If you’ve been camping a lot in the past, you already know that a lot of campgrounds will sell pre-chopped firewood. So you might think that purchasing or bringing an axe on a camping trip wouldn’t be necessary.
However, there may be times when firewood is not available, such as backcountry camping. Not to mention, there are many more uses for a camping axe than just splitting firewood.
So how much do camping axes cost and weigh?
The average weight for a camping axe is 2 pounds to 2.5 pounds. The weight can range between 1 pound to 5 pounds depending on the specific duties that the axe is intended for as well as the materials of the axe. The average cost of a good quality camping axe is $40. This will also vary depending on the intended duties and materials. Prices can range from under $10 up to several hundred dollars.
So let’s look at some axes to see what they can be used for. If you’re concerned about weight, we will examine how much axes weigh and see if there are some lightweight options. Price is also a concern whenever investing in camping gear, so knowing how much to spend will help make the best decision for your needs.
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What is a camping axe used for?
When you think of an axe, the image that comes to mind might be of a lumberjack wielding an axe with a long, wooden handle to split huge logs. Although chopping wood is what most axes are designed for, they have many other uses.
An axe is really useful to help clear brush along with fallen branches and smaller trees. Even if you don’t plan to use the wood for firewood, you may need to clean up an area or help remove sticks and branches from a trail.
Even if you aren’t chopping huge logs, you may still want to hack up pieces of deadwood into smaller pieces to make kindling or firestarter. Some axes also have a hammerhead that can be used to pound tent stakes or even drive nails.
Axes that have a sharp pick on the back are also effective for digging or breaking up ice. Some axes designed for camping even have a notch to help pull stakes up when it’s time to dismantle your tent.
Camping axes are also good for doing tasks around your campsite. The sharp blade can be used as an alternative to a knife to cut rope, whittle sticks to roast marshmallows, or prepare food. It’s also a good thing to have in an emergency if something needs cut loose quickly.
What’s the difference between an axe and a hatchet?
While searching for a camping axe, you may have come across hatchets that look very similar. But what is the difference?
Hatchets are usually a little smaller than a hatchet and have a longer handle. A hatchet will be more compact and can usually be wielded with one hand.
Axes need a longer shaft and the metal head might be bigger or heavier for extra leverage and power when chopping large logs.
Examples of camping axe cost and weights?
There is a wide range of axes available at all price points. No matter your budget, you can find a camping axe that is affordable and can meet most of your needs.
The weight will also play a big role, especially if you are backpacking. Depending on who will be using the axe, you will want it to be light enough to be safely wielded.
One of the best axes on the lower end of the price spectrum is the Coleman Camp Axe which retails for under $20. It is made for camping and has a strong handle, forged steel head, and non-slip rubber grip.
This axe is also one of the most compact and lightweight options. It weighs 1.81 pounds and has a total length of 14 inches.
Another under $20 option is the MTech USA Camping Axe that measures 11 inches overall and has a stainless steel blade. The rubber handle gives a strong grip, and it is lightweight and portable.
Although you may be able to find a camping axe that is even cheaper, make sure that quality has not been compromised to accommodate a lower cost. A low-quality axe may not be durable, and the blade might be dull, which could cause injuries because it will require extra force to make effective cuts.
There are many high-quality camping axes that cost more than $20 but less than $40. Most are around $35 and are made from heavy-duty materials and may have additional features.
The Gerber Gator Combo Axe II is a good example and has a glass-filled nylon handle, forged steel head, and a saw that is held magnetically inside the handle. The grip is secure enough to be used in all weather conditions, and the saw can be used to cut up branches.
This axe weighs 26 ounces, and the overall length is just over 15.5 inches. The saw adds an additional 2.4 ounces for a total weight of 28.4 ounces which still makes it quite lightweight.
One of the more affordable axes in this price range is the Marbles Camp Axe which is just over $30. It has a 14-inch long handle and is quite lightweight, which makes it perfect for camping. At just 7 ounces, it is one of the lighter axes available.
Our favorite axe is the Estwing. It provides the perfect balance between price and quality.
The Estwing Sportsman’s Axe is made from forged steel in a single piece for extra durability. This also means they last much longer and you get more value for the money. A nylon sheath protects the blade from dulling and prevents cuts and injuries. It weighs just under 2 pounds at 1.91 pounds, and the handle is 14 inches.
Scrade’s Stainless Steel Small Axe is great for campers. The blade is made from titanium coated stainless steel, and it comes with a belt and sheath for easy access. It weighs 1 pound 6.4 ounces and is affordable at under $40.
Once you pass the $40 price point, you can find more axes that are around $45 and up. A higher price may not always correlate with reduced weight.
Usually, more expensive camping axes are crafted with more care and attention to detail. They may be forged in one piece to prevent the handle and head from detaching which can be dangerous.
The Estwing Special Edition Sportsman’s Axe is a little more expensive than it’s non-special edition counterpart at just over $45 and is very well made. Like most high-quality axes, it is forged in a single piece using steel. It has been hand sharpened and polished and tempered for strength.
The lacquered leather grip means it won’t slip while in use and it comes with a nylon sheath too. It weighs 7 ounces, and while you can find the same craftsmanship for cheaper, those who want to upgrade to something more unique can opt for this axe.
Axes made for splitting firewood will look more like the typical axe most people think about. These axes are also much higher in price and weigh a bit more than the smaller camping axes.
Prices for these are well over $100 with most costing more than $150 and some closer to $200 or even more.
One of the axes in the mid-range at this price point is the Hults Bruk Aneby medium-sized axe which costs a little under $150. It has a longer handle at 20 inches but is still relatively lightweight at 2.75 pounds.
The blade is made from Swedish steel while the handle is hickory wood. For its size, it is quite strong and gives a lot of leverage, allowing it to be used with one or both hands.
The Gransfors Bruks Small Forest Axe costs almost $180 and is perfect for limbing, felling trees, splitting sticks and cutting wood. It has a 19-inch handle and weighs 2.2 pounds which makes it significantly larger than the smaller, more affordable camping axes.
While this kind of axe can definitely be brought along while camping, it is best used for car camping because it is heavy and takes up a lot of space. The blade is incredibly sharp sot he leather sheath provides protection from injuries.
Those who need a heavy-duty log splitting axe may like the Gransfors Bruk Large Splitting Axe which is much larger. It costs nearly $200 and features an overall length of 27.5 inches and a total weight of 5 pounds.
It can be effectively used to split many kinds of firewood and has a thin blade to cut easily into the wood. The broader part of the head then pushes the wood apart to split it into smaller pieces.
Most camping axes weigh between 1-5 pounds, and the price can be anywhere from under $20 to $200. The length of the handle, size of the axe head, and quality of the materials can all contribute to both price and weight.
For most camping trips, you will not need a large tree splitting axe. Smaller, more affordable options should meet all your needs without having to spend a lot of money.
If you are unsure how often you will use the axe on a camping trip, start by purchasing something more affordable, in the $20-$40 price range. This will give you a good product to use while you figure out just how much use you will get out of it.
For backpackers who need to carry an axe, the weight will be the most important factor along with quality. You may need to pay a bit more for heavy-duty materials that are also lightweight. Otherwise, a standard camping axe should be sufficient for most traditional campers.
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