9 Best Backpacking Axe Options: Pros and Cons Review

A backpacking axe is an essential tool for hikers and backpackers who are venturing into the wilderness. These camping axes are designed to be lightweight, compact, and durable, making them ideal for use in remote areas. A good backpacking axe can help you clear a path, chop wood for a fire, or even build a shelter.

Best Overall

SOG Camp Axe

SOG Camp Axe

Lightweight and versatile camping tool

Best Splitting

Fiskars X7 Hatchet

Fiskars X7 Hatchet

Reliable, compact and efficient chopping hatchet

Best Budget

WilFiks Chop Axe

WilFiks Chopping Axe

Easy-to-use, budget friendly backpacking axe

With so many options available on the market for best backpacking hatchets or best camping axes, it can be challenging to choose the right one. In this article, we will explore the best backpacking axes available and what to look for when choosing one.

Best Backpacking Axes

1. Best Overall Backpacking Axe: SOG Camp Axe

SOG Camp Axe

The SOG Camp Axe is an ideal choice for those seeking a versatile and lightweight camping tool with excellent chopping and hammering capabilities.


  • Stainless steel head 3.1-inch chopping axe blade
  • Lightweight and comfortable textured handle
  • Dual-function as a wood hatchet and hammer axe


  • Sheath not as secure as desired
  • Might require frequent sharpening
  • Handle could be longer for some individuals

The SOG Camp Axe is designed for various outdoor activities, from chopping wood to hammering tent stakes. With its stainless steel 3.1-inch chopping axe blade, it offers durability and effectiveness in a compact design, measuring 11.5 inches in total length. This lightweight tool features a textured glass reinforced nylon GRN handle, making it comfortable to use during long camping trips or backpacking adventures.

One of the unique aspects of the SOG Compact Axe is its dual-function as both a wood hatchet and a hammer axe. This means that apart from chopping wood, you can also use it to pound tent stakes or break down tinder. This versatility adds value to the tool, making it handy for various outdoor situations.

While the SOG Camp Axe comes with a hard-molded glass-reinforced nylon sheath to protect the blade, the sheath does not secure as much as preferred. The blade might require frequent sharpening depending on usage, but this is a small trade-off for its overall versatility and effectiveness. I prefer a longer handle for better leverage for some tasks.

2. Best Wood Splitter: Fiskars X7 Hatchet

Fiskars X7 Hatchet

The Fiskars X7 Hatchet is a reliable choice for hiking and camping enthusiasts looking for a compact and efficient tool to chop kindling and small to medium-sized logs.


  • Lightweight and easy to carry
  • Sharp blade with advanced geometry for deeper chops
  • Unbreakable design with a lifetime warranty


  • Not ideal for breaking down hardwood
  • Handle length might feel slightly short
  • Smoother handle design which can make grip challenging at times

The Fiskars X7 Hatchet boasts a perfected balance and power-to-weight ratio that increases swing speed, much like an aluminum baseball bat. This design, combined with its ultra-sharp edge, allows the blade to bite deeper when chopping, making your task quicker and less strenuous. Ideal for cutting or chopping kindling and small to medium-sized logs, this handy tool is a go-to choice for outdoor enthusiasts.

The X7 Hatchet features a proprietary blade-grinding technique, resulting in a sharper edge that ensures better contact and cleaner cuts. Also, the low-friction blade coating not only powers through wood effortlessly but also prevents the backpacking hatchet head from getting stuck. This attention to detail contributes to the overall efficiency of the hatchet.

However, this hatchet is not be the best option for chopping hardwood. Additionally, the handle length might feel slightly short for those with larger hands or who prefer a longer grip. There is an option to thread a leather string through the base of the handle lanyard hole to loop to your backpack or possibly a belt loop.

3. Best High End Hatchet: 1844 Helko Werk Hatchet

1844 Helko Werk Hatchet

A high-quality and versatile backpacking hatchet, suitable for various tasks like kindling, carving and limbing branches, and handmade in Germany.


