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Best Backpacking Axe 2018 – The Ultimate Buyer’s Guide

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When you are in the wilderness, it is vital to have quality gears and accessories which you could rely on. Among them, a dependable cutting tool can come in extremely handy in a variety of situation. Of course, bringing a full-size axe on a backpacking trip is out of the question, especially if you need to keep everything light. In the case that you happen to be looking for the best backpacking axe around then this article got what you want. Right below is how you can find a suitable product along with several excellent examples to consider.

Best Backpacking Axe: Top 8 Featured Products on the Market

Backpacking AxeLengthWeightPriceReview
Fiskars X15 Chopping Axe23. 5 Inches3.45 Pounds$$*****
Estwing E24A Sportsman14 Inches1.7 Pounds$$****
SOG Tactical Tomahawk F01TN-CP15.75 Inches1.5 Pounds$$****
Husqvarna Carpenter19 Inches2.75 Pounds$$$****
M48 Tactical Tomahawk15 Inches2 Pounds$$***
Gransfors Bruk Wildlife Hatchet13.5 Inches1.3 Pounds$$$$$****
Gerber Bear Grylls9.46 Inches1.3 Pounds$$***
Fiskars X2736 Inches5.8 Pounds$$$$*****

There is a wide range of axe models and lines for backpacking so it’s not easy to make a decision right away. If you don’t obtain sufficient information, there is a chance you might get an inadequate product which cost you a lot for little gains. This means you have to research your available options before you move forward with the purchase. Inspect the characteristics of the axe you choose to see whether it’s able to match your personal requirements. Do it carefully and thoroughly then you can rest assured that your investment is well-spent money.

1. Fiskars X15 Chopping Axe

Fiskars X15 Chopping Axe

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  • Length: 23. 5 Inches
  • Weight: 3.45 Pounds

At a limited size, the Fiskars X15 got plenty of power to pull you through the usual chopping and splitting tasks with ease. It produces deeper and deeper cuts after every swing so felling a small tree is not a big issue. All of its parts are well balanced in a straightforward design which means anyone can use it to good effect. The power-to-weight ratio is superb that multiplies the power which shortens the time to finish the job. You will achieve respectable working efficiency when you have X15 backpacking axe at your side.

Another helpful feature of the Fiskars X15 is its innovative FiberComp handle. It’s a shock – absorbing design that feels kind of light yet tougher than steel. If overstrike is one of your worries then this handle is an effective solution. The blade utilizes high-grade coating powder to prevent itself from getting stuck in the woods. Its edge is forged steel which allows the edge to stay sharp longer than classics axes and result in cleaner cuts.  Using the Fiskars X15, it will take less time and effort to deal with the average woods compare to other products. With striking features of the best backpacking axe, Fikars X15 is a popular choice for a lot of campers.

Pros

  • Versatile and convenient to wield.
  • Great endurance and lightweight
  • High efficiency
  • Nice sheath

Cons

  • Some customers received damaged products
  • Tend to chick and nick
  • Mostly suitable for light-duty projects

2. Estwing E24A 14-Inch Sportman’S Axe

Estwing E24A 14-Inch Sportman'S Axe

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  • Length: 14 Inches
  • Weight: 1.7 Pounds

Estwing E24A is another product that deserves to be on this best backpacking axe list from every angle. For ultralight campers, Estwing E24A is an awesome backpacking axe to have because of its excellent weight. It got a good balance between weight and size not to mention the affordable price tag. It’s a one-piece design with a leather wrap on the rear so structural integrity is fairly decent. You can hack away as you like without fearing that the head or the handle may fall off. Given its lightweight, the durability of the E24A is admirable, it would withstand tremendous abuse and still remain perfectly functional. It is the axe that will stick around for years to come.

The use of high-quality steel in the E24A construction ensures that its blade sharpness is sufficient in most of the time.  When you eventually need to sharpen the blade, the material is rather forgiving so you can restore the ideal edge relatively easy. The leather wrap put a nice touch to the axe appearance and let you got a tight grip.  If you prefer to have the lightest load on a backpacking trip, you must take a look at the E24A. It got what you want for a cutting tool in the wilderness and exceptionally comfortable to carry.  

