Last Updated: June 28, 2020

Best Survival Axes & Hatchets in 2020

If you like spending time in the wild then you’ll know that you always need to be prepared and have the right gear in your arsenal of tools. An axe is an exceptionally useful tool to have with you when wandering around the outdoors. It can save your life in many ways, from helping you make a fire and building a shelter to hunting, and self-defense. 

You’ll notice as you read through the review that half of the items we looked at are labeled as axes and the other half are labeled as hatchets. Hatches are simply a shorter style of axe and this makes them great as a survival tool and easier to pack in your backpack.  You could even use a survival machete and axe in combination.

Our Top Picks

In this review, we look at the five best survival axes and the five best survival hatchets on the market to help you find the right one for your outdoor needs.

Top Product Overview

Estwing Special Edition Camper's Axe - 26' Wood Splitting Tool with All Steel Construction & Shock Reduction Grip - E45ASE,Black-Special Edition
  • Well made
  • Great steelhead
SEE ON AMAZON →
iunio Camping Axe, Hatchet with Sheath, Multi-Tool, Camp Ax, Survival Gear, Folding Portable Tools, for Hiking, Backpacking, Emergency, Hunting, Outdoor (Black)
  • Multi-tool - not just an axe
  • Adjustable handle length
SEE ON AMAZON →
  • Full tang
  • Durable
SEE ON AMAZON →
Off Grid Tools Survival Axe Ultimate Outdoor Multitool-Hatchet Hammer Saw, Black
  • Saw included
  • Lightweight
SEE ON AMAZON →
Schrade SCAXE2 11.8in Stainless Steel Small Axe with 3.8in Blade and Glass Fiber PA and TPR Rubber Handle for Outdoor Survival Camping and Everyday Tasks
  • Compact
  • Light
SEE ON AMAZON →
Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet 13.50 Inch, Axe, 415
  • Super sharp
  • Long handle
SEE ON AMAZON →
SOG Tactical Tomahawks  - Throwing Hatchet, Throwing Tomahawk, Survival Tactical Axe with Sheath and Emergency Breaching Tool with Spike (F01TN-CP),black
  • Sharp blade
  • Versatile
SEE ON AMAZON →
Fiskars 378501-1002 X7 Hatchet
Best On A Budget
  • Durable handle
  • Quality blade
SEE ON AMAZON →
Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet [31-002070]
  • Great sheath
  • Full tang
SEE ON AMAZON →
  • Swedish steel
  • Durable
SEE ON AMAZON →

Best Survival Axe


Estwing Camper's Axe

Estwing Special Edition Camper's Axe - 26' Wood Splitting Tool with All Steel Construction & Shock Reduction Grip - E45ASE,Black-Special Edition

The Estwing Camper’s Axe is a popular choice amongst fellow survivalists and outdoorsmen. It’s a versatile, easy to use, and well made survival axe.

The axe head is made from forged steel and arrives sharpened out the box. The forging process the steel goes through makes the blade durable and resistant to all environments. You can count on this blade to last with only minimal maintenance.

The handle is comfortable thanks to the hand sanded and lacquered leather grip. The axe has also been designed to reduce shock and reduce vibrations by up to 70%. This is a valued addition and makes a big difference when using the axe over a long period of time.

Another great thing about this axe is that its really light and weighs just 7oz. This makes it perfect for carrying around in the outdoors. It’s great for cutting firewood, splitting kindly and carving but because it’s so light, it’s not the best for any heavy duty work.

Pros

  • Well made
  • Great steelhead
  • Shock absorbing
  • Light & durable

Cons

  • Not good for heavy duty work

Product Information

  • Size: 26"
  • Weight: 7 oz
  • Grip: Genuine leather
  • Metal: Forged steel
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Iunio Camping Axe

iunio Camping Axe, Hatchet with Sheath, Multi-Tool, Camp Ax, Survival Gear, Folding Portable Tools, for Hiking, Backpacking, Emergency, Hunting, Outdoor (Black)

The Iunio Camping Axe is not just a survival axe but a multi-tool as well. Awesome for a survival situation, this axe gives you seven tools in one and the length is adjustable.

The axe head is made from high-quality carbon steel, one of the strongest forms of steel around. It’s perfect for splitting wood, kindling, carving, and more. The handle length is adjustable, making it great for tight situations or intricate work.

As well as being an axe, it also has a compass, whistle, flint, hammer, glass hammer, and a pull rope. You’re getting a lot of useful tools in one here and some great space-saving in your backpack as you can store extra items in the handle tube, like fishing gear.

Overall a very handy axe to have but it’s not for heavy use and the head can come loose if it’s used this way.

