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Axes & Tomahawks | Camping, Forest & Survival Review

axesWhen most Americans traveled either by foot or by canoe, the most common and most practical sidearm and camp tool was the tomahawk. The preferred weapon of Native America caught on quickly among the European pioneers, and the combined demand created a massive influx of trade axes to the Americas. Some were of excellent quality and some were only created for profit, with hollow pipe stem handles and pipe bowls instead of polls. Few pipe axes kept the fragile bowl intact for long. The more practical forms of the one-hand axe proved best for work and for survival in the dense brush and virgin forests of the New World.

For campers, hunters and canoers today the hatchet or camp axe is still the sensible solution to many everyday problems. Tasks which would take hours with a belt knife take minutes with a good hatchet. Hunters of big game use the axe to cleave bone. Expert campers use axes to build emergency shelters, and chop and split firewood. Full sized axes may be better suited to farm work, but hatchets and tomahawks go anywhere — small enough to fit in the pack or lash to the bottom of a canoe seat.

Sporting axes today include another popular European import, the mountaineer’s ice axe, and military tomahawks which serve peaceful purposes equally well. The pipe axe also survives — today as in the old days usually a cheap souvenir.

Some of Our Favorite Axes

Our choice for the best axe is the Emerson CQC-T Tactical Tomahawk. It’s top quality, designed to handle anything from camp chores to combat.

Smith & Wesson’s Bullseye Hatchet provides an inexpensive alternative that’s still practical and reliable.

Cold Steel’s Throwing Tomahawk combines a functional hammer poll with an axe blade, and is tough enough for throwing practice.

See All of Our Axe Reviews Below


Cold Steel Trail Hawk Camp Hand Axe

Tomahawk Hammer w/ Hickory Handle

Cold Steel Trail Hawk Camp Hand Axe | Tomahawk Hammer w/ Hickory Handle

Possibly many of today's backwoodsmen are a little embarrassed to carry a tomahawk, but I wouldn't think of leaving mine at home. In camp, I'm always looking for an excuse to use it. This very affordable Trail Hawk from Cold Steel weighs a little more than my ...





Gerber Back Pack Axe, Small

Camping & Wood Chopping Hatchet w/ Sheath 45912

Gerber Back Pack Axe, Small | Camping & Wood Chopping Hatchet w/ Sheath 45912

Gerber's Back Paxe offers backpackers a versatile camp tool small enough to carry conveniently into the deep woods. While it doesn't provide full-sized power, for some uses the Paxe outperforms a survival knife of equal weight.

If you build things when you go to the woods -- like primitive shelters ...





Hanwei Francisca Axe, Viking Combat

Medieval Antique Throwing Weapon XH2120N

Hanwei Francisca Axe, Viking Combat | Medieval Antique Throwing Weapon XH2120N

The Francisca Antiqued Axe from CAS Hanwei reproduced a genuine combat axe design used by marauding Viking warriors. Now a favorite of collectors and competitive axe throwers, this historically accurate axe would grace any wall. Around the camp, it's too good not to use.

The antiqued finish of the high ...





Hudson Bay Camp Axe by Snow & Nealley

Tomahawk Frontier Trade Replica w/ Hickory Wood Handle 012S

Hudson Bay Camp Axe by Snow & Nealley | Tomahawk Frontier Trade Replica w/ Hickory Wood Handle 012S

If you think this camp axe from Snow and Nealley looks a lot like a tomahawk, you're right. The Hudson Bay axe pattern was hot stuff as trade goods throughout the Great Lakes during the days of the Fur Trade, and versions of this versatile pattern ...





Gerber Camp Hand Axe, Chopping & Wood Splitting

Nylon Handle w/ Belt Sheath 45905

Gerber Camp Hand Axe, Chopping & Wood Splitting | Nylon Handle w/ Belt Sheath 45905

The Gerber 45905 Camp Axe is a good size for canoeists and hunters able to carry larger gear on their backwoods journeys. Although it's nearly indestructible, the wrap-around handle style does limit the cut compared to traditional builds.

