If you need something more robust than a hunting knife or a multitool for your upcoming camping trip, you came to the right place. We collected and reviewed the best axes for outdoor activities, covering budget-friendly and high-end models.
You don’t have to be a Viking or a pro lumberjack to appreciate the importance of a quality hatchet. Any outdoor enthusiast will benefit from having a handy tomahawk at their disposal. So, stay with us, and let’s see what separates the top ten camping hatchets from the rest.
- HOW TO BUY A QUALITY CAMPING AX: BUYER’S GUIDE
- – SIZE AND SHAPE
- – STEEL QUALITY
- – BALANCE AND GRIP
- – PRICE TO VALUE RATIO
- 1. FISKARS X7 HATCHET (14″)
- 2. GERBER BEAR GRYLLS SURVIVAL HATCHET
- 3. ESTWING SPORTSMAN’S AX LEATHER
- 4. ELK RIDGE CUTLERY ER-272 CAMP AX
- 5. SOG TACTICAL TOMAHAWK
- 6. ADLER THE RHEINLAND HATCHET
- 7. GRÄNSFORS SMALL FOREST AX
- 8. HULTS BRUK THE ALMIKE HATCHET
- 9. OGT SURVIVAL AX
- 10. GERBER GATOR COMBO AX
Before we review the specifics of each model on the list, we should first explain our evaluation method. At the same time, buyers could use the following elements as a checklist when purchasing a new hatchet. Therefore, here’s what makes a top-quality ax.
Before anything else, buyers should check the hatchet’s dimensions and weight. Of course, the goal is to find a compact yet capable model with enough chopping power for your needs and preferences. Likewise, ensure that the ax will fit into your camping bag or your car’s trunk because some hatchets are more portable than others.
Besides mobility, the best-rated axes for camping or hunting should offer excellent sharpness and cutting performances. Thus, the actual blade should feature premium, even hand-forged steel. The better the steel, the longer the edge will hold its sharpness.
We already mentioned the importance of size and shape, but the overall design and ergonomics can be equally important. If the hatchet is not well-balanced, you lose control, and the cutting process might even become dangerous for you or anyone around. So, look for camping axes offering a secure and comfortable grip.
Finally, we advise glancing at the price tag before splashing the cash on a new outdoor-oriented ax. After all, the efficiency is not always directly related to the cost, and many cheap hatchets will get the job done equally well as the overpriced models. The best course of action is to compare several models and analyze their features to make an informed decision.
Our motto is to provide readers with only the best, and that’s why the first hatchet on this list comes from Finland’s oldest company. Believe it or not, the modern Fiskars brand has been around since 1914, while the ironworks in their region go back to the seventeenth century (1649). Thus, Fiskars has a reputation to maintain, and their X7 14-inch hatchet is a perfect example of the company’s philosophy.
The X series from Fiskars comes in various shapes, with the X7 model offering ideal quality to hikers or anyone looking for a lightweight hatchet. After all, the company advertises the X7 ax as an easy-to-carry model, perfect for chopping small logs or kindling. Of course, the secret lies in combining advanced composite materials with hardened steel.
Overall, the sturdy Fiskars X7 hatchet feels like an unbreakable tool for activities around the backyard. The perfect power-top-weight ratio provides this ax with sufficient cutting power while remaining compact and portable.
Besides the extra-sharp blade, the affordable X7 hatchet earns maximum points for its ergonomic design. Notably, the textured grip offers a non-slip surface for complete control, while the shock-absorbing FiberComp handle reduces fatigue and chances of injury.
Gerber Legendary Blades is another high-profile name in the knives, axes, and multitools industry, so we had to include one of their hatchets. Founded in 1939, this Oregon-based company is owned by Fiskars, the iconic Finish brand we already mentioned.
Although Gerber is among the largest knife suppliers to the US armed forces, the cool-looking Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet could also become a best-seller. Of course, the famous British survivalist put his signature on this model because this reliable hatchet can handle almost any situation.
This backpack-friendly camp ax weighs around 20 ounces, with an overall length of 9.46 inches. For that reason, the Gerber BG hatchet offers impressive versatility, and you can even use it to practice the forgotten art of throwing axes. As expected, Gerber opted for premium 3Cr13MoV steel with a full-tang blade.
In addition, we should add that Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet features a non-slip rubber on the handle. The bright orange letters BG on the sides improve the aesthetics, while the lanyard hole enhances functionality and usability. A durable nylon sheath also comes with this model, making the Gerber BG hatchet ideal for preppers and survivalists worldwide.
