You might think an axe is old-fashioned camping gear. But it was once the must-have of any outdoorsman.
Not only does it support you in chopping hardwood and thick branches, but it also sharpens your wilderness skills.
Bushcraft axes today are available with more versatilities and designs. It has become something indispensable for any timber sports star. Yet, the gear brings a myriad of advantages for those who enjoy life outdoor.
I am no expert in hatchet. But using a wide range of axes earned me some sort of real-time experience to identify the particular tool of many kinds. Let me share with you the best axe for bushcraft and all I know about hatchet in this article.
Here are the best axes for bushcraft you can buy in 2020:
- Best Overall: Husqvarna 20 in. Wooden Curved Carpenter Axe
- Best Budget Option: TABOR TOOLS Chopping Axe
- Best For Camping: Estwing 14” Camping Hatchet with Forged Steel Construction
- Lightweight: CRKT Birler Compact Axe
- Best For Occasional Light Woodwork: Schrade SCAXE2L 15.7in Large Survival Axe
- Most Durable: 1844 Helko Werk Germany Rheinland Hatchet
|Top 6 Best Axes For Bushcraft|
|Husqvarna 20 in. Wooden Curved Carpenter Axe||Read Our Review|
Best Budget Option
|TABOR TOOLS Chopping Axe||Read Our Review|
Best For Camping
|Estwing 14” Camping Hatchet with Forged Steel Construction||Read Our Review|
|CRKT Birler Compact Axe||Read Our Review|
Best For Occasional Light Woodwork
|Schrade SCAXE2L 15.7in Large Survival Axe||Read Our Review|
|1844 Helko Werk Germany Rheinland Hatchet||Read Our Review|
Best Overall: Husqvarna 20 in. Wooden Curved Carpenter Axe
- Usable for most axe duties
- Perfect weight
- Grain orientation is tight
- Good weight
- Blade doesn’t come shaving sharp
- Need re-sharpening after some works
I’ve always been a fan of Husqvarna, and this choice of chopping bushcraft axe even reinforces my preference.
The axe came sharp with a premium hand-forged carpenter’s axe head out of the box. Hand-forging means to make the steel harder, making it hold the edge better. But I honed it up a little more to make it paper cutting sharp. It didn’t take long, though, and the process took just a small portion of material off it.
This carpenter axe is designed to work as a big heavy knife. The curved edge is there for you to choke your hand up to get closer to the blade for some chiseling works. It’s also a heavy head so that you have momentum for fine control during carpentry projects. Basically, you can do a lot of works.
|Husqvarna 20 in. Wooden Curved Carpenter Axe Specifications|
Length (With Handle)
American hickory and Swedish steel hand-forged for a super sturdy and hard blade
Though the blade is not shaving sharp from the start, it’s meant for you to refine to your liking then assign it on most heavy jobs in your carpentry site
Best Budget Option: TABOR TOOLS Chopping Axe
- Good for limbing
- Minimal wedge
- Original blade can be uneven
- Blade dulls quick
Cheap doesn’t mean crap. I can confidently rely on this axe while saving a bunch of bucks. Of course, it lacks of some exclusive features for the price but the item feels sturdy though coming in a smaller size.
What’s great is between the shaft and head, there is an excellent balance for comfortable and safer use. It felt convinced when I was holding this axe for the chop. The grip handle provides traction to my palm for one-strike splits with confidence.
I yet love the blend of orange and black in the handle. It fits both male and female users. Though crafted for budget, this axe’s got a blade sharp enough not to spare any wood of medium to large size.
|TABOR TOOLS Chopping Axe Specifications|
Length (With Handle)
27” chopping 35” splitting
Created with a good balance between the head and shaft for safer use
Cheap doesn’t mean poor quality. This item indeed reserves that bias with a nice and functional design.
