14 Best Axes And Hatchets Reviewed 2019 (Camping/Survival)

The Best Axes And Hatchets In The World For Camping, Backpacking, And Survival

There are three parts to this article. Each section goes into detail about three different styles of camping axes. The first one is small hatches which are 10-12 inches in length, the second is about standard hatches which are 13-14 inches in length, and the third is about chopping axes which are 23-26 inches in length. You can quickly navigate between the different sections by using the Quick Navigation to the right.

If you’ve been looking at axes to take with you when you go camping, you’ve probably noticed that there are a lot to choose from. There are different handle lengths, ax head styles, materials, and much more. I want to focus on three different kinds that I think are the most useful when camping. Chances are you won’t be splitting a ton on wood to keep you warm over the winter. You just need something to hack up some kindling or chop up a dead tree you found in the woods so you can get that smores fire going. I’m going to give you my top picks for three different categories of axes.

Part one is the small hatchets with a total length of 10-12 inches. These are usually considered to be survival and backpacking gear because they are small and relatively lightweight. They can be packed in a backpack and taken anywhere. Even though they are considered best for use in desperate situations they can still be used as an everyday camp ax. It might take a little more work than the larger axes, but these small hatches hold their own. They are also perfect for carving things like walking sticks and marshmallow roasters because they are easily held in one hand.

Part two is the standard hatchet, which is 13-14 inches in overall length. These are great for camping because they are more compact than regular axes, but they have enough length to get some good leverage when chopping wood. They are really good for making kindling because they can be held with one hand but also swung with two for splitting logs. If you ever find yourself trying to split a large log, the old hammer and hatchet method works well. Use the hatchet as a wedge, and hammer it into the wood which will eventually put enough force on it to split it. Hatchets are really versatile and a must-have for any camping trip.

Part three is the chopping axe. Chopping axes are shorter than splitting axes and have a slim head design for easy, controlled swinging. They are much lighter as well and usually around 23-26 inches long. For camping, you shouldn’t need anything bigger than this. They can quickly chop up a felled tree or stump and get you enough firewood for any length of a camping trip, and you won’t be exhausted when you’re done. I recommend buying one of these if you plan on camping for an extended time in areas that are not maintained or like the satisfying feel of a good swing and a log splitting with one hit.

Part 1: All Small Hatchets (Survival, Backpacking) 10-12 inches On The Table

Preview
Coghlan's Pack Axe, 10-Inch

My Choice

Schrade SCAXE10 11.1in Full Tang Hatchet with 3.6in Stainless Steel Blade and TPR Handle for Outdoor Survival Camping and Everyday Tasks

Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet [31-002070]

Grand Way Lightweight Stainless Steel Small Survival Camping Axe Hatchet with Anti-Slip Rubber Handle - Survival Hatchet Axe for Camping Outdoor Bushcrafting Backpacking and Wood Splitting 2760 U-A

SOG Camp Axe -  Camping Axe with Sheath, Survival Axe Camping Hatchet, Wood Splitting Axe w/ Hatchet Hammer Head, 3.1 Inch Bushcraft Axe Edge (CH1001-CP)

Weight
14.1 ounces

1.4 pounds

1.54 pounds

11 ounces

1 pound

Overall Length
10 inches

11.1 inches

10 inches

12 inches

11.5 inches

Blade Length
3.7 inches

3.6 inches

3.5 inches

4 inches

3.1 inches

Steel Quality
1080 High Carbon

3Cr13 Stainless Steel

3Cr13Mov High Carbon Steel

Stainless Steel

2Cr13 Stainless Steel

Sheath
Yes (Nylon)

Yes (Plastic)

Yes (Nylon)

Yes (Nylon)

Yes (Hard molded nylon)

Belt Loops

Preview
Coghlan's Pack Axe, 10-Inch

Product (Link)

Weight
14.1 ounces

Overall Length
10 inches

Blade Length
3.7 inches

Steel Quality
1080 High Carbon

Sheath
Yes (Nylon)

Belt Loops

More Info

My Choice

Preview
Schrade SCAXE10 11.1in Full Tang Hatchet with 3.6in Stainless Steel Blade and TPR Handle for Outdoor Survival Camping and Everyday Tasks

Product (Link)

Weight
1.4 pounds

Overall Length
11.1 inches

Blade Length
3.6 inches

Steel Quality
3Cr13 Stainless Steel

Sheath
Yes (Plastic)

Belt Loops

More Info

Preview
Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet [31-002070]

Weight
1.54 pounds

Overall Length
10 inches

Blade Length
3.5 inches

Steel Quality
3Cr13Mov High Carbon Steel

Sheath
Yes (Nylon)

