Choosing the best backpacking axe or hatchet can seem like a daunting task for those who have either previously purchased the wrong axe, or are just beginners in woodcutting, chopping, and outdoor camping.
So to make your search easier, we’ve compiled this list of the top 10 best backpacking axes and hatchets – so you can get a better understanding of what’s available, their uses, and which axe is going to make the most sense for you.
With no job being too big or small, we understand the differences and value of a one-handed versus two-handed axe or hatchet, the best choice for a multi-use axe, home defense, self-defense in the wilderness, or for felling trees.
Whether you’re looking for a hatchet or axe to take outdoor camping, trekking, backpacking, for everyday yard work, or DIY projects, we’re positive that you’ll find the perfect axe for you here, so read on!
Best Backpacking Axes and Hatchets
Estwing Sportsman’s Axe
The Estwing 14” Sportsman’s Axe is an all-American product that has been trusted for its quality, design, and reliability for over 90 years. This axe is touted by customers as a “must try” and is at the top of our list for good reason!
This axe is lightweight, which makes it ideal for backpacking or trekking, and is easy to use for both large or smaller hands, manageable for all strength types, and perfect for hammering down tent stakes!
The leather sheath included with this axe is also of very high quality, and although at a premium price, Estwing is a trusted brand that happy customers report are designed to last a lifetime. A good rugged hand tool, this is an ideal ax for cleaning out the tangle of flammable biomass and underbrush roots, larger vines, and splitting ash kindling.
Both former boy scouts and adult scouts highly recommend the Estwing 14” Axe, claiming it lasts a solid 15 uses before needing sharpening, and can cut up to 100 pieces of 1” kindling nonstop with without problems! It is also great for pounding, which means no more worries of broken handles or heads with this high-quality axe!
Coleman Camp Axe
The Coleman Camp Axe is an effective axe solution at an affordable price, and is regarded as a trusted brand. The Coleman company makes an array of high quality, durable, and flexible camping and outdoors products, which means its reputation and experience combined in the backpacking tools market iw unmatched!
With the Coleman Camp Axe, you’ll find the flat-end to be great for hammering in tent pegs for camping, and that the rubber handle has a nice feel – the manufacturer even designed a slightly bent handle-shaft to improve ergonomics. (Customers are also confident this backpacking axe will last a lifetime with proper care.)
Happy backpackers reported that after two years this affordable, practical axe still works like new, and one even reported owning the Coleman Axe for 30 years. Unlike other axes, the Coleman axe will survive being left outdoors or in the rain by accident at least a few times without any rusting or damage.
Overall, this is a highly recommended axe for the money spent, is a good size and weight, and a basic, affordable solution for your axe needs without breaking the bank.
Fiskars X7 Hatchet 14 Inch
Fiskars is notorious for its wide selection and various “X models” of hatchets. From the X6 to X11, and X15 there is sure to be the perfect axe for your camping and backpacking needs.
The Fiskars X7 14” hatchet is a heavy-duty solution and perfect for cutting logs, and even comes with a LIFETIME WARRANTY – can you beat that?
The hatchet is of premium quality, and for an affordable price at 14” is on the “ heavy-duty” side of things, which means beyond branches, ash wood, and tinder, you can also cut small to medium-sized wood, depending on thickness. Customers favor this hatchet for cutting strands on large logs, cutting off small branches, and nubs.
A razor-sharp solution, the Fiskars X7 Hatchet will hold an edge, comes with extraordinary customer service courtesy of the trusted FISKARS brand, is great for camping trips, and with a quality blade and flexibility, people call this their “go-to hatchet” for backpacking and outdoor adventures.
Made in Finland, you can’t go wrong with a FISKARS, and will have great success using it on 5” to 15” logs with little effort, making this perfect for wood carving projects. Durable, reliable, and efficient this is a great all-weather backpacking hatchet solution.
Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet
The Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet is trusted by customers as not only a wood cutting tool, but also home defense and outdoor survival and defense weapon.
If you’re seeking the perfect multipurpose axe or hatchet, then this one is ideal as its great for carving stakes, cutting firewood logs, and even building a house!
The Gransfors Bruk’s Hatchet comes pre-oiled right out of the box, is truly “shaving sharp”, and is easy to use for both men and women. It is truly a gorgeous, well-carved hatchet – and the head is excellent, effective, and not too heavy or ‘clumsy’ each time you use it for chopping small tinder or small logs of wood.
For those expecting both big and small DIY projects around your home, outside, or on the trails, this is a must buy and try! It is built with ideal care, fit, and finish all indicative of an overall premium, yet affordable product. Similar to a forest axe, this hatchet is well crafted, and light enough to take with you wherever you go. Customers rave its quality second to none and label it a brilliant balance between a firewood tool and a tool to craft wooden tools and utensils.
Resistant to abuse, the head is well connected to the handle, and some even found it fun and good to use for axe-throwing – if that’s your hobby! The included sheath is a nice touch, and the rivets won’t touch the blade thanks to its unique design.
Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet
The Gerber brand is a trusted and familiar brand for a variety of products (including knives), and this survival hatchet is by no means an exception to the excellent quality and durability customers have grown used to.
If you’re looking for a hatchet that will deliver swift, precise, and consistent cuts then this is your tool! This Gerber hatchet is made of high carbon steel construction, and while durable – is also very light. Happy campers, backpackers, and DIYers praise this hatchet for its well-balanced design and comfortable handle and grip.
For an affordable solution with premium quality from a trusted brand, the Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet true to its name is an excellent outdoors excursion, woodcutting, and backpacking hatchet.
This is also a great survival and backpacking hatchet, as customers have had success with using it for hunting, building an emergency shelter, or peeling off bark to get to dry wood to start a fire.
A great choice for backpacking, the Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet fits and feels great, is very compact, sharp, and perfect for shaving small kindling. It’s also effective for pounding tent stakes and is sharp enough to cut quarter-inch laundry line – making this an all-around excellent tool that is sure to come in handy on your next big adventure!
If you backpack frequently and need to chop away tree branch twigs to make fire, or other basic tasks, the Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet is a must-have.
Estwing Double Bit Axe
The Estwing Double Bit Axe is made by a world-renowned trusted brand, is reasonably priced, and using double-bit technology winds up being a well-balanced, effective, bit axe that’s very sturdy and useful for backpacking and camping.
This double bit axe is the real deal, and is good for chopping and preparing kindling, firewood, logs, and is also popular among hatchet and ax-throwers, due to its double-bit head and design. The Estwing Double Bit Axe cuts great, and is ideal for accuracy training.
A 4” diameter can be cut using this axe and it’s also great for cutting small maples. The Estwing craftsmanship is unmatched, and customers say there is no comparison to other competing axes. Thanks to its one-piece shaft and head design, you do not need to worry about the axe breaking during regular use.
Outside of also being a great tactical hammer, customers have stated Estwing hammers and thin steel shanks have been trusted by their families for decades and are known to simply be axes and tools that do NOT break under pressure. One customer even brought down a 45FT tall tree with theirs!
Fiskars X15 Chopping Axe
The Fiskars X15 23” Axe is an affordable, long axe, and desirable upgrade to the trusted X7 and X11 models.
Excellent for ‘felling’ trees, this Fiskar’s axe cuts very deep with minimal effort, and your endurance will last longer should you decide to bring this axe along with your on your next camping or backpacking trip, thanks to its modern technology “lightweight” design.
The Fiskar’s X15 Chopping Axe is also perfect for backyard work and woodcutting, as its designed with finesse and efficiency, both smaller and larger customers found the axe to be easy to use (and lift) to deliver effective blows.
You’ll find that this axe has plenty of “swing”, and according to customers will cut through logs “as wide as your waist!” The notch on the bottom of the handle is also very helpful and practical for comfortable, easy use even in harsh weather, making it a good choice as a larger solution to a camping or backpacking axe.
With an ability to cut through logs, timber cedar, and branches or roots with no problems this is an axe worth considering investing into. The blade is also ultra-sharp, and with a rust-resistant blade, you likely won’t find a more reliable, durable, and weather-resistant axe solution.
Husqvarna 13″ Wooden Hatchet
The Husqvarna brand is a great brand and good quality for the price paid. It is drop-forged by hand in Sweden for reinforced and durable engineering, and its unique curve makes it efficient for absorbing shock on each blow. The grain orientation also received very positive feedback, which means it is both comfortable to hold and efficient with each swing.
In comparison to competing market axes and hatchets, the hickory handle is very unique and special, and not something likely to be seen with other similar tools. The old school design wooden handle is also a good touch and adds to the dependability of this hatchet. It also is made with a replaceable handle which is beneficial and not commonly seen with carbon fiber handles and axes or hatchets.
If you are looking for an everyday tool for around the yard and other DIY projects then this is a great hatchet to go with, from a trusted brand, and worth the investment. It is considered “good cost performance” by customers and highly recommended. The alignment of the head is pinpoint accurate and set well, which means it’s ready to use right out of the packaging.
Made by Hults Bruks, the oldest axe manufacturer in the world, you cannot go wrong with the Husqvarna 13″ Wooden Hatchet – great for felling small trees and chopping small branches.
Schrade SCAXE2 11.8in Stainless Steel Small Axe
The Schrare SCAXE2 is the perfect solution for anyone needing a good small axe or hatchet, a survival hatchet, or the power and force necessary to be both reliable and durable with regular use pommeling nails, or wooden stakes, and breaking rocks.
With a Ferro rod in the handle, this is undoubtedly one of the most powerful and shock-absorbing axes on our list. Combining chopping and splitting power from the blade, this is an all-around trusted, effective and consistent stainless steel axe that customers also hail as being the perfect emergency tool to keep either in your car or at home, as well as when backpacking or trekking for breaking rocks, flint, knapping flint, chopping, or splitting wood.
