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Survival axes and hatchets are incredibly useful for anyone who loves spending time in the wilderness. Whether you seek to get off the grid and live in survival situations or just need to process a few logs you fell in your backyard, these tools will come in handy.
To start this guide off we’ll first need to understand difference between what is a hatchet, an axe and a tomahawk. The purpose of understanding the difference will lead to the correct use of the tools and ultimately help you choose the right product for your uses.
Whether it is designed for backpacking, survival or camping having the right tool is essential for staying safe and being self-reliant.
Usually, people mix up a survival hatchet with an survival axe. But there is a slight difference, not only in size, but also function.
A survival axe is normally a long handle tool whereas the hatchet contains short handle. So we can say that a hatchet is a smaller version of an axe.
A tactical tomahawk is a very lightweight and agile version with an ability to throw around in a close combat. Therefore, a tactical tomahawk is better applied for self defense purposes. Plus, they are incredibly fund to just throw around in the outdoors.
This in-depth buyer’s guide will make you familiar with a wide range of axe and hatchets. You can choose the tool depending on the needs, whether you are living in the urban area or going for bush camping in the backcountry.
- 1 Best Survival Axes 2017 Comparison Table
- 2 Best Survival Axe Reviews
- 3 Best Camping & Survival Hatchets 2017
- 4 Best Survival Hatchet Reviews
- 4.1 Fiskars X7 – Best Camping Hatchet
- 4.2 Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet
- 4.3 Estwing E24A Sportsman Axe
- 4.4 United Cutlery M48 Hawk Axe
- 4.5 Schrade SCAXE2L Survival Hatchet – Best Survival Hatchet 2017
- 4.6 Schrade SCAXE5 Full Tang Tactical Hatchet
- 4.7 Gerber Gator Combo Axe
- 4.8 Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet
- 4.9 Yes4All Multi Functional Camping Axe H307 with Saw + Fire Starter
- 5 Survival Axe Buyer’s Guide
- 5.1 Parts of an Axe
- 5.2 Survival Axe Overview & Uses
- 5.3 Survival Hatchet Overview & Uses
- 5.4 Do You Need an Axe or a Hatchet?
- 5.5 What to Consider When Choosing the Best Survival Axe & Hatchet
- 5.6 Wrap Up
The Difference Between a Survival Axe vs. Survival Hatchet
A survival axe is a simple tool designed to use for cutting and chopping the wood. Of course, if needed it may also be used as a weapon while camping or working in a forest, but with all the great knife options out there I’m sure you’re better equipped.
The history of the axe goes back to the stone age when the first axe was created out of stones and was without any wooden handle. Later on, the handle was also added.
On an axe, the length of the handle ensures more power and pressure. Modern day axes are made in various sizes to cater different needs of the users.
Handles can be made from either a composite or wood, in which case you’ll want to make sure you buy one with high-quality grain. Modern day axe blades are also made of several materials like iron, copper and stainless steel.
Now let’s move onto the axes little brother, the survival hatchet. Let’s think of the hatchet as a contemporary version of the axe. It is handy, small and easy to carry anywhere.
Survival hatchets are incredibly useful and versatile. They are used by survivalists, outdoorsmen, campers and just your average Joe cutting firewood.
The length of a hatchet is usually not more than 12 inches in length, while the axe is normally around 22 inches long. However with that said, the basic parts of the axe and the hatchet are almost the same.
But in this case, size does matter. Due to it’s larger size, axes will out perform hatchets for heavy chopping tasks, and on the other side, hatchets will be much easy to handle and throw around for lighter jobs.
Best Survival Axes 2017 Comparison Table
|Check price and availability||4.6||3.44||26||American steel||America|
|Check price and availability||4.7||3.4||23.5||Nyglass and Fiberglass||Finland|
|Check price and availabilty||4.2||2.87||23||American hickory||China|
|Check price and availability||4.6||2.2||21||Wood||Sweden|
|Check price and availability||4.6||3||26||Hickory||Sweden|
|Check price and availability||3.7||2||16||Thermal Molded Rubber||Taiwan|
Best Survival Axe Reviews
Fiskars X15 Axe – Best Survival Axe 2017
If you live in an area where falling trees is a common activity, or you want an easy to hold survival axe for quick chopping, then the Fiskars X15 Axe is a real treat for you.
Unlike, some other survival axe models, the Fiskars X15 Axe is easy to handle and carry due to its light weight and small size.
Pros of the Fiskars X15 Axe
- As one of the best survival axes, it can chop almost all the wood types.
- Fiskars x15 swings well due to its light weight feature and the small size makes it perfect for deep chopping.
- It feels more like an aluminum baseball bat. You can take an advantage of using less power and gets a perfect balance.
