The Best Backpacking Axe For The Serious Traveler

If you are like me, backpacking is one of your favorite things to do.  When I’m out on the trail I always make sure to bring the best backpacking axe for my needs.  Backpacking is a great way to see nature and the world and this type of travel has been increasing in popularity since the turn of the century.  I like backpacking so much because I enjoying seeing new scenery every day, and meeting new and interesting people.

The Best Backpacking Axe – Why You Should Start Backpacking

It’s a great workout and the freedom you get from having everything you need in your backpack is great.  I like not being tied to anyone or any place when I travel and backpacking can make you feel like a leaf blowing in the breeze.  It’s hard to compete with the freedom and affordability backpacking provides.

I always plan when I know I am going backpacking, and after my fixed-blade tactical knife, my backpacking axe is my favorite tool.  I like backpacking because by choosing the most affordable countries, my cost of living is actually reduced when I travel.  Exploring new cultures and food is a great way to spend your vacation and I like the non-restrictive schedule.  I have gathered a lifetime’s worth of amazing stories during my backpacking travels and the places and people I have met have opened my mind and changed the way I look at the world.  The good news is the majority of airlines allow you to pack your ice axe in your luggage (not carry on).  Just make sure that you pad your tip to prevent your luggage from becoming damaged.

Backpacking takes you through a lot of unchartered territories and having an axe on hand can be useful for making fires, driving tent stakes, or splitting heart pine.  In the winter months, a backpacking axe is critical.  You are not going to be able to use the downed trees because they are too moist from the snowfall.  I also use my axe to help dig my fire hole.

The Best Backpacking Axe vs. Hand Saw

For most backpackers the real debate is, to carry an axe, or to carry a folding saw and tactical knife combo.  I find a tactical axe to be better suited for a wider variety of situations.  The only disadvantage is the added weight.  Luckily, manufacturers have begun to make new lightweight designs that give you more chopping capabilities from a smaller axe.

A hollow head design can substantially reduce the overall weight of your backpacking axe.  You are looking for a balance between size and cutting ability.  The bigger and heavier the axe is the more you can cut.  I use backpacking axe for cutting, splitting, shaping, and preparing game.  Hunting axes are great for removing animal hide and if you are planning to hunt on your journey, this may be a good option for you.

There are couple different types of axe blades that are designed to serve specific purposes.  The convex blade is ideal for splitting logs.  This wedge-shaped design tears the log apart as it travels deeper into it.  Concave blades are better suited for stripping branches and felling trees.  If your blade is too concave it is going to penetrate too deeply and get stuck.

The best backpacking axe for your needs should be portable and lightweight.  There are a plethora of axe manufacturers to choose from, and narrowing your search down to a few worthy options can save you a considerable amount of time and effort.  These are my picks for the top 5 best backpacking axes for the wild.

The Best Backpacking Axe – My Top 5

 

Kershaw Camp Ax

kershaw-camp

Kershaw Camp Ax

 

The Kershaw Camp Ax features a Drop-Forged High Carbon Steel design that gives this axe more power and better durability.  The handle of this unit is made from krayton and the blade length is 3 1/2″.  I like the non-slip handle grip because it allows me to get a solid swing with better control when you need it most.

Pros

  • Drop Forged
  • High Carbon Steel
  • Secure Grip
  • Krayton Handle
  • Sheath

Cons

  • Low edge Retention

The total weight of this axe is 14.5 ounces.  This gives you a good amount of momentum in your swing.  This axe also includes a high-quality leather carry sheath that increases the portability of this blade even more.  This is the perfect backpacking axe for someone who has limited space but requires a decent amount of chopping power.

Compadre Camp Axe

compadre-camp-axe

Compadre Camp Axe

 

The Compadre Camp Axe comes in a unique red powder coating that adds to the overall appeal of this blade.  The handle of this axe is made from Heritage Walnut Dymondwood and the sheath is made from genuine leather.  This is a quality blade designed to handle all of your woodworking needs in the wild.  This axe doesn’t arrive sharp but once you sharpen it, it holds its edge longer than the competition.

