A survival ax (do not confuse with a hatchet or a tomahawk!) is a tool useful during any wilderness adventure, hiking, or hunting and should be on your gear checklist. We will tell you what steel is better, what weight they can have, why you may want to have a leather sheath, and whether buying a multi-tool ax is worth the price. Read more and get a survival ax to always have your firewood and have something stronger than a knife or a hammer.Top 6 Survival Axe Options For Your Perfect Preparedness
Have you ever counted how much time it takes you to cut down a tree? And how many hours you spend sharpening the ax before it? We are pretty sure the second is wasting much more of your precious time, right?
So here comes the problem of seeking and buying a solid, reliable ax — to save your time, keep you all prepared, and yes, to impress others with your strength and look brutally attractive, too.
Survival axes are as impressive as they are ancient and primitive.
They are a sparkling example of how a single tool can meet great survival demands and perform dozens of survival functions.
An impressive example of how a sharp-bladed tool makes the difference between power and weakness, life and death is Gary Paulson’s novel “Hatchet” — we advise you to read it anyway.
What are the things a survival ax lets you do, to name just a few?
At least it helps in:
- designing and adjusting new tools and weapons
- starting a fire
- making a survival shelter
- felling trees
- game processing
How about sharpening with a survival ax? Nonsense? Hold my beer!
Few things look more manly and savage than shaving with a straight razor, except shaving with an ax, claims the author of this video and decides on such an experiment.
As for the variety of axes available now, we are sure there is only one problem for preppers today — the problem of choosing the right one. It is no longer now that an ax is just a similar-looking, one-shape, one-size model, so, since the choice is not that straightforward, our goal today is to present you with the best candidates.
Many of the ax manufacturers provide light axes, many design multi-purpose complex tools while the rest are still making indigenous-looking simple axes. Today, we have to deal with such notions as ax sort, style, form, shape, weight, etc. Take your time to learn enough about axes instead of acquiring a poor quality survival ax, which requires not only a responsibility of misuse but may turn into a needless burden, as well.
So, we kindly advise you to consider selecting an ax as a consequent and well-planned strategy, the hardest part of which (namely the research) we have already settled.
In the article, we included the list of the top survival ax offers on today’s market with their brief descriptions, video instructions, and useful tips on applying, storing, and taking care of your axes.
Take advantage of referring to this concise guide to seek, acquire, and use the finest survival ax.
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What is a Survival Axe?
Let’s start here with a bit of history. To most people, battle axes are firstly associated with the Vikings and other related Scandinavian mythology. In fact, the ax the Viking soldiers, sea-raiders, and warriors used was a bearded ax, or Skeggøx (derived from Old Norse Skegg meaning “beard,” and øx as “ax”), and it was already widely applied in the VI century AD and served both as a wood-cutting tool and a dreadful weapon. Those extremely sturdy and bulky were mostly thrown or swung and could split heads easily. A well-known Scandinavian example of a hand-to-hand combat ax is the so-called Mammen Axe. Today, among the existing Scandinavian ax manufacturers with a long and notable history, there are Gransfors Bruks and Wetterlings.
The battle-axes are known to be the widespread weapons in Europe during the Middle Age, too. Their difference from the Scandinavian ones was a much thicker blade shape and the overall design with an opening on the end of the blade specifically for a wooden handle to be fixed to it.
But do you know that copper-bladed axes actually appeared much earlier and were already in use in ancient Egypt over 4000 years B.C. and underwent a long and exciting evolvement process: they were replaced by the bronze-bladed axes and then iron ones; blades were fixed to hafts by many ways —for instance, they were lashed into a wooden sleeve, bound into a split of lumber, embed in a bone hollow, and so on.
Other popular axes known to most Americans are Tomahawks, those universal tools introduced by Native Americans and then adopted by the colonialists during the lasting trade. Having first appeared in North America and invented by the Iroquoian and Algonquian Indians, they were widely applied as tools or melee fight weapons and served as sacral objects during various ceremonies, rituals, and celebrations. The Cherokees used to make tactical tomahawk out of short chunks of wood like an ash tree or hickory and shaped them thoroughly; hence, they reminded a club, eventually indispensable in close combat.
