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If you’re going camping, you’ll need a range of equipment including a tent, bed, and in most cases, a car. However, a great tool that is often overlooked is a camping axe or hatchet.
A high-quality axe can be used to cut firewood, especially when it’s wet and needs to be chopped up to burn well. It can also be used as a self-defence tool, although let’s hope it never comes to that.
On the flip side, a hatchet is a smaller version of an axe, making them more portable and lightweight, which is a blessing when camping. The handle is a lot smaller, meaning it can be used with one hand, whereas an axe is a two-handled tool.
This can be both a blessing and a curse, as you’ll get less leverage with a hatchet, however it’s easier to store and transport.
In this article, we’re going to look at the best axe for camping, while also reviewing some of the best hatchets available in 2021.
8 Best Axes And Hatchets For Camping
- 1. M48 Axe (Tactical Tomahawk)
- 2. Schrade Small Stainless Steel Axe
- 3. Fiskars Super (36″) Splitting Axe
- 4. Cold Steel All-Purpose Axe with Hickory Handle
- 5. Estwing Double Bit Axe
The M48 Axe has everything you need for a successful camping trip. It’s tested by M48 to ensure it’s able to withstand the toughest conditions and stay durable throughout.
It’s 15-inch overall length is the perfect size for your camping trip. It isn’t too big, or too small, meaning it can be easily stored and transported when moving from place to place.
The lightweight design allows it to be used, and carried for long periods of time without causing fatigue. It also has a pointed back head, making it a great breaching tool.
The back head can also be used as a self defense weapon should you come into contact with any dangerous animals. However, let’s hope that never happens!
You will get a sheath included with your purchase, preventing you from accidentally injuring yourself after use.
- Has been tested in the harshest conditions
- Perfect size for camping
- Pointed back head
- Sheath included
- Sheath sometimes falls of
The Schrade Stainless Steel Axe is lightweight and allows you to take on the toughest jobs. It’s made to last and designed with a titanium coated stainless-steel head, plus a hammer pommel.
The thermoplastic rubber handle means you won’t have to worry about your hand slipping while cutting wood. It also helps limit fatigue, and won’t send shockwaves up your arm, meaning you can use it for long periods of time.
The blade itself is extremely sharp, making splitting logs, trimming brush, and kindling a lot easier, while also preserving your energy in the process.
A great feature is the hammer pommel on the back of the blade. It can be used to plug your tent pegs into the ground, so you won’t have to spend extra money on a hammer.
Additionally, there is a ferro rod stored in the shaft, helping you light fires faster and more efficiently. Overall, this axe is a great piece of equipment that doubles up as a hammer, and doesn’t break the bank.
- Durable design
- Doubles up as a hammer
- The sharp blade limits fatigue
- Includes a ferro rod
- Needs sharpening after use
Fiskars have been around for centuries. They were founded in 1649, making them one of the oldest businesses in the Western World, and sell a number of products ranging from cutlery to professional gardening tools.
Considering they have been around for so long, they definitely know a thing or two about making great axes, and this one is no exception. The blade is made to last, and won’t separate from the axe, even under the toughest circumstances.
Additionally, If you’re looking for a large axe that combines power with efficiency, then this is the one for you. It’s designed to give you more one-strike splits, allowing you to preserve your energy, and get the job done at a faster rate.
It weighs a total of 5.85 pounds, so it’s easy to transport if you’re going to be moving between campsites or different locations.
The grip is textured, and prevents your hand from slipping. This is great as, after a while cutting wood, you’re going to be sweating, which can have an impact on your grip with somes axes.
Furthermore, if it does malfunction (which is highly unlikely), then you’ll be covered by a lifetime warranty.
- Reputable company
- Durable blade
- Textured and slip-proof grip
- Includes a lifetime warranty
- Not recommended for inexperienced choppers
The Cold Steel Axe is a traditional type of axe you would have found throughout history. It has a long wooden handle with a durable carbon steel head attached to the top.
While it’s not the most aesthetically pleasing axe to look at, it does what it’s designed to do, and is great for camping thanks to the lightweight design. It weighs only 2lbs, meaning you can take it anywhere, and it will limit fatigue during use.
The overall length is 27 inches, making it bigger than most camping axes. Considering the size of this axe, we don’t recommend using it if you’re a beginner as it may take some time to get used to.
If it breaks at any point, you’ll be able to return it using Amazon’s return policy within a certain number of days.
- Historical design
- 27 inches
- Weighs only 2lbs
- Limits fatigue
- Not recommended for beginners
If you’re looking for the best axe for camping, then Estwing are the go-to company. They have been producing high-quality axes since 1923. In fact, some of their axes from the 1940’s can still be found in circulation today!
Estwing take great pride in their axes, and the Double Bit Axe is no exception. It features a rugged shock reduction grip that is bounded to the handle, reducing shockwaves up to 70%.
The head is forged with a double-face design, making it unique compared to other axes you can find on the market. This unique design makes this the perfect axe for chopping logs, small trees, branches, and kindling.
Furthermore, during manufacturing, it goes through a drop forging and tempering process. Drop forging and tempering is when metal is toughened, increasing its strength and making it last longer – hence why you can still find Estwing axes in circulation from the 1940’s.
Additionally, it looks great on the eye, and is available in three different colors. You’ll also get a sheath included in your purchase, helping prevent injuries when not in use.
- Reputable brand
- Reduces shockwave up to 70%
- Double face design
- Includes sheath
- Head is a bit small
The great thing about this tool is it’s more than just a small hatchet. It features a range of other cool accessories you may need while camping. For example, the back head of this tool is a hammer, which can be used to hammer your tent pegs into the ground.