Best For Camping: Estwing 14” Camping Hatchet with Forged Steel Construction
- Sturdy one-piece unit
- Genuine leather grips
- Made in USA
- A bit hefty for a small hatchet
This axe is a single piece of forged tool steel running the length of the handle. Stack leather on the handle feels comfortable on my hand with lots of grips. They place rings of cut leather down the handle through a series of wetting and saturating, letting it shrink to coat where we hold the unit.
Surprisingly, this axe came pretty sharp from the factory. The shiny finish appeared splendid to me. Apparently, it’s become one of my most favorite gears to bring with on any camping trip.
This hatchet is a fair alternative for those of you don’t like big knives. It measures at 14-inch wide, which is ideal in any camping kit. You can use it to chop firewood, clear branches, and cut down small trees.
|Estwing 14” Camping Hatchet with Forged Steel Construction Specifications|
Length (With Handle)
Made from solid American steel with hand sharpened edge
For camping, compactness is key. This axe offers just the right measurements to sit snugly in your camping pack.
Lightweight: CRKT Birler Compact Axe
- Compact and lightweight
- Reasonable pricing
- Cool Viking style head
- Nice heft to the cut
- Head seems loose
- Require some sanding
I was pretty impressed with this hatchet. The blade is made of 1055 carbon steel forged by War Series from CRKT with a Hickory handle. Designed by Elmer Roush in Brasstown, a veteran, it’s more or less a tool offers use even on the battlefield.
The head looks decent with a deep curve to choke up the hand in it. I love this axe for its lightweight, around 10 ounces. Not sure if it’s going to last a long while, but I expected from the feel that I could get a bunch of works done before it wears.
It is the cover that is worth the money too. There are clipping locks at two places to secure your hatchet. At the back, you can find the slits for attaching the axe to your belt.
|CRKT Birler Compact Axe Specifications|
Length (With Handle)
Crafted from 1055 steel by a veteran with quality to tackle most mediocre jobs
It’s a decent axe that doesn’t come with too much bulkiness while still being able to handle light woodworks.
Best For Occasional Light Woodwork: Schrade SCAXE2L 15.7in Large Survival Axe
- Sleek design
- Excellent gripping in the handle
- Useful ferro rod and sharpening stone
- Poor sheath design
- Sharp but brittle
Since I have an arsenal of axes in my crafting paradise, this unit is my preferable one when dealing with occasional woodwork. Partly because the stainless steel isn’t as versatile as Swedish steel.
However, the look and feel is great on this tool. Length and weight also trump a number of applications. I would recommend using it as a knife with some light chopping. For splitting? Yes, it can tackle, but I don’t want my axe to get chipped quickly.
What I like is the head with a hammer on the other side. The handle is one flagship. It’s a cold resistance flexibilized handle for ultimate grip. The axe comes with a ferro rod attached to the end of the handle. You’ll receive a two-sided sharpening stone with the axe too.
|Schrade SCAXE2L 15.7in Large Survival Axe Specifications|
Length (With Handle)
Blade made of 3Cr13 Titanium Coated S.S for razor sharp and rust-resistant
This great axe is the axe of choice for those looking for a lightweight, versatile survival axe tough enough to handle occasional light work.
Most Durable: 1844 Helko Werk Germany Rheinland Hatchet
- Rough handle
- Hand-forged carbon steelhead
- Ergonomically balanced
- Come not sharp
- Color may be different from the picture
I recently found this hatchet to add for my bulk work. It’s got a nice American hickory handle crafted in Germany. That said, each piece is selected for grain orientation and density and coated with boiled linseed oil.
For the head, it’s C50 carbon steel. The blade is a wide bit woodworker type treated with heat then hung with a wooden wedge for security. The process is done by hand to guarantee durability.
One thing I like about the wide blade German style is it’s easy to store. When you’re not using it, you can just sink it into a piece of wood easily with a nice sharp point.
The sheath is full-grain leather designed for fast access. It comes with an ounce of Axe Guard protective oil.
|1844 Helko Werk Germany Rheinland Hatchet Specifications|
Length (With Handle)
The axe offers stiffness to handle bulky work from clearing your property to making art wood.
