The Best Camping Ax [Review and Buying Guide]

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When you’re on a camping trip in the wilderness, successfully starting a fire can be a necessity, whether it’s to make dinner or a lifesaving venture that keeps you from hypothermia. You may also find yourself wanting to build a wooden shelter for safety from the elements.

For these situations and more, a camping axe is an extremely valuable piece of gear to split wood for your flames or to create your shelter.

The best camping ax in this product round-up is the Fiskars X7 Hatchet, which you can count on for all your forestry needs. With a fantastically ergonomic design, a reliably sharp-edged blade, a comfortable, grippy handle, and a high level of durability, this ax is the perfect tool to make your adventurous days easier.

To learn about other excellent hatchets and compare their various features and designs, read our full product round-up below. This way, you can find the best camping ax to fit your lifestyle.

IMAGE PRODUCT DETAILS rating  Price
Best OverallFiskars X7 Hatchet Fiskars X7 Hatchet
  • Weight: 1.4 lbs
  • Handle Length: 14 in
9.9
Premium OptionKershaw Deschutes Kershaw Deschutes
  • Weight: 1.6 lbs
  • Handle Length: 14 in
9.8
Best Budget OptionColeman Camp Axe Coleman Camp Axe
  • Weight: 1.81 lbs
  • Handle Length: 14 in
9.5
Shadow Cutlery Vikings Axe of Ragnar Lothbrok Shadow Cutlery Vikings Axe of Ragnar Lothbrok
  • Weight: 2.4 lbs
  • Handle Length: 24.5 in
9.3
Gerber Pack Hatchet Camping Axe Gerber Pack Hatchet Camping Axe
  • Weight: 1.3 lbs
  • Handle Length: 9.5 in
9.8
SOG Camp Axe SOG Camp Axe
  • Weight: 16.1 oz
  • Handle Length: 11.5 in
9.8
Edward Tools Harden Camping Axe Edward Tools Harden Camping Axe
  • Weight: 2.05 lbs
  • Handle Length: 15 in
9.7
Schrade SCAXE2 Schrade SCAXE2
  • Weight: 1.4 lbs
  • Handle Length: 11.8 in
9.8
Gerber Gator Combo Axe II Gerber Gator Combo Axe II
  • Weight: 12.8 oz
  • Handle Length: 15.6 in
9.7

Product Reviews 

Fiskars X7 Hatchet: Best Overall

Fiskars X7 Hatchet
  • Ideal for chopping kindling and small- to medium-sized logs
  • Chops deeper with each swing to get more done faster
  • Perfected balance and power-to-weight ratio increases swing speed to multiply power, much like an aluminum baseball bat
  • Proprietary blade-grinding technique provides a sharper edge for better contact and cleaner cuts
  • Lifetime warranty. Low-friction blade coating powers through wood and prevents head from getting stuck

The Fiskars X7 Hatchet is our pick for the best camping ax in this product round-up thanks to its well-constructed design built for comfort and ease of splitting, its excellent weight distribution that makes it easy to swing with power, and extremely sharp blade that holds up over time.

This axe is built with a 14-inch, shock-absorbing, grippy FiberComp (fiberglass in a polymer) handle and weighs just 1.4 pounds, while it is designed to be perfectly balanced in your hand. 

The Fiskar’s well-balanced weight distribution makes for a comfortable, easy, fast swinging and wood-splitting experience that can cut deeper into the wood, leading to less strain to your hands and arms with each swing. This means more chopping efficiency to get the job done faster.

Fiskars utilizes a patented grinding technique to create their blades that enhance the overall sharpness of their edges. This makes for a sturdy, long-lasting sharp edge that is easy to cut cleanly with. This blade in particular is made of forged steel and features a low-friction coating.

The blade is marketed as a perfect size for cutting small or medium logs, so this is a great forestry companion for the campsite. A protective sheath with a handle on top is included for added safety and ease of portability.

