Axes have aided mankind for centuries. They started out as a piece of wood attached to a sharpened stone, evolving into what we know them as today. Axes are an extremely versatile tool which are especially useful for campers. Use them to collect wood for campfires, split logs, and even to cut up game you’ve hunted!
Using an ax (or hatchet) can also be very exhilarating, especially when it’s well made and cuts through materials with ease. It is a straightforward tool that can be used by anyone ranging from beginners to more experienced campers. Axes are also more efficient than the majority of knives and can even be used for self-defense in a pinch.
With all the different axes and hatchets available in the marketplace right now, it can be a headache to narrow things down. Thankfully, we’ve taken care of that for you. Below is our definitive list of The 4 Best Axes and Hatchets for Camping.
We’ll also cover key questions you might have about camping axes and hatchets which will help you make an informed purchasing decision. We’ll also go into what the actual difference is between an ax and a hatchet, so stay tuned.
But first, let’s start with the list!
The 4 Best Axes for Camping
1) Fiskars 378501-1002 X7 Hatchet
- Ideal for chopping kindling and small- to medium-sized logs
- Chops deeper with each swing to get more done faster
- Perfected balance and power-to-weight ratio increases swing speed to multiply power, much like an aluminum baseball bat
- Proprietary blade-grinding technique provides a sharper edge for better contact and cleaner cuts
What makes it special?
This hatchet stands out with its sleek cool design, but it isn’t just a looker. It can drive through logs with just one swing! Some customers have even reported that it takes just 18 seconds to get through a 2″ hardwood branch. That’s really impressive for a 16.5-inch hatchet. Its sheath is also a favorite and comes with a unique design to lock the blade securely. It is quick, simple, and safe. That makes the hatchet a much safer bet altogether.
- This hatchet looks amazing and feels that way too! Its plastic handle is one of the most comfortable we’ve used while testing. When chopping wood in the great outdoors, its high-quality constitution can easily be trusted.
- Fiskars really went above and beyond with the sharpness of this hatchet. It rips through wood and game easily with a single whack.
- While this hatchet is plenty resilient, it also comes with a lifetime warranty. Great quality and a great guarantee. There isn’t much better that you’ll be able to find.
- Some people don’t like the lack of a belt attachment for the sheath. If this is an absolute must for you, you might want to look elsewhere.
- The black coating rubs off pretty quickly, and you can expect to see some small dents and chips. These can be smoothed when sharpening, but we’d be lying if we said it wasn’t a nuisance. We advise buying an ax file for ax and hatchet maintenance, especially for this tool.
2) Schrade SCAXE2 11.8in Stainless Steel Small Axe
- DIMENSIONS: 11.8 inch (30 cm) overall length with a blade length of 3.8 inches (9.6 cm) and a weight of 1 lb 6.4 ounces
- DURABLE: Blade is made of reliable 3Cr13 Titanium Coated S.S. with a black, glass fiber filled PA & TPR material and cold resistance flexibilizer handle
- DEPENDABLE: Quick and easy access with the convenient black thermoplastic belt sheath
- SECURE: Have confidence that the blade will not slip with the security of the ergonomic black rubber grip
What makes it special?
The Schrade SCAXE2 is the perfect tool for anyone needing a good small ax or hatchet. It balances power, force, reliability, and durability. In addition, this stainless steel ax is perfect for breaking rocks and flint, knapping flint, or chopping and splitting wood. It’s also the most shock absorbent option on this list and a customer favorite. The online reviews for this marvel are mostly super positive!
- This ax was built with 3Cr13 stainless steel, and its head is modeled with titanium which gives it unmatched strength and durability. It’s also top of the line in shock absorbency thanks to the Ferro steel rod tucked away in the handle. You also strike that rod to start a fire!
- This axe is very easy to use and has an extremely comfortable grip thanks to its thermoplastic rubber handle. This creates helpful balance and leads to firm contact when chopping or splitting wood.
- This ax is compact and allows for easy travel, which is always a good standard to look for in a camping tool. Not only is it compact, but you can also get a lot done with just one swing. It cuts wood in clean fashion without you having to worry about it sticking.
- It doesn’t hold its edge for very long and can get really dull rather quickly, so expect to sharpen it regularly.
- This ax has a lot of oomph when tackling smaller jobs, but it can be a bit inefficient for larger tasks. Seek a bigger ax if you’re going to need it for extended work.