Designed from high-carbon steel and aluminum alloy, it is a durable axe that could withstand harsh conditions and tough terrain. However, some customers have found that the overall quality of the axe isn’t great, with the head coming loose after more intense chopping.

Pros

  • Multi-tool - not just an axe
  • Adjustable handle length
  • Extra storage space in the handle
  • Quality steel

Cons

  • Not good with heavy work
  • Head can come loose with heavy work

Product Information

  • Size: 16.93"
  • Weight: 2.5lb
  • Grip:
  • Metal: High-carbon steel & aluminum alloy
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Estwing Sportsman's Axe

The Estwing Sportsman’s Axe is one of the most durable survival axes available thanks to its single-piece construction. Made from one piece of carbon steel, the metal runs from the axe head down through the body to the tip of the handle. This is known as a full tang.

A full tang makes the axe unbreakable and you’ll never suffer issues such as a wobbly axe head or the metal coming away from the body or handle. This makes it the perfect candidate for heavy duty work as well as cutting firewood and splitting kindling.

This survival axe features a leather grip that absorbs a good amount of shock and is comfortable to use, even without gloves. The axe also comes with a heavy duty sheath to keep it secure while you’re not using it.

This is an excellent survival axe that if looked after will be with you for life. It’s a bit heavier than others but well worth it for the quality and robustness.

Pros

  • Full tang
  • Durable
  • Shock absorbing
  • Comfortable to use
  • Good for heavy work

Cons

  • A little heavy

Product Information

  • Size: 12"
  • Weight: 1.7lb
  • Grip: Genuine leather
  • Metal: Carbon steel
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Off Grid Tools Survival Axe

Off Grid Tools Survival Axe Ultimate Outdoor Multitool-Hatchet Hammer Saw, Black

The Off Grid Tools Survival Axe is another axe that’s also a multi-tool. It boasts up to 32 different functions, some of which are a little unnecessary but are handy to have nonetheless.

The first thing you’ll notice about this survival axe is how light and compact it is. It’s perfect for carrying around and the relatively small, lightweight design doesn’t compromise its functionality, it’s still a great axe.

The head is made of 420 stainless steel which is very solid and the handle/grip from shock-absorbing nylon. It’s comfortable, easy, and effective to use. One of the best additions to this axe is the inbuilt saw blade that closes into the handle. This is a very useful tool in the outdoors and the best thing is that it’s easily replaceable.

Outside of the saw, there’s also a can opener, glass hammer, bottle opener, hex sizes, and more. This is a little overkill but it doesn’t impair the function of the axe then why not have the tools available.

Pros

  • Saw included
  • Lightweight
  • Quality performance
  • 31 functions
  • Steal head

Cons

  • Too many extras

Product Information

  • Size: 11.5"
  • Weight: 1.7lb
  • Grip: Nylon
  • Metal: Stainless steel
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Schrade SC AXE 2

Schrade SCAXE2 11.8in Stainless Steel Small Axe with 3.8in Blade and Glass Fiber PA and TPR Rubber Handle for Outdoor Survival Camping and Everyday Tasks

Schrade has been in the blade business for a while and if you’re looking for a modern survival axe, that’s just an axe, the SC-AXE-2 might be what you’re looking for.

The steal head is coated with titanium and will stand up to all environments without corroding. The steel is strong and this axe head is great for splitting logs, trimming brush, and cutting kindling. It’s not the best for heavy duty work as the axe head can chip.

On the back of the blade is a hammer with a relatively large, textured head. It’s the perfect size for plugging your tent pegs into the ground and any other hammer work you might need in the outdoors. As well as a hammer, there is also a ferro rod stored in the shaft to help you light fires.

The axe is short and light for easy storage and portability. The grip is made of TPR rubber which ensures it won’t slip out of your hand mid-use. It also absorbs shock nicely to stop those painful vibrations run up your arm.

Pros

  • Compact
  • Light
  • Ferror-rod included
  • Hammer on the back
  • Easy to use/store

Cons

  • Head can chip

Product Information

  • Size: 15"
  • Weight: 1.44lb
  • Grip: TPR rubber
  • Metal: Titanium coated stainless steel
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Best Of The Best

Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet

Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet 13.50 Inch, Axe, 415

Now we begin our survival hatchet (short-axe) section of the review and we start with one of the most reliable brands in the market place. Gransfors Bruks has been around the block several times and the Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet is made with a quality of note.

If you’re looking for a hatchet that you can rely on in any situation, this is the one for you. There is quite a high price tag that comes with this survival hatchet but you’re getting a lot of bag for a lot of bucks, plus a 20-year warranty.