Pros

  • The handle is grippy and absorbs shock
  • Even weight distribution for less hand fatigue and faster swinging
  • Very sharp, long-lasting blade
  • Lightweight 
  • Durable materials
  • Comes with a protective sheath that has a handle on top
  • Not very expensive

Cons

  • Not meant for chopping larger logs
  • No carrying strap

Kershaw Deschutes Hatchet: Most Premium Option

Sale
Kershaw Deschutes
  • Made of tough 3Cr13 stainless steel, the wedge blade of the Kershaw Deschutes hatchet axe is full tang for extraordinary strength and durability.
  • A tan, glass-filled nylon handle with rubberized inserts provides a comfortable, secure grip for camping and backpacking.
  • A molded sheath and nylon straps attach for secure storage and easy carry. Cutouts in the ax head and knob relieve weight, provide space for wrist-strap and sheath attachment, and make for a versatile design.
  • Chopping, splitting, or light forestry - from boy scout to professional hunter - the Deschutes is the ultimate bushcraft tool.
  • The Deschutes measures 14 inches long with a 3.5-inch blade; it weighs just 1 lb. 9 ounches unsheathed, and 1 lb. 12 ounces sheathed.

The Kershaw Deschutes is the most premium option in this review. This sturdy hatchet ax features a well-balanced, ergonomic design with a textured handle and a rigid blade that is easy to use and carry.

The Deschutes is equipped with a reliably built stainless steel blade that promises strength and longevity. The blade also features a black oxide coating for further durability and sharp looks. 

Overall, this ax is incredibly well-balanced with angles and cutouts in the handle to relieve unnecessary weight in certain areas. This means that your swings will hit exactly where you intend them to.

The blade itself measures 3.4 inches, which is an excellent size for splitting a variety of wood sizes at the campsite. It can also be used for carving.

The glass-filled nylon handle is designed with a comfortable, easily graspable rubber texture. To add to this, the Deschutes comes with a carrying strap that attaches to the sheath-and-carry system found in the head of the ax. This way, you can simply sling the Deschutes over your shoulder when walking for easy transport.

Pros

  • Durable stainless steel blade with black oxide coating reduces scratching and wear
  • Well-balanced in the hand when swinging
  • Lightweight 
  • Comfortable, grippy rubber handle
  • Sheath for safety
  • Easy to carry over your shoulder with included strap system (easiest portability)

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Not meant for chopping larger logs

Coleman Camp Axe: Best Budget Option

Coleman Camp Axe
  • Made of the highest quality materials
  • Camping knives & tools axes
  • Another quality Coleman product

The Coleman Camp Axe is the best option if you’re sticking to a strict budget. With a price point of right around $26, this ax won’t break the bank but will still serve as a trusty hatchet for all of your camping adventures.

Coleman is known to produce quality outdoor gear, and this ax is no exception with its forged steel blade that promises sharpness and strength. The sturdy steel handle is easy to hold onto with a rubberized texture that also adds comfort. The handle is also bent slightly for enhanced ergonomics.

The blade itself is versatile, as the sharp edge is useful for chopping, slicing, and cutting, while the flat edge is perfect for pushing tent stakes into the earth with ease. There is even a notch cut into the head of the ax, perfect for pulling up the tent stakes from the ground when you’re done camping.

This makes the Coleman Camp Axe a useful campsite tool when you’re setting up and taking down your most important gear. Please note that while the ax ships with a plastic cover, it does not come with a carrying sheath, so you may want to purchase one separately.

Pros

  • Inexpensive option
  • Rubberized handle for added grip
  • The blade has a sharp edge and a flat edge
  • The blade has a notch for pulling up tent stakes
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Maybe not as durable
  • Not as well-balanced
  • Not meant for chopping larger logs
  • Does not come with a sheath