“An axe cuts through a forest, not because of its size, but its endurance” –
We inserted a quote by Motshona Dhliwayo, Zimbabwean and Canadian writer and philosopher, for a particular reason.
To cut through a forest efficiently and make the most of its force and endurance, you need to have a clear notion of what an ax should look like. Still, many of us confuse tomahawks and hatchets. Let’s deal with this misperception now.
Basically, standard hatchets and tomahawks are less than 12 inches long. Axes are traditionally longer than 22 inches and generally have a huger size comparing to hatchets.
Consequently, they have a heavier weight and are harder to carry and transfer. Personally, I have hardly seen a tracker or a camper carrying a traditional ax with him – it would be unwise since it takes too much backpack space, effort, and strength to walk hundreds of miles with it.
Therefore, a standard survival ax is a doubtful addition to your trekker or camper checklist. For your bag out bag, consider a lightweight survival hatchet instead.
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Still, we do not imply you should take a survival ax out of your shopping cart or survival vehicle straight away, as it is a reliable and decent multipurpose tool to store in your shed, garage, cabin, or at your distant bug-out destination.
Regardless of your decision to keep it, check that this place is hardly a bag to carry in a long trek. Horrible comrades on a long trip, such traditional-sized axes are rightly considered stationary instruments.
And here comes another question: what makes us call an ax a “survival” one? Not its size or shape, in particular. The matter is that the survival ax is the one you acquire for survival goals. As many axes have no additional features, and versatile survival axes are harder to find. The standard-sized ones are almost useless for your bag-out bag, acquire yourself a time-tested, resilient, and solid ax and call it a “survival” one, and that’s practically it.
So, let us no longer put off our list of six best survival axes and present each participant in detail.
List of 6 Best Survival Axe Options
1 – Gransfors Bruks Small Forest Axe
The model that opens up our list is worth spending several dollars on. Why is this ax option for you?
This ax’s manufacturers are Gransfors Bruks, the renowned Swedish enterprise with more than a century-long history. You may as well believe those hatchets and axes are the descendants of the mighty Vikings, and so they do deserve being a little pricey.
First of all, this model is more than a simple hatchet. It is proudly called Gransfors Bruks wildlife hatchet as it is indeed well-balanced, feels nice and convenient in your hands, and is designed with the help of advanced technologies offering additional endurance and resilience.
We are sure such axes will last you a hundred years with their hilts made of hickory and thick leather blade cases.
Check out the current price for today.
Watch the video disclosing why this ax has all chances to be called The Best Hatchet Axe for chopping lumber. The presenter explains why Gransfors Bruks are excellent manufacturers, and this particular model is a worthy choice among other Scandinavian wood axes.
2 – Fiskars X15 Chopping Axe
This option is more for budget-minded, though it boasts a solid reputation of both a lightweight and resilient chopping or camping ax accessible on the market.
FISKARS X15 23.5″ Chopping Axe has a hilt made of composite shock-absorbing FiberComp material allowing more lightweight along with flexibility and easiness for daily use. Its handle length is 23 and a half inches, thus allowing further swing.
At such a reasonable price rate, it is more than just a tempting possibility!
Besides, this wildlife hatchet is supplied by a lifetime guarantee. So in the unlikely case, your ax breaks itself instead of breaking a thick wall, you may give it back and get a new one in a hassle-free mode. Fiskars promises — Fiskars follows through.
Find out the model on Amazon and check today’s price tag.
3 – Estwing E45A Camper’s Axe
This lightweight hatchet owes a steelhead and a four inches long blade, allowing it increased cutting-through capability.
This survival hatchet is designed with a rubber grip at the bottom side of its hilt so that now swinging, hitting, and holding it is made simpler.
A nice little bonus is an imprinted case made of leather, which is included in the price.
Watch the Estwing 26 inch Camp Axe in action.
4– Husqvarna A1400 23″ Composite All-Purpose Axe
This is an all-purpose ax aimed at all sorts of woodwork, including construction and various forest works. The forged steel blade and head geometry are tailored to miscellaneous applications piercing the lumber with ease and resulting in excellent splitting action.
In plus, its hilt is made of composite fiberglass, and the shape of its ax head works great as a hammer ax.
