If you are into outdoor activities like camping or bushfires, then you already understand the need of a flexible backpacking axe. And if you have seen the famous show Man vs. Wild, then you know how important a small axe can when it comes to making life easier out in the wild.
However, purchasing the best backpacking axe can be a bit difficult, as there are way too many available options in the market. Moreover, you might find yourself in a confusing situation regarding your actual necessities. No backpacking axe ticks all the boxes, so you should choose one based on the kind of activity you want to do with it.
In this post, I am going to make things much easier for you. I have gone through user reviews of hundreds of backpacking axes, and came up with a short list. Here are the best 25 backpacking axes you should consider in 2020!
TOP 25 Best Backpacking Axes 2020
1. Gerber 23.5-Inch
The first entry into this list is none other than the Gerber 23.5-inch flexible axe. The size of this backpacking axe is a bit longer than its other counterparts, but its design makes up for it. The balance of power, length, and weight in this powerhouse from Gerber is exceptional.
This might not be a good choice for the individuals who want their axes to be super light. This axe is anything but super-light. At 3.35 lbs, in fact this axe is in the heavier side. But it is the weight that has enhanced its chopping power exponentially. If you are willing to do more than light chopping, this is the axe to buy.
The protection in this axe is very strong with PTFE coated blade that keeps friction and rust away. The nylon handle makes it very easy to use and make a nice cut. The Finnish axe producers have certainly nailed this one!
Campers will absolutely love this axe, as they won’t face any trouble chopping firewood due to the immense power of the Gerber. its the best axe for backpacking.
PTFE coated blade for extra security
Very powerful and durable
Easy to use handle
Very affordable given its performance
Comes with a plastic cover
A bit on the heavier side
2. Estwing Camper’s Axe
This is one of the longest axes in this list. If your backpack isn’t long enough, you might not even be fit this 26-inch-long axe in it. However, the extra length is there for a reason. It is very convenient to chop larger logs due to the extended handle length. Most of the backpacking axes are able to comfortably chop smaller and thinner logs, but this axe will deal with larger ones too. You are getting a full package here.
Weighing at 3.4 lbs, it might seem a bit too heavy for some. But it shouldn’t be a deal-breaker as the weight is not way above the average weight of backpacking axes. On top of that, this American made axe is very affordable too. The forged steel upper part is welded into the hollow steel handle to give it more durability. The easy to swing sharp edges will create deep cuts that will make your chopping experience very pleasant. Its handle has a special shock reduction grip to reduce vibration as well. Check Price On Amazon.
Very affordable price tag
Easy to use and cuts deep
Strong, durable handle
Reduces all sorts of vibration by 70 percent
On the heavier side
3. Husqvarna 20”
If you are familiar with this brand already, then you might find this entry a bit surprising. Husqvarna doesn’t produce axes specifically for camping. In fact, the Husqvarna 20” model isn’t for camping as well. This axe is quite famous among Swedish carpenters as they purchase it for light uses.
But the Husqvarna 20” can serve the purposes of campers as well. It’s design, length, and weight is totally perfect for camping and backpacking. With only 2.5 lbs on it, you can carry it anywhere you want without having to face too many issues. As the axe is originally designed for considerably heavy workload, power won’t be an issue either.
The leather coating on the handle might feel uncomfortable to a few users, especially whose hands are sweaty. If you are going camping at a place full of bushes, then you shouldn’t think twice before choosing the Husqvarna 20” as it is the best one out there for bushcrafting. There aren’t too many alternatives in the market that’ll give you as much control and precision like this one.
The head is made of strong Swedish steel
Comes with a leather sheath to cover the edge
Gives great control and precision
The leather coating can be a bit uncomfortable for a few users
4. Cold Steel Trail Hawk
For campers who are more experienced in using axes, this backpacking axe is simply perfect. The features and specifications of this axe is nothing out of the ordinary, but you can easily upgrade it to turn it into a monster.
This axe comes with a 22-inch-long handle and carbon steel head. The solid American Hickory handle will give you enough comfort while swinging. The axe in general is not too powerful as it is quite lightweight. Out of the packaging, it is good enough to do basic chopping and cutting, but it is not well built for heavy duty workload.