Since we started in style and listed two renowned brands, the third name on the list continues the trend and comes from an American company established in 1923. Currently, Estwing Manufacturing has its HQ in Rockford, Illinois, producing a rich portfolio of hammers, axes, pry bars, and similar tools.
Yet, the attention-grabbing Estwing Sportsman’s Ax stands out from the rest with its curvy, elegant design. With an overall length of 13.5 inches, this hatchet is on the longer side, but it should fit into most backpacks for camping or hiking.
Most importantly, Sportsman’s ax features a hand-sharpened edge, ready to cut through various materials with no hassle. As expected, Estwing opted for premium American steel, promising almost a lifetime of use to the owners of this product.
Likewise, we should mention the eye-catching leather grip, given that this element attracts the most attention. The Estwing Sportsman’s has a classic, traditional aesthetic, with its polished handle and horizontal rings. On the other hand, the metallic head contrasts the brown-colored grip area.
Estwing Sportsman’s Ax comes at a relatively low price, making it one of the best affordable axes for camping or DIY activities.
Now it’s time for a slight change of pace because the next contender for the best camping hatchet is a specialized tactical ax. In other words, Elk Ridge Cutlery designed a unique tomahawk for modern outdoor enthusiasts, and this New Jersey-based company went above and beyond to manufacture a dependable hatchet.
The ER-272 model is a travel-friendly camp ax for weekend warriors, campers, or hunters. Besides excellent cutting performances, this hatchet also boasts attractive looks. Namely, Elk Ridge Cutlery coated the durable 3CR13 steel with a textured black and satin finish. Of course, the color makes the ER-272 model suitable for tactical or military purposes.
You’ll be glad to hear that The Elk Ridge Cutlery ER-272 camp hatchet earns top marks for corrosion resistance and edge retention. Thus, it will survive years of wear and tear, even if you expose it to rain or snow. For that reason, the ER-272 model is among the best for DIY purposes, emergencies, military operations, fishing, or hunting.
The full-tang blade construction provides this hatchet with stability and balance. Interestingly, Elk Ridge Cutlery opted to wrap the grip area in a heavy-duty cord. As a result, the soft and comfy handle reduces discomfort.
We should also add that this tactical hatchet also features a lanyard hole for hassle-free carry. Also, the ER-272 model features three hex holes and a bottle opener on the side opposite the razor-sharp blade.
If you are in the market for survival hatchets, the versatile Tactical Tomahawk from SOG could be right up your alley. Again, we are visiting an American company, only this time the headquarters are in Lynwood, Washington. Either way, SOG Specialty Knives, Inc. more than deserves a spot on this list, given that SOG knives have been around since the Vietnam era.
Moreover, the new and evolved SOG Tactical Tomahawk draws its inspiration from the famous Vietnam Tomahawk from the same brand. Of course, the current version brings improved features and capabilities, including the 420 stainless steel head coated with SOG-patented Hard Case coating.
As the name says, the robust SOG Tactical Tomahawk can handle heavy-duty tasks, such as obstacle removal, extraction, or excavation. For that reason, this model might be overkill for campers or hikers, but it depends on your tastes and preferences.
Most importantly, the latest incarnation of the award-winning SOG Tomahawk is an excellent chopper at a relatively affordable price. At 15.75 inches, it should fit into most bug-out bags, while the sturdy nylon sheath protects the blade.
Now it’s time to go back to the classics, and the next entry on our list follows the traditional design concepts. After all, it comes from Adler, a reputable German brand established back in 1919. This family-owned company sets the standards in the ax-making industry, and over the years, Adler grew from a small blacksmith into a global enterprise.
So, it’s not surprising that their flagship model attracts plenty of attention worldwide. Namely, the all-purpose Adler Rheinland hatchet is ergonomic, lightweight, and easy to use. It offers world-class chopping power and precise cuts, making it one of the best universal hatchets in 2022.
The Rheinland Hatchet will get things done in the wilderness or closer to home. On the campsite, it will tackle almost every task with no problems. Moreover, this ax weighs only 1.9 pounds, making it one of the lightest hatchets. For instance, the flat heat is ideal for driving tent poles into the ground, while the sharp blade cuts branches super-efficiently.
Adler opted for C45 stainless steel for the Rheinland hatchet, while the handle comes from US-sourced hickory. Thanks to the curved shape, the well-balanced 14-inch shaft provides top-notch control. Outdoor enthusiasts should also know that the Rheinland camp ax comes with a leather sheath with a convenient, two-button release system.
It’s time to bring out the big guns, and that’s why we’ll go back to Scandinavia to visit a company that has been making hand-forged axes since 1902. Gränsfors Bruk has a century of experience in the business, combining functional designs with premium steel. The company offers plenty of models to choose from, but the Small Forest Ax should meet every camper’s needs.