If you are still full of doubts, watch the video comparison of Fiskars x27 Husqvarna S2800 and Stihl pro splitting ax and make your own choice.
5 – Fiskars Iso Core 8 lb Maul, 36 Inch Axe
This Maul Axe model’s design and construction are made perfect to both crack lumber (splitting face) and nail stakes or wedges (driving face).
IsoCore Shock Control System lessens the overall strike shock, quivering, and vibration (2x less shock and vibration as estimated, compared to other wood-handled models), reducing the resulting effort of the body. This is made possible thanks to its isolation sleeve capable of catching and deterring the initial strike shock right before your hand can feel it. Hence, you eventually tire yourself less, and your wildlife hatchet wears out in a much longer time.
This is another item on our list supplied by an all-covering lifetime warranty if you manage somehow to spoil this sturdy ax, which is not likely, judging by its design and functions.
Make sure if the ax is available now on Amazon com.
Fiskars 8lb Maul crushing Knotty, Twisted Red Oak, and Maple in the video review.
Watch how that Fiskars 8lb Maul splits straight logs and rounds with just two strikes. The reviewer only had a few minor problems with twisted and knotted chunks, but they hereafter gave in.
6 – Cold Steel Boss Axe with Hickory Handle
This is a core model among the budget-friendly survival axes, straightforward and easy to use. This wildlife hatchet is an experienced and proven one when talking about logging and woodcutting, and the carbon steel component is always an asset.
The Cold Steel Boss comprises 1055 carbon steel and supplied by an American wooden hilt made of thick hickory. Its overall length is estimated as 27 inches.
Put all together. It is a simply built and time-honored model that will not hurt your budget.
Watch the video testing probably the cheapest ax on the market and see with your own eyes how fine a $20 Axe may be.
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The Core Features of an Axe
The standard ax length of an item designed for cutting trees ranges from 31 to 36 inches. Basically, every hatchet, ax, or tomahawk consists of the following parts — let’s briefly describe each separately.
The best blades are made of high carbon steel or stainless steel to keep their edges as sharp as possible regardless of what they are supposed to do — logging, chipping, cracking, and so on. The blade’s acuteness and cutting capacity are inseparable features of a fine and decent ax, so once your blade is somehow damaged, your ax gets invalid, and you need to replace it right away.
Traditionally, the handles are made of straight-grained sorts of wood, such as hickory. Yet, the ever-evolving technology has moved forward to making fiberglass, solid plastic, or metal hilts, which are expected to perform with greater endurance and impart lighter weight to such models. There are several one-piece forging models as well as those with a longer handle. However, the old time-tested long wooden handle types are still widely desired and manufactured, and eventually, selecting a wooden or fiberglass handle remains a matter of personal choice.
The Axe Head
All right, it deserves some of your time to choose a fine ax with a good quality head made of steel. Want to know a pro-tip from the Vikings still in use today? The matter is that ancient Scandinavians used to forge the ax heads with low carbon steel and applied high carbon steel mostly for the blades, and the same thing is still often done today. The average ax has a head weight of 1. 75 up to 2 lbs.
This supplies the ax head with increased flexibility and lets it last far longer than the average ones.
The small hole in your ax head where the hilt is fixed is commonly called the Eye.
This is the feature of the ax head seen on either side of the handle at the head’s bottom side. This protrusion serves to attach the head to the handle.
The flat surface of the back of the ax head reminding of a hammer is coined to be called the butt.
Primary Points When Seeking The Perfect Survival Axe
Let’s enumerate several crucial aspects of a fine ax to check out when choosing the best survival axes out of the average ones.
Balance is not an abstract notion when it comes to axes — without a proper balance, your ax simply would not swing right and would be more prone to damages. Once in a store or supermarket, take an ax, feel it in your hands, balance and swing it, and estimate the weight distribution before choosing.
This testing helps compare the unbalanced model to a better-balanced one so take advantage of this advice.
As we have already outlined, durability is another key factor in selecting the proper ax, as great force and resistance are required when swinging and hitting with these huge objects.
If your ax can not handle the strain of its own heavy-duty, then it will take more of your muscle powers and nerves to perform it right. Among the defying aspects of your ax’s endurance are the metal type used in its blade’s forging — basically, high or low carbon steel, the next is the compound material of your ax’s hilt, the following is how you treat and store your ax along with other survival gear.