Shadow Cutlery Vikings Axe of Ragnar Lothbrok: Most Interesting Design

Shadow Cutlery Vikings Axe of Ragnar Lothbrok
  • The weapon favored by Ragnar Lothbrok, this axe was essential in Ragnars rise from farmer to Earl, and from Earl to King.
  • This axe was used in all his raids, and was the key to his victory over Earl Haraldson's in his quest to become king. Ragnar's favored axe is rarely far from his side.
  • This Axe of Ragnar Lothbrok has been created from our prop, however this axe is fully functional. Hand Forged Carbon Steel axe head, real leather grip with cross stitch on handle.
  • Total Length: 24-1/2", Weight: 2. 4lbs, Wood Handle: Ash Wood, Leather wrapped handle, Axe Head: Hand Forged Carbon Steel
  • Although this is a sharpened, functional axe, it IS NOT designed for your everyday wood cutting and log splitting. That should be handled by your standard axes. If, however, you're planning on raiding the British Isles, this would be a fine companion!

The Shadow Cutlery Vikings Axe of Ragnar Lothbrok has the most interesting design of all the axes in this product round-up. If you’re looking for something unique that will help you stand out at the campsite, this is an excellent choice for merging style with function as long as you won’t be actually cutting down trees.

Though this ax is designed in the name of a legendary Viking hero and is not meant for chopping or cutting logs or other large pieces of wood, it is still a somewhat functional blade that can cut small pieces or shave off edges. The blade itself is made out of hand-forged carbon steel, which is quite durable.

The Axe of Ragnar Lothbrok is not only the most interesting in this review, but it’s also the largest ax with a handle length of 24.5 inches. Weighing 2.4 lbs, this is also one of the heavier options. Overall, the added weight and size make it more difficult to carry around.

Cross-stitched along the ash wood handle, you’ll find a design of leather strips for improving the grip. 

However, it is notable that the handle is more slippery overall than the other axes in this product round-up, as it doesn’t feature any rubber and the leather strips are more spaced out. Because the ax itself is also heavier, it is certainly more difficult to hold properly and doesn’t feel balanced as well. There is also no carrying sheath included.

Also, it’s important to note that because of its unique, rare design, this ax is rather expensive. You may also find that you’re rather nervous about actually using it for fear of damaging the ax. For this reason, it may be best to leave this ax on the display shelf.

Pros

  • Very interesting, unique design.
  • Somewhat functional while also being well-designed

Cons

  • Heavier
  • Less comfortable to hold and less grip
  • Expensive 
  • Should not be used for cutting logs or chopping (less functionality)
  • No carrying strap
  • Does not come with a sheath
  • Appearance gets in the way of usefulness (hesitant to damage the axe)

Gerber Pack Hatchet Camping Axe: Most Compact Option

Gerber Pack Hatchet Camping Axe
  • Full tang construction means steadiness in hand and the strength to power through swinging chores
  • A tall blade grind retains optimal sharpness
  • The handle is wrapped in a rubber over mold for added grip and comfort
  • Nylon sheath can be mounted on pack or belt
  • Integrated lanyard hole secures the Hatchet while on the move

If you’re seeking a smaller hatchet, the Gerber Pack Hatchet Camping Axe is the most compact option here. The Gerber Pack Hatchet is the perfect choice for those who value an axe that is extremely portable and ergonomic while being fully functional and durable. 

Gerber designed this ax with a tall blade grind, leading to a high sharpness and longevity level. With a sharp-edged stainless steel blade that will last through many adventures, the Gerber is a fully portable option for swinging and splitting firewood at the campsite.

The steel blade itself measures 3.5 inches, while the whole ax is only 9.5 inches long. It also weighs just 1.3 pounds, so it won’t weigh down your gear too much.

To add to the ergonomics, the Gerber Pack Hatchet is equipped with a grippy, grooved handle with a rubberized molding along the sides for added comfort and durability. It is well-balanced as well, so you can time your swings without getting thrown off.

The ax also comes with a belt carry sheath and lanyard hole for safety and ease of transport.