Belt Loops

More Info

Preview
Grand Way Lightweight Stainless Steel Small Survival Camping Axe Hatchet with Anti-Slip Rubber Handle - Survival Hatchet Axe for Camping Outdoor Bushcrafting Backpacking and Wood Splitting 2760 U-A

Weight
11 ounces

Overall Length
12 inches

Blade Length
4 inches

Steel Quality
Stainless Steel

Sheath
Yes (Nylon)

Belt Loops

More Info

Preview
SOG Camp Axe -  Camping Axe with Sheath, Survival Axe Camping Hatchet, Wood Splitting Axe w/ Hatchet Hammer Head, 3.1 Inch Bushcraft Axe Edge (CH1001-CP)

Product (Link)

Weight
1 pound

Overall Length
11.5 inches

Blade Length
3.1 inches

Steel Quality
2Cr13 Stainless Steel

Sheath
Yes (Hard molded nylon)

Belt Loops

More Info

Note: Scroll left/right on tablets and phones

A Closer Look At Each Small Hatchet


Coghlan's Pack Axe, 10-Inch

Coghlan’s Pack Axe

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The Coghlan is one of the smallest, most lightweight, and affordable pack axes you can buy. It’s not anything fancy, but it’s perfect for keeping with your camping gear or putting in a backpack when backpacking. It’s only 10 inches in total length, weighs only 14 oz, and has a blade length of 3.7 inches, which is impressive for how small it is.

The quality of the steel isn’t too bad either. It is made with 1080 high carbon hardened steel which is typical for tools used for cutting and hitting. It doesn’t have the corrosion resistance of other metals, but with the proper care it can last just as long as other types of materials. The handle is made of non-slip rubber and has a four place finger grip design. Included with the axe is a nylon sheath with a belt loop for easy carrying.

A lot of times when I go camping I bring a pile of wood that I’ve already split. When this is the case, all I need is a small, simple axe like this one to chop up kindling or make a few roasting sticks. If you hike a lot, this is not a bad item to bring along. If you ever found yourself in an emergency, a small axe is invaluable to build a shelter or help get a fire going. Because it’s one of the lightest axes on the market, it’s a great buy for survivalists, backpackers, and hikers.

PROS

  • Very light and compact
  • Affordable
  • Has a sheath with belt loops

CONS

  • Handle and the blade made from separate materials
  • Doesn’t have a protective coating on exposed steel
  • Doesn’t have a broad back head for hammering

Schrade SCAXE10 11.1in Full Tang Hatchet with 3.6in Stainless Steel Blade and TPR Handle for Outdoor Survival Camping and Everyday Tasks

Schrade Hatchet

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The Schrade is a good standard size for a small packable hatchet while still being long enough for slightly tougher jobs. It’s 11.1 inches in overall length, has a 3.6-inch blade, and weighs 1.4 lbs. This is a “full-tang” hatchet which means the entire hatchet is made with one piece of steel. It makes it tougher and removes the risk of the head falling off. The slight downside is it isn’t as shock absorbent, and you might feel every swing in your hands more than with other styles.

What I would call one of the most useful secondary features of this hatchet is it has an oversized back head for hammering. Which is something you’ll find you do a lot with a hatchet, whether it’s placing tent stakes or driving a wedge. It’s made with 3Cr13 stainless steel which is an alloy of stainless steel that is known for its ability to create and maintain a sharp edge that is even more corrosion resistant than standard stainless steel. On top of that, the Schrade has a black powdered finish to protect it even more.

The handle is non-slip black rubber with a hole at the bottom with a lanyard for safety. It comes with a thermoplastic sheath that snaps onto the hatchet head for easy access and has a belt loop. For the price range, this is an outstanding high-quality hatchet. It’s not the smallest or the lightest, but it’s got a lot of added benefits. The design is simple yet durable and has features which make it great for not only camping but could be a nice addition to a survival or backpacking pack.

PROS

  • High corrosion resistance
  • Full-Tang design
  • Has a full cover sheath with belt loops
  • Widened back head for hammering
  • Made with good-quality materials

CONS

  • Not as shock absorbent as other styles

Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet [31-002070]

Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet

The Gerber survival hatchet is another small survival tool that can also be used daily at camp. Measuring only 10 inches in overall length with a 3.5-inch blade this is a very packable sturdy hatchet that has a nylon sheath with belt loops included. It’s quite heavy for its size, the Gerber weighs 1.54 lbs! That’s almost twice as much as the other 10-inch hatchets on today’s list. The weight can be an issue for some, but the reason it’s so heavy is the full-tang design. The steel of the blade goes all the way down into the handle making it one solid piece.