Investing in a smaller-sized hatchet is sometimes more reasonable than into a huge camping ax mainly because it is too heavy to ceaselessly carry it from point A to point B if you go on foot and have no vehicle, truck, or horse, for instance.
It does make a difference since you want it to generate strong impulse when you swing it and do not wish it to be unwieldy and overwhelming. Here again, the core point is seeking a balance between the fine swing perceived in your hands and the bearable weight of your ax. Otherwise, splitting wood may turn into a torturing and exhausting action.
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Ways to Apply a Survival Axe
Let’s imagine you already acquired the best ax possible (or at least a nice survival ax). What is your next move?
Ensure you know how to apply it safely beforehand as it is a dreadful and dangerous instrument that brings about grave injuries, wounds, dismemberment, and eventually death.
The second tip is handling your ax with care and treating it properly, which means storing it in the leather sheath or case if you have one, keeping the edges away from kids and out of touch, carefully maintaining the acuteness of your blade, and more.
Obviously, axes are traditionally known as the lumberjacks’ tools aimed at logging and chopping trees into fragments for timber and lumber.
Chipping Wood to Make Fire
Another conventional function of a survival ax. Besides, chopping and chipping lumber is a healthy physical activity and fosters the testosterone level in men.
Self Defense Weapon
The thing that makes the difference between the utility-ax and the battle-ax is … the initial purpose. This actually means the first one may be applied with the same efficiency for combatting goals, as well.
Still, before swinging this heavy item at an aggressor, make sure it is the last resort meant only for self-defense purposes.
An Ax allows its users a significant amount of blunt force to break huge branches off of trees to collect wood and lumber for future use.
Hone your ax blade thoroughly. It can be used for peeling and skinning game before you proceed to cook. A sharp-edged blade plus well-trained skills let you gut your prey and skin it almost in two shakes.
Shaping Pine Branches
If you already read our article on how to make bows and may call yourself a trained archer, this is right what you need! If you owe a pretty acute ax, you may apply it to trim and shape pine branches as a workpiece for your future bow and arrow.
Are you excited about this idea? Then we have a step-by-step guide on how to make arrows using your ax. Just read this article, which details the creation of a fine bow almost out of nothing.
No fun, how about exchanging your store-bought razor for a massive and brutal razor-bladed ax?
This procedure surely requires accuracy and confidence, so do not be afraid to get some minor cuts to the face. But who, if not the bravest and daring one, may wish to try razor shaving with a device aimed at felling trees?
If you want some fun, you may try breaking the bottles with an ax to open them, but this is not what we are talking about — if you insert a blade or the butt of your ax under the bottle cap and increase the force, the bottle will open without any hassle.
To do so, you will need a fragment of flint or a sparks-producing rock and begin striking it with a sharp movement. Mind that striking the stone directly generally increases the risk of chipping it gravely and may simply blunt the blade. Instead, hit it at a considerable angle so that the sparks appear.
And one that requires a lot of practice and a close relationship with your ax. It is also a pretty dangerous sport, so don’t get careless or unsafe just because you are having fun.
Throwing axes at the target is both an eccentric hobby and an act of self-defense — but the point is not to mess one with another.
The similarity of both actions lies in a long and consistent practice and thorough knowledge of your skills as well as your Axe’s singing abilities. So it is far from being a casual all-family sport done in your backyard.
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Caring For Your Axe
Similar to other household tools and items, an Axe demands and deserves proper treatment.
If you just leave it outside lodged in a stump, through rain and snow, without ever cleaning or sharpening or caring for it, your tool won’t last, even if it’s stainless steel.
Imagine a comic fool leaving it outside stuck in a stump, opened to all rains and snows, and the sage one who would systematically clear, sharpen, and store his ax in a specific sheath — whose ax would last longer?
Each caring user should be good to its ax.
Sharpening Your Survival Axe
A not sharpened ax is hardly useful, neither is it safe —for the top result of your sharpening, we have prepared for you a special ax Whetstone you can acquire following the link.
The specifically designed puck-reminding shape is the primary discrepancy between whetstones for knives and for axes. Still, a rectangular-shaped whetstone may be of use if you do not have the better option.
