Having the best survival axe during an outdoor adventure or any emergency can be very helpful. It helps you with different kinds of work, from chopping wood to hammering tent pegs to other important life saving work.
But choosing the right survival axe is becoming pretty overwhelming nowadays……Because there are too many options available in the market and it seems confusing.
So, in this post I’ll review some of the best survival axes and I’ll cover all the good and bad aspects in detail to help you decide which one to buy.
Best Survival Axe
1. Fiskars Camping and Survival Axe
The Fiskars XXS is a lightweight and well-balanced camping and survival axe. It is made in Finland that comes at a very affordable price. The head of the hatchet is made up of high carbon steel which is known for its durability and hardness. The steel is very easy to sharpen and holds its edge well, even with repeated use.
The camping and survival axe comes with a super sharp edge right out of the box. You can easily slice some paper into fine bites. Apart from this, the head is covered with a black fluorine coating. That is very smooth and does not create resistance when chopping.
It also helps to prevent rusting but it is not a very durable coating so don’t expect much in this regard. Moreover, the cutting edge of the hatchet has a proprietary blade-grinding technique. That provides a sharper edge for better contact and cleaner cuts.
The edge really bites deep into the wood and makes chopping a thick piece of wood very easy as well as fast. The back of the head is flat which can be used to ground some tendons or hammer tent pegs. The handle of the x15 is 23.5 inches long which is a good size for heavy use.
It is made up of fiberglass with a hollow construction and has a big bulge at the bottom with a lanyard hole. The handle is very comfortable with very good ergonomics that keep the hand in place without any hotspots. It provides a very nice grip over the handle.
Unfortunately the axe does not have a full tang construction. But this does not sacrifice its strength. We haven’t heard any stories of it breaking in the middle of heavy use. As far as the sheath is concerned it is made of polymer plastic.
It consists of a handle for easy carrying. The hatchet fits very snugly inside the sheath with a very minimum rattle. The lock keeps it in its place as well as avoids any accidents.
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2. Schrade 11.8in Stainless Steel Small Axe
The Schrade SCAXE2 is an extremely strong and effective survival axe. It is a very reliable tool that offers great value for outdoor and everyday tasks. The axe is made up of 3cr13 stainless steel which is a high-quality Chinese steel. The steel has excellent corrosion resistance properties. And holds its edge for a long time.
The cutting edge comes razor sharp from the factory. And you can even shave your arm or slice a paper with it right out of the box. Moreover, the head of the axe is coated with titanium. The coating not only looks good but also adds an extra layer to resist corrosion.
The coating is also quite durable and will last for a long time. Apart from this, the axe has a very impressive performance. Whether it is chopping, slicing or carving it performs very well. The back of the head is flat which can be used in place of a hammer. It also textured to prevent it from slipping while striking anything.
The handle is made of the black, glass fiber filled PA & TPR material. The handle is extremely comfortable to use with no noticeable hotspot. The finger grooves on the handle provides a nice grip and feel very good in the hand.
The axe is perfectly heavy and feels balanced no matter what you are doing. There is also a fire steel hidden at the bottom of the handle that can be used as a backup.
As for the sheath, it is made up of thermoplastic material which is a type of hard plastic. It is a pretty basic sheath with a belt loop at the back. It is quite flimsy and not fit for long term use. It will get the job done but eventually wears off pretty quickly.
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3. Estwing Camper’s Axe
Estwing sportsman is a sleek and good looking 14-inch axe. It is made in the USA and crafted in Rockfort. The survival axe is made up of 1055 carbon steel which is known for its durability and toughness. It is an excellent quality steel that is easy to sharpen and holds its edge for a long time even after heavy use.
Except for cutting edge, the entire axe is covered with a black coating to protect it from rusting. Out of the box, the axe does not come with super sharp but it was not dull either. It was sharp enough to chop through a piece of thick wood with a little bit of effort.