Pros

  • Sharp edge and easy to sharpen
  • Well made
  • Efficient cutting and chopping
  • Great for outdoor uses

Cons

  • Grip maintenance is required
  • Inadequate at dealing with hardwood
  • Slippery when it gets wet
  • Sheath quality is not good

3. SOG Tactical Tomahawk F01TN-CP

 SOG Tactical Tomahawk F01TN-CP

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  • Length: 15.75 Inches
  • Weight: 1.5 Pounds

In the best backpacking axe list, it would be a mistake if we do not mention this product. Robust and versatile, the F01TN-CP is created to fulfill virtually every task you can think of. As a handy tool, it will assist you in a variety of operations from climbing to hammering and alike. The blade is made from 420 stainless which immune to corrosions caused by outdoor elements. On top of that is black oxide coating which is scratch resistant while reducing the material reflectivity at the same time. Couple with the ergonomic handle, the axe can make cuts with high accuracy. General stability is great as well so it’s convenient to wield.  

Designed to be used in the most demanding environment imaginable, you can hardly find another product with qualities of the F01TN-CP. The reinforced nylon of the handle offers better handling and grip for the user in all weather conditions. Connecting the handle and the head is the heavy duty bolts to keep them secured at all times. To sufficiently balance the axe parts, a metal ferrule is also present down the center. At 1.5 Pounds, the 1.5 Pounds should not make it hard for you to include this magnificent axe in your backpacking inventory.

Pros

  • Quite tough
  • Got plenty of applications
  • Resistance to corrosion
  • Reasonable price

Cons

  • Frequent sharpen is needed
  • Inconsistent quality between products
  • The accommodated sheath is barely acceptable

4. Husqvarna Carpenter‘s Axe

 Husqvarna Carpenter's Axe

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  • Length: 19 Inches
  • Weight: 2.75 Pounds

Husqvarna Carpenter’s Axe is a practical product with a cheap price. As the name suggests, it’s best suited for carpentry works, the straight cutting tip makes the axe great at carving, hewing, limbing, etc. The axe is a bit heavy so it’s good enough to deal with brands and even small trees if required. However, you should know that feeling tree is not really a favorite task for the axe. Using a combination of steel and wooden wedge, the structural integrity of the axe is well maintained in heavy uses conditions.

Possesses a limited profile, the Husqvarna Carpenter’s Axe is comfortable to carry around for an extended period of time.  It’s indeed a bit heavy compared to other axes with a weight of 2.75 Pounds though it’s still totally manageable. The overall balance is ideal nerveless, you can wield the axe with ease.  Swedish steel formed the blade of the axe so you can be certain about the quality. If all you want is an inexpensive backpacking axe, you won’t be disappointed by the Husqvarna Carpenter’s Axe. It’s effective, compact and well made.

Pros

  • Sharp blade
  • Cost-effective
  • Strong structure
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • The handle is  not ergonomic
  • Loosed sheath
  • Quality control needs to be improved

5. United Cutlery M48 Hawk Tactical Tomahawk

United Cutlery M48 Hawk Tactical Tomahawk

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  • Length: 15 Inches
  • Weight: 2 Pounds

An amazing product from United Cutlery, the M48 Hawk Tactical Tomahawk is highly appreciated by both amateur and professional. The back side of the head is a well-sharpened spike that you can put to good use in many situations. Combine with the axe head, the M48 is a versatile tool to have when you go into the wilderness. It’s top heavy but still light enough to be wielded comfortably.  Weight only 2 Pounds, the axe will not strain the user muscle even on a multiple day trip. 

The handle of the M48 is 30% reinforced nylon that is quite tough and comfortable to hold in your hand. With the presence of nonslip grooves, you shall have a tight grip on the handle no matter what happens. Three separate bolts are used to connect the head and the handle which keeps them well secured together.  

Pros

  • Convenient to wield and transport
  • Effective design
  • Tight sheath
  • Great balance

Cons

  • Edge retention is less than ideal
  • The tang is kind of short

6. Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet

Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet

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  • Length: 13.5 Inches
  • Weight: 1.3 Pounds

Gransfors Bruks is a famous brand in the axe business that provides high-quality products and this one is not an exception. The Wildlife Hatchet is a classic camping axe with a lot of applications. Its handle is pretty long so the axe got plenty of power which is enough to chop down trees with ease. When you want a small size axe that packs a punch, you can’t go wrong with the Wildlife Hatchet. The axe comes with its own sheath to fully cover the head and prevent any damages to your backpack from occurring.