Nothing Bear Grylls puts his name on isn’t heavy duty, and this is no exception. It’s made with 3cr13MoV much like the other hatchets and has powder finish, so it’s very corrosion resistant. The handle is made with rubber for a non-slip grip and a hole on the bottom for a lanyard. A unique thing they added was finger notches in the steel above the rubber handle and below the head. Using this grip adds control for more delicate things like carving and cutting. The head has a cross-hatched back for a sturdier hammerhead which is a good idea because it can start to shroom out from heavy use over time.

If you have a little extra weight left in your survival pack or don’t mind a hatchet that is heavy but still very small, then this is an excellent choice. It’s not going to break easily and has the materials and design needed to hold up over time. Again, with a hatchet this size you lose some of the leverage needed to split large logs, but it’s easier to store and can do jobs that require a little more finesse. Overall it’s a good tool and an excellent choice for survival packs, backpacking, or someone who brings firewood with them. As a bonus, they also include Bear Grylls “Priorities of Survival” pocket guide with the purchase.

PROS

  • Durable full-tang build
  • High corrosion resistance
  • Well placed finger notches
  • Made with good-quality materials
  • Reinforced back for hammering
  • Sheath with belt loops

CONS

  • Heavy for its size

Grand Way Lightweight Stainless Steel Small Survival Camping Axe Hatchet with Anti-Slip Rubber Handle - Survival Hatchet Axe for Camping Outdoor Bushcrafting Backpacking and Wood Splitting 2760 U-A

Grand Way Lightweight Survival Axe

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The Grand Way is 12 inches long with a blade width of 4 inches but is very lightweight weighing only 11 ounces. This makes it a handy tool for backpackers and campers looking to save on the weight but not give up the size. It has a full-tang build with a hex hole in the head so the hatchet can be used as a wrench in an emergency. The back of the head is widened for use as a hammer as well.

The axe is made of high-quality stainless steel, so it still has all the corrosion resistance of other material but is lightweight. There is a little bit of hardness and durability given up, but the trade is a more lightweight tool that can be taken anywhere. The surface has a black oxide finish for even more corrosion resistance and durability. The handle is made of rubber that has an extended finger notch and a lanyard for safety. It has a heavy duty nylon sheath included as well.

This is the perfect low-budget hatchet that can live in any camping box or backpack and not add too much extra weight. The length is going to make it more versatile than the shorter hatchets and better for splitting logs if needed. Grand Way makes a variety of outdoor tools and knives, and this is an excellent product by them.

PROS

  • Lightweight for its size
  • Multifunctional
  • Full-tang design
  • Has a hammerhead

CONS

  • Lesser quality material than the 3cr13
  • Can be harder to chop wood with
  • Won’t hold a sharp edge as long as others

SOG Camp Axe -  Camping Axe with Sheath, Survival Axe Camping Hatchet, Wood Splitting Axe w/ Hatchet Hammer Head, 3.1 Inch Bushcraft Axe Edge (CH1001-CP)

SOG Camping Hatchet

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The SOG is one of the longest in this list measuring 11.5 inches with a blade width of 3.1 inches. The cool thing is it only weighs 1 lb but is made with the higher quality stainless steel, 2cr13. Compared to 3cr13, 2cr13 is a little softer but still maintains a sharp edge very well.

A few ways they cut down on weight while using higher quality steel is the axe head design. It has a steep U shape halfway into the head that keeps the blade long but light. It’s also not a full-tang design. Usually, this is a bad thing, but the handle is made with glass reinforced nylon, keeping it light but sturdy.

The head of the axe has a widened back for hammering. The satin finish helps fight corrosion and keeps it looking nice. The sheath is more of a safety clip that goes over the blade. It does not have belt loops, but the hatchet can be stored in any bag or case.

The SOG camping hatchet is multifunctional due to its design, size, and weight. It’s a tactical survival tool that can be used as a hammer or an ax that is lightweight and easily stored in a bug out bag or a box of camping gear. It’s also a decent size and will be better for chopping than the other hatchets. When you buy SOG, you get quality and thoughtful design. This is a good choice for people looking to save on weight but will be chopping or hammering often.