But if you know your axes well, then you’ll be able to customize a few parts and turn this into a beast. You’ll find enough raw materials in it to build a wonderful customized tool that will last for a lot of years to come. The sheath doesn’t come with the packaging though; you’ll have to pay a few extra bucks to get it. But the price of the axe is quite cheap compared to the other entries into this. Check Price On Amazon.
Very cheap price point
Perfect handle length for a good swing
Solid handle and durable steel head
Doesn’t come out of the packaging ready to roll
Sheath is not included in the package
5. Council Tool Woodcraft Pack Axe
This is one of the lightest and smallest entries into this list. With the 19” long hickory handle, this axe is great for taking out in camping. The shorter handle length means it’ll fit inside your backpack quite easily and you won’t feel uncomfortable carrying it. Moreover, it weighs at only 2 lbs. You won’t even feel anything while carrying this little beauty.
The design of this axe is not mind-blowing, but it gets the job done pretty well. Despite of the lightweight, it packs a punch and can process firewood with ease. The head of the axe is made of 5160 steel to provide the power behind the swings. The poll is also hardened to deal with hammering, and the packaging includes a sheath too. However, the sheath covers just the tip of the blade. If the look of the axe is important to you, then probably you should go for a different option. But the average design is justified if you consider the price point.
Can easily be strapped to your backpack
Can cope with a little hammering
The design is not too attractive
The sheath only covers the blade’s tip
6. Gransfors Bruks Small Forest Axe
Gransfors is one of the most famous axe producers of the world. The fame of this Swedish brand goes way back in history, and they won’t disappoint you with their Small Forest Axe. This is one of the best lightweight axes available in the market. It’s a bit on the expensive side compared to the other axes in this list, but the price point is totally understandable.
This handmade axe does not only look beautiful, but also it can produce enough power to chop heavy firewood. With 19” hickory handle, it is very easy to carry as well. Weighing at 2 lbs, the axe is very easy to use and flexible. The axe head is made of carbon steel alloy and it is very durable. Be it simple work or large scale chopping, this axe can take care of all.
For those who like brilliance of craftsmanship, this axe is a great collectable. Apart from the beauty, this axe’s durability will make it last for many years. You won’t need to buy another one for quite some time if you invest some money in it.
Very durable carbon steel alloy head
Lightweight, and flexible
Perfect length for both light and heavy duty usage
Quite expensive if you consider the price with some of the other alternatives
7. Fiskars X11 Splitting Axe
In the first look, this little axe will look like an average one. But don’t get fooled by the looks. If you are looking for an axe for splitting, then probably you’ve found the perfect one. This axe makes wood processing extremely comfortable. Alongside camping, you can even build a small shelter from logs using this brilliant tool. It looks a bit like a hatchet.
You can say this is a divergent between a hatchet and an axe. You will certainly get the power of an axe from it despite the small structure. Moreover, this model has multiple size options. If you have used hatchets before, then you’ll like this axe. It’s not too big to carry, or too weak to cut through thick wood.
Different size options
Very convenient for long term campsite usage
Shock absorbing handle for more strength
A bit large
8. Estwing Sportsman’s Axe:
Estwing has been making hand tools in the USA for over 90 years and their attention to detail is clear to see in this model. This axe is undoubtedly the right choice for you if you are looking for a good axe with an affordable price. It comes with an elegant raw material packaging which makes it an ideal tool for making well-balanced strikes. It is one of those axes that are a combination of axe and hatchet making it perfect for camping. This 14-inch hatchet is incredibly durable due to its handle and head being forged in one piece of steel.
The blade is super sharp and this camp axe will feel masterly as soon as you hold it. The leather handle of this axe gives it a regal look and strengthens your strikes for a more comfortable use. The broad back of the head is also perfect for hammering in tent pegs.With the right treatment and some tweaking, this axe will turn into the only tool you’ll need for many years to come. it’s the best camp axe under $50.
● Forged in durable one-piece steel.
● Flat poll is ideal for hammering tent pegs.
● A ballistic nylon sheath is included in the packaging
● Leather handle
● Well balanced and angled for comfortable use.
● The leather grip looks nice but the varnish makes it slippery when wet.
