It's time to get serious about finding the best camp axe or the best camping hatchet for your outdoor adventures.
Why? In a camping, hiking, or backpacking environment, your masculinity has the opportunity to come into full bloom. It's a powerful feeling. Don't let the wrong gear hold you back.
In this guide, I'm going to discuss the most important factors to consider when making your selection. As a bonus, I've also included reviews for the top 5 axes and hatchets out there.
I know what you're thinking: An axe and hatchet are basically the same thing.
For some tasks, they are. But each tool can do things the other can’t. Ultimately, both are great additions to your outdoor gear.
But here's the deal: for most folks, a hatchet might do everything they want while camping, backpacking, and hiking. It’s smaller, lighter, and less of a hassle. At a minimum, it's an incredible tool to have with you.
However, if you plan on chopping down trees (felling) or splitting firewood, the situation changes.
A hatchet might take you forever to do these tasks. It might even break under the stress. That would definitely suck and you know it. Instead, why not have the best camping axe and chop down trees with ease?
Personally, I like to have both in the woods. It gives me lots of options. However, in this guide, I'll help you figure out which one is best for your situation.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links, where I make a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Best Camp Axe and Hatchet Summary Table
For camping, hiking, and backpacking, there are several important factors to consider when selecting an axe or hatchet. I discuss each one of these factors in detail below.
Define Your Needs
The first thing to think about is what you will use the tool for. What tasks will you be performing with this tool?
It’s best to write these tasks down and then prioritize them. This list can then guide you to the exact tool you need.
Some common tasks include making kindling and tinder for starting fires and chopping down trees and splitting wood for sustaining fires.
Which One is Best: Axe or Hatchet?
It depends on your situation. One tool is not superior to the other. Determining your needs is critical to answering which one is best for you.
Typically, a hatchet or small axe is the most commonly selected tool for camping, hiking, and backpacking. However, choose which one is best for your situation, or maybe you need or want the best of both to give yourself more options.
Weight and Length
Weight and length are important factors in terms of carrying the tool with you. Will you be on the move, for example, hiking or backpacking, or will you be more stationary like in a camping scenario?
If you will be mobile, then a lower weight and smaller size are important. On the other hand, if you will be mostly stationary at a campsite, then you can choose a heavier and longer axe or hatchet, if desired.
Cost is an important factor that determines a lot of our purchasing decisions.
For a camping situation, assuming we have access to emergency resources, we can take the risk of going cheaper. If our tool fails, it’s not life-or-death.
If this tool will be used in a survival situation, then I recommend reading my other guide for selecting the proper axe or hatchet.
The Either-Or Illusion
Don’t get caught up in the either/or trap. If you think that you need both a hatchet and an axe, then get both. If mobility is not a concern, then why not get both? Then choose wisely so that the capabilities of each tool compliment the other.
Top Axes and Hatchets for Camping, Hiking, and Backpacking
The Estwing Camper's Axe is extremely versatile, which is why it’s my #1 recommendation for best camp axe.
The Estwing Camper’s Axe is 16” long, weighs 2.9 lbs, and is designed as one piece of forged steel. It’s made in the USA.
Estwing makes some incredible tools. They're an old school brand that makes their stuff in the USA.
If you plan on doing a lot of light chopping, de-limbing, and creating kindling and tinder for fires, this axe can do the job well.
This axe can also perform light log splitting. It also be used as a backpacking axe.
Pros: A very versatile small axe. Made in the USA. 1 piece of steel. If you take only one hatchet or axe to the woods for camping, this is the one. Best camping axe by far. It's also a great backpacking axe.
Cons: If you will be mobile a lot or want to limit the weight of your gear, then the weight (2.9 lbs) might be a negative. Choose a lighter weight option below instead.
The Fiskars X7 Hatchet weighs about 1.4 lbs, making it a great choice if you will be on the move a lot.
This hatchet is my top recommendation as the best camping hatchet and also the best hiking axe.
It’s 14 inches long and is made with hardened forged steel.
The X7 includes a heavy duty sheath that makes the hatchet easy to carry, making it ideal for hiking and backpacking.
The X7 can chop down small to medium sized trees and is great at producing kindling and tinder for starting fires. It can also handle lighter log splitting.
Pros: Inexpensive. Light weight. Lifetime warranty. Very versatile design. Best camp hatchet for the money.
Cons: It has bright orange on the handle. This may not be a negative if you have no need to stay hidden in the woods. It might be a plus for your needs.
The GERBER Bear Grylls Hatchet is a great choice if you are looking for a light weight, very compact hatchet.
This hatchet is around 9.5” long, weighs 1.3 lbs, and has a full tang construction made from 3cr13 mov steel.
It comes with a nylon sheath.
This hatchet is ideal for shelter building, creating kindling and tinder for fires, and other light wood processing tasks.
If you will be on the move a lot and your wood processing needs will be light, this hatchet is a good option.
It’s compact size and low weight makes it an obvious choice if size and weight are your top concerns.
Pros: Very compact and lightweight. Perfect if you will be on the move a lot. This hatchet is great at small precise wood tasking, including creating kindling and tinder for fires.
Cons: Made in China.
The Husqvarna Carpenter’s Axe is one of the best smaller axes you can get for camp work, although it’s more expensive than the average axe.
If you have more precise woodworking needs and cost is not an issue, then this axe is the best one for you.
Husqvarna Carpenter's Axe is 19” long and weighs 2.2 lbs. This axe has a straight cutting edge, and it’s made with hand forged steel.
This axe is great at chopping down small to medium sized trees, doing light log splitting for firewood, and processing wood with precision, including shaping logs and creating kindling/tinder.
Pros: A high quality axe. Great design and quality. This axe is the ideal choice for the camping adventurer that has more advanced wood processing needs.
Cons: A little more expensive than the average axe or hatchet. It’s not designed for splitting wood so if you be doing a lot of splitting, you might need an additional tool for that task.
The Estwing Sportsman's Axe is the second Estwing recommendation on this list.
This 14” axe weighs 1.5 lbs and is made with one piece of forged steel. As expected by the Estwing brand, it is made in the USA. It comes with a nylon sheath.
This axe is ideal for light chopping and creating kindling/tinder for fires and is a great option for someone that will be on the move.
It’s a lot lighter than the Estwing Camper's Axe, which is the top recommendation.
Pros: Made in the USA. Light. Versatile. Great for the adventurer that is on the move.
Cons: It’s not the best option if you will be mostly stationary at a camp site. I would recommend a heavier axe/hatchet in that situation.
I hope you enjoyed this guide and that it helped save you some time in making your selection.
In summary, we discussed the top 5 recommendations for an axe or hatchet for camping, hiking, and backpacking adventures.
We also discussed the factors to consider. They included first assessing your needs for the tool, then considering weight, length, and cost.
In addition, we talked about not getting stuck in the either-or trap. If you will be camping, you can get both tools and select one of each that will compliment the other in capabilities.
My top recommendation for camping is the Estwing Camper’s Axe due to its versatility in tasking and rugged design.
In addition, my top recommendation for hiking and backpacking is the Fiskars X7 Hatchet due to its lighter weight and quality.
Happy camping, hiking, and backpacking out there!
Now it's your turn! Please post your thoughts and epic camp stories below. If you enjoyed reading this article, please share it!
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