Pros

  • Lightweight and compact
  • Grippy, comfortable rubberized handle with finger grooves
  • Includes belt carry sheath for safety and transportability
  • Well-balanced and ergonomic

Cons

  • Somewhat expensive
  • No carrying strap
  • Not meant for chopping larger logs

SOG Camp Axe: Most Versatile

SOG Camp Axe
  • STAINLESS STEEL CHOPPING AXE BLADE: Small forest axe, camping hatchet and backpacking hatchet features a 3.1-inch blade; small hatchet measures 11.5 inches in total length
  • LIGHTWEIGHT CAMPING AXES AND HATCHETS: This light but heavy duty camp hatchet and survival hatchet also serves as a handy backpacking axe; hand axe includes textured GRN handle for comfortable use
  • WOOD HATCHET AND HAMMER AXE IN ONE: Wood chopping axe can also be used as a hammer axe; the hatchet is always ready for outdoor wood splitting, pounding tent stakes, and tinder breakdown
  • CAMPING HATCHET WITH SHEATH: This small axe and hiking hatchet is lightweight and easy to carry; hand axe with sheath is a portable outdoor tool featuring glass-reinforced nylon to safely protect the blade
  • SOG for life: Take care of your camp axes and hatchets and we’ll take care of you; we gladly consider repairs and replacements for your properly maintained SOG Camp Axe

The SOG Camp Axe is incredibly versatile, designed for wood chopping and splitting as well as hammering or pushing tent stakes into the ground. Marketed as a backpacking, camping, and forestry ax, the SOG is built to do it all. The reliable stainless steel, satin-finished 3.1-inch blade is crafted to stay sharp and precise through all your adventures.

The SOG Camp Axe measures just 11.5 inches total length, so this is one of the more compact options as well. This made it more portable and ergonomic, along with its lightweight and textured GRN handle that is easy to hold onto while swinging. With this in mind, this is quite the comfortable little ax.

Overall, the SOG Camp Axe is designed to be well-balanced and provide plenty of cutting power. The blade is designed with a larger cutting edge for precision and sharpness even over many uses. The stainless steel construction is also easy to sharpen and resists breakdown and rust.

The back of the axe head is designed as a perfect stainless steel hammer built for durability, making it even easier to set up your tent stakes.

Finally, a glass-reinforced nylon sheath is included for your safety when not in use.

Pros

  • Versatile, useful for both chopping wood, hammering, and inserting tent stakes
  • Includes sheath for safety
  • Rubberized, grippy handle
  • Easy to sharpen
  • The stainless steel blade is durable and resists corrosion
  • Well-balanced design
  • Compact and lightweight

Cons

  • Somewhat expensive
  • No carrying strap
  • Not meant for chopping larger logs

Edward Tools Harden Camping Axe: Best Overall Value

Edward Tools Harden Camping Axe
  • HEAVY DUTY FORGED CARBON STEEL blade head that stays sharp longer
  • BALANCED weight ratio for greater swing momentum and comfortable use
  • SHEATH INCLUDED - Camping hatchet has a rubber sheath that is easy to put on and take off
  • ERGONOMIC RUBBER HANDLE - Grippy comfortable rubber handle for easier use and safety
  • LIFETIME WARRANTY - We guarantee our camping hatchet for life including the blade, handle and sheath

The Edward Tools Harden Camping Axe is our pick for the best overall value, thanks to its durable stainless steel blade, comfortable fiberglass handle, decent size, lifetime warranty, and low price point. 

This handy axe features a blade made out of forged carbon steel for ultimate longevity and sharpness. It is best designed for cutting into or splitting small or medium logs. 

Weighing 2.05 lbs, the Edward Tools is one of the heavier options among these compact axes. However, the balanced weight of the ax will make sure you can swing with full power, and its comfortable rubber 15 inch handle makes sure that your grip will never slip. Despite its heavier weight, overall, this ax feels ergonomic in hand.

Included with your purchase is a rubber sheath for safety as well.