We have prepared a small video lesson presenting several ways of how to sharpen your ax blade.
How To Treat Your New Axe.
Two pro-tips from the reviewer:
- Oval stones may be of use as well since the scythe’s stone serves almost all devices.
- Treat your blade gently with circular massage-like movements instead of roughly scratching the stainless steel.
Replacing the Axe Hilt or Head
If your wildlife hatchet faithfully serves you daily throughout the years, the head will surely wear out in the future, so we kindly advise you to make sure if the company provides the lifelong guarantee — just pretend how great it would be to have it replaced by a new one for free instead of searching for a new model equally good as your old time-tested survival hatchet.
If the problems are with the ax head, it’s sometimes worthier acquiring a new ax rather than replacing a steelhead.
Similarly, the handles, especially those made of wood, are prone to splintering, cracking, and rotting from time to time. Surprisingly, but even the handle types made of fiberglass or plastic compound materials tend to weary out in a while. Still, in terms of the hilt fixing, the damage usually works out easier. To replace your old broken ax handle, buy a new handle at any related store or simply shop on Amazon for this ax model. Before buying, verify your handle fits in the eye of your ax head, then simply hit the old handle through the ax head’s eye and attach the replacing one.
Here is a concise video instruction on how to change an ax handle.
How to Prevent Gear Rust
Almost all blades are threatened by rust less or more, so it is a wise decision to prevent your blade from being dull and rusty in advance by regularly re-oiling it. Store it in a relevant place with low relative humidity (and especially moisture), accompany your tool with fine nylon or leather sheaths, which also helps to sustain the blade clean and sparkling.
As for the quick fix, if the rust is already there — utilize the Vapor Rust.
As a Conclusion
Still not sure what makes your Axe the best survival ax? Then you should probably check out the movie “Happy People: A Year in the Taiga,” where an exciting process of making boats, skis, and animal traps with an Axe in severe surroundings is shown.
Put simply, a device as multi-tool and mighty as an Axe is apriori a significant survival factor. As we have demonstrated today, its diversity may replace a couple of tool kits and last longer than almost all of those tools.
No matter the actual weight and size, axes are generally great survival companions, but to take these giants on a trip, you surely need to bother about adequate transportation.
There are many factors to consider when purchasing a survival ax. To select the best survival Axe for you, it is necessary to measure your abilities right, be aware of your eventual purposes, and think of a relevant emergency strategy in a survival situation. An efficient Axe gives a lasting Axe effect.
Just remember: to prepare is already half the deal. To adapt and overcome is the other.
What is the best survival AXE?
Selecting the best survival axes, hatchets, or tomahawks among the great variety of models may seem tricky, but the first thing we recommend to pay attention to is a trustworthy manufacturer like Gransfors Bruks; next, each part of the ax is crucial so better choose a high carbon steel blade, a sturdy ax head — a stainless steel head as well carbon steelhead, and a firm ax handle with a non-slip grip — it can be either longer handle, or shorter one, either wooden or fiberglass handle. You may rely on our review and choose any of the above-mentioned items, or select a popular model made by such renowned manufacturers as Fiskars Axe, Schrade SCAXE9CP 18in Axe with a Saw Blade, or Estwing sportsman s Axe. Are you a fan of traditionally-looking tomahawks? Then try the famous SOG Tactical Tomahawk.
Is there a difference between an AX and a hatchet?
There is no dramatic difference between those two. Still, the things you should know are that survival hatchets are generally smaller and are mostly applied for chopping actions, cracking and splitting wood for fire-making, and cutting smaller boughs. At the same time, Axes are basically considered bigger utensils applied with both hands and requiring more swing and hitting force.
What steel is best for axes?
Stainless steel is always good, while drop forged carbon steel is even better. You may choose such a model from Gransfors Bruks or seek another decent manufacturer on Amazon.com.
What is a camp Ax?
Camping axes have an overall size smaller than a traditional ax and are also called hand axes. They are easy to handle, lightweight, and easier to transport but are less likely to be called a 100% survival tool. They are great in a country or when camping and serve mainly for cutting and cracking twigs, building tent stakes, preparing and chopping wood, and so on.