● You will need to sand off the glossy finish of the leather and then oil it for a comfortable use.
9. Gerber 14-Inch Hatchet
This comparatively small and best lightweight backpacking axe. it is a shorter version of the 23.5” Gerber axe. If you need to assemble campsites or clear brush, this hatchet might be a great choice for you. Due to its weight and small structure, this camp axe is very easily portable.
This sturdy hatchet is perfect for cutting medium sized or smaller logs on your outdoor adventures. It isa great combination of traditional working axes with modern materials and craftsmanship. The black friction resistant coating on the steel blade makes it quite easy to process wood or do any medium camp chores. while the read face is great at hammering tent stakes.
The patented 3D grip had a soft touch over-mold that will be incredibly comfortable to use while the shock absorbing feature of the composite handle will surely save your wrist from straining when you’ve been chopping all day. So, this small yet sturdy tool is the best hatchet for bushcraft around a campsite or on a hiking trip. Despite being hollow-handled and compact, it’s powerful enough to do virtually anything.
● Forged steel head construction is handy for long term use.
● The easy to use blade guard prevents you from accidentally cutting yourself or your supplies
when not in use.
● The composite handle is lightweight and durable
● The same model comes in 5 different sizes, with the smallest being 9”.
● Sturdy enough for some light bushcraft work, but light enough for a camping bag.
Since it’s made from forged steel, it might take a while to sharpen properly. But on the bright
side, it will not dull easily and can be used for a long time without much maintenance.
10. Fiskars X7 14-Inch Hatchet
This is one of the most affordable hatchets in the market and a perfect choice for you if you have a low budget. This hatchet is very lightweight but perfectly balanced so that your swing delivers maximum power with each stroke. This is a compact tool that accommodates two- hand use for cutting thicker logs. It’s weight and balance also allows one handed use and makes it possible to even swing it like a baseball bat. The fiber composite handle will not easily shatter or splinter and there is no way the head will separate from the reinforced plastic coated handle. The cutting head is also highly durable and ideal.
● Optimum power to weight ratio for balanced strikes
● Strong, but lightweight and easy to carry
● Insert mounted head is inseparable and prevents breaking
● Very sharp blade with low-friction coating for clean cuts that avoid chipping
● The hatchet is difficult to use for large cutting tasks due to its light and compact nature
● End of the axe head is a little narrow to be used as a hammer
11. Off Grid Tools Survival Axe
This survival axe is built like a hatchet but serves as a very useful hand-axe equipped for any situation you might come across while camping. It truly shines as a survival tool as it delivers up to 30 features that will come handy in multiple uses. It has all sorts of little nooks and cut outs for different purposes including different sized hex sockets, a glass breaker, seat belt cutter, and 6” saw blade. The design of this survival tool includes an all-steel full tang and axe head with a powerful yet lightweight glass filled nylon handle. The resharpenable hatchet blade can be used for chopping, clearing debris, or demolition while the hammer head and claw can be great for pounding in and removing tent stakes or repairing your deer stand. Check Price On Amazon.
● Sharp blade is ideal for cutting small pieces of wood and can be re-sharpened.
● 420 stainless steel almost-full-tang.
● Compact and lightweight package weighing just over 1.5 lbs. and measuring 11.8”.
● Large enough to do some serious damage yet compact enough to fit into your bug out bag.
This survival tool is more appropriate for motorcycle or road trips but can be a worthy tool for
camping as well.
12. Husqvarna H900 13″ Composite Hatchet
This is probably the best hiking hatchet made by Husqvarna. It is designed specifically for travelers and outdoor workers to withstand all weather conditions. This composite hatchet fits perfectly in a backpack and its features are every hiker’s dream. The fiber- reinforced PA shaft makes the axe durable and robust while ensuring a soft grip and secure handling. The handle features a plastic and rubber casing which provides a sturdy grip even in wet or humid environment.
So, you can safely use the hatchet no matter the weather conditions. The head is treated with a friction reducing coating which gives an easy entry into the wood. The balance point in this hatchet is located close to the head, giving you perfect balance and weight distribution for an effective use. Furthermore, it can be used as a hammer in conjunction with regular splitting wedges.