PROS

  • Lightweight for its size
  • Made with better than average stainless steel
  • Has a hammerhead
  • More shock absorbent than other styles

CONS

  • Not as durable as full-tang design
  • Handle screws may need to be tightened
  • The included sheath is less functional than others

My Recommendation: Small Hatches/Axes

Schrade SCAXE10 11.1in Full Tang Hatchet with 3.6in Stainless Steel Blade and TPR Handle for Outdoor Survival Camping and Everyday Tasks

Schrade Hatchet

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This is exactly what I’m looking for when buying a small, compact hatchet to take with me everywhere. The first thing is that it’s affordable and uses higher quality steel than other hatchets in its price range. It’s also very simply designed and full-tang. Meaning it’s durable and can be used very easily as a hammer or axe. When it comes to chopping wood or splitting logs with a small hatchet like this, sometimes the extra features can get in the way and make things more difficult than they should be. There is no worry of the axe head breaking from the handle when prying or using the hatchet as a wedge.

The handle has slight finger grips, but they do not stick out so much that they get in the way when you flip the hatchet to use it as a hammer. The sheath may be a cheap one, but the design on it is safe, and there’s no need to worry about it slipping off when it’s in a pack or on a belt. All of this put together, and you get the perfect small hatchet that is not only affordable but made with high-quality materials. Perfect for camping but also survival and backpacking.


Part 2: All Standard Hatchets (Camping/Survival) 13-14 inches On The Table

Preview
Fiskars 378501-1002 X7 Hatchet (14")", Black/Orange

Oak Curve Outfitters Camp Axe with Sheath - 14 Inch Small Compact 2lb Forged Carbon Steel Hatchet - Heavy Duty Camping Hand Tool - Splitting Firewood and Hammer Function - Throwing Axe

My Choice

Estwing Sportsman's Axe - 14" Camping Hatchet with Forged Steel Construction & Genuine Leather Grip - E24A

Husqvarna 13" Wooden Hatchet

Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet 13.50 Inch, Axe, 415

Weight
1.4 pounds

2 pounds

2 pounds

2.2 pounds

1.3 pounds

Overall Length
14 inches

14 inches

14 inches

13 inches

13.5 inches

Blade Length
4 inches

3 inches

3.25 inches

4 inches

4 inches

Steel Quality
Carbon

Forged Carbon Steel

Forged Steel 1055 Carbon

Swedish Steel

Carbon 1055

Sheath
Yes (Plastic blade cover)

Yes (Nylon)

Yes (Nylon)

Yes (Leather)

Vegetable tanned leather

Handle Material
Fiber Comp

Rubber

Leather (Genuine)

Hickory

Hickory

Preview
Fiskars 378501-1002 X7 Hatchet (14")", Black/Orange

Product (Link)

Weight
1.4 pounds

Overall Length
14 inches

Blade Length
4 inches

Steel Quality
Carbon

Sheath
Yes (Plastic blade cover)

Handle Material
Fiber Comp

More Info

Preview
Oak Curve Outfitters Camp Axe with Sheath - 14 Inch Small Compact 2lb Forged Carbon Steel Hatchet - Heavy Duty Camping Hand Tool - Splitting Firewood and Hammer Function - Throwing Axe

Weight
2 pounds

Overall Length
14 inches

Blade Length
3 inches

Steel Quality
Forged Carbon Steel

Sheath
Yes (Nylon)

Handle Material
Rubber

More Info

My Choice

Preview
Estwing Sportsman's Axe - 14" Camping Hatchet with Forged Steel Construction & Genuine Leather Grip - E24A

Product (Link)

Weight
2 pounds

Overall Length
14 inches

Blade Length
3.25 inches

Steel Quality
Forged Steel 1055 Carbon

Sheath
Yes (Nylon)

Handle Material
Leather (Genuine)

More Info

Preview
Husqvarna 13" Wooden Hatchet

Weight
2.2 pounds

Overall Length
13 inches

Blade Length
4 inches

Steel Quality
Swedish Steel

Sheath
Yes (Leather)

Handle Material
Hickory

More Info

Preview
Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet 13.50 Inch, Axe, 415

Weight
1.3 pounds

Overall Length
13.5 inches

Blade Length
4 inches

Steel Quality
Carbon 1055

Sheath
Vegetable tanned leather

Handle Material
Hickory

More Info

Note: Scroll left/right on tablets and phones

A Closer Look At Each Standard Sized Hatchet


Fiskars 378501-1002 X7 Hatchet (14')', Black/Orange

Fiskars X7 Hatchet

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Fiskars is a well known Finnish company that makes a huge assortment of tools for cutting. This is their 14-inch hatchet. It weighs only 1.4 lbs and has a 4-inch blade. Fiskars is known for their design and quality, and they made no exception with this hatchet. It’s made with a FiberComp that is considered to be “stronger than steel.” It’s durable and molded around the axe head, so you don’t have to worry about it ever coming apart. The handle has a rubber coating for a non-slip grip and a hole for a lanyard as well.

