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Best Camping Axe and Hatchets in 2021
Best Survival Axe: Complete Reviews With Comparisons
Whether you want to become more self-sufficient in the great outdoors or prepare for the apocalypse, a survival axe will prove to be extremely useful.
Owning a decent one will let you harvest and prepare corrosion-resistant firewood, as well as build a shelter and defend yourself.
Still, the sheer number of choices on the market can turn this simple purchase into an overwhelming experience.
If you’re looking for the best survival hatchet today, stick with us as we review five popular designs.
Hopefully, you’d be able to find the one that will work the best for you.
Best Survival Axe Reviews
JXE JXO Camping and Survival Axe
JXE JXO manufactures a range of knives and tools.
This tough survival axe is ideal for those looking for a lightweight product with a quality blade.
This survival hatchet from JXE JXO has many features that make it a lot better than the others.
Let’s take a look at the ones that stood out the most.
- Quality High Carbon Blade
The 3.9-inch blade on this axe is made from 420HC (high carbon) steel that has been heat-treated to 56-59 HRC (Rockwell Hardness).
This 420HC steel is relatively soft steel, which means it can take a lot of abuse but won’t hold its edge very well.
On the other hand, it’s a lot easier to sharpen and, like stainless steel, is also corrosion-resistant.
Aside from the high-quality axe blade, you also have a choice of having a hammer or pick on the opposite side.
The pick makes the axe more affordable, but you should consider what kind of tasks you’re likely to use it for before purchasing.
- Well Made
This camping hatchet is well-built and more durable than the Ridge Runner offered in the same price range.
You can see that the tang goes deep into the handle and is bolted in for stability.
This makes us confident the axe will hold together well and withstand a lot of heavy work if needed.
The hatchet has an overall length of 14.9 inches, which is around the average of all of these survival axes.
The handle is made from nylon reinforced fiberglass, making it extremely firm.
It also has a comfortable grip, although it is not as non-slip as we would’ve liked.
This axe is one of the most lightweight tools on our list, mainly thanks to the reinforced fiberglass handle.
Despite the heavy, solid blade, the entire axe weighs just 21 ounces.
As such, it’s perfect for keeping your survival gear as light as possible and great for carrying long distances.
We love the blade quality of this camping axe and can’t believe you can find it with such a low price tag.
As mentioned, the handle feels strong and comfortable.
The problem is that it doesn’t have a great grip; it feels more prone to slipping out of the hand than the others.
JXE JXO Chopping Camping Axes
- Tough and durable
- Easy to carry
- Choice of hammer or pick
- The handle is more slippery than others
Ridge Runner 17 Survival Axe
Ridge Runner is known for its standard of excellence when it comes to manufacturing knives and tools.
This axe is priced more modestly than the previous two and may be better suited to less physically fit users.
Do you think this might be the survival axe you’re looking for?
Let’s jump straight into some of our favorite features that the Ridge Runner 17 offers:
- Multi-Tool Blade
This camping axe’s head is made from stainless steel, making it weather-resistant and ideal for outdoor use.
The axe head measures six and ¾ inches and features a seven-inch blade edge for chopping and cutting.
There’s also a textured hammerhead you can use for crushing and pounding.
The blade head has a variety of hex wrench slots, which could come in handy when you least expect it.
Don’t expect it to be as strong as many other blades, though.
The tang is only extended by around three inches, so it wouldn’t be suitable for heavy use.
- Comfortable Grip
The handle of this axe is made with a tough TPU, which feels like something between plastic and rubber.
This makes it lightweight and comfortable to grip without any worries of your hand slipping off the handle.
The base of the hatchet features a paracord you can extend into a lanyard for neck-carrying.
The paracord isn’t the best quality, though, so we wouldn’t rely on it for anything else.
- Good for Beginners
This axe is around 18 inches in length, which is longer than many other axes on this list.
The benefit of having a long handle like this is that it makes it easier to swing with more force.
Again, it’s probably not durable enough for everyday use or heavier jobs.
Nevertheless, it would potentially benefit people who lack physical strength.
The seven-inch blade is also wider than other blades, requiring slightly less accuracy in handling.
As such, it is a great survival hatchet for beginner users.
If you’re worried about the space it will take up in your bug-out bag, you could always hang it through a loop on the outside.
We like the wider blade on this axe, helping inexperienced axe users to hit their target.
You will find that it is not as durable as some other products on the market.
As such, it is not recommended for heavier or extended use.
- Easier to swing with more force
- Not hard to aim
- Can also be used for pounding
- Best for beginner axe users
- Won’t withstand heavy use
- Blade sheath is of poor quality
- Not very comfortable to hold
Schrade SCAXE2L Large Survival Axe
Schrade is a trusted and reliable manufacturer of high-quality bladed tools.
