For the serious outdoorsman or primitive camper, having a good camp axe is almost essential. A good camping axe can fill all the niches that you’d normally use a fixed blade knife, but can put enough power behind swings to make them even more useful as log splitters, branch cutters, and even as a hammer for stubborn tent stakes.
If you want to get really crafty, you can use a good camp axe to chop a branch off a tree, whittle it into shape, and then drive it into the ground, making your own tent stake. Of course, since the axe has been around almost as long as mankind, we’ve had some time to make some improvements on this useful design.
Down below, we’ve got two great examples of camping axes that are light enough to pack in, but tough enough to do whatever you might need on the trail.
#1 – Estwing E24 Sportsman’s Hatchet
Bringing a traditional aesthetic to a modern design, Estwing’s Sportsman’s Hatchet is a camping hatchet designed to look good on your pack and feel good in your hands. Made out of a single piece of metal, this 14 inch axe sports a 3 1/4 inch cutting edge that will easily take care of medium sized logs much more easily than batoning them with a knife, and since it’s only a 1.3 pound tool, it will easily strap to a backpack or belt.
The included leather wrap around the handle is a nice touch as well; in addition to reducing the shock from your swings, it has a very traditional look that, if properly taken care of, will really impress your hiking buddies.
All in all, this axe was designed to be durable, and it really fills that role. The all metal construction means you don’t have to worry about a cracked haft ruining your axe; because the axe and the haft are all the same piece, there’s very little chance of the axe head separating from the rest of the body.
The included leather sheath is another great way to keep your axe durable, protecting the entire axe head from the elements, keeping an incredibly fine edge safe, and giving you a belt hook to anchor your axe in place. With a little care between treks, this axe should be enough to take care of all your camping needs for years to come. We favor this camping axe for Estwing and consider it one of the best Estwing camp axes available.
#2 – MTech Usa Traditional Stainless Steel Camping Axe
For those of you who like a more modern look to your camp tools, you might find the Stainless Steel Camping Axe from MTech USA more to your liking. Like the E24, this axe is full stainless steel, so it’s incredibly durable. Instead of a leather grip, however, the M-tech Camping Axe has a rubber grip, perfect for reducing shock when you’re splitting or chopping wood.
While this axe may be a bit shorter at 11 inches with a 3 inch cutting edge, it’s also lighter; at 14.6 ounces, it’s just under a pound, so it’s a big help on backpacking trips where weight is always a concern.
This camp axe looks modern and acts modern. Like the Estwing model, it’s a single piece of metal, so breaking the haft is difficult and shouldn’t happen out on the trail. Also included with the M-Tech camping axe is a nylon sheath that covers the entire axe head, a good way to protect the blade between uses.
Conclusion? Personal Aesthetics
Functionally, both the Estwing E24 and the M-tech Camping Axe are incredibly similar. Sure, the M-tech’s rubber handle may stop a little more shock and the Estwing’s slightly larger size may give you a bit more leverage, but at the end of the day, these are both two very strong axes that both fill the same role.
They’re both all-metal, small enough to carve and big enough to chop, and both come with belt-loop sheaths to attach them to your belt or backpack. The only thing that really separates these two axes are their looks; the E24 has a lot more leather going on, while the M-tech tends to favor a more modern look.
Because these two axes are so functionally similar, which you should buy really depends on your personal tastes. Between the rugged outdoor look of the E24 and the sleek modern look of the M-tech, the best camping axe for you really is just a choice based on looks. Both these axes are incredibly tough, incredibly light, and designed to help make a good woodsman better.