The Axe head is made with carbon steel which is a very common choice for these kinds of tools. It keeps a sharp edge and is relatively corrosion resistant. Fiskars uses a blade-grinding technique that they say provides a sharper edge than other styles. The back of the axe head is not super broad, but can still be used as a hammer. The plastic molded sheath is very unique. It fits around the edge of the head covering the back and the blade and creates a handle on the top so you can easily carry it around.

If you prefer composite handles over steel or wood, then this is one of the best hatchets you can buy. A lot of composite handles that I’ve seen have the handle going into a hole in the axe head. Fiskars molded the FiberComp to go right over the head securing it better than the other styles and making it unique in design. Overall it’s a high-quality product and a great choice for any camping trip.

PROS

  • Lightweight
  • Solid FiberComp handle
  • Comes with a sharp edge
  • Shock absorbent

CONS

  • Not as durable as full-tang
  • Head is not widened for easy hammering

Oak Curve Outfitters Camp Axe with Sheath - 14 Inch Small Compact 2lb Forged Carbon Steel Hatchet - Heavy Duty Camping Hand Tool - Splitting Firewood and Hammer Function - Throwing Axe

Oak Curve Outfitters Camp Axe

Check Price

The Oak Curve is a 14-inch camper hatchet that has a 3-inch blade and weighs 2 lbs. It’s a solid axe with some good weight to it and is full-tang. The entire axe is just one solid piece of forged carbon steel so it won’t ever come apart. The back of the axe head is just slightly widened, it’s going to be good for hammering but not specialized for it as much as some people prefer.

The handle is made of rubber and has holes along the sides for shock absorption. Full-tang styles can be hard on hands and forearms after long time use so the shock absorption design is a great detail. The well-designed handle is a great feature that shouldn’t be overlooked. It comes with a nylon sheath that covers the entire head of the axe making it safe to store in a bag or box.

The Oak Curve Outfitters camp axe is a basic style hatchet that has hard work in mind. There should be no trouble splitting small to medium sized logs, and the weight of it is going to help a lot. It’s well balanced and a great full-tang tool.

PROS

  • Shock absorbent handle
  • Full-tang design
  • Very durable design
  • Well balanced weight

CONS

  • Back of axe head isn’t widened
  • Higher risk for corrosion compared to alternatives

Estwing Sportsman's Axe - 14' Camping Hatchet with Forged Steel Construction & Genuine Leather Grip - E24A

Estwing Sportsmans Axe

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The Estwing is the only 14-inch hatchet made in America. They are a company that has been making outdoor tools for more than 90 years, and the Sportsmans Axe is a beautiful tool. As mentioned it is 14 inches long, the blade is 3 ¼ inches, and it weighs 2 lbs. There are a lot of companies that try and copy this hatchet, but you can’t go wrong buying the real thing.

Estwing uses American 1055 carbon steel for this full-tang style axe. 1055 is one of the most commonly used materials for high-quality tools that need to keep a sharp edge and be resistant to things like corrosion and bending. The metal between the handle and the head has a rib on each side, strengthening the axe handle so it can be used for prying and won’t bend as easy as other hatchets.

The back of the head is slightly widened so it can be used as a hammer. The handle of this model is leather for a secure grip that will form to your hand over time creating a perfect fit. This style can be less shock absorbent than others and Estwing has other sportsman axes with rubber handles if you prefer that. It comes with a nylon sheath that covers the entire axe head so it can be stored safely in a backpack or container.

An Estwing product will give you quality, design, and a lot of options sure to fit everyone. The axe head is sleek and has no stamps or markings on it making it very durable, and increases the longevity of the blade as it will wear from being sharpened over time.

PROS

  • Made in the USA
  • Durable, high-quality steel
  • Widened head for hammering
  • Well designed handle for strength

CONS

  • No shock absorbing handle

Husqvarna 13' Wooden Hatchet

Husqvarna Wooden Hatchet

Check Price

As a hatchet enthusiast, I know that there’s nothing quite like a well-built axe with a wooden handle. Husqvarna has made a hatchet with a beautiful design and smooth hickory handle. It’s 13 inches long with a 4-inch blade and weighs 2.2 lbs. It’s the heaviest of the medium-sized hatches.

The head is forged with Swedish steel which is known for its high quality. The hatchet itself is also made in Sweden which is not only cool; it also means the quality control is consistent and you are more likely to get a perfectly crafted hatchet. Hickory is one of the hardest woods around, it’s very durable and can be sanded to a beautiful smooth finish that won’t give you slivers.

