Since 6,000 BC, man has relied on axes to help chop materials, and with good reason, as an axe can prove to be a very valuable tool when out camping, as there really is no other shortcut to chopping and cutting wood. This is especially the case given some of the tasks required to be completed can be very physically demanding, so you need something which is going to help make light work of everything, and allow you to enjoy the experience of being out in nature, not to mention survive while you’re out there.
Let’s take a look at some of the best options:
- · Coleman 2000003368 Steel Camp Axe
- · Estwing E24A 14-Inch Sportsman’s Axe with Leather Grip & Nylon Sheath
- · Yes4All Multi Functional Camping Axe H307 with Saw + Fire Starter
- · New Husqvarna 576926401 13″ Curved Wooden Handle Hatchet Axe w/Leather Sheath
- · MTech USA Camping Axe, Two-Tone Blade, Black Rubberized Handle
How to choose the best camping axe
Similar to most items you will be taking camping, it shouldn’t be “one size fits all” when it comes to the axe you will be buying and using.
Your first consideration is how long you plan to camp, as well as what tasks you will need the axe for, and how you plan to carry the axe around.
Each of these aspects need to be factored in, as you need an axe that is capable of doing the job and make it easier to carry out your tasks, yet you also don’t want something too big and heavy, especially if you are going to be on foot most of the time, as it could weigh you down.
For basic tasks such as chopping firewood and setting traps, you can get away with a smaller axe than can be carried in your backpack. However, if you are looking to create your own shelter or spend a much longer time camping, then you may require something more substantial with a bigger handle and blade length.
The advantages of camping axes
Having an axe in your possession will give you no end of benefits in the wild. After all, your whole survival depends on being able to keep warm, heat food and even build a shelter and traps. All of this is done by chopping wood, both in large and smaller pieces, which is pretty much impossible without a heavy-bladed tool such as an axe.
Though you could camp without an axe, many tasks you need to complete would be much more difficult as in the wild you can’t simply order through an app or ask Google how to help—everything is back to basics. If you look after your axe by storing it away when not in use, and keep the blade sharp, then it should last for many trips. The great thing is that it takes away the need for many tools, as you can cut through not just wood but also materials such as rope.
Things to look for
Axes come in a variety of shapes and styles, though for camping and even hiking purposes, you should look for a model that’s easy to transport in your backpack, as opposed to the super large axes that are more commonly used for building shelters.
The blade should be not only sharp for splitting wood as well as chopping it, but ideally should be made of a metal that can easily be sharpened and doesn’t rust.
The handle needs to have a good grip as you will be exerting a lot of physical pressure to chop wood. Therefore, you want a handle that won’t slip out of your hands, yet also have a good weight to it to allow you to exert that pressure in the first place.
You should also consider the materials both the blade and handle are made of. Traditionally, wood and steel are used; you can also find handles with rubber, plastic and metal which have their own pros and cons.
Overall, you want an axe that is durable and will get the job done without making things more difficult for you, as camping can be very physically demanding especially when it comes to setting up all the components.
The best way to use camping axes
Though relatively simplistic in design, an axe is actually quite a versatile tool. You can chop, hack, and even delicately slice with the blade, making it an all-round useful tool.
Primarily though, you will need an axe for cutting large pieces of timber, which can be done safely and effectively with an axe. To do this, you will need to cut large sections and then split the pieces into smaller sections, followed by using the axe edge to shave down kindling.
Chopping firewood and slicing kindling is not the only way to contribute to the fire with your axe, as you can also light a fire with the axe blade itself. To do this you need to place the axe horizontally on the ground against a log, with your kindling wedged in between the blade and the log. Using a piece of metal, forcefully strike the blade several times to create a spark which will ignite the kindling. You can then place slightly larger wood on top of the kindling, gently building it, letting it smoke to ignite the rest of the wood, building the fire upwards.
Coleman 2000003368 Steel Camp Axe
Weighing 1.8 lbs., this axe is made of a mixture of rubber and metal and is 14.5” in length. The first thing to note is that this axe is not as well made as other axes, especially with the mixture of materials which resemble the design of a hammer rather than an axe.
That being said, if you are new to axes and not looking for anything too substantial, then this might be an option to consider. This is especially true given how small and lightweight this axe is, which makes it much more convenient than larger axes.
An issue with this axe is safety, given that it doesn’t come with a blade protector, only a small piece of material covering the tip of the blade which is only mainly designed to stay on during shipping. Therefore, unless you have other means of covering the blade this could be potentially dangerous to carry around with you.