3) Estwing Sportsman’s Axe – 14″ Camping Hatchet
- FORGED IN ONE PIECE – The most durable, longest lasting striking tools available
- OUTDOOR VERSITILITY – Perfect for chopping logs, small trees & branches or splitting firewood & kindling
- HEAVY DUTY SHEATH – Includes ballistic nylon sheath to protect hand sharpened cutting edge. 2.75 or 3.25 inches edge
- GENUINE LEATHER GRIP – Hand sanded and lacquered for a durable yet comfortable finish
What makes it special?
This ax is one which finds itself at the top of many lists like this. With just one swing, you’ll be able to see what it’s capable of. Its forged steel blade is rugged and can withstand plenty without noticeable wear and tear even after a few months of use. A prominent favorite for strength, durability and portability, the Estwing Sportsman’s Axe is a great tool for any camper to take along on their journey through the Great Outdoors.
- This ax is forged in one piece giving it ample strength which makes it perfect to perform multiple jobs. Its outdoor versatility includes chopping logs, small trees and branches, kindling and it can even do some carving work when you need it.
- For over 90 years, Estwing has been a leader in the ax game. Their axes and hatchets are always referenced in listicles like this, and consumers can’t stop raving about the quality of these American-forged beauties.
- While the axe itself is premium grade all around, it also comes with a leather sheath that is very high quality. In addition, the handle of this axe is super sturdy and can be used for pounding without breakage.
- Even though it can be used for carving when needed, the narrow handle close to the ax’s head makes it a tricky task. If you’re looking for a good carving ax, look elsewhere.
- This ax is bigger and heavier than others on this list. This might not be an issue if you’re planning on tackling heavier jobs, but it’s not a tenable option for backpackers or those looking to camp with limited pack space.
4) SOG Camp Axe
- SOG HAWKS WITH BITE: At 12.5 inches, these hatchets and hawks are built to swing fast and true; these axes feature a razor-sharp 420 stainless steel hatchet...
- 19 OUNCE TACTICAL HAWK: Lightweight yet heavy-duty, FastHawk hatchets are superb backpacking, hiking and survival axes to add to your axes set; hawk boasts a...
- HAWK HATCHET WITH SHEATH: Light, fast, and agile tactical hawk snaps securely in its ballistic nylon sheath; competition axe includes belt loop for 1.5-inch...
- HAMMER AXE EDGE AND PIERCING SPIKE: FastHawk tactical survival axe features a flat edge for hammering and a spike; versatile to handle small wood chopping...
What makes it special?
The SOG Camp Axe gets plenty of style points for its slick look, but looks aren’t everything this ax has to offer. Its stainless steel blade is strong and cuts wood with ease, but it’s also lightweight which makes super easy to carry around. It’s also extremely versatile as it can be used for splitting and chopping wood, pounding down stakes, and breaking down tinder among other things. You can even use the back of its head like a hammer!
- The blade of the SOG Camp Axe is made of forged stainless steel which means it’s super sturdy chopping down trees and splitting wood. The 3.1-inch blade can also be used for smaller tasks and its long handle provides a powerful strike every time.
- This axe also comes with a rigid handle which allows for a comfortable grip. You won’t have to worry about it slipping when splitting firewood.
- The SOG Camp Axe weighs just a little over 1 pound which means it can be transported rather easily. It also comes with a glass-reinforced nylon sheath which protects your investment quite nicely.
- Some customers have complained about loose screws, so be sure to keep that in mind and tighten them regularly if this starts to occur.
- Due to the way this ax is designed, there is a spike which can be dangerous to carry without a sheath. It is important to handle this ax, or any sharp tool for that matter, with caution.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you sharpen an ax?
Unlike a knife, an ax does not need to be razor sharp to be efficient.
You should start by filing the edge to remove any scrapes and irregularities. Be sure to take your time and file with care, otherwise you may damage your filing tool beyond repair. Pay attention to the direction of the strokes and make sure you’re filing away from you.
Buying an ax file is highly recommended and optional cleaning supplies you should consider include ax oil and wax to protect it from rusting.
What is the difference between an ax and a hatchet?
These two words get used together quite often since they share nearly identical design schemes. However, size and intended purpose are usually how they’re differentiated. Out of the two, the ax is the bigger tool and is usually designed with chopping and splitting wood in mind. Most axes are designed to be used with two hands.
In contrast, hatchets are smaller and usually require just one hand. They are lighter in constitution and usually are fashioned for smaller jobs such as cutting game.
In short, a hatchet is just a smaller version of an ax.
Axes and hatchets are do-it-all tools which are essential for campers looking to get several jobs done without needing several separate tools to do so. The four standouts on the list above are the absolute best for chopping wood, slicing up meat for meals, or even hammering stakes into the ground!
With the right ax or hatchet in your camping pack, you’ll have a Swiss army knife’s worth of utility in just a single blade and handle.