- Incredibly sharp and durable blade due to Fiskars proprietary blade-grinding technique.
- Sharp blade makes chopping convenient.
- The high-quality steel blade does not require frequent sharpening.
- The reduced friction prevents the blade from getting stuck in the wood.
Cons of the Fiskars X15 Axe
- Its small size can make it difficult to use for tall people.
- It cannot be used as an alternative to the hatchet or the splitting axe; it is merely a general purpose axe.
- The small size makes it difficult to exert the required pressure because of the reduced size.
The Bottom Line
The Fiskars X15 is ideal choice for an outdoor man, who is looking for easy to carry survival axe for multi-uses. We found it great for any chopping duty from camping or a home chore.
Overall this little axe with the dimensions of 1.18 x 6.5 x 25.59 inches and a light weight of 3.45 pounds is a great survival axe.
SOG Base Camp Axe
Camping and hiking are the most praised hobbies for the nature lovers. An effective survival axe is a must have tool when you are going for a camping trip. With the SOG Base Camp Axe it just got easier to carry an axe during your adventurous expeditions into the wild. And let’s be straight, it’s not just a camping axe to help you make a nice fire, but also a great companion that will be by your side when you need it most.
Pros of the SOG Base Camp Axe
- It can cut deep into all types of wooden pieces due to the 1055C Steel forged head. This high-quality forged head makes it a user-friendly camping axe.
- Useful for both chopping and hammering jobs.
- There are hardly any chances of slipping and falling down from the hand. The thermal molded rubber handle makes a firm grip.
- The product comes with a lifetime warranty. This is offered by the manufacturing company, SOG.
- The extremely sharp head minimizes the friction between the blade and the target, thus swift cutting is ensured.
Cons of the SOG Base Camp Axe
Although the axe is praised highly, I still found that it is criticized for the following;
- It is more expensive compared to other more traditional camping axes available on the market.
- Some users consider it heavy to handle while cutting, especially over long jobs.
- The blades are not as sharp as it is claimed in the specifications.
The Bottom Line
This elegantly designed axe can be a real treat for the camping and hiking trips. In little time, with minimal energy, it can help you in completing all the camping related tasks. The friction-less blade and sturdy grip can not only help prevent an accident, but provide the needed grip for max power when splitting.
Husqvarna Curved Handle Forest Axe
Survival axes come in numerous sizes and styles. However, the basic job of the axe remains the same—cutting and chopping wood. Maintaining the traditional features of the axe by adding a modern touches and upgraded features has been successfully done by Husqvarna. The Husqvarna 26 Inch Curved Axe makes a great companion when it comes to cutting and chopping the hardest trees and removing bushes. You’ll find it as one of the highest quality, no frills survival axes.
Pros of the Husqvarna Curved Handle Forest Axe
- The Swedish brand, Husqvarna, produces reliable and high-quality products.
- With merely 2.7 pounds of weight, it is easy to use in all types of cutting.
- Unlike more traditional axes, it comes with a curved handle that makes it convenient to grip. This also allows added swinging power.
- To give a secure storage the manufacturers have added a leather sheath to the edges.
Cons of the Husqvarna Curved Handle Forest Axe
Despite all the strengths and advantages, there are some weak areas associated with this survival axe;
- The axe is not sharp at the time of buying. A small nuisance, but it requires sharpening before first use.
- The wedge is said to have the logo of Husqvarna embossed near the edges, thus, according to some users, it negatively impacts the performance.
The Bottom Line
The Husqvarna Curved Handle Forest Axe is a great all-around, multi-purpose axe for anything from survival situations to backyard work. The powerful handle with just 26 inches adds power to the strike. The price is at the upper-end, but if you want to get one of the best survival axe for your camping and outdoor jobs, this is it.
Estwing E45A Campers Axe
If you are a regular camper then you understand the importance of owning a high-quality survival axe. And with the numerous options of camping axes available on the market it can be a tough choice. However, there are always a few models that float to the top—call it the creme of the crop, if you will.
The Estwing E45A Camping Axe can perform all your everyday camping tasks from chopping woods, hammering stakes, chopping meat and also trimming branches. To say the least, the Estwing E45A camping axe is a great tool to work with for any serious camper.
Pros of the Estwing E45A Campers Axe
- It’s built with an extra strong handle that offers excellent grip.
- The grip gives users 70% lesser shock while cutting with this camping axe (as compared to the traditional axes).
- The 4-inch blade is sharp enough to cut deep into any kind of wooden structure very easily.
- The sharp blade has minimum friction and comes out very smoothly even from the deepest cut.
- Unique prints on the leather give it an entirely different look.
- It is crafted in a way to reduce the scrap flying into eyes while cutting.
