Best Backpacking Axe

For those that go on frequent backpacking or hiking trips, the best backpacking axe or hatchet is a must. With the thousands of axes that are on the market, a review of the best backpacking axe or best backpacking hatchet reviews is a must. Finding the right axe or hatchet might seem difficult, but with the right information anyone can find the axe that fits their needs as well as their wishes.

best backpacking axe

WHAT DO YOU NEED IN AN AXE?

  • Size/Portability- the most important factor is how easy is the axe or hatchet to pack and to carry. You want something small that you can carry easily.
  • Durability- you also want an axe that is going to stand up to daily use. This might mean getting an axe that is single body construction versus one that is made of several pieces. You also want to consider the type of steel.
  • Strength and Power- you want something small, but not so small that you have to work twice as hard to get the job done. You want a tool that is going to help you make the most power possible with the least effort.

Gerber 9 Inch Hatchet

This is a great little backpacking tool. The Gerber hatchet offers a PTFE coated blade to help reduce friction and create clean cuts. It is also has a forged steel head construction for durability. This little axe is also compact and is great for those that want one of the best backpacking hatchet options that is not going to weigh them down.

best backpacking axe, GERBER 9 INCH HATCHET

The composite handle is shock absorbing and helps reduce hand strain. It is also slim and has a sheath to help prevent damage and injury. On top of that, is it also durable and light weight. The overall length is only 9 inches so it is very compact. The handle is soft touch for added comfort. The only drawback is that it might not be large enough to handle very large jobs. Overall, it is small and perfect for backpacking.

PROS

  • Lightweight.
  • Small.
  • Compact.
  • Durable.

CONS

  • May not be able to handle large jobs.

HUSQVARNA 13” CURVED WOODEN HANDLE HATCHET AXE, ALSO COMES WITH LEATHER SHEATH

For those that like tried and true name brands, Husqvarna is one of those. The blade head is hand forged in Sweden and the handle is hickory wood. The handle is curved for maximum comfort and for ease of use. The leather sheath helps to protect users from injury and protects the blade from damage. The overall dimensions of this is 6.5” X 1” X 15” so it is not the smallest on the market. The ergonomic handle adds power to your swing.

HUSQVARNA 13” HATCHET AXE, HUSQVARNA 13” AXE, best backpacking axe

The item is only 2 pounds so it is fairly light weight as far as tools go. It would be great for garden work or for hiking and would be a great all around tool. This is going to be a great item for those that want something simple that does not have a ton of extra frills. The simple design is great for those that want a straight forward tool.

PROS

  • Fairly compact.
  • Light weight.
  • Hand forged steel head.
  • Hickory handle.
  • Curved handle for comfort.
  • Trusted brand.

CONS

  • Two piece construction, head may come loose with use.
  • Wooden handle, can become splintered over time.
  • Not the most compact.

Estwing E24A 14 Inch Sportsman’s Axe With Leather Grip and Nylon Sheath

This is certainly one of the best options when it comes to the best backpacking axe. This model comes with a single body construction made of one forged steel piece. This is made in the USA and Estwing has been making axes since the 1930s. The nylon sheath is heavy duty for added durability. The axe comes with a leather grip for added leverage and stability in use.

best backpacking axe, ESTWING E24A 14 INCH SPORTSMAN’S AXE, ESTWING E24A 14 INCH

The cutting edge is hand sharpened for easy use and a ready to use item. It is 14 inches so it is a bit larger and can handle bigger jobs. Overall weight is under 2 pounds making it a great backpack axe. The overall measurements are 13 X 7 X 2 inches so it is compact enough to carry in a bag. The sheath protects both the cutting edge and the user.

PROS

  • American Made.
  • Single body construction.
  • Leather handle for comfort and grip.
  • Light weight.
  • Slightly larger for bigger jobs.
  • Hand sharpened edge.

CONS

  • Larger than some compact sizes.
  • Leather handle might crack.

GRANSFORS BRUK WILDLIFE HATCHET

This is a very light weight axe that is going to be perfect for each and every backpacker. This axe is well under 2 pounds weighing about 1.5 pounds. The axe comes with an oil finish to help protect the steel blade from rust and to help give extra shine. The overall measurements for this axe are 16.5 inches so it is the largest we have looked at so far.

GRANSFORS BRUK WILDLIFE HATCHET, GRANSFORS BRUK AXE, best backpacking axe

It is great for cutting brush and branches, splitting wood, and generally chopping. This is a great multi task axe that is going to serve your purposes no matter how you approach it. This item also comes with a 20 year guarantee so you can be sure it will last. It is a two piece construction and the head is secured with a wooden wedge for added stability.

PROS

  • Oil finish to protect from rust.
  • 13.5 inch handle for added leverage.
  • Light weight.
  • Great multi tasker.
  • 20 year guarantee.
  • Leather sheath for protection.

CONS

  • Large, may be bulky.
  • Two piece construction.
  • Straight handle may be less comfortable.

Fiskars X15 Chopping Axe, 23.5 Inch

This is one of the larger hiking axes that we have looked at. This type of axe is better for felling trees and doing more work than a typical small hatchet. It is designed to chop deeper with each swing to get work done faster. It comes with a shock absorbing FiberChomp handle to added comfort. The handle is designed to be stronger than steel and helps prevent overstrike damage.

FISKARS X15 CHOPPING AXE, FISKARS X15 AXE, FISKARS X15, best backpacking axe

It also comes with a lifetime warranty. This axe is also balanced to help increase swing speed and power. This is an axe that is designed to get the job done and to get it done quickly. This is also a heavier option weighing in at 3.45 pounds. It is also quite long at just over 2 feet in length. It also does not come with a sheath.