These include anything from pocket knives to shovels.
Despite its slightly larger size, the SCAXE2L is still surprisingly light.
It’s both tough and versatile, too, making it perfect for whatever kind of survival situation you find yourself in.
The Schrade SCAXE2L boasts a high-quality blade and incredible durability.
Here are more detailed descriptions of what you will get from this axe:
- Titanium-Coated Stainless-Steel Blade
Among the things that will impress you about this axe are its toughness and durability.
You can trust that it can easily handle the rigors of the great outdoors, regardless of the current weather condition.
The axe head is 4.2 inches and made of 3Cr13 stainless steel.
This is a tough metal (equivalent to 420 stainless steel) that is easy to sharpen and is weather- and corrosion-resistant.
As such, this hatchet won’t rust or get ruined in the rain or snow.
You can also quickly sharpen it when needed, thanks to the blade sharpener that comes with every purchase.
The blade is coated with titanium, reducing friction and making it even more wear-resistant.
This is another fantastic feature to have that will increase the lifespan of this axe.
You will also receive a polyester belt sheath that helps protect the blade when it’s not in use and allows you to carry it around on your person.
- Multi-Use Tool
The blade of the hatchet is extended towards the back to also make a hammer pommel.
This is known as an extended tang, and it helps protect the handle.
The pommel is incredibly useful in small hammering tasks and exceptional at crushing small branches into fluffy tinder.
The axe also features a large ferrocerium rod stored within the shaft.
- Comfortable and Strong
This survival axe is 15.7 inches long, yet it only weighs 31 ounces.
As expected from its larger size, it isn’t the lightest or smallest on this list.
Nevertheless, it’s still lightweight enough to be hung on the outside of a bug-out bag or hiking pack.
The axe’s handle is glass fiber-filled for strength, culminating in a comfortable, cold-resistant, and slip-resistant TPR rubber grip.
This makes the axe more comfortable to grip and safer to use, as it won’t go flying out your hands when you’re swinging.
There is a lot to love about this axe for survival, but the quality build and durability definitely steal the show.
Unfortunately, the Schrade SCAXE2L is one of the most expensive camping hatchets on this list.
Even so, we still think it offers great value for money due to the outstanding quality.
Schrade SCAX2L Large Survival Large video review
- The blade will last longer than many
- Will withstand a lot of use
- Can also be used for pounding and crushing
- Free sharpening stone
- Most expensive survival axe on this list
- Belt sheath could be better quality
Off-Grid Tools Ultimate Multi-Tool Survival Axe
Off-Grid Tools manufactures and distributes tough tools for tough jobs.
As such, it is loved by survival experts and outdoors enthusiasts everywhere.
This multi-tool survival axe is ideal for those looking for several tools in one, helping to maximize space.
The most obvious highlights of this axe for survival are embedded in its jack-of-all-trades nature, offering an impressive 31 features.
- Multi-Tool Survival Axe
This good survival axe is so much more than an axe, as it’s fully equipped for almost any situation you might come across. It features a hatchet blade, ideal for chopping and splitting wood, and a hammerhead and claw, great for pounding and removing tent stakes.
It also has an integrated, replaceable, six-inch bi-metal saw blade that folds out of the handle and locks into place. This will come in handy in times when sawing is more appropriate than chopping.
The base of the handle also boasts a seat belt cutter and a hardened steel glass breaker, making it an ideal emergency tool for your vehicle.
What’s more, the gas valve shut-off wrench may just save the day if you need to shut off the gas in your home or camper following an earthquake.
Also, there is a variety of hex sockets for when you don’t have your toolbox handy.
You’ll find a bottle opener, too, among many other things. It wouldn’t necessarily replace all of these tools in your toolbox, but in a survival situation, it has a lot to offer.
- Compact and Lightweight
Measuring just 11 inches long, this axe is compact enough to fit in your glove box easily. With a lightweight, glass-filled nylon handle, you’ll appreciate that it weighs just over 24 ounces.
This makes it a great choice for keeping in your bug-out bag or with your camping or hiking equipment for outdoor emergencies.
More than anything, we love the fact that you get the use of so many tools incorporated into one lightweight unit.
The hammer claw could be slightly more tapered, as it doesn’t always grab the nail head.
Plus, the saw is poorly positioned. You could potentially cut yourself on the hammer claw when using the saw.
Off-Grid Tools Ultimate Multi-Tool Survival Axe video review
- Offers loads of functionality
- Doesn’t take up much space
- Easy to carry
- Good value for money
- Hammer claw doesn’t always catch the nail you’re trying to pull
- Might cut yourself on the claw when using the saw
Schrade SCAXE10 Hatchet
This SCAXE10 Hatchet is very different from the previous Schrade product, offering users a more budget and compact survival hatchet option.