How To Choose The Best Axes For Bushcraft?
The general purpose of an axe is to chop, cut, split. Today hatchets can cover a lot more applications. However, they won’t be specific to one particular task.
Yet, bushcraft is an essential skill an outdoorsman should equip, hence the axe. There are not many but a few facets of the item you need to keep in mind so that you can pick out the best axe of use.
- You always want to make sure the hatchet itself has a nice gentle taper. In other words, it should a thin bit, then coming into the cheeks. That’s going to give you a lot of bites to the axe. The strong cheeks also help in splitting timber.
- As a matter of fact, you’re not going to drag a 36” axe with you to the campsite unless you’re cutting 5-inch diameter trees. It’s definitely not going to match your backpack. But if you tend to chop down bigger wood for better burning fuel, it’s ok to go lengthier.
- After all, I think a 12 to 20-inch bushcraft chopper fits well for lighter work. It yet has decent portability for you to handle pretty much anything you throw. The length of the handle is also ideal for solid swings.
- So far, I reckon Swedish steel would be the best along with premium standard craftsmanship. A hickory handle would be a perfect match for more stiffness and flexibility.
- A super-light axe would be in great help, especially when you need deep thick cuts. But anything more than 3 pounds would get you fatigued quickly.
- Medium axes are optimal choices for me. The middle range from 2 to less than 3 pounds is ideal for most assignments. They are more useful for refining jobs and cutting down thicker trees.
- Upon swinging, you’re likely to get your axe to fly if the handle becomes slippery.
- Varnished handles look nice, but they tend to become slick when you sweat. But if had one, sanding gives the unit more friction.
- Sometimes, price does affect your buying decision. The price usually falls in the material the axes are made of. Hand-forged axes with high-quality curved handles cost a bit extra.
- If an axe is just a minor gear in your package, it’s not necessary to spend a bunch for it. Nonetheless, if you want quality and budget in one place, the Husqvarna 20 in. is a none to second option.
Which Brands Make The Best Axes For Bushcraft?
- The Swedish company is among the pioneers in crafting the best outdoor gear, including axes for bushcraft. They own the patented Swedish steel forged to become incredibly hard, thus adding a significant lifespan and sturdiness to their products.
- Columbia River Knife & Tool established in 1994 by Elmer Roush is an American company with innovation and integrity in mind. Hatchets from the brand bear exclusive quality and elaboration to tackle woodwork in an exceptional way people claim to be inspiring and enduring.
Is a maul or AXE better for bushcraft?
An axe is lighter and shorter than a maul, thus costs you less energy to swing. To say which one is better for bushcraft, I would choose the axe because it gives me more flexibility and portability for the same level of chopping.
What is the difference between a splitting AXE and a chopping AXE?
The two units are different in many ways. Chopping axes have a slimmer blade that is sharper for cutting through wood fibers. Splitting axes are more powerful in cutting logs in a vertical position. That’s why the particular splitting axes feature thick and strong cheeks so as not to get stuck in the wood when stroke.
What is the best wood for an AXE handle?
As you may know, hickory is the most popular material for axe handle. Hickory is strong with straight staves, promising a stiff handle. Besides, ash, oak, sugar maple, and yellow birch are among the popular choices for making an axe handle.
What is the purpose of a double-sided AXE?
With a double-bladed axe, you have twice the sharpness. More essentially, the double blade is designed to have one side shaving sharp for chopping while the other is duller for splitting.
How long should my AXE last?
My axes last several years with lots of refining and care. But with proper maintenance, an axe can last your entire life. But apparently, since we tend to switch when the blade gets dull, and the price for an axe is not any exquisite, it’s reasonable for users to buy new axes once in a while.
It’s great to reach the end, but I really wish to hear from you about what axe of your choice. I’ve got the best axe for bushcraft. Hope you’ve found your right one too.
In all honesty, the market will update, and I will keep you informed if I got anything better than the choices above. So, like, share, and subscribe to my newsletter. I’ll see you soon.