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 axe still weighs about 4-1/4 pounds.
If what you’re looking for is rugged reliability and some forgiveness of mistakes, the Estwing should be high on your list. Though it’s a little short for a full swing, that shorter length does give more control — and if you overshoot the mark and land the handle on the work instead of the bit, you won’t break the tool. Probably the worst you can do to this one is scratch the Estwing decal.
With an axe of this size, there is good reason to work towards accuracy when you swing. Wooden handles flex and take some of the shock of an axe strike. If you’re a little off the mark with the steel Estwing, you’ll feel it. Steel doesn’t absorb shock — it transmits it very efficiently. Some of that will be soaked up by the cushiony nylon handle grip, but not all of it. Don’t think you can get away with being careless just because you can’t break the Estwing.
The short and thick edge bevel makes this a better splitting axe than a chopping axe, and you’ll find it handy for making little pieces of big pieces if you’re working with wood like aspen. If you’re camping further east and your fuel is hickory or ash, the Estwing axe may embed itself nearly permanently in the wood bolt. You can use that unbreakable steel handle to work it free.