  • Excellent cutting performance with a traditional German wide-bit blade
  • Hand-forged from C50 high carbon steel, ensuring durability and quality
  • Comfortable Grade A American hickory handle with a linseed oil finish


  • A bit pricey compared to other backpacking hatchets
  • Not ideal for heavy-duty tasks
  • Requires regular maintenance with protective oil to prevent rusting

The 1844 Helko Werk Germany Traditional Rheinland Hatchet has incredible workmanship with its handmade design, originating from Wuppertal, Germany. The Rheinland pattern of the hatchet blade is effective in cutting work and is perfect for various tasks such as limbing branches, carving, and cutting kindling.

The backpacking hatchet features a head forged from German C50 high-grade carbon steel. The drop forging process ensures each axe head is individually shaped by hand, providing durability and quality. With a hardness of 53-56 HRC, this best backpacking hatchet is designed to last.

Comfort is a priority with the Grade A American hickory handle that is sustainably sourced and hand-finished. The 150 grit sanded wooden handle has a boiled linseed oil finish, offering a smooth and comfortable grip.

Although the 1844 Helko Werk Germany Traditional Rheinland Hatchet is a bit pricier than its counterparts, the quality and performance it brings to a campsite make it worth considering. However, it is not suitable for heavier tasks like splitting large logs. To maintain the backpacking hatchet in top condition, regular protective oil application is necessary to avoid rusting.

4. Best Camping Axe: Estwing 14″ Axe

Estwing 14" Camper's Axe

This Estwing 14″ Camper’s Axe is a durable and versatile option for those seeking an all-purpose tool for outdoor adventures.


  • Fully-forged one-piece construction
  • Patented Shock Reduction Grip
  • Comes with a durable nylon blade sheath


  • Slight on the heavy side for backpacking
  • Steel is prone to damage
  • Blade sheath lacks premium feel

The Estwing 14″ Camper’s Axe is an excellent tool for anyone who frequently spends time in the outdoors. Its fully-forged one-piece design makes it incredibly durable and capable of withstanding the tests of time.

This camping axe is perfect for cutting and chopping logs, branches, smaller trees, as well as splitting wood and kindling for firewood. Plus, the tent stake puller notch adds a touch of versatility to this already functional tool.

Comfort is crucial when handling an axe, and the patented Shock Reduction Grip on this camper’s axe ensures that you can work confidently without experiencing much vibration. The grip, combined with its solid construction, makes this camping axe a reliable choice for any outdoor activity.

Although the included nylon sheath is durable, it lacks the premium feel that a leather sheath might provide. Additionally, the camping axe is a bit heavy for backpacking purposes. The steel, while sturdy overall, has been reported to be prone to damage if not used and maintained properly.

5. Best Budget Hatchet: WilFiks Chopping Hatchet

WilFiks Chopping Axe

The WilFiks Chopping Axe is a solid choice for those looking to purchase a reliable, easy-to-use, budget friendly backpacking axe for various outdoor activities.


  • Efficient and easy to use for chopping firewood, logs, and kindling
  • Durable forged carbon steel heat-treated blade that stays sharp longer
  • Ergonomic, shock absorbing handle, and anti-slip grip for comfortable use


  • We recommend some sharpening upon arrival for optimal use
  • Axe head cover is made of plastic material
  • Ongoing maintenance to maintain sharpness

The WilFiks Chopping Axe is designed for easy chopping of firewood, logs, kindling, and branches, making it an ideal tool to have in you backpack for campers, hikers, and those participating in other outdoor activities. The optimized blade geometry ensure

Durability is a key feature of this backpacking axe, with its forged carbon steel heat-treated blade providing smooth, sharp, and quick splits that remain razor sharp longer than traditional axes. The ergonomic, cold-resistant fiberglass handle absorbs shock and resists slipping, ensuring comfortable and efficient use.

While the WilFiks Chopping Axe is a reliable option for your outdoor needs, there are a few cons to consider. We recommend a touch up on sharpening upon arrival. Additionally, the blade cover is made of plastic. A great camping axe for the value.

6. Best Compact Hatchet: LEXIVON Camping Hatchet

LEXIVON V9 Camping Hatchet

If you’re looking for a compact axe or pack hatchet that is lightweight, the LEXIVON V9 Camping Hatchet is a great backpacking hatchet option.


