Best Backpacking Axe | Buying Guide

If you’re camping, hiking, or backpacking out in nature, a backpacking axe is one tool that can come in handy.

You can use a backpacking hatchet to chop wood, clear an area, and it can even double up as a hammer to help you pitch your camping tent.

What’s more, a hiking axe can act as a self-defense weapon, helping you feel safer if you’re out on your own.

So, what type of backpacking axe should you get? If you’ve taken a look on the market, you will have seen there is a wide choice of backpacking hatchets out there.

Therefore, to help you find the best hatchet for backpacking and camping, we’re sharing our top five axes available online. 

backpacking axe

What To Look For When Buying A Backpacking Axe

When buying an axe for outdoor activities and backpacking adventures, there are several things you should consider. 

Weight

In most cases, you will want a light backpacking axe that doesn’t weigh you down.

A lightweight axe feels comfortable to carry, is easy to swing, and doesn’t slow you down when hiking. 

In contrast, the lighter the axe is, the more effort and strength you need to put into the swing.

Therefore, depending on your circumstances, opt for an axe that is not heavy but is still efficient. 

Handle Length

You may not realize, but the length of the handle will determine what the axe is best suited for.

For example, a hiking axe with a short handle is ideal for shaping wood as it is lighter and easier to carry. However, you may struggle to cut down a tree with it.

On the other hand, an axe with a long handle is much more suitable for chopping wood as it produces a greater swing speed.

The downside of a long handle, though, is that it will take up more space in your pack.

Therefore, consider what purpose you want your axe to serve, and then choose the handle length that is best for that.

Material

Most handles on hiking axes are either wooden or carbon fiber (hard plastic). Carbon fiber handles are generally more durable and absorb very shock well.

They are also very lightweight; however, the quality does vary. On the other hand, wooden handles are better at handling various temperatures and feel more comfortable.

Best backpacking axe

Extra Features

As previously mentioned, backpacking axes can serve more than one purpose. One of the most common extra features you’ll find is a hammerhead on the back of the blade.

Some will also have a pointed end that can be useful for puncturing food cans or a pick for digging. 

While extra features can be beneficial, you don’t want to compromise on size and weight.

Therefore, consider which additional tools and gadgets could help you and look for an axe with just these features. In this way, the axe will still be relatively compact and lightweight.

Safety

Lastly, ensure that you have a blade sheath for your axe. Axe blades can be extremely dangerous if not handled with care, so a sheath is essential to avoid potential accidents.

You may also want to consider carrying a small first aid kit. That way, should you accidentally cut yourself, you can cover the wound to prevent infection.

5 Best Axes For Backpacking & Camping 

Whether you need a camping axe that’s lightweight or has multiple ways to use it, here are 5 great options to fit your needs.

Best compact backpacking axe Gerber Gear Pack Hatchet Camping Axe SEE ON AMAZON
Best backpacking axe for lightness and strength SOG Camp Axe SEE ON AMAZON
Best Multi-tool backpacking axe CASAVIDA Survival Camping Axe SEE ON AMAZON
Most durable backpacking axe Estwing 14-inch Camper’s Hatchet SEE ON AMAZON
Best budget backpacking axe Edward Tools Harden Camping Axe SEE ON AMAZON

Backpacking hatchet

1. Gerber Gear Pack Hatchet Camping Axe

If you want a small but rugged axe to keep in the corner of your backpack, Gerber Gear’s hatchet is an ideal option.

It has a total length of 9.46 inches and a blade length of 2.5 inches. It weighs 1.3 lbs and comes with a nylon sheath that you can attach to your pack or belt.

Aside from rating high in portability, the construction is impressive too.

Its full tang design gives you the strength needed to swing it through weeds or branches, and the tall stainless steel blade grind maintains maximum sharpness for fast cutting. 

The handle has a rubber cover with engraved exaggerated finger grooves. This design gives the handle a brilliant grip and comfort and allows for precise cutting. 