The head is made of stainless steel and arrives exceptionally sharp compared to most axes or hatchets, it’s even been said that you can shave with it. The sharp blade combined with a relatively long handle will give you an amazing chop, perfect for quick light work, or getting through heavy duty logs without damaging your axe/hatchet.

The handle is made from wood, a particularly good shock absorber, and the extra length also adds to your swing and momentum. Overall, it’s a little long and not very light, which is something to consider if you don’t want to add this to an already heavy load. It’s only heavy due to the quality though.

Pros

  • Super sharp
  • Long handle
  • Leather sheath
  • 20-year warranty
  • Heavy duty

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Not light

Product Information

  • Size: 13.5"
  • Weight: 1.3lb
  • Grip: Wood
  • Metal: Stainless steel
SEE ON AMAZON

Best Allrounder

SOG Outdoor Survival Hatchet

SOG Tactical Tomahawks  - Throwing Hatchet, Throwing Tomahawk, Survival Tactical Axe with Sheath and Emergency Breaching Tool with Spike (F01TN-CP),black

If you’re looking for a htachet that meets the ideal quality v’s affordabiloty balance then look no further than the SOG Outdoor Survival Hatchet. Also called a tomahawk, this is hatchet is execptionally versatile and strong for a great price.

The head is made from 420 stainless steel that is exceptionally strong and durable. The blade is sharp and even though it’s pretty light, it’ll get through. most chopping situations with ease.

The head also features a hammer and a spike, perfect for digging, piercing and slotting in tent pegs in hard ground. In addition to this, it also comes with an inbuilt fire starter that’s stored in the handle.

The handle is made from fiberglass nylon and added parachord to make it more grippy. The grip is sufficient but it can slip at the base, particularly with sweaty hands.

Overall it’s an exceptionally light, high quality and versatile axe that is perfect for carrying around in the outdoors.

Pros

  • Sharp blade
  • Versatile
  • Quality while being affordable
  • Lightweight
  • Slim
  • Hammer/spike function
  • Fire starter included

Cons

  • Grip can slip

Product Information

  • Size: 15.1"
  • Weight: 19.5 oz
  • Grip: Nylon & parachord
  • Metal: 420 stainless steel
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Best On A Budget

Fiskars X7 Hatchet

Fiskars 378501-1002 X7 Hatchet

The Fiskars X7 Hatchet gives you a lot of bang for your buck. It’s made from quality ingredients and comes in at under $30, which is pretty hard to beat.

The head is made from carbon steel, one of the toughest and most durable forms of steel. It has a great blade on it that doesn’t need re-honing after use, so it’ll just keep on chopping without any maintenance. The blade comes with a low-friction coating to help get through wood and stop the hatchet from getting stuck.

This survival hatchet is light and this isn’t thanks to the head but the FiberComp handle, making it ideal for carrying around in the wild. The FiberComp handle is not only light but also makes the hatchet almost impossible to break. It also comes with a lifetime warranty just in case you do manage to break it.

The light handle combined with the heavier head makes for excellent momentum and high power to weight ratio. Along with the rubberized grip, you can chop effectively for longer and in comfort with the Fiskars X7.

This survival hatchet is ideal for chopping kindling and small- to medium-sized logs but it’s not the best for heavy duty work. Overall, you won’t find a better hatchet for the price. 

Pros

  • Durable handle
  • Quality blade
  • Light
  • No-rehoning needed
  • Great handle
  • Good grip

Cons

  • Not for heavy duty work

Product Information

  • Size: 16.5"
  • Weight: 1.38 lb
  • Grip: Fibre-comp
  • Metal: Carbon steel
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Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet

Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet [31-002070]

The Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet is an awesome little survival axe. Gerber put a lot of thought into making sure it functions well while being portable and has done a great job.

The survival hatchet is made with a full tang, making it unbreakable. It’s made from quality high carbon steel and arrives sharp out of the box. The hatchet is quite short and great for intricate and light work but it’s not the best for chopping logs.

The handle is made of textured rubber that is excellent at absorbing shock and protecting you from the impact of every strike. The grip is also very grippy and won’t slip under any conditions, wet, dry, or bloody.

Gerber has also added some finger notches near the head to give you more control when doing finer work when you need more control over the head and blade. Overall this is a great little survival hatchet and a valued addition to anyone’s survival gear.

Pros

  • Great sheath
  • Full tang
  • Grippy
  • Durable
  • Light

Cons

  • Short

Product Information

  • Size: 9.46"
  • Weight: 20.8 oz
  • Grip: Rubber zero-slip
  • Metal: 3Cr13MoV high carbon steel
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Husqvarna 13" Wooden Hatchet

The Husqvarna 13″ Wooden Hatchet is the best axe when it comes to splitting wood and surpasses most other axes/survival hatchets in this field. If your primary use is splitting wood, this is one to pay attention to.

