Campfires really can make all the differences to your camping experience. Nothing quite beats sitting around the flames and soaking up the warmth while you toast marshmallows and look at the stars. But to make this wonderful evening last, you’re going to need a steady supply of wood.
Sure, you could load up your car with firewood and kindling… but you’ll get sawdust and splinters everywhere. Plus, who has space for that? Especially if you’re camping in a group and sharing a car. And what if you’re backpacking but still want the joy of a cozy fire at the end of a long day on the trail?
Introducing the mighty camping axe, probably one of the best tools to take with you on a camping trip. Although all are designed primarily for log splitting, they come in a range of shapes and sizes, with some suited to backcountry adventures and others for vehicle-based camping. As we’ll see, the prices vary massively and each axe has its own pros and cons – some can even double up as hammers, have nooks for de-pegging, and spikes for piercing.
At A Glance: Our Top 3 Camping Axes
To save you some time, we’ve put together this list of the best camping axes around so that you can find the one that’s right for you – make sure you get those marshmallows ready for your next trip!
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Sleek, smooth, and stylish might not be the first things that spring to mind when you think of a camping axe, but that’s what the Estwing Sportsman’s 14″ Axe brings to the table.
This super stylish camping axe packs an almighty punch too, thanks to the 3.25 inches of hand-sharpened steel that makes up the cutting edge, which is also tapered and super sharp. The steel stretches all the way up along the handle to form an axe of 14 inches in total, and this continuity prevents any potential weak points from forming where the handle meets the blade.
The handle is bound in leather that’s been sanded and lacquered to provide grip and comfort (plus it looks super cool too) – be warned that it might be slightly slippy at first, but this will improve with time. Weighing in at 1.5 lbs, this axe is pretty light for its size, and the ballistic nylon sheath offers fantastic protection for you and the blade when in transit, but it is lacking a lanyard hole if that’s more your style.
For an average price, you’re definitely getting an above-average axe here – it’s well-designed, durable, and looks incredible too.
Next up is another one of our favorite allround camping axes, the Fiskars X11 Splitting Axe.
As the name suggests, this axe specializes in splitting small logs, which is perfect when you need to get that campfire going. The handle has been constructed from super strong but lightweight FibreComp to shift the weight to the head of the axe, giving you more power on impact.
The blade itself is made from hardened, forged steel and is super sharp. On top of that, it features an anti-friction coating to help it glide through wood without getting stuck. Finally, the convex geometry dispels wood chippings away from the blade to stop them from interfering with your chopping, pretty neat huh?
Overmolding has been used to ensure that the blade and handle won’t separate, and there’s a small hole in the handle to reduce vibrations and keep your hands steady. When not in use, you can pop the axe in its sheath for safety. Although we love that the sheath features a handle for hanging at home, we wish that it was made of something a little more durable than plastic.
The overall length of 17.5 inches means that this isn’t the lightest axe you’ll come across, but it’s definitely one of the best for getting the job done.
If you’re after a high-quality camping axe without a high price tag, then look no further than the Schrade SCAXE10.
At just over 11 inches in total, this is one of the smaller axes on our list, yet the blade, at 3.6 inches, is one of the largest.
The small size makes it easy to wield, especially for smaller folk, and the grippy rubber handle provides great cushioning as well as stopping any pesky slips. The small size also keeps the weight down – at just 22 oz this a great one to pop in your bag ‘just in case’.
The stainless steel blade will certainly get the job done, but it isn’t as sharp as some of the blades on the more expensive versions. Sometimes, however, a lack of a razor-sharp blade can be a good thing, especially if there will be kids around the camp.
When transporting your axe from A to B, simply pop it in its sheath to protect it (and you) from harm. The sheath could be a little more durable, and it’s aimed at right-handed users (sorry lefties), but we love that the handle features a lanyard hole for ease of storage at home.
Overall, this is one extremely user-friendly axe that you don’t need to be scared of. You might have to work a little harder to get the job done, but if you don’t mind slow and steady to save yourself a bunch of dollars, then it’s a great choice.
Got limited space in your pack and trying to decide between an axe and a hammer? Why not take them both in one!
The SOG Axe With Hammer, as the name suggests, is a versatile axe that doubles up as a hammer – perfect for those tent pegs that just won’t play ball.
That’s not the only reason we like it so much though. We absolutely love its sleek, stylish appearance, and we were pleasantly surprised to see that it weighs just over 1 lbs, making it the second-lightest axe on our list (not bad for an axe-hammer combo eh?).
It’s also one sturdy little thing thanks to the solid stainless steel head and glass-reinforced nylon handle (and sheath!). There are grooves in the handle for grip, and we like the lanyard hole at the end, but it would be nice if there was a tad more cushioning for when the chopping gets tough.
If you’ll be going to town on serious logs, you might need something a little larger and heavier but if you want something lightweight for casual campsite use, then this could be the one for you.
Coleman is known for producing reliable and affordable camping gear, and the Coleman Camp Axe is no different. This axe takes a no-frills approach to keep costs down, but it will certainly get the job done.
The handle is made of solid steel and features a non-slip rubber grip handle with ergonomic contours, making for one comfortable chopping experience. The drop-forged carbon-steel head is also super strong and, while it might not be the sharpest tool in the box, it’s more than capable of splitting logs for the campfire.
The thick wedge shape of the head means that the flat side that can make light work of hammering tent pegs into the ground which can come in super handy if you’re faced with tough terrain. What’s more, when it comes to unpacking there’s a bitch in the head to pull those same heads out – so you’ll never have to leave a peg behind again.
