If you are like me, camping is one of your favorite things to do and before I even think of stepping foot in the wild, I make sure to pack the best camping axe for my needs. Camping provides you with an escape from the bustle of everyday life and even though you give up some luxuries to camp, you are more than repaid in tranquility and atmosphere
It’s hard to compete with the feeling of being out in the wild surrounded by nature.
On your journey to becoming a true outdoorsman, one of the first lessons you need to learn is to respect the wild. When I go camping, I know I am going to need to use my axe for a number of reasons, from felling trees to splitting logs, my camping axe is there to help me get the job done.
In the winter, you will need to chop fresh firewood because all of the down trees are wet and in the summer, you may need to fell trees or split logs to maintain your fire. I even use my camping axe to whittle my tent posts. New hatchet and axe designs have given these age-old tools added functionality and recent developments in handle materials have made these tools lighter than ever.
The Best Camping Axe – Types
Camping axes come in all shapes and sizes from mini-hatchets up to full felling axes, and depending on where you plan to be camping at, and for how long, you may find one type of axe better suited for your particular needs. I use a wide variety of axes depending on what I plan to chop. The most popular axe blade designs are …
Splitting Blade – This type of axe has a weighted head and wedge shape designed to cut logs along their grain. Their long straight handle allows you to get increased leverage on the maul and deepen your cut.
Limbing Blade – This type of axe is designed to be used while standing on downed trees. These lightweight blades usually weigh less than 2 pounds. Splitting Axes have medium length handles designed to increase downward chopping force.
Hudson Bay – This axe isn’t designed for felling trees at all. The smaller design and short handle make this an ideal choice for turning logs into kindling. This axe has been popular with travelers since the fur trade era of North America.
Felling Axe – This axe uses a thin, sharp blade to cut against the grain of standing trees. If you are planning on making your own firewood from standing trees, this is the type of axe you will need. A long handle and heavy blade make this axe ideal for the job.
Double Bit – A double bit axe has two edges. If you have space, this type of axe allows you to have two different blade types on one handle. This may be ideal if you are planning to go from felling to splitting.
Hatchet – These mini axes provide you with unmatched portability. They are about half the size of a regular axe, making them ideal for hiking or backpacking.
In most scenarios, if you are planning a weekend hiking or camping trip, a hatchet will be better suited to your needs. You can easily carry one in your pack and having the extra cutting power is priceless. A hatchet can make your hiking experience go more smoothly as well give you added protection if you need it.
A hatchet is great for small to medium cutting jobs but I wouldn’t want to cut larger trees with it. If you expect your camping trip to include felling or clearing downed trees, you should definitely consider going with a larger option. Larger axes are better suited for felling or wood splitting jobs but they lack the portability of hatchets.
If I am hiking or staying the weekend, I bring my hatchet, but if I am planning to stay longer than 4 days, I bring my felling axe. For my home firewood I use a double bit axe because it allows me to have that widest range of cutting capabilities. Yes, there is an exact axe to fit whatever your needs are.
The Best Camping Axe – The Top 5
Choosing the best camping axe takes some time. There is literally dozens of manufacturers sift through, and the competition is tight. If you don’t know what you are going to use your axe for, you are going to have a harder time trying to pick out a suitable blade. I researched the best axes on the market and these are my picks for the best camping axe.
KERSHAW CAMP AX
The KERSHAW CAMP AX was designed with the true camper in mind. This 11″ axe won’t build you a log cabin but it is ideally suited for splitting firewood and other small jobs. The non-slip secure grip gives you more blade control when swinging the drop forged high-carbon steel blade head.
- Non-Slip Handle
- Drop Forged
- High-Carbon Steel
I am a fan of this ax, I like the one piece design and I think this ax is perfect for the light camper. If you are planning a weekend in the woods, this ax could make your stay more pleasant.
GERBER GATOR AXE II
The GERBER GATOR AXE II provides you with the maximum cutting capabilities from a small ax. This unit includes an internal saw that is stored in the hollow handle. This was very clever move Gerber and it allows you to saw larger branches down and then split them into firewood.
- Stainless Steel Head
- Glass-Filled Nylon Handle
- Handle Wraps Around The Blade Head
I like the design of this ax. It is ideal for clearing brush and small branches. I did notice wood chips were starting to get stuck between my blade and handle after extended use. I would recommend this ax for someone looking for a lightweight camping ax to handle the small jobs.
Fiskars 4-1/4 LB 28″ Super Splitting Axe Fiberglass Handle
The Fiskars 4-1/4 LB 28″ Super Splitting Axe incorporates a fiberglass handle that gives it a lighter frame and better shock absorption characteristics. The splitting head and virtually unbreakable handle make this a great ax for the wild.
- Hardened Blade
- Nyglass Handle
- Non-stick Coating
- Carbon Steel Blade
- Sticks in Knotty Wood
This is the perfect axe if you are planning to do some serious log splitting. I keep this ax at my cabin. The design of this ax is very effective. I can cut enough wood for days, in just under an hour.
Estwing E3-FF4 4-Pound “Fireside Friend” Wood Splitting Axe/Maul with Shock Reduction Grip
The Estwing E3-FF4 4-Pound “Fireside Friend” Wood Splitting Axe is the perfect companion for anyone looking to keep their fire strong throughout the night. The one-piece forged steel is extremely durable and the weight and head shape of this axe allow it to split logs with ease.
- 2 3/8″ Cutting Edge
- Nylon Vinyl Shock Reduction Grip
- One Piece Forged Steel
- Only Good for Log Splitting
This ax is designed specifically to split logs. I wouldn’t want to use this unit to chop wood or fell trees as it’s design would be ineffective. You won’t find a better portable log splitter on the market today.
GRANSFORS BRUKS SMALL FOREST AXE
The GRANSFORS BRUKS SMALL FOREST AXE gives you maximum cutting power from a traditional design. If you are planning to do some serious chopping this is the axe for you. The craftsmanship is excellent and the manufacturer includes a 20-year warranty on their product.
- 20-Year Warranty
- Razor Sharp
- Leather Sheath
- Comfortable Handle
This is a nice medium sized axe designed to take on the tough jobs. The size of this ax puts it in a unique category. It’s a little too big to backpack with but it will fit perfectly in with your camping gear. If you have to do some serious chopping, this is the perfect blade for you.
The Best Camping Axe – Final Thoughts
The best camping ax is out there, you just need to go out and get it. Remember, you need to consider what’s important to you when you are in the wilderness. Depending on when, and where, you plan on camping, you may find any one of these axes suitable for your needs. I know when I step into the wild I am going to be chopping firewood. I like to keep my fire roaring at night and smoldering during the day, so I need to keep my firewood readily available.
Once again, guys, it’s your blade specialist John, signing off from another kick-butt blade review designed to keep you on point in the wild. Make sure to check back soon to see what new and exciting blades we will be covering next time and remember there is no perfect blade that can do it all. There is only the right blade for the job.