It doesn’t matter whether you’re going backpacking for a couple of days or a more extended period. What matters is you have the right tools at your disposal to set up camp, cook some food, or even set up an emergency shelter if required. The sad truth is that some backpackers are ill-prepared for their travels. As a result, they can’t quickly or efficiently carry out various tasks. Undoubtedly, one of the essentials you should be carrying when you go backpacking is an axe.
You’re likely reading this page because you want to know which is the best axe for backpacking. We’ll get to that shortly, but first – let’s check out some background info that will help you make your decision!
Why is an axe useful for backpacking?
You might not realize it. But, an axe will always come in handy for several reasons whenever you go backpacking. For a start, an axe will help you chop up wood logs quickly so you can build a campfire or create an emergency shelter. And if you don’t have an easy way of lighting your campfire, you can strike the back of your axe to create a spark. It makes sense to have something like a piece of flint or a Ferro rod to strike against it.
An axe can also be useful for processing game or fish that you catch. Especially if you don’t have a knife at your disposal, or the one you do have isn’t up to the task. Lastly, an axe can prove useful for survival purposes if you need to defend yourself against wild animals. When choosing the best axe for backpacking, it makes sense to select one that is small and portable enough to carry with you on your travels. The last thing you want to do is lug around a heavy axe!
How to choose the best axe for backpacking?
When selecting the best axe for backpacking, you should look for a small product to carry inside or on your backpack. Despite their small size, such axes are incredibly tough, useful, and practical for your purposes. As you look at different axes for sale, be sure to check the handle. How has it been fixed to the axe head? If the handle’s made of wood, is the grain of the wood parallel with the handle? If it isn’t, there’s a higher risk of it splintering or cracking during operation.
Another consideration to make when looking for the best axe for backpacking is application. Some axes on offer are just basic ones, while others serve as “multi-tools” and can get used for various applications.
How to get the best use out of your axe?
Once you’ve purchased the best axe for backpacking, it’s a good idea to use it correctly and care for it. Doing so will ensure its longevity and means it will never let you down when you need it most. Keeping that in mind, here are some top tips to help you get the best use out of your axe:
- Ensure the blade is always sharp. Dull blades pose a higher risk of recoil and are more likely to slip;
- Don’t leave your axe exposed to the elements. The blade can become corroded and cause the metal to weaken, and the handle can become brittle due to weathering;
- Hold the axe below the head with your dominant hand. Doing so means you’ll have the best aim and offer the right amount of force;
- Make sure you’ve got a good grip on your axe. As you know, an axe can cause serious injury if not used correctly.
When you’re not using your axe, it makes sense to use a cover on the blade and store your trusty axe out of the elements.
Best Axe For Backpacking
Now, let’s take a look at what you came here for! The following options are some of the best axes on the market today, and represent excellent value for money:
Best overall: Zippo 3-in-1 Axesaw
You already know that it’s a good idea to pack some practical tools you’ll need when you go backpacking. The trouble is, the more tools you take, the more weight you have to carry as you travel! But, what if there was a way to have the right tools at your disposal? And without needing to lug a lot of weight around? One product that aims to solve that problem is the Zippo 3-in-1 Axesaw.
As the name suggests, it’s a multi-tool product that is three tools in one. It’s a versatile tool that works as a hatchet, mallet, and bow saw. You can use it to easily cut and chop up tree branches to four inches in diameter. Meanwhile, the 15-inch corrosion-proof saw blade makes it simple to create precision cuts. You could find it useful for creating fish baits, for instance, or for building up your supply of wood for your campfire each day.
The Zippo 3-in-1 Axesaw comes with one saw blade as standard. But, if you bought a spare blade, you can conveniently and safely store it inside the Axesaw’s handle. It takes just seconds to attach the saw blade to the Zippo 3-in-1 Axesaw. Did you know that the quality five-inch steel head hatchet isn’t just useful for chopping up wood alone? You can also shave wood to create tinder for starting fires! There’s no denying that the Zippo 3-in-1 Axesaw is a useful tool to have at your disposal.
Most lightweight: Browning Outdoorsman Compact Hatchet
Are you a guy or gal that likes to travel light when you go backpacking in the great outdoors? If so, you’re no doubt unwilling to lug around a bag full of heavy tools. Still, it would help if you had something great at chopping stuff up. What do you do in such a situation? One thing you can do is consider the Browning Outdoorsman Compact Hatchet. It’s one of the simplest to use yet lightest axes you could ever own and use! In case you didn’t know, Browning is one of the leading names in the outdoors products industry.
The brand is a market leader for many reasons, and one of them is undoubtedly due to its reputation for creating products that are built to last. When many people look for the best axe for backpacking, they typically choose the Browning Outdoorsman Compact Hatchet. Why is that? For a start, let’s take a look at the hatchet’s construction. It boasts a 5 Cr steel head and has a full-tang construction complete with polymer finger groove handle scales. Plus, for safety and storage purposes, it comes with a nylon belt sheath and snap enclosure.
