Best Backpacking Axe Reviewed: Lightweight Hatchets for Camping Trips & Outdoor Adventures

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Hey there. Travis Holloway here. In case you forgot my story, I’m going to remind you of it in a few words. I’m a hikaholic. Hikomaniac. Professional one, I might add. Joking aside, I know all there is to know about hiking and camping, for my experience in outdoor trips and adventures is impressively vast. From Grand Canyon backpacking list to useful tips on thorough tent cleaning — I share it all with you here at cleverwander.com.

Backpacking requires (preferably high-quality) gear to take care of your survival and protection throughout your trips in the wilderness – tents, sleeping bags, first aid kits, food, torches, tents, etc. A top-notch lightweight backpacking axe should definitely be on that list as well. You will need it to set up your camp, cook food, or build an emergency shelter. Today, I’m going to review ten of the best hatchets for backpacking.

Each backpacking axe reviewed below has its perks and downsides, so I’ve covered all aspects for you to be able to get a comprehensive idea of whether or not each tool will suit your exact needs. With that said, if you’re searching for the best backpacking axe for your camping and hiking needs, my today’s post is definitely worth your laser-like attention.

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Top 10 Lightweight Camping Axes: Durable & Ultralight

Purchasing the best backpacking hatchet is as vital as getting the right gear for your snowboarding adventures or, say, your first fly fishing trip. Choosing the best tool among thousands of hatchets available on the scene can be somewhat challenging. I have created this buying guide and professionally reviewed tons of backpacking axes to single out the best items and help you choose the exact tool you need. So read on, analyze the reviews provided below, and enjoy the freedom of making your own conclusions.

Fiskars 378501-1002 X7: Your Go-To Hatchet for Outdoor Adventures

First and foremost, a few words about the manufacturer. Fiskars Corporation was established in Finland over 370 years ago (fancy that!) and has a stellar reputation worldwide for its top-rated gardening, home repair, and camping equipment. Their top-of-the-line wood chopping/cutting/splitting hatchets are all about impeccable quality.

If you’re planning a camping trip, you’re most likely going to cut firewood there. And, naturally, you will need the Fiskars 378501-1002 X7 bad boy to do the job. I once went camping with this buddy. We had no deadwood nearby, so I had to use the Fiskars X7 hatchet to cut down a huge tree and then cut and split a hefty piece of wood for the night. This beast truly surpassed my initial expectations and helped me out a lot back then.

The sturdy-yet-lightweight handle feels really comfortable in your hand. As a result, you chop/split wood like a pro with this buddy. You can use the Fiskars 378501-1002 X7 hatchet on a daily basis if you want to get the job done snappily, efficiently, and conveniently. And the blade will still remain very sharp! This beast is worth every penny it costs.


PROS:
  • Excellent quality blade.
  • Exceptionally lightweight, durable, and sharp.
  • Ergonomic and comfy 14-inch handle.
  • Splits wood like a pro.
  • Full lifetime warranty.
CONS:
  • Isn’t the best option for regular heavy-duty work, but it’s just a matter of your needs.

Gerber: Your Ultimate Lightweight Camping Axe

If you’re on the prowl for a hatchet to carry while hiking or hunting, this chopping tool is just the ticket. It combines the chopping prowess of a compact hatchet with fine cutting skills of a solid survival knife.

With the Gerber backpacking hatchet, you will easily split smaller pieces of firewood, build emergency shelters, and peel off bark to discover dry wood for a fire. This tool was not made to cut down big trees. But in case it’s the only thing you have on hand, it will get the job done quite well — not without some elbow grease, of course.

Furthermore, this Gerber hatchet boasts a comfy and grippy handle. Lots of female hikers confirm that this ultralight hatchet feels really good in their small and elegant hands. That being said, the Gerber chopping tool is definitely a keeper. So no more carrying a bulky wooden-handled axe for you. This ultralight little guy can become a super useful addition to your hiking gear.