Pros

  • Red Powder Coat
  • 5160 Spring Steel Blade
  • Leather Sheath
  • Stainless Steel Attachment Ring
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Dymondwood Handle

Cons

  • Needs to be Sharpened

Only the finest materials were used in the construction of this blade and the manufacturer backs up this claim with a lifetime warranty.  The size of this axe is 12 3/4″ long and the total weight is 23.4 ounces.  I need a quality axe that can handle a lot of abuse.  From carving to digging, my axe needs to perform.  This is a great blade at an unbelievable price that is guaranteed to impress.

Council Tool 20HBS18P01 Hudson Bay Camp Axe, 18″ Curved Handle with Sheath, 2lb

council-tool-20hbs18p01

Council Tool 20HBS18P01 Hudson Bay Camp Axe, 18″ Curved Handle with Sheath, 2lb

 

The Council Tool 20HBS18P01 Hudson Bay Camp Axe comes with a forged steel head that is designed to give you better penetration with less sticking.  Each blade is hand-sharpened to a razor edge and the axe head is hydraulically seated onto the handle, and then attached traditionally using a wedge.  This blade includes a sheath with a snap belt.

Pros

  • 18″ Curved Handle
  • 2 lb Head
  • Hudson Bay Axe Head
  • Portable
  • Sheath

Cons

  • Needs to be Sharpened

This is a great axe for camping or backpacking alike.  The total length is 18″ making it better at chopping larger items than most backpacking axes.  The 2-pound blade is not too heavy to carry in your backpack and it gives you good momentum and power when swung.  If you are looking for a quality one-handed backpacking axe, you should consider adding this blade to your collection.

Gerber Downrange Tomahawk

gerber-tomahawk

Gerber Downrange Tomahawk

 

The Gerber Downrange Tomahawk comes in 420HC Steel with a durable Cerakote protective coating to increase durability and reduce impact shock when chopping.  This axe has G-10 scales on the handle giving it added grip and control when swung.  I like the desert tan design, this is definitely one serious axe designed to handle the harshest environments.

Pros

  • 420 HC Steel Body
  • MOLLE-Compatible
  • G-10 Handle
  • Hammer Head
  • Pry Bar

Cons

  • Long For Some Backpacking Scenarios

I like how this axe is MOLLE-compatible.  This allows you to strap this blade to your pack, vest, or armor, with ease.  This is a triple purpose axe that also has a hammer and pry bar built directly into its design.  If you are backpacking through unknown or rigorous terrain, a larger tactical axe may be a better solution for a backpacking axe.  This professional grade axe is designed to stand the test of time.

HK Knives 14001 Clout Tactical Axe with Sheath, Black

hk-knives-14001-clout-tactical-axe-with-sheath-black

HK Knives 14001 Clout Tactical Axe with Sheath, Black

 

The HK Knives 14001 Clout Tactical Axe with Sheath features a black textured glass filled nylon handle that reduces shock and gives you a more comfortable grip.  There are innovative features this axe incorporates to add to its functionality.  A hammer back is included that can be used to nail stakes or nails with ease.

Pros

  • 420J Stainless Steel Blade
  • Easy Carry Sheath
  • Length 14.96″

Cons

  • Needs to Be Sharpened

This is an extremely sharp edged axe can easily cut branches or split logs.  I am a big fan of HK products and this axe maintains their legacy of producing high-quality products to help increase your survivability in the wild.  If you want a dependable blade from a reliable manufacturer, you should consider choosing this axe.

The Best Backpacking Axe – Final Thoughts

Backpacking is one of my favorite ways to travel and before I leave on any trip I make sure to pack the best backpacking axe for my needs.  I don’t want to be weighed down so unless I am planning a deep woods expedition I keep my axe short and light.  Having the added cutting power comes in handy when I need it and I can use my axe to assist in digging and skinning as well.  If you are a serious backpacker, it may be time for you to step your game up and get a backpacking axe to handle your wood cutting needs.

Thanks for checking in guys, John Signing off of another great blade review.  Check back soon, to see what new blades are coming under the microscope this week.

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