- Due to the metal handle and the light weight, it can be used to do any type of cutting throughout the year.
Cons of the Estwing E45A Campers Axe
- It is believed to be a heavyweight tool.
- The leather sheath slips out of the hand when it gets wet or if the hands start sweating.
The Bottom Line
The Estwing Company has been creating high-quality garden and camping products since 1923. Without exception, the Estwing E45A is one such a reliable product from the same company. The steel construction makes it really easy to cut through all kinds of materials. The sharp edge, unique shock reducing handle, and durability are all traits specific to this camping axe that make it one of the best camping axes.
Cold Steel Trail Boss – Best Budget Survival Axe
Any survival axe is a great tool to have for your outdoor jobs. If you want to add an axe to your tool set that has a reasonable price, yet performs with some of the best models, then Cold Steel Trail Boss can be a great choice.
Pros of the Cold Steel Trail Boss Survival Axe
It is highly recommended and has high ratings for all kinds of chores that require a camping or survival axe. This tool is appreciated for its compactness, strength, and power.
- It is light enough to hold in hand or carry in your tool bag while moving around.
- Although it has a small size, but still the European style head works efficiently with the 4” blade and 4.5” cutting edge. This compactness helps cut through deeply and easy swinging.
- The hickory handle makes it easy to have a firm grip and minimizes the danger of slipping.
- It is tested by the renowned Australian hunter Lynn C. Thompson.
- The users have hardly complained about chipping.
Cons of the Cold Steel Trail Boss Survival Axe
Like any other tool, the cool steel trail is also criticized for some of its weak areas too.
- It loses its sharpness quicker than other models and needs to be sharpened more often.
- Some users have complained about the balance. They were not able to balance it while working with heavy wood logs.
- Its a heavyweight axe, which means it requires more strength to use it, especially for extended work periods.
The Bottom Line
With it’s overall high-quality construction, this survival axe is both great to work with and a solid buy. The quality of steel may not be the highest out there, and won’t compete with what you will find on models such as the Gransfors Bruks Small Forest Axe.
The hickory handle is solid and some disadvantages might be there, but the pros are much more significant. Even if you use it for a longer time the steel won’t chip off. This 2.7-pound axe is compact and user-friendly cutting tool for anyone. If you are planning to buy an axe and don’t want to break your bank, go grab Cold Steel Trail Boss.
Gransfors Bruks Small Forest Axe
Whether you’re splitting or chopping in half, cutting deep into the heart of a wooden log is one of the hardest tasks. And let’s be real, even in this modern world, no work is complete without wood works. Even more so for outdoorsmen the need and demand of a great axe is present all the time.
The early axes were made out of stones, but later the technological developments have introduced new materials like brass, iron, and steel to create the axe. As far as modern axes, the Gransfors Bruks Small Forest Axe is one of the best survival axes available to help you in wood related tasks.
Pros of the Gransfors Bruks Small Forest Axe
This axe offers legendary craftsmanship when it comes to a fine chopping tool. Here are some highlights of what the axe offers:
- This axe has a razor sharp head.
- Ideal tool for camping and bushcraft expeditions.
- The sheath covers the blade well.
- The long handle gives enough power for a balanced cutting.
- It can cut all kinds of wooden pieces including small sticks and the limb woods with ease.
Cons of the Gransfors Bruks Small Forest Axe
- Many users have complained about the blade alignment with the handle.
- The cost of Gransfors Bruks Small Forest Axe is a bit on a higher side.
- It is comparatively heavier than the other recent brands of the axes.
The Bottom Line
This Sweden originated survival axe with a 50 cm long handle and a weight of 1 kg is no doubt an awesome cutting tool.
Brand name counts a lot when you go out to buy any survival gear product. Same is the case with buying an axe for camping and outdoors. This survival axe comes from Gransfors Bruks, a renowned manufacturer that has been producing the top chopping tools for a long time. Any serious axe and hatchet users a keen on buying Gransfors Bruks when quality matters and they want the ultimate best.
Best Camping & Survival Hatchets 2017
|Check price and availability||4.7||14||1.4||FiberComp||Finland|
|Check price and availability||4.7||13.5||1.7||Hickory||Sweden|
|Check price and availability||4.6||14||1.5||American Steel||USA|
|Check price and availability||4.4||17.5||2.1||AUS 6 Steel||China|
|Check price and availability||4.2||15.7||1.94||Black Glass Fiber Filled PA Handle||China|
|Check price and availability||4.5||12.8||1.56||High Carbon Stainless Steel||China|
|Check price and availability||4.6||9.4||1.3||Polypropylene||China|
|Check price and availability||4.2||14||1.85||High impact, textured, hollow plastic||China|
Best Survival Hatchet Reviews
Fiskars X7 – Best Camping Hatchet
Camping is an adventurous hobby. However, you may find hurdles on your way of fun. If you are a big fan of hunting and camping then go no further, the Fiskars X7 is designed for the sake of survival and strength.
