Whether you get stuck out in the woods, there is a natural disaster, or your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, having a good survival tool can and does save lives. One such tool is the survival axe.
The issue here is because there are so many options, knowing which one is right for you can be nearly impossible. This article will review five of the best survival axes available this year.
Estwing Special Edition Camper’s Axe
Iunio Survival Axe
Estwing Camper’s Axe
Off Grid Tools Survival Axe
Schrade SCAXE2 11.8in Stainless Steel Small Axe
Best Survival Axe: Reviews
Estwing Special Edition Camper’s Axe
Suppose you are looking for a lightweight yet durable and multi-functional survival and camping axe. In that case, this Estwing Special Edition Camper’s Axe is an excellent option to consider, not to mention that it has quite a sleek and stylish design.
One of the things that stands out about the Estwing Special Edition Camper’s Axe is how lightweight it is. Just looking at it, you wouldn’t think that it weighs only 7 ounces, making it a very light option.
The lightweight design makes this axe quite portable, as it won’t add more weight to your pack. Moreover, in terms of portability, keep in mind that the Estwing Special Edition Camper’s Axe is 26 inches long, so it is quite large, although not so large that it limits its overall portability.
When it comes to the length, it’s long enough to take care of all basic jobs that you would use an axe for, yet short and light enough to remain portable. In case it is too long for you, and you’d like something more portable, there is a 16-inch model as well.
Because the Estwing Special Edition Camper’s Axe is relatively thin and light, you might think that it’s not tough. However, this is not true because it is made with super high quality 1055 steel that has been drop forged and tempered, resulting in an extremely durable axe head.
Moreover, the blade is polished, honed, and hand sharpened to ensure the sharpest and most durable cutting head. It is worth mentioning that this axe is 100% made in the USA.
To keep you comfortable as you swing the Estwing Special Edition Camper’s Axe, the rubber shock-reduction grip absorbs up to 70% of the created impact, so your hands won’t start hurting.
The Estwing Special Edition Camper’s Axe comes in two finishes, black and classic silver.
The good part about the Estwing Special Edition Camper’s Axe is that it’s an all-around nice axe regarding the most essential features. It’s not too heavy, not too large, yet still big enough for all basic jobs; it’s made of durable steel in the USA, and it’s got a comfortable grip.
The Estwing Special Edition Camper’s Axe comes with a relatively cheap sheath. It’s nothing horrible and certainly not a deal-breaker, but still far from impressive.
- 26 and 16-inch models available
- Silver or black finish
- Forged and tempered steel
- Hand sharpened and honed
- Shock reduction handle
- Quite portable overall
- Very sharp – long-lasting edge
- Excellent durability
- Sheath could be better
- Handle may rust when exposed to excessive moisture
- More of a basic axe than a survival axe
iunio Survival Axe
If you are looking for a true survival axe with many integrated lifesaving tools and gadgets, this iunio Survival Axe is a fantastic product. It’s convenient, serves many purposes, and it doesn’t cost very much.
Right off the bat, by far, the best part about the iunio Survival Axe is that it serves so many different purposes because of its innovative design.
This axe features a multi-sectional handle that can screw apart in various places. The handle can be screwed apart, and within each section of the handle, there is a different survival tool stored.
When you unscrew the handle, the interior contains a safety hammer for breaking glass, a compass for finding your way, an emergency whistle to signal for help, a flint rod fire starter, a fish scaling tool, and a bottle opener.
Each tool is neatly contained in the handle, so you don’t have to carry them separately.
When you want to use a particular tool, take it out of the handle; you can screw it onto the existing handle (the bottom part). Essentially, each tool has its own handle.
This combination of features and tools makes the iunio Survival Axe one of the most convenient and versatile survival tools around. There is also the fact that when you use the axe, you can leave off half of the handle to turn it into a small hatchet.
The axe head is made of high carbon steel, so it is both durable and lightweight, not to mention that the rear of the axe head doubles as a hammer. The handle of the iunio Survival Axe is made of premium aluminum alloy, so it’s lightweight and decently durable. It’s a small, light, and portable survival axe that comes loaded with features and additional survival tools.
The good part about the iunio Survival Axe is that it is more than just an axe. It’s the kind of survival tool you can use to make a fire, build a shelter, signal for help, gut and scale fish and other animals, and more. This is a true survival tool, something to consider for your bugout bag.
Although it is lightweight and portable, the bad part about the iunio Survival Axe is that its durability is limited. To allow it to fit all of those other tools, the handle of this axe is hollow.