● Works as a two-in-one tool due to the back edge of the hatchet functioning as a hammer.
● Well-balanced and weatherproofed
● Design-specification favors hikers and outdoor activities
● Hatchet is designed for one-handed use on light wood cutting
● You will not be losing this hatchet near the campsite. Its bright orange colored handle makes it
easy to keep track of this hatchet outdoors.
● Hammer end can’t be used with steel splitting wedges under any circumstances. Otherwise, the
hatchet will get damaged.
13. Schrade SCAXE5 Tactical Hatchet Full Tan
This hatchet is a perfectly portable multi use tool produced by the highly revered Taylor Brands, LLC. This is an incredibly versatile full tang hatchet, offering multiple different functions that make it great for camping and backpacking as well as home maintenance. It’s designed to be small enough to be carried comfortably and still come in handy during emergency situations where a larger axe is unavailable or inconvenient.
This incredible tool boasts SK5 powder coated high carbon steel and glass filled nylon handle slaps complete with grooves and contours to make the handle ergonomic and slip-resistant. A polyester sheath with belt snaps and two adjustable belt loop attachments accompanies the SCAXE5 ensuring safety while carrying. You can build a campsite, clear the path, and cook a meal with this tactical hatchet, a must-have for your backpacking adventures! Check Price On Amazon .
● The hatchet’s head has no risk of splitting off due to its full tang.
● The unique nail pull and pry bar is an added bonus.
● Glass filled nylon handle gives you the weight you need for powerful swings.
● The blade is made of high carbon stainless steel, so it is time consuming to refine the edge.
14. SOG Hand Axe
This is a wilderness backpack essential for backpackers on a budget, being the ideal size, weight and price for your backpack. The SOG hand axe (aka SHAX) offers a simple and genuine utilitarian design and works as a perfect middle ground between an axe and a hatchet.
This hand axe weighs less than average but it’s a tough and sharp little tool that will work well for chopping small pieces of wood or for hunting tasks. The G10 scales on the contoured handle will ensure an aggressively secure grip for chopping wood making camping chores safe during your adventures. It will not take up much space in your backpack and let you hike and travel comfortably as well.
● Ballistic nylon sheath and G10 handle with finger grips.
● Very lightweight and compact weighing just 18.6 oz. and measuring just over 11”.
● 420 stainless steel full-tang blade.
● The small size could be problematic if you’re faced with larger pieces of fallen wood.
● There is a little recoil in the handle which could cause discomfort during heavy chores.
15. Schrade 11.8” Stainless Steel Small Axe
This is the best camping hatchet for its value for money, performance, and versatility. This robust little axe is the ideal size and weight to carry out a variety of tasks around the campsite and will not be a heavy burden to carry when backpacking. It features a flat textured hammer poll that will come in handy pounding in tent stakes and any other light hammering.
Its structure makes it look more like a hatchet than an axe, but it’s got excellent power and it effectively splits wood. The handle has a useful rubber grip that ensures accurate and safe use, while the included sheath provides protection for the blade and a convenient means of belt-carry. An integrated fire- starting striker is also included, and can be stored in the end of the handle. This added bonus of a fire starter in the handle makes your camping adventures a lot more hassle-free. Check Price On Amazon .
● TPR rubber ergonomically designed grip is comfortable and slip resistant.
● Lightweight and portable
● Titanium coated stainless steel blade with glass-filled handle.
● Textured hammer poll.
● Comes with a ferro rod in the base of the handle for fire starting
● Included sheath and lanyard on the fire starter are not great in quality.
16. Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet
This is one of the best survival hatchets for adventurers on a budget. If you want a tool that you can carry easily, use to prepare food as well as to do campsite chores, look no further! This hatchet is perfectly designed and sized for fulfilling all those needs. It’s devised for ultimate portability, with its compact size being able to easily fit into a backpack or onto a tool belt.
The 3.5-inch blade coupled with a well-proportioned design is a tool that chops well above its weight class and is a great fit for most campsite tasks. Combining Gerber’s decades of experience crafting tools with Bear Grylls’s adventure knowledge, the hatchet’s sturdy stainless steel, full-tang construction stands up to the hardest tasks. With some tactics, it’s even the right size and shape to clean a fish.