It comes with a leather sheath that covers only the blade, so you may want to be careful where you store it. The back of the axe head is slightly widened so you can easily use it as a hammer as well. Husqvarna also makes a 13-inch hatchet with a composite handle and a different style of axe head. It’s something to look at if you like the Husqvarna brand but don’t like wooden handles. Click here to check out the 13-inch hatchet.

PROS

  • Made in Sweden
  • Very well balanced
  • Made with Swedish steel
  • Hickory handle

CONS

  • Deep stamp on the axe blade

Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet 13.50 Inch, Axe, 415

Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet

Check Price

This is another Swedish hatchet. Made in the town of Gränsförs which is known for its amazing craftsmanship and quality. They’ve been making axes for over 100 years. When you buy any Gransfors Bruks hatchet you know you’re getting a hand made product which will last for a lifetime.

The wildlife hatchet is 13.5 inches long, has a 4-inch blade, and weighs 1.3 lbs. The axe head is made with 1055 carbon steel, which is known for its durability and ability to keep a sharp edge. The back of the head is wider than most and can easily be used as a hammer for driving a wedge or sinking tent stakes. The handle is made with the traditional hickory, which is hard and has a very smooth finish.

The sheath included with this hatchet is made with vegetable tanned leather and covers the entire axe head. So you can keep it in a bag or box safely. A fun thing you get with the purchase of a Gransfors Bruks axe is a book which is a record of every axe they’ve ever made.

This is one of the highest quality hatchets you will find on the market today. It’s a traditional Swedish design and looks amazing. It’s also very functional and can hold up against any tree or branch. The handles of wooden axes are replaceable. Something you should always look at when buying a wooden handled axe is the quality of the axe head. That’s the part that needs to last a lifetime and hold up against rocks and years of sharpening. With this hatchet, you get just that. The purchase is more of a commitment than other hatchets, but you get a tool that outshines all the others.

PROS

  • Made in Sweden
  • Made with high-quality steel
  • Very well balanced
  • Exceptional craftsmanship
  • Effective traditional design
  • Very durable leather sheath

CONS

  • Cost

My Recommendation: Standard Size Hatches/Axes

Estwing Sportsman's Axe - 14' Camping Hatchet with Forged Steel Construction & Genuine Leather Grip - E24A

Estwing Sportsmans Axe

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There are some stellar hatchets on this list, and choosing my recommendation was difficult. I had to look at every aspect of what makes a great camping hatchet. Things like quality, durability, and affordability are crucial. I am a hatchet enthusiast, and I love the things that traditional hand-crafted tools such as the Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet bring to the table. If it’s in your budget, it’s an amazing choice. The Estwing Sportsmans Axe also has all three of the important aspects of a great camping hatchet.

Estwing is an American company that has been making axes since the 1940s, and they know what they’re doing. The Sportsmans Axe is a remarkably well-engineered hatchet and looks stunning and is functional. My choice is the leather handle because I like tools that begin to mold to my hand, but here are other handle choices if you prefer rubber.

The full-tang design is the most durable of all the axe designs and is a big reason I chose the Estwing. Another thing that makes it superior is the smooth, unmarked axe head. You can sharpen it for years and no matter how worn down it gets it will be able to have a sharp, smooth blade.

The Estwing Sportsmans axe is affordable, high quality, and durable. You can’t go wrong with this product, and it will be a useful tool for any camping trip or even a workshop. There are a lot of other good choices, but this is my personal favorite and recommendation.


Part 3: All Chopping Axes (Camping/Survival) 23-26 inches On The Table

Preview
My Choice

Fiskars 378571-1002 X15 Chopping Axe 23.5", Yellow/Black

Estwing Special Edition Camper's Axe - 26" Wood Splitting Tool with All Steel Construction & Shock Reduction Grip - E45ASE

Husqvarna A1400 23" Composite Multi-Purpose Axe

1844 Helko Werk Germany Black Forest Woodworker Axe

Weight
3.6 pounds

3.44 pounds

4 pounds

3.5 pounds

Overall Length
23.5 inches

26 inches

24 inches

24 inches

Steel Quality
Forget Steel

1055 Carbon

Swedish Steel

German C50

Sheath
Yes (Plastic)

Yes (Nylon)

Yes (Plastic w/ handle)

Yes (Leather)

Handle Material
Fiber Comp

Rubber

Composite Fiberglass

Hickory

My Choice

Preview
Fiskars 378571-1002 X15 Chopping Axe 23.5", Yellow/Black

Weight
3.6 pounds

Overall Length
23.5 inches

Steel Quality
Forget Steel

Sheath
Yes (Plastic)