You won’t find a single reason not to call it a “backpackers chainsaw”. This hatchet cuts very well. Fiskars is known for their reliable camping hatchets and survival products. The Fiskars X7 has got tremendous user feedback and demand, and rightly so. Let’s see what are the major factors for the liking.
Pros of the Fiskars X7
- Among the other hatchets compared, the X7 ranks among the lightest in weight.
- The geometry provides perfect weight distribution. This balanced ratio between power and weight maximizes swinging power.
- Ultra-sharp edge and virtually unbreakable design makes it an essential tool for chopping.
- Available at a very reasonable price (unbelievable because all the Finnish products are usually very expensive)
- A perfect tool to cut small and medium sized logs.
- Award winning tool. This tool has won the 2010 best product design award.
- Ideal for chopping, especially wood and smaller objects.
- Strong handle made with FiberComp and the blade is made of hardened forged steel, the secret behind its sharpness.
- Can serve as a backpacker’s hachet due to its size, weight and easy to handle features.
- Handle offers comfortable grip, non-slip and better control.
Cons of the Fiskars X7
- Some people don’t like the modern and stylish look.
- The edges might bend upon frequent and hard use.
- There have been some reports of the edge chipping and quickly dulling.
The Bottom Line
The Fiskars X7 is economical, lightweight, and easy to use and carry. If you are a camping freak or just want the best all-around survival hatchet, buy it for yourself. Or heck, give it as a gift. Just as long as someone has it to bring along on you camping trips.
Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet
When it comes to Gransfors hatchets, this one is the most popular model. The best high-end survival hatchet for camping is the Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet, bar none.
At just over 1.5 pounds in weight is light enough for any sized user. You’ll notice that the design of the Wildlife Hatchet lacks a steel wedge, which is typically used to support the head on the handle. Gransfors has ensured the reliability of the handle without the steel wedge and consistently positive reviews prove that it works.
The size of the product is compatible for backpacking and attaching with a belt. You’ll also get a leather sheath to protect the blade with the hatchet.
Pros of the Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet
- The hatchet has a sharp blade with excellent steel.
- Great design that offers optimal balance of weight.
- It is easy to handle due to its design and weight.
- The axe is useful for cutting small logs as well as large branches of trees.
- A sheath is provided for covering the axe’s head so you can easily transport it without damage to the blade, your backpack or self.
- 20 year manufactures warranty.
Cons of the Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet
- The only negative aspect is high cost.
The Bottom Line
The Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet is truly expensive in comparison to other rival products. Some consumers might roll eyes while buying an expensive hatchet. However, if you want the utmost best survival hatchet then look no further.
Estwing E24A Sportsman Axe
If you a avid camper and plan to frequently use your survival hatchet, consider this model when buying one. Estwing produces some of the best survival axes and hatchets on the market, and the Estwing E24A Sportsman Axe is no exception. Professionals and everyday users rate this brand as the best. The Estwing E24A Sportsmans is the best of the best when it comes to hatchets and axes with a one-piece molded design. Plus, this model comes at an affordable price, as Estwing is normally relatively an expensive brand.
This hatchet strikes a great balance with a 13 inch long handle and 1.9 pounds overall weight. It is made of 1055 carbon steel, treated with heat to meet ASME requirement standards (around roughly 45-60 Rockwell). The hatchet is stylish, some may call it a astounding piece of art. Its head is made of steel, while the handle wrapped in high-quality leather. It comes with a black sheath. The cutting length is 3-4 inches.
Pros of the Estwing E24A Sportsman Axe
- The product is made in the USA.
- The first thing that comes to mind when you hold this tool is that it’s constructed as a one-piece steel blade and handle. This makes it ultra-sturdy as compared to other hatchets.
- The handle is covered with leather to ensure a firm grip. Thanks to this you’ll get extra force while working.
- The design is well balanced in weight and length which adds to its performance.
- The product is light enough in weight and is good for chopping and wood splitting for extended periods of time.
- The hatchet is very comfortable during the use.
- It is useful for almost any outdoor job.
Cons of the Estwing E24A Sportsman Axe
- The product has received a complaints regarding the shock that is felt vs models with a rubber handle.
- When wet the handle can get slippery, so be extra cautios in these conditions.
- Not the most suitable model for backpacking and camping far from a car.
- The tool is not so great with carving.
- It has a thick edge.
- Some users also complained about the dull edge.