The Browning Outdoorsman Compact Hatchet features a four-inch blade and is 9.5 inches in length overall, making it one of the most compact axes available. It weighs just 454 grams, making it a lightweight tool for your backpack. While it’s undoubtedly an excellent tool, the only downside is that you can’t use it for sawing anything. Nor can the back of the blade head be used to drive tent pegs down into the ground. The Zippo 3-in-1 Axesaw mentioned earlier is a better bet for those requirements.
Best for car camping: Zune Lotoo Tactical Shovel Axe
You’ve undoubtedly read the Zippo 3-in-1 Axesaw review, and the fact that it’s a multi-tool product piqued your interest. Imagine if there was another multi-tool product on the market that boasted even more features, yet was still in a compact format? The good news is such a product exists, and its name is the Zune Lotoo Tactical Shovel Axe! One of its main selling points is how it offers an impressive 23 different tools in one! You might be thinking that such a product is too good to be true. However, that’s not the case.
When you invest in a Zune Lotoo Tactical Shovel Axe, you’re buying a premium product that got forged and hand-crafted from stainless steel. There are over 60 different processes involved in the axe’s construction, and it takes three months to make. While this is a mass-produced product, it’s not a “fast-produced” one. The strength and innovation of the Zune Lotoo Tactical Shovel Axe is a testament to its excellent build quality and practicality.
You might be thinking to yourself, “all that sounds great, but how does it compare to other products for real-life uses?”
The answer is simple. The Zune Lotoo Tactical Shovel Axe offers a plethora of uses, and it’s a product you can carry in your car for use on any camping trip. It comes with different handles, a shovel, and you can use it as a knife, a fire starter, and, of course, as an axe. One downside to this product is you don’t get a carry case for it. Still, you can easily buy one cheaply if you don’t already have something to use as storage for it.
Two honorable mentions
There’s no denying that the above three products are undoubtedly the best axes to buy for backpacking. But, that doesn’t mean they aren’t the only decent examples to consider. With that in mind, here’s a couple of honorable mentions to consider before making a purchase:
SOG Tomahawk Throwing Axe
For those of you seeking the best axe for backpacking yet want a super lightweight product, one honorable mention that’s worthy of your consideration is the SOG Tomahawk Throwing Axe. It’s an axe built to swing fast and true for two reasons. First of all, it’s a 19-ounce tactical tomahawk; that means you don’t need arms of steel to lift this axe, let alone use it! And secondly, it boasts a razor-sharp 420-grade stainless steel hatchet blade.
The blade features a two-inch straight edge on one side. And the other has a spike for easily piercing things. You can also use the hammer axe edge for driving down tent pegs or any kind of hammering in general. You don’t have to worry about corrosion with the SOG Tomahawk Throwing Axe because of its stainless steel construction. And when you’re not using it, you can store it in the belt loop, suitable for 1.5-inch belts. SOG is a Seattle-based brand, and since 1986 are known for their strong and durable products. The company got named in honor of a Vietnam military assistance command group.
Off-Grid Tools Survival Axe
Our second honorable mention is the Off-Grid Tools Survival Axe. It’s another multi-tool product that’s also lightweight but boasts a plethora of practicality, and it’s one that you can depend on during your backpacking adventures. It makes no difference whether you’re backpacking in the backcountry or are going for a camping trip that doesn’t stray too far from civilization. The Off-Grid Tools Survival Axe is likely to be the best purchase you could make for such trips!
What makes the Off-Grid Tools Survival Axe the best axe for backpacking? One of its unique selling points is how it offers 31 different features in a compact, cost-effective, and durable form. The design is an all-steel full tang and axe head and a glass-reinforced nylon handle. Some of those features on offer include a hatchet blade, a replaceable six-inch reciprocal saw blade, and various hex sockets for tightening or undoing nuts and bolts. You can even use it as a gas valve wrench and to open bottles!
It weighs just 2.5 pounds, making it likely that it’s the lightest tool in your arsenal. The only downside is you’ll need a storage pouch or container for it.
You’ve read some comprehensive reviews on a few products that are likely contenders for the best axe for backpacking. As you’ve undoubtedly concluded by now, it’s crucial to select an axe that best meets your needs. Some people might prefer a basic axe or hatchet for chopping up wood. Others may wish to have a multi-tool axe that can be useful in a variety of other ways too. Each of the products listed on this page are high-quality items that have excellent reviews.
Before you invest in one of those axes, be sure to put some serious consideration into the likely ways you’re going to use your axe. That way, you can ensure that your purchase is the right one, and you’ll have a stress-free time whenever you go backpacking.
Well, that’s it for now folks. I hope you enjoyed this rundown of some of the best axes for backpacking. Do you have a favourite axe you take with you on the trail? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!
And don’t forget you can check out the rest of our blog for more tips, tricks, and gear reviews from the trail. Bye for now!
Featured Image Source: Flickr, used under Creative Commons License