That's really the only drawback to this axe's nearly one-piece construction. ...





Cold Steel Frontier Tomahawk, Outdoor Survival Tool

Camp Hawk Axe, Protective Coated w/ Hickory Handle 90F

Cold Steel Frontier Tomahawk, Outdoor Survival Tool | Camp Hawk Axe, Protective Coated w/ Hickory Handle 90F

Even though it looks too simple, the round eye of this very basic frontier axe makes it one of the best choices in camp axes. Unless you insist on driving tent stakes with the hammer poll of a tomahawk there's seldom need for more than a good chopping edge.

In many ...





Cold Steel Spike Hawk Axe

Tomahawk or Kama w/ Hickory Handle 90SH

Cold Steel Spike Hawk Axe | Tomahawk or Kama w/ Hickory Handle 90SH

The Cold Steel Spike Tomahawk brings back an old frontier style that was more fighting tomahawk than camp axe. The spiked poll of the axe is obviously dangerous, so if you're going to use this one in the woods, be careful. The backswing gets a little hazardous.

In fact, even ...





Cold Steel Axe, Tactical Trench Hawk

Throwing or Camping Tomahawk, Polypropylene Handle w/ Sheath

Cold Steel Axe, Tactical Trench Hawk | Throwing or Camping Tomahawk, Polypropylene Handle w/ Sheath

Cold Steel's Trench Hawk brings convenient technical improvements to an already popular tactical tomahawk design. Changes make this an excellent axe for throwing, as well as for ordinary camp work.

The drop-forged 5150 high carbon steel of the axe head fits a slot in the strong polypropylene handle. Strong ...





SOG Hand Axe, Small Camp Ax w/ G-10 Handle

Specialty Knife & Tool Black Oxide F09-N

SOG Hand Axe, Small Camp Ax w/ G-10 Handle | Specialty Knife & Tool Black Oxide F09-N

This lightweight camp axe from SOG Specialty Knife and Tool cuts weight down to sensible levels and still performs reliably and well. Ground from one piece of high carbon 420 stainless steel, there's not much in this axe to break so you won't need to worry about ...





Carpenter’s Axe by Gransfors Bruks

Wood Carving Construction Square Blade

Carpenter’s Axe by Gransfors Bruks | Wood Carving Construction Square Blade

Timber framers know this tool. If you've tried an axe for chopping joints for log buildings or post-and-beam construction and it didn't work out well, it was probably because you had something else in hand. Only the squared edge of a carpenter's axe will chop a truly flat surface.

The ...





Wetterlings Axe Chopping Blade, Hand Forged

Swedish Hickory Handle 32H

Wetterlings Axe Chopping Blade, Hand Forged | Swedish Hickory Handle 32H

Hand forged in Storvik, Sweden, the S.A. Wetterling Axe with hickory handle represents 100 years of Swedish tradition. The best Wetterling axes like this one are shaped by hand forging, a process that requires patience, time and a high degree of skill. The end result is a better axe.

The usual ...





Outdoor Camp Axe by Gransfors Bruks

Camping Ax w/ Flat Poll Hammer & Sheath

Outdoor Camp Axe by Gransfors Bruks | Camping Ax w/ Flat Poll Hammer & Sheath

Although the Gransfors Bruks Outdoor Axe is a little smaller than the award-winning Hunter's Axe, it's certainly made well enough to do most of the same work. The Outdoor Axe even includes some of the features of the company's best splitting axes. Choose this camp axe if you ...





Shingle Froe by Peavey

Firewood Kindling Wood Splitter, 15 Inch Blade

Shingle Froe by Peavey | Firewood Kindling Wood Splitter, 15 Inch Blade

The froe is the tool most woodworkers don't realize they need. This Shingle Froe from Peavey will quickly become one of your indispensable tools if you split kindling and firewood. Woodturners will like it even more.

This simple blade of iron or mild steel will cleanly split a short bolt of ...