There are many sections where the handle comes apart, so it has many weak points. In reality, this is not an axe that should be used for actual wood splitting, at least not for big pieces of hardwood.
- Hollow handle with many tools included
- A true survival axe
- Length adjustable handle
- Axe head doubles as a hammer
- Looks very neat
- Affordable price
- Minimal overall durability
- Not intended for heavy-duty wood splitting
Estwing Sportsman’s Axe
This is a much smaller and more compact axe from Estwing, what most people would call a hatchet.
Whether you want to call it a short axe or a hatchet, it has a super durable design, it’s made of high-quality materials, and it should last for decades.
One thing that stands out about the Estwing Sportsman’s Axe is that it comes in at an ideal size for a survival and camping axe.
First off, it weighs under 2 pounds, so for a solid axe like this, it’s not too heavy; this means that you can easily take it with you, and it also allows for prolonged use without causing too much fatigue.
At the same time, the Estwing Sportsman’s Axe is 14 inches, which is large enough for most basic axe-related jobs, such as splitting smaller pieces of wood, chopping down small trees, and making kindling; it is not so long that it becomes hard to maneuver or to render it hard to transport. Although it’s not the biggest axe around, it’s portable and convenient.
The genuine leather grip that has been sanded and lacquered makes this axe more comfortable to use. This results in an axe handle that provides an excellent grip and traction, even when wet, not to mention that lacquered leather is very long-lasting.
The Estwing Sportsman’s Axe is made with heavy-duty forged steel, and the axe head and handle are made from one piece of steel and drop forged.
This has to be one of the most durable axees around, not to mention that it is made in the USA.
We really like the Estwing Sportsman’s Axe because it is small, portable, and still very durable. It might not look like anything special, but it’s a high-quality and long-lasting tool.
What’s not so great about the Estwing Sportsman’s Axe is that it’s really just a hatchet, not a specialized survival tool (although this should not be a deal-breaker because it is a high-quality product).
Also, there have been several reports of people receiving this product, and it not being a full 14 inches long as advertised.
- Very durable design
- High-quality steel
- Drop forged out of a single piece of steel
- Comfortable and durable leather grip
- Good weight and size for survival/camping
- Reasonable price
- Not for full-size axe purpose – not for splitting full logs
- May not actually be 14 inches long as advertised
- A great axe in general, but not really a specialized survival axe
Off Grid Tools Survival Axe Multitool
This is a true survival multitool because it comes with a small axe, a hammer, and more.
It works for smaller purposes, although it is not something you could use to chop down trees. It’s quite a versatile and functional tool with a plethora of components.
The really cool thing about the Off Grid Tools Survival Axe Multitool is the many different functions.
First, it has a relatively small hatchet blade; although it’s too short to chop down large trees or split large logs, it is more than enough to make firewood and kindling and other such small purposes.
The axe head is made of 420 stainless steel with a special finish, so it is relatively durable considering its size; it’s also rust-resistant (although not rustproof). The Off Grid Tools Survival Axe Multitool features a full tang design that helps increase overall durability and provides a good balance.
Integrated into the axe head, here is a hammer, a pry bar, a nail puller, and 8 different hex sizes, making the Off Grid Tools Survival Axe Multitool a true survival multitool. There is also a metal glass breaker to escape crashed or sinking cars; it also features a replaceable 6-inch saw blade that can be used for metal and wood.
The Off Grid Tools Survival Axe Multitool may look small, and in all reality, it is. It measures 11.5 inches and weighs 1.6 pounds. It is small enough to be portable, yet it’s also heavy enough to ensure that it doesn’t fall apart the second you hit something with it.
The good part about the Off Grid Tools Survival Axe Multitool is that it is a true survival tool that can serve many different purposes. Many people will appreciate the many built-in functions in such a compact package.
What’s not so great about the Off Grid Tools Survival Axe Multitool is the axe feature itself. It’s not designed for heavy-duty applications that require a lot of striking, but you can use it to split small pieces of wood. If you hit a tree hard enough, it might bend or break. It also appears that this tool rusts relatively easily.
- Many different functions
- Looks nice
- Good price
- Well balanced
- Easy to access functions
- Good for smaller applications
- Not really ideal for chopping wood, especially larger pieces
- May rust with time
Shrade SCAXE2 Axe
If you are looking for a small, lightweight axe, or more realistically, a hatchet, this Shrade SCAXE2 Axe is an excellent option to consider. It’s durable, it’s functional, and it looks really neat.
