Icetek Sports HF075 Outdoor Camping axe which made it into the number two slot on this list.
We know that there is no single axe that will handle all your needs as a camper. However, we highly rate those axes that are multipurposed. We believe that there is no need for one to carry both an axe and hammer on a hunting trip. Your hunting axe should act as a hammer too.
Once we have decided that a product will make it into our top ten list, we always attempt to test the product. There is no way we can pretend that we are able to test all the products we review but we can promise that we try. Sometimes we are lucky to know a person who has purchased the product we are reviewing; we ask questions. If there is a possibility that the product has been tested on YouTube or another online channel, we look at the videos.
Reviews from Users
As we have already indicated, there is no way we can pretend to have used all the products we review. We use the reviews of verified users who have purchased the products we feature. When we look at these reviews, we always try to ensure that we look at products that are consistently getting good reviews from many users. We believe that an axe that scores 5 stars just from a single user has not been adequately tested.
When reading these reviews we also to ensure that the reviewer gave good enough reasons why the product is great or not great. When we see consistent reasons supporting the rating users give to a particular hunting axe, we start to consider that reason more seriously.
Price and Value
We believe that your axe should last you a lifetime. So, no matter how much your axe costs, it should still give you a good service. When we look at value, we consider the strength of the two parts of your axe: the head and the handle. Even in cheaper axes, both these parts should be of high quality.
We also look at the material used in the manufacture of the axe. The way the wood that makes the axe is treated has an impact on how strong the axe will be. When we look at the handle and notice that the wood has a continuous grain, we know that it is strong.
Features and Specifications
While there are not many features and specifications when it comes to axes, we noticed that some manufacturers try to make the product as comfortable to use as possible. For instance, we rate camping axes that are lightweight highly. We also look at those axes that come with belt loops that make it easier to carry around on a camping trip.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Are there any safety tips I should observe when using a camping axe?
A: Like any tool, failing to observe safety instructions could lead to serious injury or even death. In most cases, the manufacturer will stick the safety tips on the handle of the axe. Ensure that you read them carefully.
Axes are designed to cut and if they are not handled with care, can accidentally cause injury. When you are moving around with your camping axe, it is advisable that you sheath it so that the cutting edge is not exposed.
Always remember to beware of what is happening around you when you are using an axe. A child could come behind you without you noticing. Also, ensure that there is no one in front of you as you use the axe. If it slips off your hand, the force could injure someone.
Q: What is the safest way to hand the axe to someone?
A: The safest way of handling an axe to someone else is to put it down and have them pick it up from the ground. In case you are in a situation where putting the axe on the ground is not possible, then you should execute the handover process with the utmost care. Ask the person you are handing the axe to whether you can now let go of the axe before you do. It could also be helpful that when you hand over the axe, the cutting edge is facing upwards.
Q: How should I store my camping axe while on a camping trip?
A: Whether you are on a camping trip or not, it is always important to ensure that you do not keep the axe in such a position that it may cause injury. If not properly stored someone may step on the sharp edge of the axe and trip over it and get injured. Also, you do not want children to access the axe and cause injury to themselves.
Always ensure that you keep the axe inside its sheath. If this is not possible, you can sink the axe into a log. Of course, this will not be a good method for the storage of a double bit axe. If the axe has a double bit, then you need to ensure that both the cutting edges are covered. If you are storing the axe at home, use common sense and place it in such a sway that it is away from places where people walk or where children can access it without permission.
Q: What are some maintenance tips?
A: The maintenance of your axe starts with understanding the number of parts it has. The most important parts on your axe are the head and the handle. Sometimes the two are made from metal but at certain times the handle is made from wood while the head is made from metal. A coat of oil on both these parts is one of the most common ways of maintaining the tool in a great condition. You can use special oils such as gun oil for the head and boiled linseed on the handle. However, we will let you in on a secret, even your everyday oil you use in your garage will do the trick and eliminate the need for any special oils. Even the oil you use in the kitchen or Vaseline will do the trick.
Always remember that the biggest enemy to your camping axes head is moisture. Moisture makes it easy for the rusting process to happen. A coat of oil on the head will keep away moisture. Remember to always wipe off the oil or grease you use to coat the parts of your camping axe. If there is too much oil on the handle, it can become slippery and dangerous to use.
You also need to ensure that the handle stays dry. If it is excessively exposed to moisture, it will start to rot. This rotting happens more rapidly in the area where the handle sits inside the eye of the head. You also need to ensure that the handle does not become too dry. If it does, it tends to shrink and then allow the head to become loose.
Q: Why are fiberglass axe handles becoming popular?
A: Indeed if you look at axes made in the last five or so years, you will notice that fiberglass axe handles are becoming more common. We believe that the reason behind this is the advantages of these handles when compared to wood and metal. For instance, fiberglass does not rust and neither does it rot when exposed to moisture. This makes fiberglass durable.
Q: Which is the best material for an axe handle?
A: All the materials have their own advantages and disadvantages. If you are looking for a handle that will be lightweight, then you will probably go with wood. However, wood can shrink when it dries and leave the head loose. While fiberglass can withstand the elements, it is heavier. The advantage of a metal handle is that it is secured to the head and there is a very little risk of it getting loose. Whatever choice you make will depend on your preferences and how you can tolerate the disadvantages of each type of material.
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.