All in all, it’s not a bad starter axe or for occasional use, though probably, it isn’t the best model to rely on in the wild for serious use, especially given the blade is also not the sharpest.
Estwing E24A 14-Inch Sportsman’s Axe with Leather Grip & Nylon Sheath
This axe is made in the USA, and is 14” in total weighing 1.7 lbs. Forged in one piece, there is no chance of the blade becoming detached from the handle, so overall, it gives a strong and sturdy performance.
The blade is made of stainless steel, meaning it won’t rust, which is ideal for the weather and conditions camp life can throw at your tools. Interestingly, it has a good serrated curve on the edge of the blade, making it ideal for more delicate jobs such as peeling kindling.
The axe itself is a sportsman model, which is slightly smaller than the larger axes Estwing produces, though they remain confident on the quality stating that these axes are passed down through generations, and so as long you regularly sharpen them, you will never have to replace the axe. The smaller size of this axe would also make it ideal for carrying as you travel to your camp, and comes with a nylon sheath to protect the blade.
Overall, this is an excellent axe that has been well designed and engineered. The materials of the blade make it strong for chopping and slicing kindling, and the handle has a good grip to it, while also being aesthetically pleasing.
Yes4All Multi Functional Camping Axe H307 with Saw + Fire Starter
This black Yes4All axe is 13.97” long and features a 420 stainless steel blade. An interesting feature with this axe is that it includes a 12” saw knife, as well as molded case and fire starter. One possible con with this axe is the fact it’s made mostly out of plastic. Granted, it will give you a good grip and you do get extra features compared with other axes, but ultimately, it’s the quality of the axe itself and the cut it gives that is most important.
With plastic, you could have issues when it comes to heat, such as extremely strong sunlight and the campfire itself, potentially melting the handle. As this axe contains a fire starter, this again could be a potential issue if you are not careful.
Plastic is also not going to have the same weight to it as wood or metal, meaning it’s not going to give the same forceful impact when you go to strike the wood.
Overall, this axe is convenient due to the additional features and will give you a nice cut due to the stainless steel blade. However, it’s questionable whether the extra features are really necessary given they, like the axe, are not made from the best materials.
New Husqvarna 576926401 13″ Curved Wooden Handle Hatchet Axe w/Leather Sheath
At 13”, this is an axe designed for smaller logs and kindling in mind, so is an ideal alternative to larger axes that can weigh you down. In fact, due to its compact size this would be perfect for carrying with you even if you are a light traveler.
Hand forged in Sweden, the hickory wooden handle is curved slightly to give an ergonomic fit; for extensive cutting, this will give comfort and support to the upper body and hands.
While this axe will serve you well, be prepared to sharpen it regularly as it will become blunt with even light use. Therefore, you might want to consider this factor before selecting this model if you are not experienced in sharpening. It’s definitely an axe more suited to lighter work than anything hardcore. This axe is also supplied with a leather sheath to protect the axe during storage.
MTech USA Camping Axe, Two-Tone Blade, Black Rubberized Handle
Designed in the USA but manufactured in China, this two-tone axe from Mtech is 11” in length and weighs 4 lbs.
As far as axes go, it has a much more modern and sleek design than its competitors, being all black with just a pop of silver over the blade itself, which is made of 440 stainless steel.
Its small and portable design means it’s great for all outdoor expeditions, and being thin and streamlined gives it a sleek appeal, when compared to traditional axes. Though, on the other hand, the overall construction is perhaps not as perfected as other models.
The handle is made of rubber, which will allow you to achieve an excellent grip chopping small- to medium-sized wood, which is what this axe is designed for.
Also included is a black nylon sheath, which is better than nothing, but isn’t the best designed protector compared to other models that are waterproof or made of more durable leather, for example.
This axe will do the job as far as smaller tasks are required, but perhaps isn’t the one for longevity or excellent build quality.
While each axe has its own unique pros, the overall winner has to be the Estwing E24A 14-Inch Sportsman’s Axe with Leather Grip & Nylon Sheath.
Quite simply, with this axe you are getting something which has an excellent build, and is made in the USA by a company which has been making this product for generations, so decades of care and passion go into each and every axe.
Unlike the other axes, the Estwing is forged in one piece so you are getting the same excellent quality throughout, without cheaper parts being used which could also break off with extended use.
Not only does this axe look the part, but due care and attention has been applied to every part of the it. When you compare it with the other models, this is the axe of choice for your camp requirements, and is most likely to withstand everything camp life has to throw at it and still be in excellent working order for your next trip.