Pros

  • Blade is durable and stays sharp
  • Includes rubber safety sheath
  • Grippy handle
  • Forged carbon steel blade is sharp and reliable
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Inexpensive 

Cons

  • Heavier 
  • No carrying strap
  • Not meant for chopping larger logs

Schrade SCAXE2: Best for Cold Weather

Schrade SCAXE2
  • DIMENSIONS: 11.8 inch (30 cm) overall length with a blade length of 3.8 inches (9.6 cm) and a weight of 1 lb 6.4 ounces
  • DURABLE: Blade is made of reliable 3Cr13 Titanium Coated S.S. with a black, glass fiber filled PA & TPR material and cold resistance flexibilizer handle
  • DEPENDABLE: Quick and easy access with the convenient black thermoplastic belt sheath
  • SECURE: Have confidence that the blade will not slip with the security of the ergonomic black rubber grip
  • BE PREPARED: Axe features a hammer pommel as well as an extra-large ferro rod that is stored inside the shaft

If you will be camping in chillier weather, the Schrade SCAXE2 is the best choice. Equipped with a cold-resistant handle and an integrated Ferro rod, the Schrade may turn out to be a lifesaver in the coldest of conditions.

The Schrade weighs 1.4 pounds, so it is decently lightweight and easy to carry around. It also measures only 11.8 inches long in total, making it one of the shorter options in this product round-up. Both of these features add to its ease of portability.

The 3.8-inch blade here is designed as a titanium-coated stainless steel edge that is sure to hold up to many years of use, as this material resists scratches and rust. The outer side of the axe head can also be used as a hammer pommel.

With a glass fiber-filled construction and a flexibilizer design, the handle is built especially to resist winter weather. The handle also features a rubberized texture for added grip. 

Inside the handle, you’ll find an extra-large Ferro rod, perfect for starting fires in a pinch. The Schrade also includes a polypropylene thermoplastic belt sheath for your safety.

Pros

  • Titanium coated stainless steel blade is durable
  • Handle resists cold and is rubberized for grip
  • Ferro rod inside the handle for starting fires easily
  • The sheath is included for safety
  • Has a hammer pommel on the ax head
  • Lightweight and compact design
  • Not very expensive

Cons

  • No carrying strap
  • Not meant for chopping larger logs

Gerber Gator Combo Axe II: Most Extra Cutting Accessories

Sale
Gerber Gator Combo Axe II
  • Forged steel head for blade durability + striking force.
  • Glass-filled nylon handle hides a coarse blade saw for brush/branches.
  • Gator Grip handle material provides sure grip in all conditions.
  • Saw is held inside handle magnetically, for easy + secure transport.
  • Any condition. Any task. Get out there.

The Gerber Gator Combo Axe II includes the most extra cutting accessories, as it also features a miniature hand saw for additional usefulness. This way, you can splint or chop as well as saw away at any branches you need for your campsite.

The Gerber Gator Combo Axe II is equipped with a lightweight, well-balanced handle with ease of use in mind. It is designed for striking power and efficiency. The handle itself is constructed of a polyamide glass-filled material with a comfortable textured rubber for easy grip. The handle is injection-molded to fit perfectly around the head of the ax to keep it intact for years to come.

The axe blade on this model measures 2.4 inches long and is constructed out of a durable forged steel that intends to stay sharp. The backside of the axe head can also be used as a hammer for additional functionality.

Inside the 15.6-inch long handle of the ax, there is a stow-away 6-inch miniature coarse hand saw. This is secured by an internal magnetic enclosure lock that is easy to open and close. With this little saw, you can make quick work of any brush or branches.

The Gerber Gator also comes with a ballistic nylon sheath for your safety. The sheath can even attach to a belt loop for easier transportability. 

More: Leatherman Skeletool CX Multi-tool Review: Is it Worth the Price?

Pros

  • Includes a 6-inch hand saw inside the handle of the axe (magnetic closure)
  • Rubberized, easy-to-grip ax handle
  • Durable materials and sharpness
  • Can be used as a hammer
  • Ballistic nylon sheath can attach to the belt loop for transport.
  • Lightweight and ergonomic

Cons

  • Not meant for chopping larger logs
  • Somewhat expensive

Buying Guide: What to Know Before Purchasing a Camping Axe

Balance and Accuracy

When swinging an ax, one of the most important elements is its balance. The balance is determined by the weight of each end of the axe itself, the center of gravity, and the location of the grip point (where you hold the ax).