The Bottom Line
It is a good looking tool and functional tool for cutting and splitting wood. At a reasonable price it is a top competitor against the Schrade SCAXE5 and the Husqvarna Hatchet and depending on what your after one product may fit your needs better.
United Cutlery M48 Hawk Axe
This hatchet is perfect for someone who wants a modern look and feel. The United Cutlery M48 Hawk Axe is a perfect crossover—part hatchet, part tactical tomahawk.
Camping geeks will want to take a closer look at this ravishing product from United Cutlery. Named as the UC2765 M48 Hawk, consider it a tactical hatchet. It offers a lightweight tool with a broadly widened blade and an ultra-sharp spike edge, not usually a feature of survival axes. Anodized AUS-6 stainless steel is used in the manufacturing of this hatchet. The handle is made of fiber reinforced nylon. The gadget comes with a sheath made of nylon making it far more safe and easy to handle since it has quite sharp edges.
Pros of the United Cutlery M48 Hawk Axe
- The first thing you must consider is its weight. The top is slightly heavy due to the wider blade, but it goes fine when working.
- The blade has a scratch resistant black oxide coating.
- It is a very lightweight axe with a broad and wide blade and a sharp spike edge.
- The sharp blade has the ability to cut through metals as well as hard and wooden objects.
- It is mostly recommended for camping and outdoor activities, but can crossover as a lightweight defensive tool.
- The spike end is very powerful and the weight of the head gives it more striking power.
- The steel used is corrosion free to provide a long lasting tool resistant against the elements.
- The nylon sheath has a hook and strap so you can easily open and close it.
- The anodized steel protects the axe from scratches and dents.
Cons of the United Cutlery M48 Hawk Axe
- With a more heavyweight head, some people have some complaints about handling.
- There have been reports that the handle is prone to breakage when for heavy duty work.
- The light weight forbids from doing heavy loaded work because the handle is not very strong as compared to the weight of the head. It’s less durable than other survival hatchet models out there.
- This tool is not ideal for tomahawk throwing because it may break. For throwing you’ll want a specially designed tactical tomahawk.
The Bottom Line
I found that this tool is not the best in quality when compared to its competitors. It won’t hold up after years of daily use as well as other survival hatchet models on the market. Still, with its ability to cut through metals, break door and car locks, dig holes and above all a low price make it a better candidate for small and tactical jobs.
Schrade SCAXE2L Survival Hatchet – Best Survival Hatchet 2017
This is my top pick for the best survival hatchet currently on the market. If it were up to me I’d love to have this hatchet in my backpack all the time. The Schrade SCAXE2L Survival Hatchet is not only striking it it’s appearing, but delivers exactly the performance that your after in a survival hatchet.
If you’re looking for a camping hatchet to keep it in your car or for home emergencies, the Schrade SCAXE2L is one of the best options. The blade is made of Titanium coated 3Cr13 stainless steel and the handle is made of Black glass fiber filled with TPR rubber grip. The product comes with a thermoplastic sheath to protect the blade and a sharpening stone to keep the blade sharp. An extra Ferro rod and a rubber belt are also part of the package.
Pros of the Schrade SCAXE2L Survival Hatchet
Schrade has put great care in working out the design of the product. The details in the engineering make it a top competitor. That’s why I’ve ranked it as the best survival hatchet this year.
- The blade keeps sharp edges as if it has come straight from the factory, even after hours of use.
- The handle is quite long, make it is easy to carry and work. A great option for taller users.
- The grip on the handle is top notch and super sticky.
- Easy to provide sufficient force in cutting and chopping.
- This tool is efficient for chopping small logs, as well as larger projects.
- High-quality steel edges tend to retain their sharpness and don’t get dents that easily.
- The product is not very expensive and well worth the money.
Cons of the Schrade SCAXE2L Survival Hatchet
- It is not suitable for a two hand swings. Like most hatchets, they will not be long enough for two hand swings. Look for an axe for this purpose.
- For lightweight gear enthusiasts who count every inch and ounce of the product, this hatchet may be a bit heavy.
The Bottom Line
Overall this survival axe is highly recommended for whatever wood cutting or chopping activities you plan on doing. The Schrade SCAXE2L is not only a great axe for survival or camping situations, but it can work efficiently as a wood trimmer, a metal cutter, and a survival knife as well.
Schrade SCAXE5 Full Tang Tactical Hatchet
The first thing you’ll notice about the Schrade SCAXE5 is that leans much more towards a tactical hatchet than a traditional design hatchet. It normally serves the purpose to chop the wood, however, it is not a designated wood chopping hatchet.
In outdoor excursion trips such as camping, hiking or hunting you must take quality equipment and supplies, and you can’t take every peice of gear you want. You’re limited to what you can carry. Of course among all tools a hatchet will be the first choice and Schrade SCAXE5 Tactical Hatchet is an excellent multipurpose survival tool. It is a small, but useful multi-functional tool produced by Taylor Brands. These guys also produce some of the best tactical pens and knives out there.