  • The optimized and aggressive blade angles make it easy to split wood, logs, split kindling, and branches.
  • The forged, grade-A carbon steel, heat-treated blade with hardened cutting edges provides a deeper and cleaner cut, making the camping axe more durable.
  • The innovative reinforced injected fiberglass handle is shock-absorbing, anti-slip, and weather-resistant.


  • The handle is hollow, which doesn’t feel as sturdy as solid handles.
  • The axe is not be suitable for heavy-duty tasks.

The LEXIVON V9 Camping Hatchet is a lightweight and durable axe that is perfect for campers, hikers, and outdoor enthusiasts. The optimized and aggressive blade angles make it easy to split firewood, logs, kindling, and branches, while the forged steel, grade-A carbon steel, heat-treated blade with hardened cutting edges provides a deeper and cleaner cut, improving its density and making it more durable.

The innovative reinforced injected fiberglass handle is shock-absorbing, anti-slip, and weather-resistant, making it easy to grip and comfortable to use.

One downside of the LEXIVON V9 Camping Hatchet is that the handle is hollow, which doesn’t feel as sturdy as solid handles.

Overall, the LEXIVON Hatchet is a lightweight and durable backpacking axe, the is a great option.

7. Best Survival Axe: SOG Survival Hawk

SOG Survival Hawk

The SOG Survival Hawk is a versatile and reliable backpacking axe perfect for various outdoor activities and survival needs.


  • Lightweight and portable
  • Multi-purpose blade and features
  • Durable stainless steel construction


  • Not be suitable for heavy-duty tasks
  • Grip may feel slippery during wet conditions
  • Sheath quality could be improved

I find the SOG Survival Hawk to be an excellent survival backpacking axe that is well-suited for outdoor enthusiasts. At just 19.5 ounces, it is light enough to carry with ease and offers a range of beneficial features that come in handy while camping, hiking, or during survival situations.

The 12.1-inch camping axe has a 3-inch hard-cased black stainless steel blade, making it ideal for wood chopping and other camp tasks.

The SOG Survival Hawk also serves as a great multi-tool. The handle is wrapped in reflective paracord, providing extra visibility in the outdoors and added functionality for emergency situations.

Additionally, the built-in ferrocerium firestarter rod allows for quick and easy fire starting. This tactical axe also features a nail puller, hammering head, and claw spike for prying and wire cutting, ensuring users are prepared for various scenarios.

There are a few drawbacks to consider when choosing the SOG Survival Hawk. It is not the best option for heavy-duty wood chopping, as its size and build are more tailored towards mobility and versatility. The grip, although comfortable, can become slippery when wet, so it’s essential to use caution during rainy conditions or near water sources. The quality of the sheath could be improved for better durability and functionality.

The SOG Survival Hawk is a reliable outdoor tool that delivers impressive performance even though it is compact and lightweight. Its versatility and additional features make it a great addition to any backpacker’s gear collection.

8. Best Backpacking Axe With Leather Grip: Estwing Camping Axe

Estwing Sportsman's Axe

Estwing’s 12-inch Sportsman’s Axe provides durability and versatility for a number of tasks suitable for a backpacking hatchet or a best survival hatchet.


  • Forged in one piece for enhanced durability
  • Suitable for splitting logs, small trees, or splitting kindling
  • Comes with heavy-duty, protective blade sheath


  • Handle may be short for some
  • Might be too lightweight for heavy-duty tasks
  • Leather grip may need maintenance over time

Estwing’s E14A 12-inch Sportsman’s Axe is a popular choice among a wide range of individuals, from casual campers to dedicated outdoorsmen. This camping axe features a one-piece design, offering longevity and less likelihood of breaking compared to axes with separate head and handle pieces. With a polished finish and an attractive leather grip, the Sportsman’s Axe stands out among its competitors.

Perfect for chopping up logs, small trees, and branches, this camping hatchet can also be used for splitting firewood and kindling. However, its 12-inch length and light weight should be considered when planning to take on heavier tasks. While the genuine leather grip provides a comfortable and stylish finish, it may require some maintenance to keep it looking and feeling its best.

The Estwing Sportsman’s Axe comes with a rugged, ballistic nylon sheath to keep the hand-sharpened cutting edge protected when you are not using it. While this axe is impressive in many aspects, potential buyers should note its limitations in handle size and weight.