A balanced ax will be designed with even weight distribution from the handle to the ax’s head where the blade lies. Ideally, this means that the ax handle will weigh approximately the same as the head of the ax.

An axe with good balance will enable you to hit your target more accurately and with more force or power. This is because a well-balanced ax will be less likely to wobble or shift as you swing. Also, a balanced axe will have a better durability, because the evenly distributed striking force will prevent breakage.

When you are testing out axes, try to balance them on your finger to find the center of gravity. Also, if possible, practice swinging and chopping to ensure that the ax feels well-balanced and that your swings are precise and comfortable.

More: Best Pocket Knife Sharpener On The Market [Review and Buying Guide]

Ease of Splitting

While most camping axes are more compact and lightweight than traditional full-sized axes, making them less suitable for chopping down huge trees than their larger counterparts, they are useful for splitting small pieces of wood or cutting through branches. 

How easily an ax can split wood is a product of how sharp the edge is, its weight and force, and how effectively it can wedge apart the pieces. Blades that are convexly curved may be more efficient at splitting.

More: Best Windproof Lighters On The Market [Review and Complete Buying Guide]

Ease of Carrying

One of the main benefits of camping axes is how easy they are to transport. Many of these hatchets are designed with grippy, rubberized textured handles that make them easy to carry around in the campsite. 

No matter which ax you choose, make sure that it is not too heavy or cumbersome to be comfortable. Thankfully, as we mentioned, camping axes are typically more compact and lightweight, making them even easier to transport or fit into your backpack.

For example, with a handle length of only 9.5 inches, the Gerber Pack Hatchet Camping Axe is the best choice if you’re looking for the most compact and easy-to-carry style.

Also, for safety when carrying your gear around, a camping ax should certainly include some type of sheath or covering to keep the blade protected (and yourself shielded from cuts as well). In addition to this, many camping axes will feature a loop on the sheath that can attach to your belt for even more transportability.

The Kershaw Deschutes goes above and beyond, as it features a shoulder strap system so that you can sling the ax comfortably over your arm to carry it around.

More: The Best Tent Air Conditioners for Camping [Review and Buying Guide]

Durability

In terms of durability, look for a blade that is forged of a strong metal built for sharpness, which is often carbon steel. These types of blades will stay sharp and resist breakage and corrosion over time. Some blades may be coated in black oxide for added protection from wear. 

For the handle, some may prefer an all-wooden style, while others prefer the grip of a rubberized texture. For additional durability, look for an injection molding construction where the handle meets the ax’s head. This will ensure that the head and handle stay anchored together appropriately.

More: Best Kershaw Knife Review: Is It The Best Knife Brand?

Conclusion

If you’re planning a camping adventure and want to find a reliable tool to split small logs or cut apart branches to create a fire when you need it most, look no further than a camping ax. These axes are compact and lightweight for easy portability and provide a reliable blade.

The Fiskars X7 Hatchet is the winner of this product round-up due to its durable construction, excellently balanced design, comfortable and grippy handle, sharp forged steel blade, and easy-to-use protective sheath with convenient carrying handle. This is a rugged, well-designed hatchet that is both lightweight and efficient.

Another excellent choice, the Kershaw Deschutes is a premium option equipped with a stainless steel blade coated in black oxide, a well-balanced body style, and a shoulder strap system that makes portability even more of a breeze. 

If you’re looking for the ultimate in versatility, there are even more options. The SOG Camp Axe is a well-crafted ax that can also function as a hammer. The Schrade SCAXE2 is another versatile choice that features an integrated Ferro rod, while the Gerber Gator Combo Axe II is equipped with a small hand saw that fits right into the handle of the ax.

Hopefully, with all of these choices, this product round-up has helped you decide on the best camping ax for your outdoor excursions.

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Tim Fox

Tim Fox

Since the age of 10, Tim, a writer at Outdoor With J, has enjoyed camping in the great outdoors. Although he loves the peace and quiet of the outdoors, he also likes his creature comforts. Tim’s mission is to make camping a fun and comfortable experience for all. You can find more about him here

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