The Shrade SCAXE2 Axe is a convenient option if you need something small and portable. This axe weighs 1 pound 6.4 ounces, making it pretty average. It’s light enough to use without fatiguing, yet it is also heavy enough to ensure a decent amount of force behind each strike.
It’s just under 12 inches in terms of length, making it small enough to be portable, yet large enough for most axe-related jobs – except for splitting massive logs and felling trees. It has a black thermoplastic belt sheath that you can hook to your belt to keep both you and the axe safe and at hand.
What also stands out is how the axe head and blade are made of 3Cr13 titanium coated stainless steel, which provides a great degree of durability. It’s a solid axe head that can handle a whole lot of punishment without bending, cracking, or chipping, and it has quite a sharp edge as well.
The Shrade SCAXE2 Axe features a handle made out of a combination of PA and TPR, filled with glass fiber, and has a rubberized grip.
The handle is very durable, lightweight, and comfortable to hold; it is shock-absorbing and cold and moisture resistant. The other thing worth noting is that the rear of the axe head doubles as a hammer, plus it comes with a ferro rod stored inside of the handle for fire starting.
The cool part about the Shrade SCAXE2 Axe, besides its awesome look, is that it’s really durable.
This axe is made of very high-quality materials from top to bottom. In terms of the reasonable price, we think this is one of the best axees around.
What’s not exactly great about the Shrade SCAXE2 Axe is the fire starter, which is admittedly not the highest quality.
Second, this is not an axe meant for hardcore wood splitting and tree felling. If you hit a hard tree with force, it might break.
- Decent overall quality
- Good weight and size
- Comfortable handle
- Comes with a hammer and firestarter integrated into it
- Reasonable price
- Looks very nice
- Ideal for smaller jobs
- Not ideal for large applications
- Firestarter is relatively low quality
Before shopping, it might be a good idea to look at the following purchasing considerations. What should you look out for when buying a survival axe?
First, pay attention to what the axe is designed for. Is it a full-size axe for taking down trees and splitting logs? Is it a smaller axe or hatchet for cutting saplings and making kindling?
Is it a true survival axe that comes loaded with features and extras like fire starters, glass breakers, hammers, saws, and more?
Axe Head and Blade
The next thing is the axe head itself, as well as the blade. You will want to pay attention to the material, with high-quality stainless steel, high carbon, and/or titanium coated blade being ideal.
Also, pay attention to how large the blade is, as this will directly impact its range of functions and versatility. Finally, check to see if the axe is full tang (handle and head made out of one piece), making it more durable.
Thickness and Sharpness
Pay attention to how sharp and thick the blade is. If you have a very thick blade, it’s not going to be super sharp, and this is ideal for wood splitting because you can use a lot of force.
On the other hand, you can go for a thinner and sharper blade for making kindling and other small applications that require more precision and sharpness and less force. A thin and sharp blade is not ideal for felling trees.
Read Also: How to sharpen a survival knife?
Handle Length and Sturdy Grip
On the one hand, with a longer handle, you can generate more force to take down trees and split logs. However, the longer the handle, the heavier the axe and the less portable it becomes.
Handle length aside, also pay attention to the grip. You will want a sturdy grip that provides good traction. You don’t want your hands slipping off the handle mid-use.
Finally, pay attention to weight distribution. If the axe is smaller, having the weight distributed fairly evenly between the head and handle is ideal.
However, an axe designed for wood splitting should have a fairly heavy head. The heavier the head, the more force you can generate with each swing.
What is the Difference Between an Axe and a Hatchet?
The real difference here is that an axe is much larger and generally designed for two-handed use.
It is made for felling trees and splitting logs. Hatchets are much smaller and lighter axees intended for one-handed use and smaller applications.
Is a Survival Axe Good for Splitting Wood?
Generally speaking, no, because survival axees are usually designed with lightweight portability in mind.
It is an axe small enough to qualify as a portable survival tool that won’t be big, heavy, or durable enough for splitting wood. That said, some high-quality hatchets may be large and heavy enough to split wood of moderate size.
How Heavy Should an Axe be?
A standard wood splitting axe can weigh as much as 8 pounds (it needs to be heavy to split big pieces).
Hatchets may weigh half that weight, give or take. A survival axe is designed for portability and may come with hammers, saws, and other useful features; it should weigh no more than 3 pounds.
It should be heavy enough to ensure durability yet light enough for portability.
The bottom line is that if you need a true survival axe that comes with many useful and lifesaving features, we recommend either the Off Grid Tools Survival Axe Multitool or the iunio Survival Axe. However, if you need an axe designed for actual wood splitting and other similar purposes, any of the others are great choices.