● Rubberized handle creates a lock tight grip for safe use even in wet environments.
● Includes a military grade, mildew resistant nylon sheath for secured transport.
● Full tang hatchet is made of high carbon steel that’s almost indestructible.
● The double duty head comes handy in hammering or pounding.
● Not ideal for large swinging motions, like a regular axe.
17. Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet
This is the kind of hatchet you’ll want to pass on someday as an heirloom piece, and it will work just as well decades from now as it did the day you got it. If you can do proper maintenance of the head and treat the bare wood handle with linseed oil occasionally, this is the best hatchet for camping that you’ll have for a lifetime. It’s a classic woodsman hatchet, crafted by Gransfors Bruk, improving the age-oldd esign and using sturdier wood and harder steel than that of most companies in the past.
This is perfect and practical for carrying in your backpack when you need a small axe with plenty of power. The long, well-balanced axe is capable of cutting large branches or splitting small logs for the campfire. The shape of the sheath, which covers the edge and the top part of the poll, prevents the axe head from cutting into your backpack making your adventures safe and comfortable.
● Length gives you a good reach and yet optimum control.
● The handle is oil finished, rather than varnished giving you slip-resistance in wet conditions.
● Packaging includes tanned vegetable leather blade sheath – it’s tough, and it won’t snag or rip
while you travel.
● Very expensive due to being crafted with the highest quality materials.
18. Schrade SCAXE2G Survival Hatchet
This survival hatchet is an excellent choice for a variety of outdoor activities and it’s the best camping hatchet that Schrade offers. The simple design of this hatchet is perfect for beginners, comfortable to use and great in quality. Even teenagers or scouts will be able to split logs with this ergonomic hatchet. The bright green handle makes it perfect for a campsite, where you need your tools to be easy to find after you’ve set them down.
The dust-resistant blade is large enough for aggressive cutting and chopping, but small enough for finer work in the backcountry. As an added bonus, you’ll find a textured pommel on the rear of the axe, useful for many tasks like breaking or hammering. The ergonomic shape makes this hatchet prevents your hands and wrists from straining with its intuitive design. Check Price On Amazon.
● The ergonomic handle is glass filled and coated with a rubber grip. It provides slip-resistance and
yet enough power to cut efficiently.
● The package includes a strong leather sheath that protects the blade.
● There’s a ferro rod stored inside the handle works as a fire starter.
● The length of the hatchet is less than 12 inches, great for backpacking but gives a limited reach.
19. Gransfors Bruks Hand Hatchet
This easily qualifies as the best bushcraft hatchet focusing on detail work that a big hatchet simply just
can’t handle. This mini hatchet is easy to pack in any bag being only 9.5 inches long and its thick hardwood handle is perfectly designed to fit comfortably in your hand. It can be used to carve and chop just about anything but it is especially ideal for more controlled bushcraft and hunting uses. The Hand Hatchet is undoubtedly an excellent scouting and camping axe. Despite its short handle, the axe can be used for cutting small trees, for limbing and for splitting kindling and firewood.
● Short length and thick ergonomic grip is perfect for carving and intricate bushcrafting tasks.
● Comes with a custom fitted leather sheath to protect the blade and ensure your safety while
● It is very expensive due to the high-quality materials used.
20. Husqvarna 13-Inch Wooden Handle Hatchet
This is a modern take on a classic wood hatchet with a traditional style of steel and improved handle design for ergonomic use. This tool is crafted in traditional style using wood unlike the many hatchets these days which have metal or plastic coated handles.
The curved handle fits perfectly into the hand, and the hickory wood is strong and reliable in terms of efficiency and durability. The hand forged Swedish steel edge is almost impossible to match in terms of quality. The leather sheath is very sturdy and will last for years to come, giving you the safety you need during your adventures. The tool is heavy but very well-balanced giving you a good, powerful swing every time you cut. Overall, this hatchet is undoubtedly a perfect tool to take care of all your camping necessities.
● Packaging includes a long-lasting leather sheath to protect the blade edge for storage and travel.
● The Swedish steel will retain its quality, even after being re-sharpened multiple times.