This axe isn’t the lightest we’ve seen, and it doesn’t even come with a sheath, but it’s a sturdy little thing that can serve severe purposes around the campsite – and it certainly won’t break the bank.
The SOG Tactical Tomahawk is more than just a camping axe, it’s a tactical throwing axe too – because why not slip in some aiming practice while you’re out in the woods?
Throwing axes are super cool, and they can help with your aim for other sports such as shooting and archery. If you’re out camping and surrounding by trees, you have potential targets everywhere, so it makes sense to invest in an axe you can have some fun with. Oh, and comes with a lifetime repair/replacement service too in case of any defects.
But that’s not to say this axe won’t be useful around camp – it features a super sharp stainless steel blade, you can definitely tackle smaller logs with this. The lack of a thick wedge keeps the weight down and helps with the aerodynamics during throwing, but be warned that it might impede log splitting when it comes to chunkier bits of wood.
The edge of the axe can be used as a makeshift hammer, and we love the integrated spike too – because who knows what might need pricing in an emergency? When not in use, make use of the durable ballistic nylon sheath – and we love that it even has a belt loop so you can keep your axe handy (although it’s pretty long to have on your belt).
Overall, this tactical axe might not be as great for wood as specialized models, but it’ll tackle ordinary-sized branches no problem and has tonnes of quirky perks that we love.
The MTech Camping Axe is a minimalistic, and ultra-portable axe that offers a lot of bang for its buck.
This nifty little axe measure 11 inches in length and weighs in at less than a pound, making it the lightest axe on our entire list – perfect if you’re umming and ahhing over whether or not you can squeeze an axe in with the rest of your camping gear!
Obviously, the small size does limit this axe slightly when it comes to larger bits of wood but, for a casual campsite axe, it’s more than capable of doing everything you need. The 440 stainless steel blade has a 3-inch cutting edge that’s rich in carbon, making it nice and sharp as well as strong. The handle is rubber-coated to provide grip as well as comfort, but we aren’t so keen on the plastic sheath that feels a bit loose – so make sure you’re careful when you’re rooting around for this axe in your bag in case it falls off.
Despite this, the MTech remains the best portable camping axe we’ve found in this price range.
And last, but by no means least, on our list of the best camping axes around is the Elkridge Outdoor Axe.
This is one incredibly economical way to make sure you can split logs for the campfire. The 3CR13 Stainless steel blade is 4 inches long and nice and sharp for cutting efficiency. The overall length is fairly short, helping to keep the weight down and makes it easy to use even for smaller folk. We also like the three holes in the blade that help to reduce vibrations and friction, again making this a nice axe to handle.
The full tang eliminates weak spots, and the handle has been cord-wrapped and provides great grip, although it could do slightly better in terms of cushioning and it has been known to unravel after significant use. We love the super-secure sheath, with its three lip fasteners, so you don’t have to worry about it sliding off in your bag.
This axe might not last you a lifetime, but if you’re new to the world of camping axes and don’t want to splash the cash, then it’s a decent starting point.
Clearly, there’s quite a range of camping axes out there, so what factors should you consider before picking one up a camping axe of your very own?
For backcountry adventures, portability is key, and you’ll want something lightweight with small dimensions. You might also want to consider an axe that can be used as a hammer – that way, you’re getting two tools for the weight of one. If you’ll be driving to your campsite, then weight won’t be an issue, but you might still need to think about the dimensions, depending on how much space you have.
As we’ve seen, not all blades are created equal. Although all the axes here can split small-to-medium logs, if you want an axe to tackle larger ones, or you’ll be doing a lot of chopping and want something super efficient, then you’ll need to weigh up some extra considerations. Think about the blade size and sharpness – the larger and sharper the less work you’ll have to do. There are also less obvious things to think about, such as anti-friction coatings and holes, shapes that steer debris away, and the overall weight and balance of the axe.
Extra features might not cinch the deal, and there are definitely more important factors, but they can definitely sway you if you’re on the fence. Lanyard holes and decent sheaths are always a nice touch and, if you’re trying to shed some pounds, getting an axe that has a piercing spike, a nook for removing pegs, or a flat edge to use as a hammer can reduce the number of tools you’ll need to take (reducing the overall weight of your pack). If you’re after something a bit more fun, some camping axes even double up as tactical throwing knives.
Still struggling to decide which camping axe is right for you? Here are our top three to help you choose:
If you’re on the hunt for a camping axe but you don’t want to splash the cash, then we definitely recommend the Schrade SCAXE10.
For a fraction of the price, we’d expect you’re getting a super portable axe that’s great for backpacking yet with a large cutting edge. The handle provides great padding and grip and even has a handy lanyard hole, winning.
Our favorite all-round camping axe has to be the Fiskars X11 Splitting Axe. This axe offers exceptional cutting performance thanks to its ultra-sharp blade that not only features an anti-friction coating but also diverts debris away from the blade.
It’s also durable, has fantastic weight distribution, and the sheath doubles up as a hanging handle for at-home storage.
But what’s our favorite camping axe? The Fiskars almost won but, in the end, the Estwing Sportsman’s 14″ Axe took the gold medal.
The tapered blade is long and sharp to maximize cutting efficiency, and the large handle balances the axe perfectly.
On top of that, it’s super durable, and… have you seen it? It’s one of the best-looking camping axes out there!