Pros

  • Razor sharp
  • Hold the edge well
  • Sturdy built
  • Versatile

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Customers complain about improperly assembled products

7. Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet

Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet

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  • Length: 9.46 Inches
  • Weight: 1.3 Pounds

It’s undeniable that Gerber Bear Grylls is one of the best backpacking axe models that will always make any top ten list. For people want to keep the size down to the minimum, the Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet is an excellent option. At such a slim profile and weight, the axe will fit in your backpack without any difficulty. But don’t let its appearance fool you, this is a powerful axe with its razor sharp blade. Its handle is rubberized that allow you to achieve a very tight grip even if it gets wet by rain or sweat. Couple with the finger notches, the Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet permits the user to have complete control over its movement.

Pros

  • Nice price
  • Easy to use
  • Extremely sharp
  • Have a lanyard hole

Cons

  • Short handle
  • Best use for light activity
  • Tend to chip

8. Fiskars X27 Super Splitting Axe (36″)

Fiskars X27 Super Splitting Axe (36")

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  • Length: 36 Inches
  • Weight: 5.8 Pounds

Last in the best backpacking axe list, we are glad to introduce another great product from Fiskars brand. If you like the idea behind X15 but want something stronger, the Fiskars X27 Super Splitting Axe is what you need. Longer and heavier than the X15, the X27 is ideal for tall users to split medium sized logs and above. All helpful features of the X15 can be found here as well such as the FiberComp handle and the efficient coating layer. In the case that power is your main priorities, Fiskars X27 is one of the top choices around. However, its weight and size might make it inconvenient to carry across long distances.

Pros

  • Strong
  • Shock absorb handle           
  • Sharp blade

Cons

  • Bulky and heavy
  • Questionable quality in some products

5 Different Types of Axes

Remember that axes that are suitable for cutting large wood logs won’t perform well for smaller wood-cutting jobs. With that in mind, let’s learn about different types of axes so that you understand which one will best suit your camping tasks.

types of axe
The axes could be of various types.

1. Felling Axes

The heavy-duty axes are the ideal tools for cutting down large trees. They are strong, durable, and are armed with razor-sharp blades. The slightly heavier structure (averaging between 2.5 and 3.5 pounds) and longer body (something between 28 and 36 inches) allow you to hold them tightly and make full-force blows.

It’s the best backpacking axe for serious hiking and camping, not for everyday use or in regular campsites.

2. Hudson Bay Axes

Tracing back their origin in the 17th century, these axes have remained popular across centuries. Also known as the ‘3/4 Axe’, it’s the right tool for chopping medium-size wood logs. Their length is around 22 to 28 inches and weight is nearly 2 pounds.

3. Splitting Mauls

They have distinctive features like wedge-shaped head and straight handle that make them look different from other axe types. They are designed for chopping large and medium wood logs.

4. Broad Axes

It is not probably the best backpacking axe since the tool is suitable for bringing precision in woodworking. Available in both right-handed and left-handed version, you can use them for slashing logs into beams.

5. Carpenter’s Axes

As the name suggests, the tool is suitable for carpentry work. If you need to do delicate woodworking jobs, it is the axe to choose. They are smaller (10 to 14 inches long) and weighs around 1.5 pounds. Using these axes for cutting logs will only ruin them.

Things You Can Do with an Axe

You can call a model the best backpacking axe if it’s versatile. Well, a camping axe can do plenty of things. Let’s see if your axe can do them. Also, knowing about them will help you survive in tough situations:

Cutting Trees

Bigger axes like the Felling type is ideal for chopping down an entire tree. To do it, you have to axe the tree at the side to where it leans. Switch the side when you are halfway through. When the tree is ready to fall, move to a safe distance because the tail can kick up and hurt whoever standing nearby.

cutting tree axe
You can cut trees with axes.

Splitting and Chopping Wood

The main function of a camping axe is to cut trees, chop wood logs, and shave branches off of trees. Well, before start doing the task, find a wooden stump that you can use as a chopping block. For cutting off branches, hold the branch with one hand and use the axe with another hand.

Remember that it is not necessary to apply much force for wood chopping. You need a lot of practice before pulling off the skill of cutting woods with an axe.