Handle Material
Fiber Comp

More Info

Preview
Estwing Special Edition Camper's Axe - 26" Wood Splitting Tool with All Steel Construction & Shock Reduction Grip - E45ASE

Product (Link)

Weight
3.44 pounds

Overall Length
26 inches

Steel Quality
1055 Carbon

Sheath
Yes (Nylon)

Handle Material
Rubber

More Info

Preview
Husqvarna A1400 23" Composite Multi-Purpose Axe

Weight
4 pounds

Overall Length
24 inches

Steel Quality
Swedish Steel

Sheath
Yes (Plastic w/ handle)

Handle Material
Composite Fiberglass

More Info

Preview
1844 Helko Werk Germany Black Forest Woodworker Axe

Weight
3.5 pounds

Overall Length
24 inches

Steel Quality
German C50

Sheath
Yes (Leather)

Handle Material
Hickory

More Info

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A Closer Look At Each Chopping Axe


Fiskars 378571-1002 X15 Chopping Axe 23.5', Yellow/Black

Fiskars X15 Chopping Axe

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Ideal for felling the occasional tree or splitting enough wood for a campfire, the Fiskars chopping axe is both light and durable making it easy to store and use. It weighs 3.6 lbs, is 23.5 inches in overall length, and comes with a plastic sheath that covers the outline of the axe head and can be used as a handle to carry the axe.

The handle is made with a Fiber Comp that is lightweight and stronger than steel. It’s also more shock absorbing than the steel handles and has a hole in the base for a lanyard or hanging. The connection between the handle and the axe head is molded, so there’s less risk of separation than with traditional axes. The axe head is made with forged steel and has a low friction blade coating which protects the steel and helps prevent the head from getting stuck when chopping.

Fiskars designed this axe for swinging. The balance of weight and size creates a powerful swing to chop faster, deeper, and more controlled. It’s a simple axe, but it has all the components to make it an amazing tool that will not only last for a long time but will perform like a full sized axe. It’s perfect for storing in your vehicle or camper and can be used in either rain or sunshine.

PROS

  • Shock absorbing handle
  • Durable Fiber Comp handle that won’t rust
  • Excellent weight ratio for swinging
  • Low friction axe head coating

CONS

  • Slightly lower quality axe head steel
  • Not as durable as full tang design

Estwing Special Edition Camper's Axe - 26' Wood Splitting Tool with All Steel Construction & Shock Reduction Grip - E45ASE

Estwing Campers Axe

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Made in Rockford, Illinois the Estwing campers axe is a full-tang 26-inch axe that is made to last a lifetime. Weighing 3.44 lbs it’s lightweight enough to be stored and carried easily but heavy enough to do some real damage. The metal is 1055 carbon which is a common material for high-quality chopping tools. It’s harder than stainless steel and keeps a sharper edge longer.

Full tang means the axe head and the handle are all one piece. The handle has a rubber cover over the bottom half to help with shock absorbing. Full tang design is known for being a little harder on your hands because it does not absorb shock as well as other styles. The axe comes with a nylon sheath that covers the entire axe head for total safety.

The part between the head and section used for the handle has a rib on each side for ultimate rigidness when prying and twisting to split a stubborn log. The head back is slightly widened for use as a hammer which comes in handy for driving wedges or tent stakes. To finish it off the top has a beautiful satin polished finish that is not only good looking but it also helps resist corrosion.

Estwing has been making quality products for many years, and their line of chopping tools is not an exception. Everything they make is handmade with quality in the USA and has a timeless design. The axe head is kept clean with no stamps or flaws so you can keep sharpening and using it for years and years. The size and style are perfect for any camper wanting to chop up some firewood or fell a tree.

PROS

  • Full-Tang durable design
  • High quality 1055 carbon steel
  • Made in the USA
  • Perfect length for heavy swings

CONS

  • Low shock absorption
  • Longest axe on the list making it harder to store than others

Husqvarna A1400 23' Composite Multi-Purpose Axe

Husqvarna Multi-Purpose Axe

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Husqvarna is a Swedish company that makes a lot of different kinds of axes, but the one that stands out as a fantastic tool for an outdoors enthusiast is their multi-purpose composite axe. It’s 24 inches in length and weighs 4 lbs. The handle is made with composite fiberglass and has a stainless steel protection plate below the axe head to strengthen the handle in case you miss your mark.

The sheath is plastic that goes around the entire axe head and has a piece that connects halfway down the handle for easy carrying and storing. The back of the axe head is widened for easy use as a hammer. The material is drop-forged Swedish steel that is known for its quality and ability to hold a sharp edge.