But once you have sharpened it up it works like a beast. It really bites deep into the wood and makes the process much faster without much effort. However the neck is a bit thin with engraved Estwing loge which makes choking it somewhat weird for carving.
Apart from this, the back of the hand is flat and was very useful for all the hammer tasks. Whether it is grounding tendons or breaking nuts, it can do all the things. The hatchet has a full tang construction with a nylon handle. The handle is very comfortable to hold and provide shock absorption. It also has some textures that provide a nice grip over the handle.
However, it is somewhat fat and people with small hands might find it difficult to hold it. Also the hatchet is fairly heavy due to its full tang construction. This does affect the balance but it very small to go unnoticed while using it.
Talking about the sheath it comes with a pretty basic nylon sheath. The quality of the sheath is fairly good and it will do the job until you buy a new one. It also consists of a belt loop for easy carry.
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4. Gransfors Bruks Small Forest Axe
The Gransfors Bruks is a small forest axe that is loved by many people in the outdoor community. It is a quality survival axe that is hand forged by a master craftsman to separate it from the competition. The head of the axe is made up of Swedish forged steel to ensure that it can withstand heavy use.
The steel is very durable and sharpens very easily. It also holds its edge for a long period of time. Moreover, the head is cover with an anti-rust coating that helps to protect it from moisture. The axe comes sharp from the factor and can slice through a piece of paper.
As far as performance is concerned, it works very well for its intended purpose. It cuts across the grains superbly and splits firewoods without much effort. However, it did get stuck in the wood sometimes due to its thinner profile. For carving it is not the first choice but it can be done with it.
Talking about the handle, it is made up of high-quality sustainable hickory. It is very curvy and very comfortable to hold. It is somewhat thick but does not have any noticeable hotspots. The good thing is that it is attached to the head using both a wooden as well as a steel wedge. To helps to secure it in its place and avoid any accident.
As for sheath, it comes with a vegetable-tanned leather sheath. It is a pretty basic sheath with nice construction. It has a snap retention to lock it in place and avoid any mishaps.
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5. Husqvarna 23″ Composite Multi-Purpose Axe
Husqvarna is a very versatile forest and survival axe. It is made in Sweden and a perfect fit for people who want an excellent wood splitting performance. The head of the survival axe is made of 1055 carbon steel which very tough and durable.
The steel is very easy to sharpen and holds its edge for a long time even after heavy use. The axe comes sharp from the factor that is sharp enough to slice through a thick piece of wood easily. The back of the head is flat and can be used for light hammering.
However, it may damage it so do it on your risk. Moreover, the entire head is coated with an anti-rust Teflon coating. Except for the cutting edge, to prevent it from moisture. The axe has a nice grind on it that makes cutting wood very easy as well as fast. Not only thing it can also be used for carving due to its overall weight. You can easily make spears, tent pegs or any other stuff according to your skill level.
Talking about the handle, it is made up of fiberglass composite. It is 23 inches long and has a hollow construction which makes it very lightweight. It is very comfortable to hold and adequately grippy for better control over the axe. The bottom of the handle has a big bulge with a lanyard hole that helps to lock hands in its place.
As far as sheath is concerned, it comes with a plastic sheath with a unique design. The axe snuggly fit inside the sheath with the minimum rattle. However, the sheath is nothing impressive and you will have to buy a new one for proper use.
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6. CRKT Birler Compact Axe
CRKT Birler is a weird but truly stunning survival axe that will remind you of Vikings. Its aggressive deep beard design provides you with not only a formidable survival tool. But a wonderful display piece as well. The head of the axe is made up of 1055 carbon steel that is perfect for cutting down tree limbs for firewood.
The steel is very tough and durable which is easy to sharpen and holds its edge for a long time. It also receives a passivation treatment for corrosion resistance. Moreover, the edge comes very sharp from the factory which can easily slice through a piece of paper.
The axe performed very well in the field. Whether it is chopping, carving or making feather sticks, it delivers a very good performance. Moreover, the back of the head is flat but has a very small surface area. It is good to hammer tent pegs but other than this it is of no use.