Gransfors Bruks Splitting Wood Axe, Large

Camp Chopping Ax, Handmade Forged

Gransfors Bruks Splitting Wood Axe, Large | Camp Chopping Ax, Handmade Forged

Many people do enjoy splitting wood for the campfire or the wood stove, and the Gransfors Bruks Large Splitting Axe makes that warming chore go well. Ordinary chopping axes work fairly well for some types of wood but just bury themselves in others. This special axe blasts through.

The difference between ...





Gransfors Bruks Splitting Maul Axe

Sledgehammer & Firewood Chopping Ax w/ Hickory Wood Handle

Gransfors Bruks Splitting Maul Axe | Sledgehammer & Firewood Chopping Ax w/ Hickory Wood Handle

Park the noisy gas-powered hydraulic log splitter in the barn, and get out the Gransfors Bruks splitting maul instead. Splitting wood by hand is fun, excellent exercise, and faster than splitting with a machine. Don't forget the steel wedges for the tough blocks.

Even a cheap splitting maul can handle ...





Ames Michigan Wood Axe, Polished Single Bit Premium

Red Fiberglass Handle, 36 Inch 1189500

Ames Michigan Wood Axe, Polished Single Bit Premium | Red Fiberglass Handle, 36 Inch 1189500

The Premium Single Bit Michigan Axe is the top-of-the-line axe for Ames with a polished axehead and a high-tech, wavy fiberglass handle. Though it's guaranteed for life, you'll still need to take good care of it.

Although the polish might not seem important to an axehead, it actually does improve ...





Planter Axe Gardening Tool, Digging & Landscaping

High Carbon Steel Ax w/ Hickory Handle 855-01

Planter Axe Gardening Tool, Digging & Landscaping | High Carbon Steel Ax w/ Hickory Handle 855-01

If you're working up a new garden spot or moving bushes, you will encounter roots that only some sort of axe will handle. The Planter Axe was built for that. With a 5-1/2 pound steel axe head and a 36-inch-long handle of American hickory, a determined gardener can move ...





Truper Michigan Do It Chopping Axe 300864

Double Edged Bit w/ Hickory Handle

Truper Michigan Do It Chopping Axe 300864 | Double Edged Bit w/ Hickory Handle

The Truper "Do-It" Michigan Pattern axe is what most people see in their imagination when someone says "chopping axe." This old axe pattern was a favorite on the wagon trains, which were filled with people who knew only a little about frontier life.

The Truper is a standard, modern axe ...





Black Legion Barumen War Axe

Includes Free Kit Rae Autographed Fantasy Art Print

Black Legion Barumen War Axe | Includes Free Kit Rae Autographed Fantasy Art Print

Kit Rae describes the Black Legion War Axe as one of the two fearsome axes wielded by the Barumen, the monstrous soldiers of the Black One. In the fantasy history which inspired the Swords of the Ancients series by United Cutlery, the Barumen evolved from a strange genetic mixture ...





Gransfors Bruks Axe Book

Crafting Tools Instruction Manual and Help

Gransfors Bruks Axe Book | Crafting Tools Instruction Manual and Help

The Axe Book, produced by Gransfors Bruks, gives new axe owners a leg up on the old craft of axemanship as well as several other basic living skills which are becoming increasingly rare in the modern urban world. At the Gransfors Bruks facility in Sweden, modern craftsmen hand forge today's ...





AMPCO Fireman’s Emergency Pick Axe, Nonflammable

Fire Proof Safety Tools

AMPCO Fireman’s Emergency Pick Axe, Nonflammable | Fire Proof Safety Tools

Since I don't spend much of my time in high rise buildings, I don't see many firemen's axes -- though in many places, they're a standard part of the landscape right next to the fire extinguisher in the hallway. The AMPCO Fireman's Pick Head Axe could provide that same level of ...





Estwing Hatchet Hand Axe w/ Forged Steel Handle

Leather Sportsman E24A

Estwing Hatchet Hand Axe w/ Forged Steel Handle | Leather Sportsman E24A

Estwing solved the ancient riddle of how to make an axe handle that won't break by forging the entire tool from steel. The Estwing Sportsman's Hatchet brings the durability of a fine steel-shanked carpenter's hammer to the campsite in this 16-inch-long and nearly 2-1/2-pound camping tool.