This model is more robust and heavier than most hatchets on this list, given that it weighs approximately two pounds, with a long, slightly curved shaft. At the same time, the elegant handle provides leverage and increases chopping power. In addition, a lanyard hole helps with carrying the Gränsfors Bruk Small Forest Ax.
Despite the relatively longer shaft, this hatchet should fit into most rucksacks. As expected from a premium brand, Gränsfors Bruk provides a high-quality sheath with the Small Forest Ax. The brown-colored, vegetable-tanned leather is durable and stylish, with a sturdy strap and heavy-duty buckle.
As you can see, Gränsfors Bruk follows the famous Scandinavian design principles, keeping things sleek and straightforward. The same applies to the reliable Small Forest Ax, a strong contender for the top position on our best camping hatchets list.
We already mentioned a company with 17th-century roots, but we’ll have to revisit the history books because Hult’s iron and steel factory also dates back to 1697. After modernization and electricity, this Swedish brand started exporting to other continents and expanding its customer base.
At first glance, the classic-looking Almike Hatchet from Hults Brook might look like any other Scandinavian hatchet. Yet, Hults Bruk stands above the rest because it provides unrivaled chopping power in a relatively tiny body. By opting for premium Swedish steel and shaping the ax through traditional methods, Hults Bruk manufactured a high-end hatchet for outdoor enthusiasts.
Of course, hand-forged axes come at a higher price than hatchets arriving from bulk production facilities. Nonetheless, the Almike hatchet is worth every penny, given that the blade will hold its edge for decades to come. Besides resilience, the blackened, polished edge features an eye-catching design.
Like several camping hatchets on this list, the Almike ax has an American-sourced hickory handle. Again, the curved shaft features a lanyard hole and an engraved logo on the sides. Thus, the multi-practical Hults Bruk Almike Hatchet could be a worthwhile investment for anyone looking for top-rated hatchets in 2022.
OGT is short for Off Grid Tools, and this online retailer sells various products oriented towards outdoor lifestyle and survivalism. So, besides survival axes, the comprehensive OGT portfolio features tactical lighting, survival kits, and other EDC products. We browsed through this library and selected the versatile OGT Survival Ax because it combines the qualities of a multitool and a camping hatchet.
Believe it or not, OGT claims that the unique design allows this ax to handle more than 30 tasks and situations. For instance, the attention-grabbing OGT Survival Ax comes with a full-tang blade with a glass-filled nylon handle. Therefore, this ultra-lightweight hatchet will have no problems cutting branches and clearing a path through the forest.
On the other hand, this model also features a hammerhead alongside a claw for pounding in tent stakes and repairing a portable table. We should also mention the integrated 6-inch saw blade, a sturdy glass breaker, and a seatbelt cutter.
The list of features and tools incorporated in the OGT Survival Ax is almost endless, so we’ll stop here. Overall, this 11-inch long hatchet combines the best from both worlds and comes at a budget-friendly price.
Last but not least, we’ll go back to Portland, Oregon, to see what’s cooking in Gerber’s laboratory. Although it now operates under the Fiskars banner, Gerber Legendary Blades is a famous American brand.
But regardless of the ownership structure, Gerber stays focused and determined to manufacture premium blades. For example, Gerber Gator Combo Ax is an exciting concept since it brings together a 7-inch knife and 9-inch tactical hatchet.
As the name implies, the Gator Combo model comprises a compact ax with a stainless steel head and a hollow handle where you’ll find a fixed-blade knife. Both components feature textured rubber for a secure grip in any condition. The pocket-sized knife also has a couple of thumb grooves on the top, while the ax head includes a hammerhead.
In addition, the multipurpose Gerber Gator Combo Ax comes equipped with a heavy-duty nylon holder. The knife should slide into the handle without hassle, while the magnetic lock and a security cap prevent sliding out while chopping, trimming, or cutting.
So, if you need high-quality tools for camping or hunting, the Gator Combo could be a perfect option because it comes at an affordable price.
And there you have it, the best choppers for splitting small logs, cutting branches, and preparing campfires worldwide. If you are tired of wielding supernatural axes in Assassin’s Creed or God of War, the hatchets on our list will provide a real-life feel of what razor-sharp blades can do.
These ten axes for camping or hunting cover various price tiers and several design philosophies. For that reason, finding the winner is almost impossible, but you’ll never go wrong with products from Gerber, Hults, or Gränsfors . In any case, expect superb performances and precise cuts all day long.