The 7 Best Camping Hatchets and Axes of 2022, Tested by Experts


best camping axes

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After a good multitool, hatchets and axes are the most versatile and essential camp tools. If you’re an avid camper, you know how valuable a good chopping tool is for making kindling, processing firewood, clearing branches, and even felling trees when necessary. Beyond campsite use, they’re also great, affordable tools for survival, self-sufficiency, and having on hand in emergencies.

Finding the right camp hatchet or camp ax seems easy: A wood handle and a reasonably solid metal blade should be all you need, right? Sometimes. But, if you’re a serious camper, it’s time to invest in serious tools. Not all hatchets and axes are created equal. Each tool is built for a specific purpose, and it’s best to match the tool you’re buying with the job you intend to use it for. Whether you’re a front-country weekend warrior or a seasoned backcountry explorer, we have a recommendation for you. These are our top seven picks for the best camping hatchets and axes of 2022.

Read more: Best Camping Gear

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Best Premium Camping Hatchet

Hultan Trekking Outdoor Hatchet

Most Versatile Camping Ax

Sportsman’s Axe

Best Compact Camping Hatchet

Pack Hatchet Camping Axe

Best Bang-for-your-buck Camping Hatchet

X7 Hatchet

Best Lightweight Camping Ax

Woods Chogan Tomahawk Axe

Best Full-sized Camping Ax

Small Forest Axe 19 Inch

Best Budget Camping Ax

Camping Axe

Camping Hatchets vs. Camping Axes

Hatchets and axes are similar in many ways. Broadly speaking, the easiest way to tell them apart is that hatchets are smaller and designed for one-handed use, while axes are larger (sometimes twice the size of a small hatchet) and built for two-handed tasks that require maximum striking power. Both typically feature a sturdy handle made of wood or a composite material, with a steel head attached. Some hatchets (like the Estwing above) are crafted from a single piece of steel for added durability and striking power.

Technically, they can both perform the same duties, but it’s best to use them for their intended purposes. Hatchets are ideal for light- to medium-duty tasks like curling wood, preparing kindling, and processing small to medium-sized pieces of firewood. Axes are better suited for medium- to heavy-duty jobs that require both hands, like chopping large chunks of wood, clearing your campsite of smaller trees, and even felling large trees if the need arises.

Read more: Best Camping Knives

Size Matters

The head weight and handle length of the ax or hatchet you buy should match the job you intend to use it for. For intricate bushcraft and backcountry tasks, a hatchet with a smaller handle is best. If you’ll use your hatchet to split wood and chop branches, however, consider one with a longer handle and a heavier head weight. Likewise, the more intense the task, the longer and heavier an ax should be.

Consider your personal camping style too. Backcountry campers and hikers may want to keep an eye toward light, compact hatchets that pack easily into a backpack or tether to a belt. Car campers and overlanders are usually less concerned with weight, so their best bet is whichever hatchet or ax does what they need it to within budget.

Price Is Just One Factor

Unless money is truly no object, you probably care at least a little how much your new ax or hatchet costs. We firmly believe that, in many cases, you get what you pay for. A $150 price tag might seem outrageous. But, if that ax lasts a lifetime (and you can even hand it down to your kids), then maybe it’s worth it to, as they say, “buy once, cry once.” On the other hand, $30 might sound like a great deal, but, in some cases, you may need to shell out another $30 in just a few years, especially if you plan on putting that chopping tool to serious use.

How We Tested

We field-tested more than 30 camping hatchets and axes over the last few years to find only the very best. In both backcountry and front-country camps, we put each model through its paces, from wood curling to preparing kindling to processing firewood. Then, we meticulously ranked each ax and hatchet in various categories, including weight, balance, sharpness, edge retention, durability, value, and more. The seven models above are our honest picks for the very best camping hatchets and axes to consider in 2022.

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