As the name may suggest, camping axes (also known as camping hatchets, survival hatchets, and survival axes) are mainly used in camping situations, and have unparalleled abilities in tasks such as word chopping and game processing, as well in tasks related to shelter building. They tend to be relatively light so as to make them durable, but heavy enough to enable decent chopping action.
Choosing the best camping axe to suit your needs can be tricky, as there are many options available, all with features that make them suitable for a range of different situations. This guide makes use of professional reviews to bring you a comprehensive guide to the best camp axes and best survival hatchets for the money.
Below is a table containing reviews of some of the best camping and survival hatchets available today. Making use of these reviews should give you a good idea of the sort of features you should look for when considering a survival ax or camping hatchet.
Comparison Table of the Top 5 Camping Hatchets
|Pros and Cons
|Estwing Sportsman axe
|-Good balance, strong handle, great grip, good sheath
-Handle varnish is liable to degrade over time
|Yes4 All Camping Axe
|-Decent blade, durable handle, excellent sheath, saw and fire starters nice additions
-Potentially uncomfortable handle, somewhat heavy for its size
|M48 Hawk Axe
|-Good versatile blade, lightweight and strong handle
-Somewhat poor sheath, not as portable
|RMJ Woods Chogan T-Hawk
|-Sturdy design, additional hammer head, excellent blade
-Slightly uncomfortable handle, a little long for a camping axe, no sheath
|-Lightweight and portable, decent sheath, sturdy and rust-resistant, comfortable grip
-Perhaps too light for efficient chopping
Reviews of the Best Survival Axes for the Money
Estwing E24A Sportsman’s Hatchet Review
#1The first offering on this list is the attractive Estwing Sportsman’s hatchet, which comes in at 14 inches and 1.3 pounds. This form factor makes the Estwing an ideal camping hatchet for many situations, giving it enough heft to chop away comfortably at firewood whilst not being too heavy or long for the average backpack.
The blade and handle are forged from one piece of Stainless Steel, giving Estwing Sportsman axe excellent balance and strength. The blade offers good edge retention and is easy enough to sharpen, while also offering the rust-protection associated with stainless steel.
The handle, forged from the same steel as the blade, is sturdy enough to withstand just about anything. The gentle rising curve allows for a comfortable grip and plenty of options for ergonomic hold. In addition to this, the leather grip allows for excellent comfort and solid grip in even the harshest of conditions.
The blade comes with an excellent leather sheath which will protect the already durable blade from the harshness of the elements.
Pros and Cons:
- Good balance, strong handle, great grip, good sheath
- Handle varnish is liable to degrade over time
Yes4All Camping Axe With Saw And Fire Starter Review
#2This Yes4 All Camping Axe is a package deal, with the attractive 13.97 inch, two pound axe coming with a 12 inch saw and a fire starter. However, the main attraction is the axe itself, which offers brilliant chopping weight in a relatively small package.
Forged from 420 Stainless Steel and featuring a three inch cutting edge, the Yes4All’s blade is a sturdy and hard-edged cutting tool that is perfect for splitting and hacking in a variety of conditions. With its rust-resistant design and hardened exterior, the blade should be able to withstand even the toughest job around the campsite.
The Yes4All’s handle offers impressive grip that doesn’t degrade under contact with water and is resistant to a great many situations. Fashioned from durable textured plastic, this handle is strong enough to withstand axe swings whilst also providing a relatively comfortable grip. However, the hardness of the plastic may cause it to be less comfortable than some alternatives.
Instead of a loose material such as vinyl or leather, the Yes4All’s sheath is made of molded, hardened plastic. This makes the sheath incredibly durable and offers superb protection to the blade.
Pros and Cons:
- Decent blade, durable handle, excellent sheath, saw and fire starters nice additions
- Potentially uncomfortable handle, somewhat heavy for its size
United Cutlery M48 Hawk Axe Review
#3A somewhat larger option is the M48 Hawk Axe, which comes in at 15 inches and 2.2 pounds. Despite its slightly longer design and increased weight, this remains an excellent and hard wearing tool that is not to be sniffed at.
The blade this time is made of durable AUS-6 Stainless Steel, making it hard as nails and giving it good edge retention whilst also providing rust resistance not found in Carbon Steel blades. This makes it a great tool for outdoors situations and also requires less upkeep than its Carbon Steel counterparts.
In addition to a slightly shorter form factor, this axe comes with a much lighter handles crafted from nylon and fiberglass, making for a tough and versatile handle while not adding too much weight to the product. The handle is comfortable enough for extended use and durable enough to withstand hard knocks.