This hatchet from Schrade stands out mostly for its great price and size.
Here’s what you will get from it:
To see such a budget-friendly price on a tool like this from a reputable name brand like Schrade is definitely a surprise.
This incredible price is probably thanks to its pure simplicity. However, that does nothing to decrease the efficiency of this tool, as you’ll see below.
As the most affordable item on this list, it is the perfect survival option for those needing something dependable on budget.
- Compact and Lightweight
Rivaling the Off-Grid Multi-Tool in terms of compactness, this hatchet is just 11.1 inches long and has a blade length of 3.6 inches.
This makes it ideal for those looking for something as compact as possible to fit into a small bug-out bag or camping pack. If you’re worried about weight, this is also one of the best options, weighing just 21.9 ounces.
Schrade SCAXE10 hatchet is made of reliable, corrosion-resistant 3Cr13 stainless steel, which means it will stand up to the elements well.
It features a full tang blade that is tough, strong, and securely held in the hatchet’s body with a hammer pommel behind the blade.
Unfortunately, the handle doesn’t quite match up the blade’s durability. But it is comfortable and has a really good non-slip grip to it.
The handle lets this product down a bit, as it doesn’t seem to be as strong as the SCAXE2L’s handle.
You can’t go wrong with this hatchet’s price, and we also really like the smaller size for packing.
Compared to others, we’re not overly confident in the quality of the handle.
Schrade SCAXE10 Hatchet video review
- Most affordable product on this list
- Won’t take up a lot of space in your bag
- Easy to carry
- Not suited for long-term use
Survival Axe FAQs
1. What is the difference between axe and hatchet?
A hatchet is a shorter, one-handed version of an axe used for chopping and splitting small pieces of wood.
On the other hand, an axe is longer and is designed to be swung with two hands to maximize the power output with each swing.
2. What steel are axe heads made of?
The majority of axe heads are made from medium-carbon steel, rated between 1050 and 1060.
This is the best type of steel for honed-edged weapons and tools.
To reduce the chances of the steel splintering and breaking, it is heat tempered.
Having said that, an axe with 1045 medium-carbon steel could still make a good hatchet or axe head, as long as it is heat-treated properly.
Sometimes a high carbon content (1070 or above) is used in better-quality axes, but the blade will need sharpening more often.
You will also come across axe heads made from 420 stainless steel (or 3Cr13), which only has moderate edge retention but is incredibly corrosion-resistant.
This makes it a much more suitable choice for use in the outdoors.
As such, it is a better option for a survival axe or camping companion that might be left outside.
If you find an axe with 420HC stainless steel, this is high carbon 420 stainless steel.
This is still corrosion-resistant, but it also possesses increased hardness, strength, and edge retention than 420 stainless steel.
3. How heavy should an axe be?
The best weight of an axe will depend on what you want to use it for and the weight you can comfortably swing.
The heavier the axe is, the more force you can potentially create, but unless you’re an expert, you’ll lose accuracy in your swing.
When it comes to survival axes, you should also consider the overall weight they will add to your gear.
Experts recommend starting with either a three-pound, full-size axe or a smaller axe with a two-pound head.
However, if the survival axe is for a bug-out bag or will be carried over long distances, it would be wise to limit the weight to less than 32 ounces (or two pounds).
4. Should an axe be razor sharp?
Abraham Lincoln reportedly said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
So, yes, an axe should be razor-sharp, ideally sharp enough to shave with.
A dull axe blade will be less efficient and will tire you out more than necessary.
In a survival situation, you want to conserve energy as much as possible, so it’s a good idea to keep your axe blade as sharp as possible.
Most new axes require anywhere between an hour and half a day of hand sharpening to get them into shape.
5. Is a maul or axe better for splitting wood?
For smaller pieces of wood, a splitting axe will be more ideal.
However, for larger pieces of lumber, the heavier weight of a maul will give you more power.
A maul will drive through the wood more easily.
In comparison, smaller or more inexperienced users will find it more difficult to accurately swing this amount of weight.
Which Is the Best Axe for Survival?
After careful comparison, our overall winner as the best survival axe is one of the more affordable options from JXE JXO.
We could go for the Schrade SCAXE2L, but we worry that the higher price would put some people off.
The JXE JXO survival axe also really stands out when it comes to the blade and build quality.
Although it didn’t come with a ferro rod, you can pick one of those up for a couple of dollars.
We think that this axe will last you for years to come, providing unbeatable value for money.
Good Luck and Happy Survival Prepping!
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