Husqvarna is a Swedish company and are known to produce excellent hatchets/axes but they do have some quality control issues, so check your hatchet/axe on arrival if you decide to buy one.

The head is made from Swedish steel, is exceptionally high-quality and the blade is sharp. The head is attached to the handle using a wooden and steel wedge to ensure it does not loosen.

The handle is made from hickory and while looking beautiful, is also an excellent shock absorber. The straight grain in the handle also ensures that it won’t split or break during heavy work.

Pros

  • Swedish steel
  • Durable
  • Leather sheath
  • Great quality

Cons

  • QC issues
  • Not for heavy work
  • Heavy

Product Information

  • Size: 15"
  • Weight: 2lb
  • Grip: Wood
  • Metal: Swedish steel
SEE ON AMAZON

What To Look For In A Survival Axe/ Survival Hatchet

The Axe Head & The Blade

The edge of the axe head, the blade, is linked to which materials it’s designed to cut. While in the outdoors, you’re most likely going to use your axe to chop through wood. A flatter edge is the best for cutting through wood as all of the blade will hit the wood with each strike. Whereas, with a curved edge, the parts of the blade that curve out will not make an impact with every strike.

However, flat edges are more likely to stuck in a flat surface.  It’s worth thinking about what you’ll be cutting most and buying an survival axe/survival hatchet with an edge that suits that material.

Thickness and Sharpness

Thickness and sharpness are also key features of the head. A thick head gives a harder chop and will split logs with ease. A thin sharp head is excellent for carving or intricate work and can be thought of as more versatile.

Again, it comes down to what you’ll use your axe for most. In a survival situation, it’ll probably be more useful to split wood and get some heavy work done rather than intricate carving.

Handle Length and a Sturdy Grip

The length of the handle is key to getting a good chop from your axe. The longer your handle, the more momentum and the stronger the strike. But, this is an axe you’ll be carrying around, so the idea is to find the right balance between length, weight, and portability.

The grip is also important, for both safety and efficiency. You don’t want it to slip and hurt you or slip to the point of making it hard to cut something. Make sure to choose an axe or hatchet with a grippy handle to make your life safer and easier.

The tail is designed with non-slip material, such as rubber or wood. It should be able to withstand humid conditions. Some axes are even specially designed to increase the grip and comfort, by using patterns in the tail to help with this.

Weight Distribution

For you to get the most out of every chop, the weight needs to be distributed correctly in your axe. The head should carry the majority of the weight, giving you the best momentum for every strike. This is the case in all axes/hatchets in this review but every axe or hatchet will feel different to each person that uses it.

It’s best to test your axe as soon as it arrives to check it suits you personally. Swing it with both hands and make a choice whether it is light/heavy/long/short/portable enough for what you need it for.

A Multi-Purpose Tool

Some of the axes/hatches in the review come with extra tools such as a hammer, spike, glass hammer, flint, saw, and more. Surviving is the name of the game and some of these extra tools will come in handy as well as save space in your backpack.

Our Favorite Survival Axes & Hatchets

Here are our top choices from the review.

The best allrounder is the SOG Outdoor Survival Hatchet. This axe/hatchet combines value with quality, portability, and versatility. Perfect for any adventure, it’ll fit neatly in your backpack and handle pretty much anything you can chop at it.

SOG Tactical Tomahawks - Throwing Hatchet, Throwing Tomahawk, Survival Tactical Axe with Sheath and Emergency Breaching Tool with Spike (F01TN-CP),black
  • SOG TACTICAL AXE WITH BITE: At 15.75 inches, these throwing hatchets and tomahawks are built to swing fast and true; these tomahawk throwing axes feature a razor-sharp 420 stainless steel hatchet blade
  • 24 OUNCE TACTICAL AXES: Light yet heavy-duty, tactical throwing hatchet is a superb survival axe and fire rescue tool; throwing tomahawk boasts a sleek black blade finish for added durability

The best on a budget is the Fiskars X7 Hatchet. This comes in at an incredible price and is pretty much unbreakable. The blade is sharp, the handle is comfortable and its light to carry. What more could you want?

Fiskars 378501-1002 X7 Hatchet
  • Ideal for chopping kindling and small- to medium-sized logs
  • Chops deeper with each swing to get more done faster

The best of the best is the Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet. If you want a survival axe/hatchet that’ll last as long as you, this is the one to go for. It’s ideal for any kind of work and the quality is hard to beat.

Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet 13.50 Inch, Axe, 415
  • Length with handle: 13.50 inch, Item-ID: 415
  • Weight: 1.3 lbs