● It’s a great price for the top quality it provides.
● The wooden handle does not provide the non-slip grip you might need. You’ll need to be extra
careful while using this hatchet in wet environments.
● The total weight of the hatchet is 2.4 lbs, which is a little more on the heavy side for a hiking
21. Estwing 12-Inch Sportsman Axe
This is the third entry from Estwing on this list. Probably you already know that this American company is quite famous for producing tiny axes and hatchets that are just perfect for camping. This is the smallest axe you’ll find in this list. As you can see from the list, it’s length is only 12”. The best part about this axe is its build. Unlike many other axes in this list, it is forged in one single piece from the tip of the head to the end of the handle.
The weight of the axe is distributed equally which makes it really easy to hold and swing. You won’t suffer from fatigue even after using this axe for an extended period of time. The handle of this axe has a shiny leather grip. If your hands are sweaty, then you might find it a bit difficult to hold as it can become slippery because of sweat.
Very well balanced
The entire body is forged in one piece
Easy to sharpen the blade
The handle can become slippery for people whose hands are sweaty
22. Fiskars X15 Chopping Axe
This axe from Fiskars looks absolutely beautiful! As the name suggests, it is specifically made for chopping larger sized logs. Its lightweight feel and shorter length have made it a great addition to a camper’s toolkit. The shape of its blade is a bit different from others. Its style helps the user to chop through logs comfortably. The handle of the Fiskars X15 is made of shock absorbing FiberComp. Those who get tired from chopping wood for extended periods of time, will love this feature. The handle also provides protection from overstrike damage.
Very good size for light chopping
Solid blade edge
More speed due to head weight
Might chip after rough uses
23. Browing Outdoorsman Axe
The weight of the Browing Outdoorsman Axe will simply blow your mind away. It’s just 4oz! Not only you’ll be able to carry it to anywhere you want, but also you can swing it very fast. Its one-piece head provides a lot of durability. Moreover, if it accidentally gets stuck, you’ll be able to easily remove it with the help of its head tapered tail. If you need an axe for heavy duty work, then this is not the choice for you. Rather you should go for one of the Fiskars models in this list. Due to being extremely light, it doesn’t produce immense power to literally chop off anything. It’s more of a cutting axe than a chopping one.
Handle material holds up very well
Stays sharp for months
The handle has a bit more flex than usual
24. Gerber Freescape Hatchet
Gerber’s hatchets are very beautiful to look at, and powerful too. This is one of the most sought after hatchets from Gerber. It comes with a composite handle which gives the lightweight axe proper durability. The handle also includes over-mold for better grip and softer touch. The overall design is also very well-balanced. This axe is basically made for doing basic chopping tasks, not heavy duty chopping. The price point is quite affordable too if you consider the flexibility and ease of use you’ll get from you. This is one of the best value for money buys in this list.
Composite handle with over-mold
Can chop above its weight
The edge might chip after a few uses
25. Gransfors Bruks Mini Belt Hatchet
This mini hatchet is one of the strongest hatchet type axes you’ll ever come across. Despite of its tiny size, it looks heavier than some of the larger axes in this list. But in fact it’s only 11 oz. It is because the axe is forged by hand and made using very strong durable wood. Unlike many other hatchets, metal wedge is not used to connect the head with the handle. The major drawback of this hatchet is the price point. For this price, you can find a larger and stronger axe. But the build quality and balance this hatchet will provide you despite being very light justify the price quite easily. You’ll love it while using in camping purposes.
Very strong and light
Too expensive for a hatchet
Before You Choose the Best Backpacking Axe
There are a few steps to choose the backpacking axe that’ll fit your requirements. First, you should choose the kind of steel you want to get your job done. There are multiple options regarding steel, but you shouldn’t buy one that has true mild steel. Secondly, you need to consider how easy it is to sharpen the edge of the axe. Over time, almost all the axes start to chip, so sharpening is very important.
Some axes come with different accessories. It is always better to have more in your packaging. Sharpening tool, protectors, wedges etc. can be very handy if you can get with your axe. Consider axe length and weight too. Lighter axes are basically for simple chopping, while the while the heavier ones are for rough uses. Determine your need wisely, and choose the best one for you!