PROS:
  • Sharp, featherweight, versatile, and compact.
  • The handle is grippy (even when wet).
  • Sharpens little sticks like a pro, which makes it an excellent replacement for a knife.
  • An excellent gift for a female camper/hiker.
  • Reasonably priced.
CONS:
  • Even though it’s made of stainless steel, it is prone to rust.

Schrade SCAXE10 11.1in Full Tang Hatchet — Solid Piece of Gear

This little hatchet is very well-made. I bought this ultralight camp hatchet for my dad as a Father’s Day gift, and he loved it. Powering through wood effortlessly, the Schrade SCAXE 10 tool is great at chopping, batoning, hammering, and feathering. It’s extremely sharp out-of-the-box, lightweight, easy to use, and durable enough to handle any typical camp axe chore – perfect size for a hiking pack.

This hatchet is amazingly strong for its compact size. You will be impressed! To cut a long story short, the Schrade SCAXE 10 is a great hatchet for backpacking that won’t break either your wallet or itself. As a survival piece of gear, this is definitely going to fit the bill, and you will love carrying it in your backpack. A great find that is perfect for both male and female hikers.


PROS:
  • Durable steel construction.
  • A solid, comfy grip.
  • Perfect for processing small wood for campfires.
  • Compact and packs easily.
  • Cost-effective hiking axe.
CONS:
  • It’s all black, which means you can easily leave it stuck in a log somewhere in the woods.

Estwing Sportsman’s Axe for Camping & Hiking

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. You can never go wrong with Estwing. The company’s engineers have been manufacturing outstanding equipment for the outdoorsmen around the world for decades. This particular Estwing hatchet is well-made, perfectly-balanced, reliable, super handy, and easy to carry.
This hiking hatchet flaunts full-tang stainless steel design. The handle is nice and smooth. It’s a bit heavier compared to the plastic-handled camping hatchets but feels very good in the hand. Overall, the Estwing Sportsman’s Axe is an excellent tool for any wilderness aficionado.

It may cost a bit more than similar backpacking axe buddies, but one thing is for sure: once you start using the Estwing Sportsman’s Axe, you won’t mind a few extra dollars you might have had to pay for it. Believe me, this beast will last long enough to pass down to your children.


PROS:
  • Sharp, strong, and sturdy.
  • Lightweight and feels really comfortable to hold.
  • Head and handle come in one piece.
  • The leather case is a thing of beauty.
  • Manufactured in the United States.
CONS:
  • Some people complain about the annoying branding sticker the manufacturer puts on the handle. Removing it is quite challenging.

SOG Camp Axe: Excellent Lightweight Hatchet for Camping

This SOG axe for backpacking sports has a neat tactical design. With its sleek black handle and black cover, this camping tool resembles a tactical weapon. However, despite its aggressively charming style, the SOG Camp Axe is a fantastic camping/hiking accessory that has a solid feel to it.

This backpacking axe is lightweight-yet-durable — and very well-made. The balance is outstanding. It’s awesome for light chopping of firewood and making kindling, as well as chopping off foliage, and generally chopping through moderately sized trees.

This ergonomic tool was created to cut logs with precision and endure rough use. Overall, the SOG Camp Axe brilliantly caters to a variety of camping needs. It won’t add any significant weight to your backpack, which is a good thing as well. This lightweight axe is a tough mofo!


PROS:
  • Rust-proof stainless steel design.
  • Brutally sharp and balanced.
  • Splits wood like a champ.
  • Perfect size for camping/hiking.
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty.
CONS:
  • A sheath could be of a better quality.

Zippo AxeSaw: a Must-Have Tool for Camping

Zippo AxeSaw is an axe, saw, and mallet all in one. The tool will come in handy whenever you need chopping, cutting, and hammering. Great for camping, as well as for a variety of chores around the house. When you need an axe (or a hatchet, to be more precise), you can use it to chop small branches.