9. Best Tomahawk Axe: CRKT Woods Chogan Tomahawk Axe

CRKT Woods Chogan Tomahawk Axe


  • Forged tough with 1055 carbon steel for durability and edge retention
  • Made with durable Tennessee hickory handle that withstands hard use
  • Multi-purpose utility for splitting wood and hammering tent stakes


  • Requires sharpening upon receiving the product
  • Leather sheath not included, must be purchased separately
  • Occasional cracked axe heads

The CRKT Woods Chogan Tomahawk Axe, designed by Ryan Johnson of RMJ Tactical, combines modern engineering and traditional aesthetics to create an outdoor essential built for the wilderness. Its hot forged, 1055 carbon steel blade is robust and cuts through timber with ease, while its hammerhead provides extra utility for tasks such as driving tent stakes.

The Tennessee hickory handle, made in the USA, ensures durability and a comfortable grip during extended use. Its lacquer coating adds an extra layer of protection and longevity to the handle, making it a reliable companion for your backpacking excursions.

The product requires a fine-tune sharpening before use and that the leather sheath, which protects the camping axe blade, is not included and must be purchased separately.

Buying Guide

When it comes to selecting the perfect backpacking axe or forest axe, there are several factors I consider to ensure I get the best product that suits my needs. In this buying guide, I’ll share some of those crucial factors to help you make an informed decision.


Weight is a significant aspect to consider when looking for a backpacking axe. I always aim for lightweight axe options, especially if I’ll be hiking or backpacking for long durations. Lighter axes are easier to pack and carry, but be cautious not to compromise the durability and quality of the axe.

Size and Length

Size and Length are also essential factors. I prefer a compact hatchet or axe that fit easily within my backpack, without causing discomfort during my outdoor adventures. However, the size should not compromise its performance, so ensure it remains functional and efficient despite its dimensions.

Material and Craftsmanship

Another aspect I look into is the Material and Craftsmanship. Durability is essential, as I want an axe that won’t fail me during critical moments. Stainless steel or carbon steel is ideal for the blade, while composite materials or hickory can be suitable for the handle.

Axe Head Blade Design

The blade design can make a huge difference depending on intended use. For chopping wood, I prefer a broader blade that provides better wood splitting power. For finer detailed work, like carving, a narrower blade is more suitable.

Ease of Maintenance

Ease of maintenance is also crucial. Axes that require consistent sharpening or care are not practical for longer backpacking trips. I always consider an axe that retains sharpness for much more extended periods without the need for frequent maintenance.

When selecting your backpacking axe, prioritize aspects like weight, size, materials, blade design, the different parts of the axe, and ease of maintenance.

Backpacking Hatchet Safety

Remember that backpacking hatchets and can be dangerous tools if misused. The blades should be kept sharp to cut through wood. Sharper tools result in better chopping efficiency and reduced fatigue for the person swinging the camping axe. However, sharper camping axe blades with a nice cutting edge also contributes to a misplaced swing being potentially dangerous.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a hatchet for my backpacking trip?

Yes, if you anticipate needing to chop wood for fires or clear paths, a hatchet could be useful. For lighter tasks like food preparation or simple camp chores, a multi-tool or pocket knife may suffice.

What size axe is best for camping?

Smaller axes or hatchets are lightweight and easier to carry but may not be preferred for larger tasks. If you plan to split logs or chop thicker branches, bring a medium-sized axe or folding saw.

Are ultralight hatchets effective for backpacking?

Yes, ultralight hatchets are effective for backpacking, as long as they’re made of durable materials and have a sharp blade.

Which camping axe is best for beginners?

The best camping axe for beginners is one that is easy to use, durable, and affordable. A medium-sized axe with a comfortable grip, and an ergonomic handle. It should come with a protective sheath for safe transport and storage.

How do I choose the right axe for backpacking trips?

Balance weight, size, durability, and functionality with the tasks you expect to perform and choose an axe that best meets those needs. Make sure to take into account how easy it will be to carry the axe.

How do you carry an axe on a backpack?

Secure an axe to the exterior of a backpack using backpack attachment points or straps. Make sure the axe head is covered with a protective sheath to prevent damage to your gear or injury to yourself. The axe should not impede movement or cause discomfort.

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