Also, using it as a hammer might damage it so avoid it as much as possible. The handle of the axe is made Tennesse hickory. It is curved and crafted precisely for durability and easy to use. The handle is comfortable to hold with no hotspot and provides a decent grip over axe.
However the finish on the handle is not impressive. It feels dry and handle stain came off all over the place. As for the sheath, it does not come with any sheath so you have to buy it yourself.
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7. Cold Steel All Purpose Axe, 27 Inch
Cold Steel All Purpose axe is a high-quality survival axe that comes at a budget-friendly price. It is designed to take on heavy chores on the trail. The head of the axe is made up of 1055 carbon steel that is known for its durability and toughness. The steel is very easy to sharpen and holds its edge for a long period of time even after heavy use.
The blade of the axe comes sharp out of the box. It is sharp enough to cut cleanly through a cardboard tube with ease. It also has a black anti-rust coating on the head to protect it from rusting. The coating does not cover the cutting edge of the head that provides no resistance while cutting.
The grind on the axe is like most other axes but the edge is a bit thicker. This leads to a comparatively poor chopping performance. But it is best for splitting wood because of its curvature. The back of the axe is flat and can be used for light hammer tasks.
Moreover, the handle of the trail boss is made up of a hickory handle. The handle is 23 inches long and has a straight profile. It is very comfortable to hold and provides a nice grip over the axe. However due to its straight profile we have to adjust the grip after a few strikes, sometimes which is very frustrating.
Talking about the sheath, it does not come with a sheath. Instead, it ships with a tiny rubber cover that covers the cutting edge of the blade.
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8. The Gerber gator axe || saw combo
The Gerber gator is a lightweight and made in Finland axe that is very suitable for camping and hiking trips. The head of the axe is made up of high carbon steel which is known for its durability and hardness. The steel is very easy to sharpen and holds its edge well, even with repeated use.
The axe does not come with a super sharp edge right out of the box. You have to work up a little to make it hair popping sharp. Moreover, the cutting edge of the hatchet has a good grind which is perfect for wood processing. The edge really bites deep into the wood which makes chopping a thick wood very efficient. However, it is hard to chop pieces of wood with it.
Furthermore, the back of the head is flat which can be used to ground some tendons or hammer tent pegs. The handle of the gator is 15 inches long which is a great size for a backpacking trip in the wild. It is made up of fiberglass with a hollow construction and has a big bulge at the bottom with a lanyard hole.
The handle is very comfortable with very good ergonomics that keep the hand in place without any hotspots. It also consists of a textured grip to provide better control on the axe.
Moreover, it also comes with a small saw hidden inside the handle. It was fine and adds to the overall value of the axe As far as the sheath is concerned, it is made of ballistic nylon.
It does not consist of a belt loop but the axe fits very snugly inside the sheath with no rattle. There is also a snap lock to keep it in its place and avoid accidents.
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Things to consider before buying A Survival Axe
Head is the main part of the axe that provides you with chopping power. Look for something that has a forged carbon steelhead. This will make it cheaper and also provide durability. Also avoid the axes that are made entirely of stainless steel. Because they are not as strong as carbon steel.
On average, the handle of an axe is about 22 inches long or more. Traditionally, the handle is made up of wood and often hickory. The stronger wooden handle will have a grain aligned in the same direction as the blade.
Avoid the handle that has the grain in horizontal to the blade. Because it will be weak and not able to withstand the force from chopping. Lately handles are also made of various other strong alternatives to the traditional wooden handles.
The weight of the axe affects the efficiency and ease of usability. It should not be too heavy or too light. It is best to find something in between that provides you with enough chopping power without sacrificing ease of use. Try to use it before buying to know if it will suit you or not.
The balance of the axe is very important to ensure that you can hit the target with each swing. The axe with the handles slightly curved is easy to weld with good balance and accuracy.