This hatchet is solidly constructed and very convenient to utilize. The blade is super sharp and has just the right amount of weight to it. Falling big trees with this thing is not an option, but it’s great for casual wood chopping on the move. Zippo AxeSaw is an innovative and fine all-around piece of camping equipment.

So if you’re on the hunt for a high-quality camping hatchet with some handy additional functions, the Zippo AxeSaw tool might be exactly what you need. This compact (and exceptionally versatile) bad boy can easily become your go-to hatchet for weekend hunting and country camping. This is the tool I highly recommend.


PROS:
  • Great combination of useful functions and compact size.
  • Well-balanced for casual chopping.
  • Fairly easy to use.
  • Three tools for the price of one!
  • Awesome multi-purpose camping aid for your entire family.
CONS:
  • A bit on the expensive side, but well worth every dollar.

LIANTRAL Camping Stainless Axe: Excellent Multi-Purpose Kit

If you’re eyeing a fantastic multi-purpose axe for camping, this kit is a great value. The axe from the kit is accompanied by a multitude of handy items, such as a knife with a saw blade, a safety hammer for breaking glass, and a compass for orienteering. These are very convenient survival tools for all sorts of outdoor activities.

The axe from the kit is made of long-lasting stainless steel, which means the beast is definitely crafted to last. You can use it for a wide array of camping and hiking needs, and it’s going to perform its functions very well. This awesome camping kit is aimed at making your camping trips as enjoyable as possible. Another bonus is that it saves your backpack space significantly.

The LIANTRAL camping axe was constructed with a slew of safety functions in mind. The kit includes a high-quality sheath and skid-proof handles. Generally speaking, it’s the ultimate survival tool kit for both outdoor adventures and a zombie apocalypse situation. With this type of equipment, outdoor traveling and outdoor living will be as close to a pleasure cruise as possible.


PROS:
  • Made of stainless steel: sturdy and long-lasting.
  • Versatile and accompanied by additional equipment.
  • You can change the tool’s length in accordance with your needs.
  • Easy to put together and use.
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty from the manufacturer.
CONS:
  • A bit on the expensive side, but worth every dollar it costs.

iunio Camping Axe & Multitool: Great for Survivalists, Hikers, & Campers

This axe from IUNIO is well-constructed and exceptionally versatile, which makes it superb for survival. Made of high-carbon steel and aluminum alloy, the tool is sturdy and capable of withstanding aggressive environments. It’s easy to assemble and disassemble. Furthermore, the length of its 16-inch handle can be modified to suit your exact camping requirements.

Fully assembled, the axe is just the right size and weight. The IUNIO axe functions as a handy multi-tool, with a boatload of various features and accessories. For instance, it can be utilized for splitting small logs, building shelters, breaking glass, as well as for starting campfires. The fact that the axe comes with a thick protective sheath is a very nice touch.

A (very accurate) compass, an internal knife, a fish scaling tool, and an emergency whistle are included in the survival axe kit, which makes it even more appealing in consumers’ eyes. All in all, I can definitely recommend this multi-tool for both outdoor trips and home protection. Also, good to know that their customer support is top-level.


PROS:
  • Several functions in one survival axe.
  • Easy to assemble, take apart, and adjust to your needs.
  • Built to last.
  • Comes with protective cover for maximum blade safety.
  • Fantastic gift idea for campers, hikers, and other types of outdoor enthusiasts.
CONS:
  • Not the best choice for heavy-duty chopping.

Gerber Gator Combo Axe II: Camper’s Dream Come True

The Gator II is a combination of a small-sized Cadillac of an outdoorsman’s hatchet and a pretty good saw. Despite being all plastic, the hatchet is well-crafted and durable. Due to the rubberized handle, the grip is very good.
The hideaway saw stored inside the axe handle is an additional bonus. It comes in handy for trimming small branches (up to about 4 inches in diameter). The saw works great and is a breeze to handle.