2. SOG Camp Axe

The SOG camp axe is one of the lightest hiking axes you can find, weighing just 1 lb. It’s also super compact with a 3.1-inch blade and a total length of 11.5 inches.

What’s more, despite its lightness and portability, this axe is extremely tough!

The satin-polished 2Cr13 stainless steel blade is designed to withstand even the roughest use and hold up in all weather conditions without corrosion.

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In addition, the blade’s beard drops low, which gives a more prominent cutting edge so you can chop wood with less force and energy. 

The nylon handle is equally strong and gives a superb grip to deliver high-impact swings.

Moreover, this SOG axe features a hammerhead with a broad surface, giving sufficient force application.

It also comes with a glass-referenced nylon safety sheath to cover the blade and prevent any accidents.

Best hatchet for backpacking

3. CASAVIDA Survival Camping Axe

If you want a ​​backpacking hatchet that does more than cutting, you’ll surely love this CASAVIDA multi-purpose axe.

This 9-in-1 hiking axe includes a knife, hammer, flint, whistle, compass, sheath, safety hammer, and extension bars. 

With all these additional tools, you can use the axe to do chores such as splitting fire logs, building a shelter, starting fires, and navigating your way back to the campsite.

Therefore, it is your ultimate survival kit for all your outdoor adventures.

I also like the safety design of this axe. It features multiple features such as a sheath and skid-proof handles to protect the user as much as possible.

This makes it well-suited for people new to camping and backpacking, looking for a multi-tool to keep them safe. 

Despite the extra features, the axe is still reasonably lightweight at just over 2 lbs. However, I found this to be an ideal weight as it gave the best balance for throwing.

Furthermore, it measures 17” inches x 6.5 inches so that it will fit into the side pocket of most backpacks, including day packs. 

The blade is made from durable stainless steel and features an ultra-sharp cutting edge.

Meanwhile, the handle and extension bars are constructed with a thick aluminum alloy, giving a solid and sturdy feel.

4. Estwing 14-inch Camper’s Hatchet

This Estwing 14-inch camping axe is perhaps the most durable backpacking hatchet on the market.

It is precision forged in one piece using the most advanced tool-grade steel and tempered for supreme strength that lasts.

It also features a patented shock reduction grip that reduces impact vibration by 70%, increasing its lifespan.

The hatchet is hand sharpened and polished, and you can see the high quality with the exquisite attention to detail.

The axe head has a unique triangular divot design, which will help you pull up even the most challenging tent stakes. It comes with a heavy-duty sheaf to protect the blade’s sharp edge.

The axe weighs 2 pounds and measures ‎4.5 x 14.25 inches, so it’s not the most compact or lightweight option out there.

Still, if you have the space in your pack or car and you want the best backpacking axe for strength and reliability, this one’s for you.

Hiking axe

5. Edward Tools Harden Camping Axe

Hiking axes can be expensive, so if you want an affordable tool that does not compromise on quality, I recommend the Edward Tools Harden camping axe.

It features a heavy-duty carbon steel blade that has undergone a forging process to retain its sharpness. 

The handle is made from fiberglass and has a non-slip, anti-bending rubber cover.

It has an ergonomic design with a cushioned grip, so it feels comfortable to hold and safe to use. It also comes with a rubber shaft for additional safety. 

At 2.2 pounds, it is not the most lightweight axe. However, I find this gives a balanced weight ratio, giving you the right momentum to swing, and requires less effort and strength on your part.

It measures 15.47 x 5.91 inches, so it is ideal for chopping small to medium-sized logs.

Considering this axe costs less than $15, this is easily the best hatchet for backpacking on a budget!

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re looking for the most powerful or most compact backpacking axe, you’ll find your ideal outdoor tool in this list.

Each of these five best backpacking axes is strong, long-lasting, and won’t let you down when you’re out in the wilderness or woods.

Searching for a shovel too? Take a look at the best camping shovels available.

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