PROS

  • More power.
  • FiberChomp handle to add comfort and power.
  • Longer handle for better leverage.
  • Designed to increase power and speed.
  • Prevents overstrike damage.
  • Lifetime warranty.
  • Shock absorbing handle.

CONS

  • Quite large, may be hard to carry in a pack.
  • No sheath.
  • 2 piece construction.

GERBER BEAR GRYLLS SURVIVAL HATCHET

For those that like Gerber and like survival tools, this is a good option. This hatchet features a 3.5” cutting blade that is great for swift cutting. This is also designed for very precise cuts as well as easy portability. It is full tang, high carbon steel that is made for durability.

GERBER BEAR GRYLLS SURVIVAL HATCHET, GERBER SURVIVAL HATCHET, best backpacking axe

The ergonomic no slip handle is for use in both wet and dry environments. It also comes with a mildew resistant, nylon sheath with belt loops. This is a wild tested item that has been put through many different trials. The overall length of this hatchet is very reasonable with a total length of 9.46 inches. The blade is 3.5 inches.

PROS

  • Very compact.
  • Light weight.
  • Anti slip grip for wet and dry use.
  • Full tang, high carbon steel.
  • Mildew resistant sheath.
  • Tested.

CONS

  • Too small for very large jobs.

SCHRADE, SCAXE2 SURVIVAL HATCHET WITH BLACK HANDLE

This is a great little tool for those that want something well made and compact. This item comes with a titanium coated stainless steel head that comes with hammer pommel for added strength and power. The handle is black glass fiber filled material with an ergonomic design meant for comfort and power. The Ferro Rod with lanyard even stores inside the handle.

SCHRADE SCAXE2 SURVIVAL HATCHET, best backpacking axe

The overall measurements of the axe are 11.8 inches long. The blade length is a hefty 3.8 inches and the handle is 5.2 inches long. The overall weight of this axe is 1.37 pound so it is very compact and easy to use. This is a wonderful option for those that want something small but do not want to give up power.

PROS

  • Very light weight.
  • Small.
  • Large cutting blade.
  • Fiber glass handle molded to fit your hand.
  • Titanium coated steel head.

CONS

  • Too small for large jobs.
  • Two piece construction.

KERSHAW 1072X CAMP AXE, 12 INCH

This is a great moderate size axe even if it is not a traditional style. This hatchet is made in the style of a Malaysian parang and is full tang construction so. It also comes with a plastic blade guard for safety and to protect the cutting edge. It is made of 65MN steel with a black oxide finish for both durability and style. The handle is glass filled nylon so it is going to stand up to some use.

KERSHAW 1072X CAMP AXE 12 INCH, KERSHAW 1072X CAMP AXE, best backpacking axe

The blade length is 12 inches and the overall length is 18.9 inches. It is not the smallest but also not the largest we have looked at. The overall weight is only 13.1 ounces. If you are looking for something that is a bit different, this is it. This can be used to cut wood, brush, and can also be used for hacking trails.

PROS

  • Multi Use.
  • Unique design.
  • Full tang.
  • Medium length.
  • Great for hacking and cutting.
  • Light weight.

CONS

  • Design may be awkward.
  • Takes some practice.
  • Not the smallest.

S.A. WETTERLING AXE 10H SMALL AXE WITH HICKORY HANDLE

This overall is a very simple design and is best for those that want an axe and nothing else. It is small at a measurement of 9.8 inches long. It is compact and great for those that want a simple camp or hiking axe. It only weighs 1.6 pounds so it is great for backpackers. It is two piece construction so the head may become lose over time with extended use.

S.A. WETTERLING AXE 10H SMALL AXE, best backpacking axe

For those that do not like super complex tools, this is as straightforward as it gets. This does not come with a sheath but does come with a blade cover. It is small enough that you can easily put it in a pack and not worry about it. The axe head is easy to sharpen and to use.

PROS

  • Compact.
  • Durable.
  • Easy to use.

CONS

  • Too small for heavy use.
  • No sheath.

UNITED CUTLERY UC2836 M48, RANGER HAWK AXE THAT COMES WITH INCLUDED COMPASS

This is a great tool for those that want their camp axe to do more than just chop wood. It is made by United Cutlery which is a very trusted brand and is known for high quality items. This comes with an 8 inch, dual sided cutting edge. This is more than a simple axe head design.

UNITED CUTLERY UC2836 M48, best backpacking axe

The axe does come with an added compass which is always handy to have when you are camping. This axe comes with a precision cast 2Cr13, fully stainless steel head for added durability. The handle is nylon reinforced with 30% fiberglass for added durability.

The overall measurements are 15.5 X 3.5 X 2.4 inches so we have discussed smaller but this is also not the largest. The overall weight is only 2.3 pounds, which is relatively small for this type of tool. It is a multi use tool and does have an axe blade and a knife blade design as well.

PROS

  • Durable.
  • Multi use.
  • Large.
  • Reinforced steel.
  • Can handle nearly any job.

CONS

  • Not great for packing.
  • Large, may be difficult to carry.
  • No sheath.

FINAL VERDICT

There are a ton of great hatchets and axes out there alike but the key is finding one that works for you. We have discussed a wide range of options from very small axes to larger ones. Each of the options that we have looked at have their own virtues and their own drawbacks. Depending on what you need, there are both compact and larger options on our list.

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