Survival knives are a good tool to have in your arsenal, but sometimes some jobs are better suited for something a little bigger and stronger such as abushcraftaxe. Unlike survival knives, the axe has three major sections: The edge or blade, the head, and the handle.
Typically, the sharp edge of an axe is made of steel, and one side is beveled with a slight arch called a ramp or cheek. The other end of the blade is known as a butt or poll. There are different types of axes of different materials often made from high-carbon steel or stainless steel with different blade lengths and are suited for different requirements, though most are great survival gear and will help you in almost any survival situation.
Maintaining and sharpening the blade or a bushcraft knife or axe is hard work but must be done when the blade begins to dull. Investing in a good sheath is also recommended to keep the axe in good condition and provides safety from the sharpened edges.
When choosing the right survival and bushcraft axe, consider the primary use of the axe and what the proper size should be. Find one that is affordable and in your budget within that category.
Bushcraft axes provide a combination of power and flexibility. They are versatile, portable, and compact. They are typically made of steel, and you will want to find one that has a handle that matches up with the strength you will need it for. Most of these axes are equipped with hickory handles, but other materials can be used as well.
The blade should always be high-quality so that you can get the proper cutting ability. The blade’s thickness, and blade length, as well as the sharpness, should be considered.
Single blade axes are the most common and versatile. These axes are usually used to split wood and hammer.
Double-bladed axes have two sharp edges and are easier to balance than a single blade axe. Each blade is used for its own task like splitting or cutting wood.
A good quality axe will have a head made of low carbon steel and high-carbon steel to provide greater flexibility. The head is comprised of the bit, poll, cheek, toe, heel, and eye.
The handle of an axe is also known as a shaft and can be made of several different types of materials including hickory, metal, and fiberglass. The handle is designed to lessen the force when it is used to chop.
When choosing the right survival and bushcraft axe consider the weight distribution, the sharpened edge, the blade geometry, its design, and what features will provide the best overall performance. If you are going to be walking further distances, then a lightweight axe should be considered. The axe should also be well-balanced, and the head should be aligned with the handle to get the best cutting action.
1. Estwing E24A 14-inch Sportsman’s Axe
The Estwing Sportsman’s Axe is made of high-quality American steel and features a hand sharpened cutting edge, leather grip, and includes a heavy-duty nylon sheath. This axe offers balance and a 3 1/4 inch tempered cutting edge to make tasks easier. It is available in 12” or 14” sizes.
|Product Dimensions||13” x 7” x 2”|
|Item Weight||14.9 oz|
|Ideal Uses||Camping, backpacking, hunting|
- One-piece design so you don’t have to worry about a loose head
- Balance and weight are ideal for any person or occasion
- Comfortable to hold in the hand and use for any job
- High-quality steel construction and can be easily sharpened
- Sheath is made of leather and is beautifully crafted
- When the handle gets wet, it becomes slippery
- It isn’t the most lightweight option when it comes to portability
2. Gerber Gator Combo Axe
The Gerber Gator Combo Axe is made from steel and features a forged steel head for blade durability and striking force. It has a glass filled nylon handle that hides a fixed blade and the Gator Grip material provides an improved grip. It ensures comfort and durability while remaining versatile and easy to control.
|Product Dimensions||13.2” x 8.8” x 2”|
|Item Weight||1.6 lb|
|Ideal Uses||Chopping kindling, chopping thick vegetation|
- Extremely compact design that comes with a knife that can be held in the handle
- Made of forged steel that is virtually unbreakable
- Rubber handle with a rubber coating to provide a better grip
- Low in weight and cannot withstand rough handling
- Cannot chop thick wood or it could break
3. Browning 231 Outdoorsman Axe
The Browning Outdoorsman Axe has a concave grind head with a convex edge that provides extreme cutting ability. It also features a 2 ¼ inch head tapered tail and includes a nylon leather sheath. It has a forged one piece head and a liquid steel injection molded handle that is both rugged and durable.
|Item Weight||2.8 lb|
|Ideal Uses||Chopping, splitting, cutting limbs|
- Increased ease of use with its unique design
- High-quality carbon steel head and polypropylene and fiberglass handle
- Lightweight axe that is ideal for campers
- Handle and head arestrong and durable metal
- Head has an extension into the handle to provide added safety and security
- It is not recommended for lighter tasks and cannot handle too much pressure
- Smaller head size
4. Wetterlings Large Hunting Axe
The Wetterlings Large Hunting Axe has a hickory handle and includes a leather sheath. The axe head is hand forged with quality steel alloyed from iron, carbon, silicon, manganese, and vanadium. It is a high-functioning ax that is made in Sweden. It has good chopping ability and the reach advantage makes this axe easier for limbing and chopping.
|Product Dimensions||19.7” x 6.7” x 1.5”|
|Item Weight||2.5 lb|
|Ideal Uses||Chopping, splitting|
- The handle provides comfort while holding
- Provides excellent balance along the handle
- Great chopping ability
- Made of high-quality materials
- Handle is on the thicker side
- Priced at a higher value
- Needs to be regularly sharpened
5. Husqvarna Curved Wooden Handle Multipurpose Axe
The Husqvarna Axe is hand forged in Sweden and features a hickory handle that is curved to provide an ergonomic fit during use. It includes a leather sheath to help protect the edge while it is being stored. The head is attached to the handle with a wooden and steel wedge to secure fastening.
|Product Dimensions||7.52” x 9.84” x 26.5”|
|Item Weight||2.7 lb|
|Ideal Uses||Small scale branch trimming and bush clearing, limbing logs, and tree felling|
- Provides ultimate performance and durability
- Curved handle for improved support
- Designed to be a multipurpose axe
- Long handle length
- Lightweight and easy to carry around
- Must sharpen after purchase
- Does not feature a wedge shape, so it is harder to split larger logs
- Minor defects and imperfections due to the axe being hand forged
Overall, finding the right survival axe comes down to personal preference and the tasks it will be used for. The lighter weight axes are good at conquering smaller jobs, while the heavier axeswithlonger handles provide more support and can withstand more pressure to tackle bigger jobs and chop larger logs.
All of the axes reviewed are within a good price point and are all made of high-quality materials. The best all-around, multipurpose axe would have to be the Husqvarna. However, my ultimate recommendation would have to be the Estwing E24A Sportsman’s Axe. The forged one-piece design with American steel, beautiful leather grip, hand sharpened cutting edge, and heavy duty nylon sheath make it a great tool to have for any camping trip or survival situation and comes at an extremely affordable price.
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