However, the nylon sheath is not the best option available and does not offer the best protection possible. However, the Stainless Steel blade is a little more forgiving in this regard, meaning that the sheath is less problematic. That being said, it is still worth investigating other options for sheathing this great axe.
Pros and Cons:
- Good versatile blade, lightweight and strong handle
- Somewhat poor sheath, not as portable
Columbia River Knife And Tool 2730 RMJ Woods Chogan T-Hawk Review
#4The first Carbon Steel item on our list is also the longest, coming in at a relatively huge 19 inches. Despite its length, the axe weighs only about two pounds, which keeps it light enough to be carried around but heavy enough to be effective at splitting logs.
The RMJ Woods Chogan T-Hawk offers a very different form factor from the other axes on this list, with the blade wrapping around the top of the handle, meaning that it takes up very little of the axe’s overall body. Made of 1055 high Carbon Steel (0.55% Carbon), this is one of the hardest blades in the list with a great edge. In addition to the edge, this axe comes with a proper hammer head, useful for hammering in nails and other such pounding tasks.
The handle this time is quite lengthy and comprises solid wood. While this means that the handle is very sturdy, this does come at the cost of some comfort. Additionally, the handle’s straight edge design makes it somewhat less ergonomically viable. This is a very old-fashioned axe which performs its functions efficiently, but without much of an eye to modern comfort demands.
Problematically, this axe does not come with a sheath. With a Carbon Steel blade, this is something that is desperately needed, as leaving the blade uncovered will leave it vulnerable to rust and decay. If you are considering this option, you should look into available sheaths.
Pros and Cons:
- Sturdy design, additional hammer head, excellent blade
- Slightly uncomfortable handle, a little long for a camping axe, no sheath
M-Tech USA Black Hatchet Review
#5The last axe on our list is an 11 inch offering, which is by far the lightest axe on the list at only 14.6 ounces. This makes it the most portable axe reviewed here, but also means that it sacrifices something in the way of chopping capabilities.
The M-Tech’s blade is forged of hardened 440 Stainless Steel, making it another option to consider for those damper conditions. The blade and handle are, once again, forged from a single piece of steel, making the head sturdy enough to withstand the harshest of chopping actions as well as hammering actions with the back of the head.
The handle, in addition to being made of the ultra-sturdy Stainless Steel, comes with a comfortable rubberized handle. This makes the M-Tech Hatchet a strong enough tool to use for repeated chopping and hammering actions, while also making it comfortable for extended use.
The blade sheath is made of nylon and offers decent protection to the blade, as well as providing a belt loop for improved portability. Combined with the M-Tech’s surprisingly low weight, this makes it the ideal companion for anyone not wishing to add too much weight to their camping packs.
Pros and Cons:
- Lightweight and portable, decent sheath, sturdy and rust-resistant, comfortable grip
- Perhaps too light for efficient chopping
What Should You Look For In A Camping Axe?
As mentioned above, the best camping axes and best survival axes typically are those designed with an eye to both portability and power. However, there are a few more factors to consider when researching the best camping hatchet for your particular purpose.
As with any bladed tool, the actual material that comprises the blade is probably the most important element. The metal must be hard enough to withstand the chopping action associated with survival axes, as well as being able to retain an edge. Carbon Steel is often used as it offers great hardness and edge retention, but it falls down due to its lack of rust-resistance and its relatively high level of upkeep. Stainless steel is often the material of choice for camping hatchets as it offers rust-resistance that is useful in the damp situations often associated with camping.
The best survival hatchets make use of tough materials for their handles, as the handle just like the blade needs to withstand a lot of jolting and intense knocking. However, the best survival axes are those who handles are not only hard but also comfortable, allowing for good grip and easy ergonomic grip.
Weight and Length
Camping axes should be portable, as they are designed to be taken on outdoor trips which may require a lot of walking. For this reason, camping axes should be light and short enough to be portable and wielded with one hand. However, they also need enough weight to be effective at chopping.
Perhaps more than other blades, the sheath is particularly important for camping hatchets, as they are likely to be taken into more hostile conditions than some other tools. It is important to look for a good quality, well-fitted sheath to accompany your axe as this will ensure the tool a longer life.
Now that you have read this guide, you should have all the information you need to make an informed decision about the correct tool for your camping needs. By making use of the knowledge imparted in this guide in conjunction with online reviews, you should be able to find the fitting purchase for you. Please feel free to get in touch should you have any questions.