This hatchet is available at a very affordable price and can performs well over a wide array of jobs. The shorter length of 12.8″ makes it is easy to carry in your tool box.
Pros of the Schrade SCAXE5 Full Tang Tactical Hatchet
- The blade is ultra sharp.
- Excellent tool for cutting, chopping, splitting or shaving tree barks.
- Pointed spike is another great attribute of the tool and works great in emergency situations.
- The SK5 powder coated high carbon steel and glass filled nylon handle slaps makes it efficient and slip-resistant.
- At the base of the grip is a prying tool that helps in nail removing.
Cons of the Schrade SCAXE5 Full Tang Tactical Hatchet
- The only downside is the sheath. It can fail to keep the hatchet secure.
- The blade can be sharpened a bit more to give more effectiveness to the tool.
The Bottom Line
The Schrade SCAXE5 Tactical Hatchet is nice sturdy tactical hatchet crossover and can be utlized for various outdoor uses. Think of this model as you jack of all trade survival hatchet. The quality, functions, and price of tool make it an excellent choice you will definitely want to keep in your camping tool kit.
Gerber Gator Combo Axe
This combo axe offers a unique style and a 2-in-1 designed tool—part axe, part knife. With so many products available on the market the Gerber Gator Combo Axe is a breakthrough and offers something completely new. It has certain remarkable features such as textured rubber which gives grip, comfort, and control. Beneath the rubber surface is an indestructible glass-filled hollow nylon handle containing a magnet that houses a built-in knife.
The axe head is made of forged steel and provides a sharp and reliable cutting edge. Moreover, it is a versatile combo axe with a length of 8.75” and weighs 23.60oz. It combines an axe and knife together in the kit to help you perform the job of woodcutting with ease. The Knife has a 3-inch cutting blade and it is very effective in carrying out small effortless tasks. It works fine for light works. Overall it is a nice gadget for camping and hiking trips when you need a versatile survival tool.
Tip: If you are looking for a combo axe with a saw, check out the Gerber Gator Combo Axe II. I find that the larger version of this model along with a small hand saw is more versatile than the axe/knife combo.
Pros of the Gerber Gator Combo Axe
- Versatile tool with many uses—a great all-in-one option.
- Light and small for easy carry and portability when camping.
- The forged steel head offers blade durability.
- Great tool to trim the tree branches and to clear small limbs.
- The knife is a good size to use for anything from whittling small sticks, cleaning fish, cutting meat, etc.
Cons of the Gerber Gator Combo Axe
- The handle is short, which may limit the power you can deliver.
- Does not come super sharp, so expect to spend a few minutes sharpening the blade before you use it.
The Bottom Line
I really like the design of the Gerber Gator Combo Axe. It’s useful in many camping and survival situations. The biggest drawback is that the size runs a little small for my taste and I myself would opt for the larger Gerber Gator Combo Axe II and carry a high-quality EDC knife for my daily cutting jobs.
Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet
The Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet is a versatile tool that you can take while going out for any excursion trip. It’s compact size and all-around performance makes it one of the best survival hatchets out there.
Among lots of varieties available on the market, it’s difficult to choose the right high-quality product. The Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet is one such product by an American brand Gerber. Gerber invest tons of time designed and thinking out their products, which shows in the end result.
This survival hatchet comes with some unique features such as it’s Zero Slip Grip and a functional hammer on the back of the blade. The overall length of the tool is 9.46“ and it gives a good balance to the hatchet. This tool is recommended by so many users for camping.
Pros of the Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet
- A versatile and high-quality build makes this survival hatchet useful in many situations.
- It is a full tang tool (i.e. it is one piece).
- The 3.5” razor blade works excellent in cutting and chopping wood, skinning bark, shelter building etc. It can be even be used as a knife to cut vegetables.
- The rubberized handle makes it slip-free, even if it is wet.
- There are finger grooves which make the grip strong. On the back of the head, there is a flat but narrow, hammer-like area that may be used for breaking, smashing and crushing things.
- The sheath is made of thick reinforced nylon. Overall high-quality.
- Hatchet fits inside with a closure flap. It has belt loops for carrying.
Cons of the Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet
- It is made of stainless steel so it can get dents in the blade after long-term use.
- It does not work super well as a hammer, but it gets the job done. After all, it is a hatchet.
- With shortness in size and little weight of the head, you cannot chop larger-sized wood pieces easily.
The Bottom Line
Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet is a great tool as a survival hatchet because it’s easy to keep with you and perfect for emergency kits, camping, hunting excursions.