If you’re looking for an easy to use axe that will chop most wood with one well-placed blow, then the Schrade SCAXE2 Axe is a measurable, reliable, and popular choice among backpacker, trekkers, and outdoor adventurers alike – just don’t throw it!
A must-have for bug-out-bags (BOBs), this axe rated as the best backpacking axe for survival and disaster and should not be underestimated!
Fiskars X25 Splitting Axe, 28-Inch
Last but by no means least, Fiskars is an EXTREMELY TRUSTED brand, and this 28-inch Splitting Axe is hands down the best choice and investment for chopping large to very large logs. Customers said this chopping axe deserves “6 STARS”, and is a primal choice combining both power and ergonomics – meaning anyone can use it!
Even given this splitting axe’s great size, it is much lighter and easier to use than other, comparable large, long axes that have similar output in power, striking force, and accuracy. The Fiskar’s Axe comes highly recommended for all larger, or harder jobs – and customers reported success in splitting wood with just 2 strikes!
Making this a must-have for not only homeowners but also backpackers and other outdoor excursions involving a survival situation and necessity to build a fire or chop down trees to create an emergency shelter in the event of disaster or unexpected storms.
While not necessarily the lightest axe (just under 4lbs), it is worth noting that nearly all of the weight is in the hardened steel blade head, making it primal for deep cuts, and it will not (unlike lighter or smaller axes) get stuck inside knotted wood stumps.
Given that this axe’s handle is lightweight carbon fiber, carrying it is just a means of necessity and weighing the benefits of taking this serious axe with you on your next outdoor backpacking adventure. Finally, it includes a LIFETIME WARRANTY, so it’s a hard investment to say no to.
Best Axe and Hatchet Buying Guide
Deciding on the best hatchet and axe can seem difficult or overwhelming if you don’t know exactly what to look for or if it is your first time purchasing one. Depending on the use, may it be for everyday work around the yard and your home, or backpacking and adventuring, there are different styles, sizes, models, and materials you should look for to maximize your results and success in choosing the best axe or hatchet.
Here are some important things to consider and decide before purchase:
- What type of wood grain (handle) you would like or find most useful
- Desired weight and maximum weight you can comfortably carry and swing for chopping
- Purpose of the axe or hatchet – i.e., chopping wood, felling trees, self-defense, home-defense, camping, backyard camping, or around the house DIY projects
- Angle, style, and design or build of the handle for striking, blows, and pummeling
- Extra features such as a finger-guard, rounded or curved handle, grain type, and grip style
- The advantages/disadvantages to a wooden or carbon fiber (hard plastic) handle and what will work best or make sense for you
- Type of axe or hatchet blade, rivets, and other extra features for chopping, cleaning vines, underbrush, or general hacking
- Mildew resistant, water-resistant ratings, durability, and efficiency when in wet conditions or colder climates
Ideally, try to find and choose an axe or hatchet that provides a solid, 5-10 year or longer warranty if you’re going to invest a significant amount of money, so you can get the best return on our investment. Also, go with trusted brands that have a reputation to uphold, and avoid newer, cheaper, or unknown products with little feedback or reviews.
Another important feature to pay attention to when choosing the best axe or hatchet is whether or not it can be connected to your belt loop, backpack, or off-road vehicle for convenience and accessibility – like the Schrade SCAXE2 11.8in Stainless Steel Small Axe.
Ultimately, like learning a trade, learning how to use a tool it will take time, and so you should study and improve your knowledge and understanding of how an axe or hatchet works, and whether it will be appropriate for your needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the best backpacking axe?
Are carbon-fiber handle axes good?
Both carbon-fiber axes and hatchets are terrific innovations in handle technology to maximize power and weight to the hand of your striking force while decreasing total weight and making it easier to swing, as well as maintain stamina with each swing.
Can I cut a tree down with an axe or a hatchet?
Whether or not you can use an axe or hatchet for ‘felling’ trees is a great question! Either one might do the trick, but, the more important question is how much time do you want to spend doing it, and what type of tree is it? Depending on the size, weight, type of tree, and your abilities or strength different axes (or hatchets) might work better than others! A backpacking saw is also a great option for this.
What is the difference between a hatchet and an axe?
Hatchets are a wonderful one-hand tool for chopping up bush, brush, cutting twigs, kindle, and other small to medium jobs you may find yourself doing out on a campsite or in the wilderness. The advantage of a hatchet is that it is lighter and shorter, more mobile, or ‘compact.’
Whereas, an axe is typically much longer, heavier, more durable, and can be difficult to carry around or pack with you when camping if you have gone for one of the larger ones. Although, there are trusted, modern, well-made and durable axe solutions as small as 14” which still can be equally effective, such as the Estwing Sportsman's Axe - 14 Camping Hatchet with Forged Steel Construction & Genuine Leather Grip - E24A. You may also find with hatchets or axes like the Coleman Camp Axe is that manufacturers have taken more steps to provide “portable”, lightweight, powerful, and equally effective axes without the typical minimum 15-18” height that’s been seen in the past.