Making a Fire

Well, an axe is not the first choice to light a fire when camping but you can use it nonetheless. When you don’t have any lighter or matches, create sparks by striking the tool’s metal head against rocks. The task is a bit challenging but the sharp edge of the head will give an edge over using any other metal item or tool.

Processing Game

You hunting knife is enough to process small animals like birds, wild ducks, rabbits, etc. However, when it’s a big game such as deer, pig, or buffalo, you will need something bigger for field dressing. A camping axe will be more efficient than a skinning knife for cutting bones and separating joints.

Cutting Ice

A camping axe is a versatile tool. So, as you can use it for chopping trees and branches, it will also come handy for digging out a snow shelter or cutting ice. Winter camping often requires digging a small hole for protecting a fire. Also, you can do it to break and cut the ice around the RV tires and other places. A knife can also do the same work but an axe makes the job easier.

cut ice with axe
Axe comes handy during winter camping too.

Hammering Things

Some camping axes have a hammer-like structure on the other side of the blade. You can use it for various purposes like hammering down the tent poles or banging nails on something. If you are using just the back end of the axe, cover the blade with a sheath. It will protect you even if an upward swing accidentally catches your face.

As a Weapon

Campers will rather prefer a gun or a bow to protect themselves from predators and wild animals. However, a camping axe could be an excellent close-range weapon. A knife could be a good option too but you can use only for stabbing, which won’t work against big animals. A camping axe is better for giving forceful blows.

How to Choose the Best Backpacking Axe: Top Features to Look for

There is a diversity of people’s preferences, therefore, opinions about one particular product could vary a lot from one to another. That is why the best backpacking axe for you may not appear the same to others. As a result, it’s essential to exam a backpacking axe features and specifications to make sure that they are suitable. Here are a couple of criteria you can use to determine if a product is good for you or not.

Use Backpacking Axe
Backpacking Axe is an indispensable gear when living in the wild!

1. Dimension

Backpacking axes usually have a compact profile with the length between twelve and twenty-four inches. A short axe is easy to carry in your backpack but its swings are not exactly strong. On the other hand, a long axe could deliver powerful swings but it might be inconvenient to transport within the backpack. Should you decide to store the axe in the bag, be careful because the axe can scratch or puncture the fabric.

2. Reliability

An axe consists of two primary parts: The head and the handle. A quality backpacking axe must have these part well connected to each other. Structural integrity should be enough to ensure repeated uses without compromising.   There is a modern style of axe which is called one-piece with its head and handle fuse into a single unit. It is much lighter than the classics version yet quite tough, it won’t break anytime soon.

3. Handle

The handle is where you apply the initial force of a swing so it must be durable and comfortable. You can find lots of materials that are employed in the handle from plastic to steel. Classic wood handles like ash and hickory are still highly sought after nerveless. It’s worth the effort to check out the grain direction if you use a wood handle. An effective handle should have its grains point toward the blade. Horizontal grains and alike usually indicate low toughness, they tend to break which might seriously injure the wielder.

4. Head

For the blade, there are two options: Single bit and double bit. The former allows you cut and chop faster while the latter permits stable swings. When it comes to axe, control is more important than power so you make your choice carefully.

Here is how they choose the best backpacking axe!

Best Sellers

#PreviewProductOur RatingPrice
1Fiskars X11 Splitting Axe, 17-InchFiskars X27 Super Splitting Axe, 36-Inch4.8$$$$
2 Fiskars X11 Splitting Axe, 17-InchFiskars X11 Splitting Axe, 17-Inch4.8$$$
3Fiskars X17 Splitting Axe, 23.5-InchFiskars X17 Splitting Axe, 23.5-Inch4.8$$$
4 Husqvarna 576926501 19" Wooden Carpenter's AxeHusqvarna 26" Wooden Multi-Purpose Axe4.5$$$$$
5Husqvarna A1400 23" Composite Multi-Purpose AxeHusqvarna A1400 23" Composite Multi-Purpose Axe4.5$$$$$

Conclusion

And that is some of the best backpacking axe available on the market, anything catches your attention? Making the right choice can be difficult with too many products around, especially if you are in inexperienced in the field. But with the help of the information above, you should have a good idea about what is a suitable backpacking axe for you.

Best Backpacking Axe 2018 – The Ultimate Buyer’s Guide
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