LAST UPDATED: April 22, 2021

The best bushcraft axes for the mountain man within

Best Overall CRKT Woods Forged Carbon Steel Axe CRKT Woods Forged Carbon Steel Axe

A sleek, modern axe built with the durability and balance of classic models for easy cutting, chopping, and more.

Pros
  • Takes big bites and cuts deeply
  • Head is removable for simple sharpening
  • Hammer at back of axe head adds versatility
Cons
  • Axe blade doesn’t come sharpened
  • No sheath included
Best Value Brufer Hatchet Axe Brufer Hatchet Axe

An affordably priced bushcraft axe that’s well-balanced and weighty for all-around versatility.

Pros
  • Feels nicely weighted in hand
  • Sharp tip makes great bites in wood
  • Can easily be sharpened
Cons
  • Axe head isn’t removable, but it is prone to slipping while in use
  • Axe head may come off during use
Best Premium Gransfors Bruks Small Forest Axe Gransfors Bruks Small Forest Axe

A compact and nicely portable axe that’s tough enough to fell trees, split sticks, and so much more outdoors.

Pros
  • Hickory wood handle is slightly flexible and highly durable
  • Sharp enough to shave
  • Functional yet artistically designed and attractive
Cons
  • Some axes arrive in less-than-pristine quality, with uneven blade grinding and in need of sharpening

It’s no secret that an axe is one handy tool. A good, reliable axe is a must-have when you’re chopping or splitting logs, creating an outdoor shelter, and even felling trees. And, if you’re camping, hiking, or heading out into the woods for any reason at all, a bushcraft axe is just what you need to carry. Available in a wide array of different shapes and sizes, bushcraft axes can be slim and small enough to work like a hatchet or large enough to tackle serious jobs like cutting branches, splitting piles of wood, and more. No matter which kind you need, there are plenty of options to choose from. Suitable for creating firewood to clearing paths and trails, a bushcraft axe gives you a ton of versatility in one simple tool. It can do so much more than a small survival knife, too. Wondering which bushcraft axes are worth investing in? You can find the perfect outdoor companion right here with our list of the best bushcraft axes available.

The CRKT Woods Forged Carbon Steel Axe is one all-around fantastic product. This bushcraft axe can handle jobs of varying sizes, delivering power and impressively efficient cuts with every swing. It’s a standout choice thanks to its impressive durability, which is built right into this axe from its blade to its wooden handle. Measuring 19.13 x 7.81 x 1.64 inches in overall size, this axe features a blade and a hammer head in one streamlined tool. It weighs just 1.99 pounds, making it light enough to be portable over long distances. The blade is made from 1055 tough forged carbon steel, which is meant to last you a long time and retain its sharp edge throughout many uses. The Tennessee hickory handle is dense and able to handle hard impacts and shocks as you work. The entire axe is backed by a manufacturer’s warranty, too.

When it comes to cutting, this bushcraft axe is fantastic for chopping. It takes big bites thanks to its precisely-curved blade, digging in deeply and working to combat fatigue while you work. The smooth handle gives you a good, balanced hold. However, the axe head is prone to movement and slipping while in motion, so make sure to keep a close eye on how secure it is.

If you think you have to spend a lot to get a decent bushcraft axe, think again — the Brufer Hatchet Axe is a small option that packs plenty of value for your money. And it’s affordable, too. This hatchet axe can be used with one hand outdoors, and it’s particularly helpful if you’re camping or chopping up larger logs. It’s a great choice if you want an axe you can carry anywhere with good versatility. Made with a drop-forged carbon steel head and a genuine hickory wood handle, this axe is held together with both a wooden wedge and a steel wedge for secure construction. It weighs 21 ounces and measures 14.5 inches long; the blade measures 4 inches.

While you’re working with this bushcraft axe, you’ll love its weight and balance. It’s light and easy to swing, with a solidly sized profile so you can make quick work of splitting firewood or tackling limbs and branches. There’s just one drawback: The head can wiggle or move over time, so it needs to be re-secured over time.

