A Comprehensive Review Guide of the 6 Best Backpacking Axes
One of the most things that a camper should never go on a trip without is a backpacking axe. As a camper, you’ll need one when you need to chop down wood for cooking and staying warm. If you’re planning to go on a camping trip soon, let me suggest some of the best backpacking axe brands you can buy.
Estwing 12 Inch Sportsman Axe
Fiskar’s X15 Chopping Axe
Husqvarna Wooden Carpenter’s Axe
Gerber Bear Grills Survival Hatchet
Blade Mate Handheld Survival Hatchet
Oak Fit Outfitters Camping Axe
Estwing 12 Inch Sportsman Axe
My top pick and a personal favourite are the Estwing Sportsman Axe. If you’re looking for a high-quality axe, this is definitely it. Unlike most axes with a detachable head, this one is forged to one piece, making it rather sturdy and durable. It’s also made out of product top grade steel allowing you to chop wood without having too much of a hard time.
What makes this one a cut above the rest is its high-quality leather handle. Its grip is amazing. Unlike most axes with slick grips, this one feels the most comfortable. If you put some oil on it, you’ll also notice that it absorbs all of it and gives you a nice and smooth texture that doesn’t slip off your hands.
It’s also nice to know that this axe is quite affordable. With all its great qualities and affordable price, I think it is well worth the money I spent on it.
Fiskar’s X15 Chopping Axe
Coming close but not as efficient for campers as the Estwing is the Fiskar’s X15 Chopping Axe. The reason why I put this in second place is that it isn’t the best axe for campers. Fiskar’s X15 Chopping Axe is more of an axe for felling trees and taking down the bigger logs (it does have a size of 23.5 inches).
However, it is something you might want to bring with you if you’re planning to take down trees for logs. It has a balanced power to weight ratio giving you a chance for fast but massive swings. It’s also got a FiberComp shock absorbing handle so that you can prevent strong recoil after a hit.
Husqvarna Wooden Carpenter’s Axe
This carbon steel wooden carpenter's axe is pretty good for carpentry work if you’re looking for something that can continuously chop lumber. I’d say this is a great buy for its price because it won’t cost you much and it allows you to do your job well at the same time. Sure, it’s not as top grade as the previously mentioned axes, but it serves its purpose.
If you’re making a living out of chopping lumber, this is one of the pieces of equipment that you might want to have in your arsenal. It’s an excellent woodworking tool that compliments other woodworking equipment such as saws, chainsaws, and even other axes.
- It is extremely affordable.
Gerber Bear Grills Survival Hatchet- The Best Portable Axe for Rugged Camping Trips
This particular axe is handy for survival trips wherein you’ll go hiking deep in the woods. If that’s more of your fancy, then this axe might be the best choice. It’s very light (1.4 pounds) and compact, so it’s really easy for you to carry around in your backpack. It may not be useful for felling trees or slicing lumber, but it’s suitable for chopping wood that can be used for firewood or cooking. This is because it has a very sharp 3.5-inch blade that has a concentrated edge. It is also made out of construction grade stainless steel, giving an edge over most other axes. At the back of the axe features a crosshatched striking head used for smashing things. With that, it works as a compact, double duty axe.
Blade Mate Handheld Survival Hatchet- The Best Survival Hatchet for Survival and Outdoor Army Activity
For pure survival and army training in the woods, this handheld hatchet is great for slashing branches or trees in the way. It’s also great if you need to chop up some wood for cooking or fire. Other than just a hatchet, it can also be used as a weapon for survival in the woods. It’s the ultimate survival outdoor hatchet that matches well with other survival tools like a pocket knife.
Oak Fit Outfitters Camping Axe- The Best Lightweight Heavy-Duty Axe for All Around Camping
Just like our top pick, this one is forged into one axe with durable steel material. It is also an overall camper’s axe that has both an axe and a hammer function for chopping up wood and hammering materials. What makes this axe pretty impressive is that it has a balanced weight and power making it easy to wield but also able to pack a wallop. When it slices, it can chop through wood smoothly without leaving many chips to it.