At first glance, the Gator II combo may look like a kid’s toy, but with a little practice, it’s a great piece of gear to add to your basic wilderness survival kit. It’s not made for chopping your way out of the wilderness, but it will definitely come in handy for a multitude of typical camping chores. I highly recommend this wonderful gear for hikers, campers, and rescue crews. Overall, it’s a one-of-a-kind saw-axe combo for backpacking.


PROS:
  • Wonderfully balanced for chopping and razor-sharp out of the box.
  • Lightweight-yet-solid.
  • Sturdy construction.
  • Feels great in hand.
  • Great value for the price.
CONS:
  • A sheath could have been of better quality.

Off Grid Tools Survival Axe Elite: Jack of All Trades

When you take a look at this multi-tool axe, the first thought that may come to mind is ‘Bring on the zombie apocalypse!’. Yeah, the thing instantly associates with something you’d see in a zombie movie. In reality, it’s a cool portable camp hatchet with a lot of integrated features.

In fact, I own this bad guy. And when I show it to my buddies, they always say they want the same. Oh well, it’s a brilliantly designed multi-functional tool that attracts you at the very first sight. The kit promises over 30 functions. Make sure that you carefully evaluate them prior to purchasing the thing and analyze the features that will be useful for you.

Some of the handiest Survival Axe features and functions are listed below:

  • it saws;
  • it hammers;
  • it opens cans and bottles;
  • it breaks glass;
  • it cuts boxes;
  • it pulls nails.

What I like about this hatchet is that it’s just the right size. The saw is decent-quality and is good at assisting you in building a fire. The hammer function of this multi-tool is also quite impressive — and a lot more convenient than pillaging a hatchet backward. Cutting to the chase, I give the Off Grid Tools Survival Axe five stars! Purchase one for your camping box or your vehicle, and you’ll end up not leaving the house without it.


PROS:
  • Solid piece of gear.
  • Chops wood smoothly and easily.
  • Offers just the right amount of ‘beefiness’ without being excessively heavy.
  • Comes with an impressive selection of features.
  • Fantastic gift for an outdoorsman.
CONS:
  • The grip isn’t the absolute best, but comfy enough.

Final Thoughts: Things to Consider Before Making a Purchase

Choosing the best hatchet for backpacking is a rather time-consuming task, especially if you don’t have a clue what to look for. I have created this buying guide for the purpose of saving heaps of your time. I have years of camping/hiking experience under my belt, and, therefore, I’m glad I can be of help when my readers need it.

Before purchasing the right backpacking axe for you, make sure you keep the following parameters in mind:

  • the type of a camping axe/hatchet: camping hatchets are best for beginner campers, while, say, survival hatches are a great option for experienced outdoor adventure enthusiasts;
  • the weight of a tool: you definitely don’t need a camping tool that’s too heavy for your pack;
  • the head size criterion: typically, hatchets with a head size up to 10 inches are pretty easy to carry and manage;
  • handle material: this criterion determines how easily the tool swings in your hand;
    • the price: it always matters, don’t you think?

You’re probably aware that most backpacking hatchets come with sheaths. A sheath performs a multitude of functions. First of all, it protects you and your loved ones when the chopping buddy isn’t in use. Second, it protects other camping stuff in your pack from being damaged. If you’re an avid DIY enthusiast, you can make your own sheath, by the way.

Here’s a brief outline of the key aspects of using your backpacking axe:

  • when striking wood, wear safety glasses for eye protection (especially if you’re a beginner);
  • research on proper wood splitting techniques prior to switching to practice (YouTube will help here, for sure!);
  • use gloves to prevent injuries;

So, what about you? What’s your favorite backpacking hatchet? Feel free to share your opinion in the comments section below to start a conversation with your fellow campers. Your two cents are very important. And make sure you browse through my other posts on camping. I cover various topics from emergency survival kits to the absolute Best Hiking Backpacks Under $100.

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