Forged from high carbon ...





Ames Landscaping & Gardening Axe w/ Adz

Chopping Pulaski True Temper 1188800

Ames Landscaping & Gardening Axe w/ Adz | Chopping Pulaski True Temper 1188800

The Ames True Temper Landscaping Axe could be considered the civilian version of the Pulaski Firefighting Tool used by smoke jumpers and other wilderness workers to clear trails and firebreaks. The model used by the U.S. Forest Service is heavier than the Ames, but this lighter version ...





Fiskars Wood Chopping Axe, Fiberglass Handle

Pro Carpenter Hatchet Tools 7858

Fiskars Wood Chopping Axe, Fiberglass Handle | Pro Carpenter Hatchet Tools 7858

Fiskars doesn't claim that the Pro Chopping Axe is unbreakable, but it does give the axe a limited lifetime warranty against defects in worksmanship, covering both head and handle. Most owners of the Fiskars Pro will not take it past its limits, which are set pretty high anyway. In one ...





Estwing Hatchet Axe for Campers and Hikers

High Carbon Steel Handle E45A

Estwing Hatchet Axe for Campers and Hikers | High Carbon Steel Handle E45A

The average single bit axe sold today runs about three and a half pounds, so the steel-handled Estwing Camper's Axe is heavier than normal in spite of the compact 26-inch length. With a cutting edge of 4 inches and some streamlining of the high carbon tool steel head, the ...





Best Wood Chopping Axe by Snow & Nealley

Tomahawk Hatchet Single Bit Tool 026S

Best Wood Chopping Axe by Snow & Nealley | Tomahawk Hatchet Single Bit Tool 026S

Snow and Nealley's "Our Best" Single Bit Axe chops kindling, splits stove wood, shears branches from downed trees, and works equally well for any number of light chores around the woodlot or farm. This 3.5-pound axe isn't out of reason for a group backpacking trip, either, provided people ...





Wood Carving Axe Tool by Gransfors Bruks

Curved Handle, Swedish Design

Wood Carving Axe Tool by Gransfors Bruks | Curved Handle, Swedish Design

When craftsmen of today try to recreate the work of previous generations, there's a good chance they'll just end up wondering how those old-timers did that. Modern tools were designed for modern materials and often don't fare well on traditional challenges. The Gransfors Bruks Swedish Carving Axe is one ...





Gransfors Bruks Small Hatchet w/ Hickory Handle

Mini Wood Axe Tomahawk

Gransfors Bruks Small Hatchet w/ Hickory Handle | Mini Wood Axe Tomahawk

The Mini Hatchet from Gransfors Bruks qualifies as the sporting blade you didn't know you need. Carrying the belt axe or tomahawk is an option many people don't even think about today, but it used to be standard equipment on the frontier. Lennart Pettersson, one of the smiths at the ...





Lumberjack Ax High Carbon Steel

Competition, Racing Axe by ProChainsaw

Lumberjack Ax High Carbon Steel | Competition, Racing Axe by ProChainsaw

Whether you're trying to break into the Professional Lumberjack circuit or want an excellent tool for the homestead, the Lumberjack Competition Axe from ProChainsaw is the right choice. At 5.4 pounds it may seem heavy -- if all you've ever used before is an ordinary hardware store version. Those are toys. This is the real thing.

The high carbon steel head ...





Mountain Ice Pick Axe, Omega Pacific

Climbing Gear, Hiking Stick

Mountain Ice Pick Axe, Omega Pacific | Climbing Gear, Hiking Stick

Available in 60, 65 and 75-centimeter lengths, the Mountain Axe by Omega Pacific follows the principles the company set for itself years ago in its effort to produce high quality climbing gear at an affordable price. High tech manufacturing procedures and top quality components lower the cost but ...