Since it’s not that heavy too, it’s also easy to carry around. It might not be the most ideal to carry because of its long size, but it’s a pretty good choice nevertheless.
Backpacking Axe Buying Guide
The above choices that I made are some of the best that I think every camper, hiker, or survivalist should have. Of course, the choice that you make has to suit your lifestyle. For instance, if you’re a survivalist, you’d prefer the Blade Mate brand instead of the Husqvarna brand.
This buying guide is made so that you’ll know how to choose the one that’s best for you. You can refer to these factors when you’re making your choice:
The first thing you’d have to consider is the size of the axe head. The weight of the axe head is significant because it determines whether you’ll be able to carry the axe with ease or not. If the axe head is too big, you’ll have a bit of a tougher time carrying it. Hatchets have lightweight heads that reach up to 12 inches. This is a pretty good size for those who are campers and would not want too heavy of an axe.
Typically, there are three types of backpacking axes namely the camping axe, tactical axe, and survival axe. The camping axe is the usual axe that is used for cutting firewood and slicing down bushes. They’re medium-weight and also very strong. They’re the most ideal for beginner campers and hikers.
The tactical axe, on the other hand, is better if you’re trying to chop logs smoothly as it is very precise. These axes are quite thin and can be used for chopping and hammering because of the hammer at the back
The last type is the survival axe which is the best for hardcore campers and survivalists. These axes can be used for many survival activities such as felling trees, chopping off big branches, and many other survival activities.
Lastly, you have to take into consideration the handle material. The handle material determines the how comfortable you can grip the axe. The classic axes would have wooden handles, but that can give you a lot of blisters. Plastic is also common, but it isn’t that comfortable after prolonged use as well. My preferred axe handle is leather, just like with my top choice. It’s smooth, comfortable, and easy to grip.
The last thing to take note of would be the price. While you don’t want to spend a lot of an axe, you also wouldn’t want to buy an axe that is cheap but of low quality. So the best thing to do is buy an axe from a well-known brand but at a reasonable price.
How to Use a Backpacking Axe
If this is your first time buying a backpacking axe, you probably don’t really know how to use it yet. To help you out, I’ve also made a guide to teach you how to use the axe and a few safety tips:
Always put on the sheath
The sheath is there so that you don’t hurt yourself while using the axe. For this reason, you have to make sure that it’s always on when you’re not using it. When you’re about to use it, remove the sheath slowly so you won’t get cut.
Always Use Eye Gear
When you chop wood, you won’t be able to avoid wood chips going inside of your eyes. For this reason, you’ll need the proper eye gear so that you can protect your eyes. Never attempt to chop wood without it-- especially if you’re a beginner.
Observe Proper Splitting Technique
Now, let’s go on to the proper technique. This is where a lot of people get into accidents-- by not using the appropriate technique. First of all, make sure that there is ample space for you to swing your axe. Make sure there is no one near you. Now, put the log on the ground and kneel down. From that position, aim for the corner of the log and slice downward. I prefer slicing from the corner so that the hatchet won’t get stuck to the ground after splitting
If you plan on chopping a tree, then you’ll need a whole new technique. First, raise your axe in the air and strike downward at a 120-degree angle from right to left. After that, do the same thing from left to right. In a way, you’re forming a V shape. After a while, the section that you’re cutting should already fall out.
So for the first time campers or hikers out there, check out this guide before you go out to buy your backpacking axe. Naturally, my top pick is the Estwing backpacking axe because it’s perfect for camping. Not only is it made out high-grade steel and very durable, but it also has a slick leather grip which allows you to hold the axe properly while you split and chop. Other than that, it’s got a pretty big sized 12-inch head giving your woodchopping a lot of coverage.
I picked this axe by comparing it with other brands. By pitting its features against the others’, I find that this is the most suitable for the woods. Of course, you can choose whichever you think is best backpacking axe for your needs.