Yes4All Multi Functional Camping Axe H307 with Saw + Fire Starter
If you are planning for some camping trips and looking for a multipurpose camping hatchet, with an axe a saw and also some tool to light a fire then Yes4All Multi Functional Camping Axe is the right tool to buy. This is one sweet piece of gear with a nice price tag that won’t break your wallet.
Even more so than the Gerber Combo Axe listed above, the Yes4All Multi Functional Camping Axe is a do-it-all tool all packed into one piece of gear. You’ll be able to chop wood into kindling, saw branches and sticks, and get your fire started the fire starter.
Pros of the Yes4All Multi Functional Camping Axe
- It is a multipurpose tool along that makes a great kit for camping.
- The kit includes an 13.97″ axe, a saw and a fire starter.
- The blade is razor sharp and made of 420 stainless steel.
- This hatchet is primarily good for cutting, chopping and splitting wood.
- It has a long textured plastic hollow handle which gives it good grip and force.
- The handle contains the saw knife. Though the handle is hollow, it’s durable.
- Saw knife is useful in cutting twigs and small branches.
- Fire starter can also be used in wet atmosphere.
- The weight of axe gives it a firm grip and balance in hand.
- The saw blade is slim and flexible. The back end of axe also works as a hammer.
Cons of the Yes 4All Multi Functional Camping Axe
- Axe is great, but not of the same quality as a Gerber or Fiskers.
- Saw blade is lightweight, which makes it more prone to damage or flexing when in use.
- The fire starter does not work well when the black paint is scrapped off.
The Bottom Line
Overall it is a good multipurpose product to purchase if you are planning to use for occasional camping or some outdoor trip. The axe and saw blade are both durable enough with sharp blades, however at this price don’t expect the top most quality in comparison to other survival hatchets out there. All-in-all the product has great feel and balance for almost any type of use.
Survival Axe Buyer’s Guide
Parts of an Axe
To better understand the parts of an axe and hatchet and how they differ, take a look at the image below outlining the anatomy of an axe.
In general, hatchets have the same characteristics, just in different proportions and sizes.
Survival Axe Overview & Uses
Survival axes are both longer and larger than hatchets—this makes them heavier, more powerful, and ultimately their purpose different than that of hatchets.
Being built both longer and heavier than hatchets, a axe is meant to be used with both hands. A full sized axe will have a handle around 36″ long. At this length it allows for a grip with both hands.
As they were designed to be used, to get maximize striking power you’ll want to use survival axes with two hands. The longer handle and larger blade makes them useful for larger wood chopping tasks, such as felling trees, splitting larger logs into firewood, or carving wood for shelter building purposes and such.
Survival Hatchet Overview & Uses
Although similar in appearance to a survival axe, there are important differences that set a hatchet apart from it’s larger counterpart.
Some hatchets are constructed from a single piece of steel, such as the Estwing E24.
A hatchet is best classified as a one-hand axe that can be used for chopping. Being light enough to swing with one hand, it’s ideal for chopping small branches or splitting firewood into smaller pieces. The smaller size is key, because you won’t be able to do this with a full sized survival axe.
Hatchets also typically have a flat-sided hammer edge on the backside of the blade. This can be used for hammering or striking objects, such as tent stakes or breaking larger objects into two.
Do You Need an Axe or a Hatchet?
Now you might be thinking, can I just use a axe for every cutting job?
Axes can be used for almost all purposes that you would use a hatchet for, but it’s overkill to use a tank in a gunfight.
On the other side, give yourself enough time and energy and you can certainly cut down a tree with a hatchet.
It is not efficient to use an axe for a hatchet jobs, vice versa. Ideally you’ll have both a hatchet and axe around to tackle your wood chopping needs, this way you can efficiently get you jobs done without wasting time.
With modern day axes you’ll also find crossover products, which can be called a hand axe. These are in the middle-ground between a hatch and an axe. They have a longer handle, but are light enough to be used with a single hand for chopping purposes. That’s the reason why some products that are technically hatchet-sized are marketed as an axe.
If you are going to only have one chopping tool to use in every situation and small survival axe will be your best bet. You get the best of both worlds.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Survival Axe & Hatchet
When you are looking for a top performing survival axe or hatchet, you will come across many options on the market. The points included below will help you focus in on the right product.
Consider these factors when buying an survival axe or survival hatchet.
Axe Head & Blade
The primary function of an axe is performed by the blade. No matter how strong and functional the grip, if the blade is not sharp there is no point in using the product.
The blade has to withstand a substantial amount of friction during cutting. The material of the blade also counts a lot. Over time a lower quality blade with dull quicker.
Look for high-quality steel, it’s worth the investment and you’ll cut quicker and save yourself time keeping your axe blade sharp.