The axe head weighs 2.2 lbs and is perfectly balanced with the handle weight for a perfect swing. This axe is much like Fiskars composite, but it has a few more additions. It’s a little heavier, has the stainless steel protection plate, and has slightly higher quality steel. The head is attached around the blade instead of through it which is a nice touch in this well designed composite axe.

PROS

  • Well balanced
  • Stainless steel plate to protect the sheath
  • Widened back head for hammering
  • Shock absorbing composite handle

CONS

  • Not as durable as full-tang design
  • Bulky sheath

1844 Helko Werk Germany Black Forest Woodworker Axe

Helko Werk Woodworker Axe

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Helko Werk is a German company that makes one of the most impressive axes on the market. The Balck Forest Woodworker Axe is one of their best for all around camping use. It’s 24 inches long and weighs 3.5 lbs. The blade is extra wide at 4.5 inches for an increased cutting area which creates a better chop. The head is made with German C50 carbon steel, and each head is made individually by a blacksmith in Germany so no two will ever look exactly alike. The steel is high grade and very hard, so it will hold a sharp edge for longer than other steels. It comes with a high-quality vegetable tanned leather sheath that is the best on this list.

The handle is made in Switzerland with grade A American hickory. It is boiled in linseed oil and has a finish and smoothness that’s way better than any other wooden handle. The head is attached with the traditional wooden wedge, but they added a steel ring wedge to strengthen the connection even more.

Helko Werk has been making axes in Wuppertal, Germany since 1844, and they know what they’re doing when it comes to axes and hatchets. Everything is handcrafted and inspected, you get what you pay for with this, and it’s something that will last a lifetime. Included with purchase is a 1 oz bottle of protective oil to help with that.

Everything about this axe is perfect for the serious camper. It’s just the right length to be portable yet still have enough handle to get a powerful swing. If you are a woodworker this becomes a necessary tool for carving and cutting. The traditional wooden handle is easy to grip and absorbs shock from every hit. It’s durable and one of the highest quality axes you can buy, worth every penny if you are a daily axe user.

PROS

  • Made in Germany
  • High-quality steel
  • High-quality hickory handle
  • An extra strong connection between head and handle
  • Comes with oil and a leather sheath

CONS

  • High price range
  • Requires more maintenance than other styles

My Recommendation: Chopping Axes

Fiskars 378571-1002 X15 Chopping Axe 23.5', Yellow/Black

Fiskars X15 Chopping Axe

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This is my recommendation for several reasons. The first one being is that is affordable. It’s also lightweight and fairly small for what it is. You can leave this with your camping gear, so it’s always there when you need it. Chances are you aren’t going to be using it every day if it’s for camping, and that makes this the perfect choice. It’s got steel that will be good enough for chopping firewood, and the composite handle won’t rust which is important if it’s going to be unused a lot of the year.

It’s got a good feel to it as well. The connection between handle and head is solid and well balanced. You can use it as a hammer if need be and the sheath has the handle on the top, so it’s easy to hang up when storing. Fiskars is a good company that has made a lot of great products over the years. This axe will be a great addition to any camping trip.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a full tang hatchet or axe?

Full tang is a term used a lot when talking about tools, knives, or axes. It means the handle and the head is all made with the same piece of steel. It’s an extremely durable design and is excellent if you want something that is worry free and won’t need replacement parts.

What does forged steel mean?

Forging or drop forging steel is when the steel is heated and pounded or smashed into the desired shape. Unlike casting the steel never wholly loses its form and does not use molds. Forged steel has been proven to make a harder more durable steel than cast. It reforms and compresses the grain of the metal making it harder and stronger.

Stainless Steel vs. Carbon steel

The most significant difference between stainless steel and carbon steel is the mailability and corrosion resistance. Stainless is softer than carbon steel. It won’t hold a sharp edge near as long and risks bending or mushrooming easier. The huge advantage is its ability to resist rust. If you leave a carbon steel axe out in the elements for too long, the entire thing will become rusty and weak. Stainless steel will hold up longer. If you are in a wet area and don’t want to oil and dry your tools everyday stainless can be a good option.

What is the difference between a splitting axe and a chopping axe?

Splitting axes are almost solely used for splitting logs. They are rarely used to chop down trees and have large axe heads and long handles. The reason for this is to get powerful downward swings that can split large logs in one hit. They often have a steep wedge-like shaped blade meaning the width at the middle of the head is going to be much greater than at the tip of the blade. They also have a broad back in case you need to hammer on it to split a stubborn log.

Chopping axes are shorter and lighter for more comfortable swinging, much like a baseball bat. They usually have a head and handle that are similar weights, and the blade is extensive but does not have the steeply angled head like a splitting axe.

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