Petzl Ice Pick Axe, Classic Charlet Summit

Rubber Grip, Forged Stainless Steel

Petzl Ice Pick Axe, Classic Charlet Summit | Rubber Grip, Forged Stainless Steel

Only 19 ounces in weight, the 26-inch Petzl Summit offers full-size strength and a design with a few important improvements over the simple mountaineer's ice axe with straight shaft. The Summit's strong aluminum shaft, covered with a tough rubberized coating for improved grip and warmth, includes a curved upper ...





Meyerco Machete Ax Review

Stainless Steel Fixed Blade

Meyerco Machete Ax Review | Stainless Steel Fixed Blade

Machetes look like great fun in jungle movies, with everybody up front chopping away at six foot grass and sapling thickets and hardly slowing down the march--but try one in the American woodlands and you'll quickly realize that the full length machete was meant for tender green growth, not the briar ...





Best Axe: Emerson CQC-T Tactical American Survival & Camping Tomahawk

Best Axe: Emerson CQC-T Tactical American Survival & Camping Tomahawk

Ernest Emerson, martial artist and knife maker, eventually came to regard the tomahawk as one of the essential survival tools for modern times. Creating high quality combat knives favored by such respected groups as the Navy SEALS, his reputation for practicality and simplicity, expressed by modern craftsmanship, extends to this well known ...





SOG Knives Fusion Tactical Tomahawk

Military Ax Review

SOG Knives Fusion Tactical Tomahawk | Military Ax Review

In Vietnam, American Special Forces soldiers soon learned a lesson their ancestors knew very well--a tomahawk is better than a knife for close combat. In spite of its popularity, my own opinion of the Vietnam tomahawk has always been that it's a wimpy little ax, with a head that's too ...





United Cutlery Black Ronin Tomahawk

Full Tang Stainless Steel Throwing Ax

United Cutlery Black Ronin Tomahawk | Full Tang Stainless Steel Throwing Ax

United Cutlery's Black Ronin Tomahawk has enough points and sharp edges that no matter how bad you may be at throwing, you have a decent chance of getting this ax to stick in a target. The traditional tomahawk has one rather narrow cutting blade; this has two, one a ...





Smith & Wesson Bullseye Hatchet

Stainless Steel Camping, Survival Ax

Smith & Wesson Bullseye Hatchet | Stainless Steel Camping, Survival Ax

Smith & Wesson's stainless steel Bullseye is an economical and reliable camp ax with a few odd points of styling that some will like. Blade styles of hatchets are often carried over from old designs, suited to tasks most users don't perform today. In colonial times, most hatchets ...





Russ Kommer Alaskan Canoe Hatchet

Stainless Steel Camping Ax by Timberline

Russ Kommer Alaskan Canoe Hatchet | Stainless Steel Camping Ax by Timberline

One of the nice things about canoe camping is that you can take more than you could comfortably carry. Instead of a little packer's stove, you can take a two burner camp stove; instead of a lightweight trail tomahawk, you can take a Russ Kommer hatchet with a 4 ...





Throwing Tomahawk

Cold Steel Axe | Rifleman’s Hawk Knife

Throwing Tomahawk | Cold Steel Axe | Rifleman’s Hawk Knife

Here we have another Cold Steel product that's a fair value for what it offers. Do a search on functional tomahawks and you'll see a lot of quality products for the same price as the Rifleman's Hawk. So we're not about to throw it into the "expensive" bin anytime soon.

This tomahawk axe sports ...





Condor Wilderness Tool Axe

Blasted Satin | Leather Sheath

Condor Wilderness Tool Axe | Blasted Satin | Leather Sheath

Ever had the urge to own an axe that had a more "modern" feel to it? Then this is your utility axe, hands-down.

Condor's Wilderness Tool provides all the functionality that you need from a double-bladed axe without looking embarrassingly ancient.

It has a blasted satin finish over a genuine stainless steel blade. The ...





Axes on eBay:

Vintage 3 1 2 Lb Collins Legitimus Jersey pattern single bit axe head Vintage 3 1 2 Lb Collins Legitimus Jersey pattern single bit axe head
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Old Axe or Hatchet Head Old Axe or Hatchet Head
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First Kelly axe hand made First Kelly axe hand made
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