The Gransfors Bruks Small Forest Axe is well worth considering if you’re looking for a bushcraft axe that’s beautifully constructed and highly effective at its job. Constructed with a 19-inch hickory handle and an axe head that weighs 2 pounds, plus a sheath that’s made from vegetable tanned leather, this smaller-sized axe is ideal for splitting sticks, cutting limbs, and creating nicely-sized firewood. It can fell small to medium trees, too. The blade is razor-sharp upon arrival, allowing you to start chopping and cutting right away. It’s so sharp and fine-tuned that you can even shave with the axe. This bushcraft woodworking tool is a bit different from others — the axe head, for example, is made entirely from recycled scrap steel. The handle is durable yet flexible, giving you just the right amount of softness for each impact.

Keep in mind that this bushcraft axe is an investment; it’s quite expensive, especially for its more compact size and build. It’s a bit more artistic than most utility axes, so you’ll want to treat it with care. However, the quality of the materials and the construction should ensure it lasts you throughout many years of use.

Need a bushcraft axe that’s ideal for on the go? The Schrade Stainless Steel Small Axe will be just the right companion. This axe measures 15 x 7 x 2 inches in total size, with a handle that measures nearly 12 inches and a blade that’s 3.8 inches long. It weighs 1.44 pounds, making it perfect for your pack, your belt loop, or your EDC setup. You’ll be able to trek anywhere without even noticing the weight of this axe. Featuring a highly durable 3Cr13 titanium-coated stainless steel blade and a black, glass-fiber filled handle, you’ll find this axe is balanced and has just the right amount of flex. The rubber grip along the hande gives you extra security — and some extra safety — with a stronger, slip-free grip. A black thermoplastic belt sheath makes it easy to tote this tool anywhere, just within reach at all times.

Yet this bushcraft axe is also more than just a cutting tool. It’s also equipped with a couple of survival-ready features, including a hammer pommel and an extra-large Ferro rod that’s hidden right inside the axe shaft. A lanyard adds even more convenience.

If you’re looking for an axe that offers a great grind right out of the gate with no extra sharpening necessary, the Marbles Camp Axe is a great option. At first glance, this bushcraft axe looks a lot like any other — but when it comes to sharpness and consistency, it stands above many of its competitors. Constructed from high-quality materials, this axe features a shorter and slightly smaller head with average thickness. Its cutting edge is longer than other small bushcraft axes, with a more gradual curve along the factory edge. And, with this axe, the factory grind is longer, sharper, and rounded for just the right power and cutting strength. The forged axe head paired with a durable, tightly-grained wood handle makes for balance and comfort while you work.

However, while this axe is well-made and features lasting materials, the handle is thin. This can throw off the balance, especially with the thicker and longer head at the top. Its mid-weight design makes it highly useful, but you may need to adjust to the unique balance of this axe.

The Snow & Nealley Hudson Bay Axe is a bushcraft axe that’s made to last not only throughout your lifetime, but also for others after you. With durable construction and everything you need to keep your axe blade protected — in the form of a quality sheath — this axe is one that’s meant to be passed down. A forged, quality steel axe head that measures 4 inches high sits on a 24-inch hickory handle, and a genuine leather sheath wraps around the head to keep the blade sharp and the steel corrosion-free. In fact, the axe blade features a fine-grain steel variety that’s hand-worked to deliver superior quality and cutting results. You’ll be able to care for and maintain this axe easily thanks to its well-made sheath.

However, in an effort to make this bushcraft axe last, Snow & Nealley coated the hickory handle with a heavy lacquer finish. For some, that’s a significant drawback; the lacquer can make it slick and slip-prone when in your hands. If you aren’t bothered by this extra layer, though, then there’s little to complain about.

