8 of the Best Bushcraft Axes – a Guide to Picking a Bushcraft Axe

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In a Hurry?

if you just want to see the axes we recommend quickly they are linked below here, if not skip this section and read on.

The axes below use quality materials and are really well-made products built to last a lifetime. Tho they are not the cheapest options on the market, you can be sure you are getting a great product.

Last update on 2024-04-17 at 13:43 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Why Do I Need a Bushcraft Axe?

A bushcraft axe can be one of the most useful bushcraft tools you own and can serve many purposes around camp.

In this article, we will discuss the different types of axes available and some points to consider when picking the right bushcraft axe for you.

A good quality, the well-maintained axe will last you a lifetime.

Should a Beginner Buy a Bushcraft Axe?

Yes!, even if you are brand new to bushcraft you should own an axe. Learning the skill of using an axe is all part of taking your bushcraft further.

I would recommend taking some time to study axe technique and safety.

If possible, ask a friend who has experience using an axe for some pointers to get you started. Also, Youtube is an excellent source of info for things of this nature.

A common misconception as a beginner in bushcraft is to start with a small hatchet. This can be a bad idea when you are not aware of the safety issues involved.

I would recommend a beginner start with a 50-70cm axe as there is less chance of injury if used correctly.

Bushcraft Axe Safety – Do’s and Don’ts

Don’t

  • Never swing a small hatchet-sized axe from a standing position to split logs if you miss the log chances are you will hit your legs as there is nothing to stop the axe. instead, use a kneeling position that way if you miss the axe will hit the ground
  • Never use your hands to steady a log you are about to cut if you need to steady a log by using a small stick.
  • Don’t unsheath your axe when not in use, some axes can be razor-sharp and easily cause harm to others or pets.
  • Try to avoid using a blunt tool. Blunt tools require more force to perform the same job as a sharp tool and often using more force results in poor form when using the tool and therefore, more chance of injury.
  • Don’t leave your axe lying around camp. Other people may not be aware of where you have left it and could become injured. If you must leave it sheath it or bury it in your chopping block or a log.

DO

  • Make a safe area in camp to use your axe with stable level ground and if you can use a chopping block. When using a block place your log on the back of the block that way if you miss the axe will bury safely into the block.
  • Try to position yourself safely so that if you miss the swing or the axe glances off the log, your body is not in the path of the swing.
  • Inspect the tool before use, check for any cracks or splits in the handle and check that the head of the axe is secure. You should also check the sharpness level if it’s dull and give it a touch-up if you can.
  • Set up an exclusion zone for woodcutting that only the person using the axe should enter this reduces accidental injuries to others.
  • If you have a dog with you be sure to put it on a lead while you are using the axe.
  • If you have to leave your axe for a short time to do something, it’s best to bury the blade into your chopping block that way it is safe as the cutting edge is covered.
  • Carry a first aid kit with you at all times when using any tools in the outdoors, be sure it has provisions for injuries that may happen with the tools you are using.

How to Choose a Bushcraft Axe – Some Key Points

  • Will it fit in or on your backpack – most packs can be easily adapted to have a mounting point for an axe. Handle length is often the issue here, making a hatchet the ideal choice if your axe must fit inside of your backpack.
  • Does it come with a sheath? – Most high-quality axes will come with a leather sheath that protects both you and your axe when it’s not in use.
  • Axe head size and weight – This is dependent on the job you will be doing with your axe for a small camp axe, a Hatchet will be ideal with a head size of around 3-4 inches is usually good and weight around 400g to 600g. If you plan to be splitting a lot of large logs, you will want a Splitting axe with a larger head of around 4-6 inches and a fair bit heavier around 1200-1500g and with a longer handle so you will be able to use it from the standing position.
  • Axe head material – A high-grade carbon steel is favoured for an axe head, heat-treated and hardened to around 53-56 HRC (Rockwell Wikipedia link). High carbon steel is the best of both worlds as it is easy to sharpen and holds a decent edge, so is excellent out in the woods. You will need to keep your steel oiled up as high carbon steel will rust very fast if left damp and unoiled. A Stainless steel head can hold an edge a little longer but can be tougher to sharpen. One main advantage is that they do not rust so it can be great if you need an almost maintenance-free axe.
  • Handle material – wood, metal, composite – A traditional wooden hickory handle is favored in the bushcraft scene, tho other materials do have their place.
  • Handle length – As a rule here I would tend to pick a mid-sized axe of around 50 to 60 cm that way it’s the best of both worlds in that it is still compact enough to pack and carry but also up to the task of more substantial work in the woods. That is not to say hatchet-sized axes are not of any use. As you progress, you will have multiple axes and can then pick the best to suit what you are going to be doing on that camp.