On a survival axe you don’t want a behemoth of an axe head like you would on a splitting axe. Yes, you still want to get power when you swing, but you don’t want to have to lug around the extra weight when transporting.
Axe Handle & Grip
While working with any axe, it is important that the user’s safety is ensured. In this regard, the most important element is the grip of the handle. A firm and strong grip guarantee that the axe will not slip away while working, causing any injury to the user.
A quality axe or hatchet handle grip will work well in both dry and wet conditions, because who knows when you will need to use your survival axe. You want one that functions just as well in sun, rain, and snowy conditions.
Important components of the grip are the handle throat and end knob. This part of the handle needs to fit tightly in your hand because when you throw the axe into a swinging motion your hand should stay firmly secured.
Before buying the tool make sure that the handle is comfortable to hold and is made out of materials that don’t slip away or break while cutting or chopping. The most appropriate materials to ensure proper grip are wood and rubber.
Some modern axes feature a grip pattern for extra high grip potential, such as the Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet [31-002070].
When your heading out into the bush for fun or survival, weight counts. The lighter you and your gear is, the quicker you can move. You don’t want to carry extra weight it is doesn’t payback dividends.
That goes for survival axes and hatchets as well. If you plan to carry your axe or hatchet long distances, make sure you choose a lighter weight model.
Along with weight, being able to pack your gear and tools into your bug out bag or pack matters. Most axes and hatchets can be easily attached on the outside of bags and packs when they are covered with their protective sheath.
That said, you’ll still want to consider the overall length of the axe handle. You don’t want the handle catching on trees and making it difficult to maneuver if you will be climbing over difficult terrain.
The good news is that are many great options out there to choose from of every length and a popular do-it-all option is a longer length survival hatch or hand axe. You can get products that range anywhere from 8″ to 36″ in length.
To carry out every task smoothly, the tail and the head of the axe must be perfectly balanced. A balanced axe gives great swing that makes it easy to go deep into the heart of the wood. With a lack of balance it’s either awkward or more difficult to handle the axe, ultimately taking longer and more energy to cut.
A well designed axe will have a good balance between the head and tail. Once you’ve become familiar with using various models and types of axes you will be quick to notice a well balanced axe. In simple terms, it will just feel good in your hands.
Durability & Strength
Few things are not to be bought again-and-again. An axe bought carefully will last longer and work efficiently for years. It’s worth investing more up front on a high-quality, well-made axe or hatchet.
Not only will you enjoy using the piece of gear more, but it will perform better and last longer. Everything that goes into a survival axe needs to be of high quality, after all you’re only dealing with metal and wood.
Both the handle and the head should be made from high-quality, durable materials. The wood used on the handle should be strong to deliver force and most of not fail. The most common way to break an axe is with the handle.
The blade, on the other hand, must not be made with low quality steel that it chips away after working for some time. You want the axes cutting edge to stay strong and in one piece, but when you are working you out in nature sometimes it will come into contact with objects you don’t want—such as stones and metal.
Other Tools & Features
The last thing to consider when choosing the best survival axe is what other features or tools could you find useful? Many axe and hatchet models that are specifically designed for camping and survival have integrated tools, such as a knife, saw, fire starter, or hammer. As an example take a look at this Gerber survival axe with an integrated saw.
With extra built-in tools, this can make a camping axe multi-functional and useful for a wide array of duties. It also means you can pack less and travel lighter since your axe, hammer, and saw are combine into one piece of survival gear.
The foremost aspect of choosing the best survival hatchet or axe is that it must have all the qualities you are looking for, but it also should not exceed your budget.
The good news is that there are tons of brands producing a wide variety of survival axes and survival hatchets, which means more competition and lower prices.
You’ll find that some of the best axe brands offer very high-quality products at reasonable prices. To get a better idea, you can spend anywhere from $30 to $50 to get a more entry-level, but still high-quality axe or hatchet. If you want the best of the best, you can expect to pay upwards or $100 to get the highest quality steel and constructions.
Be sure to check the comparison table above.
The bottom line is that survival hatchets and axes are multi-functional tools. Every serious survivalist and outdoorsman should own at least own, if not more.
They do a range of jobs, from using for camping activities to removing branches, chopping logs and felling trees. The axe and hatchet are needed everywhere.
A good survival axe can be used for hammering and chopping logs when you are out on an adventurous wilderness trip. Whereas the hatchet is a great gadget to have in your backpack for camping use, from chopping meat to processing firewood.
However, as always there is no perfect tool available for everyone. Each model has its pros and cons. A tool will fulfill all your needs only when it’s chosen carefully.
Photo attribution: Photos from Flickr creative commons: Sterling College, Adam Baker, andy carter, morebyless