Additionally, it also includes a small saw, pliers, a screwdriver, bowie knife, and even a bottle opener, so you can enjoy a cold beer without having to search for a bottle opener.
While the hatchet blade is small compared to other options on this list, it still has the ability to cut branches, help with kindling, and be used as a self defense tool against dangerous animals.
Furthermore, it comes with a nylon pouch that can be attached to your belt, allowing you to keep it on you at all times. The head of the axe also includes a removable silicon rubber cap, preventing it from cutting the inside of the pouch, as well as reducing the risk of injuries when not in use.
- Multi use tool
- Includes hammer for tent pegs
- Great for self defence
- Includes nylon pouch
- Small blade sheath
- Axe blade is very small
Similar to the previous option on this list, the OGT-SA100 Survival Axe is a multipurpose tool, rather than just an axe. It’s designed by Off Grid Tools who have been operating since 2016, and have worked closely with Marvin Weinberger, the founder of Innovation Factory.
If you’re looking for something that can do a bit of everything, then the OGT-SA100 is your best friend. Alongside an axe for chopping branches and logs, it also has 30 other features. These include a hammer head and claw, fold-out saw blade, and even a glass breaker and seatbelt cutter in case you get trapped in a vehicle.
Furthermore, the blade is made from hardened carbon steel, meaning it will last you for years to come and is strong enough to cause some serious destruction – great for if there’s a zombie apocalypse!
It weighs 1.5 pounds, and measures a total of 11 inches, making it super lightweight, easy to carry, and portable.
Additionally, it also features a bottle and tin opener, which is great considering camping typically involves lots of beer and tinned food.
- Multipurpose tool
- Reputable brand
- Includes bottle opener
- Blade needs to be sharpened out of the box
The Deschutes Beared Hatchet is designed by Kershaw. They are a reputable company that have been operating since 1974. They began selling knives, and have since expanded to other tools.
Kershaw put a lot of effort into the design process, and this hatchet is an excellent example of the quality they provide. It’s designed with 3CR13 stainless steel, and is full tang, making it one of the most durable hatchets on the market.
The glass-filled nylon handle provides exceptional comfort, grip, and even includes rubberized inserts, preventing your hand from slipping during use.
After use, you’ll be able to attach the molded nylon sheath to prevent injuries. It also includes a strap for easy transportation. Simply sling it over your shoulder, and you’re good to go.
Furthermore, it’s effortlessly lightweight and weighs only 1.9lbs. Could it be one of the most lightweight hatchets in 2021?
- Great brand
- Extremely durable
- Full tang
- Includes molded nylon sheath
What To Look For In A Camping Axe
When you’re looking to buy a high-quality camping axe, there are a few things you need to look out for to ensure you get the best deal, and end up with an axe that’s designed to last, rather than one that’ll fall apart after its first use.
Here’s the thing…
Most of the time when you buy something new, if it breaks, you can return it and get your money back. However, if your camping axe breaks, you’re most likely going to be in the middle of nowhere, and won’t be able to return it straight away.
Considering an axe can make or break your camping trip, it’s important you choose a high-quality axe that’s designed to last. A great way to do this, is by looking at the brand selling the axe. If they have been around for a long time and have great reviews, that’s a sign they’re worth buying from.
On the flip side, if you can’t seem to find much information about a company, and the reviews are bad, then you’re better off taking your money somewhere else.
A high-quality axe should last you for years to come if you take care of it.
Portability And Weight
One of the most important things when looking for the best axe for camping or backpacking gear is to ensure it’s lightweight and portable. A heavy ax is like an airplane without wings, it’s just going to cause you more problems, especially when camping.
The whole idea of camping is to travel as light as possible. While a car or RV may allow you to bring heavier items, keeping your gear lightweight is still important as it allows you to explore without becoming fatigued after 10 minutes.
Furthermore, if you’re an experienced camper, you know how difficult chopping trees and branches can be, so imagine doing it with an axe that is 10X heavier. Yeah…it doesn’t sound fun does it?
However, there are some circumstances where a heavy axe can be beneficial. For example, if you’re built like Arnold Schwarzenegger and carrying a heavy axe around with you is seen as more of a luxury workout, then the heavier, the better!
The handle is one of the most important parts of an axe. Get the wrong one, and you could end up with an axe that’s sliding everywhere. However, if you ensure it has a strong handle that grips well, then you’ll be able to limit fatigue, meaning you can get more done in a shorter period of time.
Additionally, an axe with a bad grip could cause you to lose control and end up with only 4 toes if you’re not careful.
While a sheath is not essential, it will protect you from any injuries that may occur when not using the axe, similar to a strong handle.
When not in use, a sheath is a cover which prevents the edge of the blade from coming into contact with people. They’re typically made from either leather or nylon. Leather is great for that ‘rugged’ look, whereas nylon is extremely durable.
In some cases, your axe or hatchet may include a pouch that can be attached to your belt loop, so it can be easily stored and transported.
What Is An Axe Used For?
Chopping firewood, small logs, and kindling are what axes are commonly used for. However, another often overlooked benefit is self defense.
If you’re an experienced camper, at some point you’re going to come across a dangerous animal and may need to protect yourself. An axe is the perfect weapon to create distance between you and the attacker, especially if it has a long shaft.
In the worst case scenario where you’re required to attack, the head of an axe is sharp enough to injure most animals and hopefully scare it away.
If you’re one of those people who don’t bring an axe camping, then now is the time to change that. A high-quality axe will not only allow you to defend yourself against animals, it’ll also make starting a fire easier.
If after reading this article, you’re still unsure of what axe to buy, a great choice is the M48 Axe (Affiliate Link). It’s a great beginner-friendly option, and is designed to last a long time. Not only that, but it also looks like something from The Walking Dead, which is every camper’s dream.