Uses for a Bushcraft Axe Around Camp

  • Can be used when gathering wood for your fire and later processing it down to size.
  • In some cases, an axe may be used for food prep.
  • The reverse of the axe head (The poll) can serve as a hammer useful for tent pegs and knocking stakes into the ground.
  • Shelter building.
  • Small hatchets are often used for wood carving.
  • limbing
  • felling trees

How to Maintain a Bushcraft Axe

Axe head – After use inspect for any chips or dings and hone them out if you can use a good quality axe sharpening puck, check that you have a good sharp edge.

Once the blade has been taken care of you can then wipe the steel over with oil to protect it from rust.

I have been using ballistol for all of my tool maintenance for years now, it’s linked below.

Sale
Lansky Sharpeners The Puck Dual Grit Sharpener -…
  • Multi-purpose stone sharpener is portable and versatile
  • Ideal for sharpening lawn mower blades, machetes, hatchets, axe…
  • Easy-to-grip, contoured shape provides for safe, simple tool…
  • Dual-Grit design provides coarse side for quick cutting and…
  • Includes limited one-year manufacturer’s warranty

Last update on 2024-04-17 at 13:43 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The handle – inspect for any cracks or splits in the wood if you find any splits you should look to replace your handle as it could end up causing injury.

After the inspection, you can apply a coat of boiled linseed oil to maintain a quality finish on your axe handle.

Do not use unboiled linseed oil as it does not dry thoroughly.

Furniture Clinic Boiled Linseed Oil for Wood 250ml…
  • A GREAT WOOD TREATMENT: Boiled Linseed Oil is a superior quality…
  • WHY OUR LINSEED OIL: Our Boiled Linseed Oil is a superior quality…
  • USE ON ALL TYPES OF WOOD: Suitable for all types of wood (with…
  • ATTRACTIVE FINISH: Forms an attractive, subtle, glossy finish
  • SATISFACTION GUARANTEED – We understand that protecting your…

Last update on 2024-04-17 at 13:43 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The sheath – For the most part, you can give this a rub over with your favorite leather care cream. I tend to use my trusty ballistol as it is safe to use on leather, tho it may darken some leathers so do a test first if you can.

Ballistol Fluid Universal Oil – Multi-Colour, 50…
  • Ballistol Oil 50 ml fluid is one of the few alkaline oils
  • It does not resinify even in decades, is complete biodegradable,…
  • Ballistol is a penetrating oil that creeps into the finest angles

Last update on 2024-04-17 at 07:48 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Caring for your axe is quite a simple task as with general use they rarely need more than a wipe down after use and a touch up of the blade using an axe puck then a light coating of oil to protect the steel.

If adequately maintained from new and used correctly, a good quality axe will last a lifetime.

Hatchet’s

Gerber Pack Hatchet
  • Full tang construction means steadiness in hand and the strength…
  • A tall blade grind retains optimal sharpness
  • The handle is wrapped in a rubber overmold for added grip and…
  • Nylon sheath can be mounted on pack or belt
  • Integrated lanyard hole secures the hatchet while on the move
Sale
Mora Camp Axe Bushcraft Hatchet – Green
  • Practical camping axe with head of black epoxy coated boron steel
  • Blade Thickness: 0.24″ (6 mm), Blade Length: 4.5″ (115 mm), Total…
  • Limited lifetime manufacturer’s assurance.
  • Model number: 1-1991
  • English (Publication Language)
Sale
LEXIVON Chopping Axe 14″ Camping Outdoor Hatchet…
  • EFFECTIVE: Our camping axe is designed for easy chopping of…
  • DURABLE – This chopping axe features Forged, Grade-A Carbon…
  • PROPRIETARY DESIGN: Stronger than the wooden shaft and won’t…
  • EFFICIENCY – Our camping axe handle features an exclusive Balance…
  • SAFETY – The blade comes with a handy Protective Carrying Sheath…
Fiskars Camping Axe XXS X5, Storage and Carrying…
  • Camping hatchet (total length: 23 cm) for splitting small logs,…
  • Very sharp blade in hardened steel with coating, Ideal balance…
  • Ultra-lightweight, durable handle made of ultra-lightweight,…
  • Made in Finland, Long life product, Easy to sharpen the blade…
  • Contents: 1x Fiskars Camping Axe XXS X5, Storage and Transport…

Last update on 2024-04-17 at 13:43 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pack Axe’s

Fiskars Chopping Axe S X10, Storage and Carrying…
  • Universal hatchet (total length: 44 cm) for splitting and cutting…
  • Very sharp blade in hardened steel with coating, Ideal balance…
  • Durable handle made of weather-resistant and impact-resistant…
  • Made in Finland, Long life product, Easy to sharpen the blade…
  • Contents: 1x Fiskars Chopping Axe S X10, Storage and Carrying…
Fiskars Splitting Axe S X11, 1.1 kg, Incl. Storage…
  • Axe (Total length: 44 cm) for cutting logs over 10-20 cm in…
  • Very sharp blade in hardened steel with coating, Ideal balance…
  • Durable handle made of weather-resistant and impact-resistant…
  • Made in Finland, Long life product, Easy to sharpen the blade…
  • Contents: 1x Fiskars Splitting Axe S X11, Storage and transport…
Sale
Davaon Pro 46cm Log Splitting Axe – Up To 20cm…
  • ✔ Universal Garden Chopping Axe – Designed for Splitting wood,…
  • ✔ Universal Garden Chopping Axe – Designed for Splitting wood,…
  • ✔ Head Designed For Splitting – Sharp Steel Non Come Off Head -…
  • ✔ Balanced To Help You Swing With More Power – This log…
  • ✔ Super Strong Tough Fibreglass Handle – Overall length of 46cm…

Last update on 2024-04-17 at 13:43 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Large Splitting Axes

Fiskars Splitting Axe XL X25, 2.5 kg, incl….
  • Axe (Total length: 77 cm) for cutting logs over 30 cm in diameter…
  • Very sharp blade in hardened steel with coating, Ideal balance…
  • Durable handle made of weather-resistant and impact-resistant…
  • Made in Finland, Long life product, Easy to sharpen the blade…
  • Contents: 1x Fiskars Splitting Axe XL X25, Storage and transport…
Sale
Fiskars Splitting Axe L X21, 1.6 kg, Incl. Storage…
  • Axe (Total length: 70 cm) for cutting logs 20-30 cm in diameter…
  • Very sharp blade in hardened steel with coating, Ideal balance…
  • Durable handle made of weather-resistant and impact-resistant…
  • Made in Finland, Long life product, Easy blade sharpening with…
  • Contents: 1x Fiskars Splitting Axe L X21, Storage and transport…
Davaon Pro 71cm Log Splitting Axe – Up To 30cm…
  • ✔ Universal Garden Splitting Chopping Axe – Designed for…
  • ✔ Universal Garden Splitting Chopping Axe – Designed for…
  • ✔ Head Designed For Splitting – Larger Sharp Hi Carbon Steel…
  • ✔ Balanced To Help You Swing With More Power – This log…
  • ✔Super Strong Tough Fibreglass Handle – Overall length of axe…

Last update on 2024-04-17 at 13:43 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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