The Condor Tool & Knife Greenland Pattern Axe might not seem too different from other similarly designed and sized products. But this particular bushcraft axe is built for your toughest jobs — and it can survive some significant and heavy-duty scenarios. Crafted from high-quality 1045 high carbon steel, the axe blade can handle just about any cutting task. It measures 5-5/8 inches and provides a 3-3/4 inch cutting edge. The American hickory handle, which measures 16 inches long, is balanced and nicely weighted. Together, the handle and axe head will have no problem splitting and chopping through wood that’s nearly 4 inches thick, even though the entire tool weighs just 2 pounds in total. Perfect for soft and hard wood varieties alike, this axe can fell small trees, tackle limbs and branches, and handle log splitting without worry.

In addition to the tough and heavy-duty nature of this bushcraft axe, you’ll also love the details it includes. A lanyard hole allows you to easily attach the axe to anything, and the leather sheath keeps your cutting blade well-protected.

When you’re swinging an axe, a longer handle can be beneficial in certain situations — and the Estwing Long Handle Camper’s Axe is just the right fit for these kinds of jobs. Designed to be even tougher than your average bushcraft axe and longer in length, this product is forged from just one piece of steel with seamless construction. It features a steel axe head and a steel handle, giving you complete confidence that your blade will stay right in place. Additionally, the extra-long handle length gives you more leverage and the ability to take on larger trees and pieces of wood with a relatively lightweight and slim axe. Easy to carry anywhere and almost unbelievably light to wield, this axe makes quick work of any cutting chores.

The longer handle is even more ergonomic. It offers a shock reduction grip and a non-slip hold, two details that help reduce fatigue while you work. You’ll be able to split, chop, and knock down items in no time at all, with greater comfort. However, do keep in mind that the blade can be prone to chipping in some instances.

The Hults Bruk Kisa Felling Axe is a great choice if you’re looking for a bushcraft tool that’s comfortable and ergonomic to work with. This axe is tough enough — and big enough — to fell medium-sized trees, but it’s light and easy enough to wield that you’ll barely feel like you’re taking on a whole lot of physical labor. It weighs 2.86 pounds, with a 2-pound axe head and a 26-inch long handle. The head is made out of solid Swedish steel and the handle is built from solid American hickory wood. Most importantly of all, however, the handle isn’t lacquered at all. Instead, it’s comfortable and secure to grip. With little vibration while you work, you won’t feel the weight and impact of every single swing.

You’ll also love the ergonomic balance of this axe. You won’t feel too top heavy while holding this axe, and you’ll have nice control when working with smaller or slimmer pieces of wood. It’s also fantastic for long hours of work cutting down trees or breaking up trunks.

If you’re tired of dealing with axe heads that ultimately come loose, move, or even wiggle while you work, it’s time to upgrade to an all-steel model — like the Estwing Sportsman’s Axe. This totally different spin on the traditional bushcraft axe is more stable and able to prevent common issues that arise with wooden handles and attached steel cutting blades. The axe is made completely out of stainless steel, forged from just one piece of this durable metal. With a blade length of 3.25 inches and a 14-inch long handle, you’ll get a good balance of heft and swing with this bushcraft option. And, thanks to its all-steel construction, the ace is even thinner so you’ll get superior cutting results. It’s sleek and it’s more precise than most traditional competitors. For a truly secure grip, the axe also features a handle that’s wrapped with leather washers so you don’t have to worry about accidental slips.

When you’re using this all-steel bushcraft axe, you’ll also love its performance. With great durability and balance, you’ll be able to easily work quickly with smooth swings and strong bites into wood of all kinds. Just keep in mind that’s a bit of a hatchet rather than a full axe, so it is on the smaller side.

Related: The best bushcraft knives for conquering the great outdoors

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I have nearly a year of experience reviewing products for Brookline Media’s websites, including The Drive and Car Bibles. My past reviews include best ATV bags, best solar chargers for backpacking, and best waterproof tents. I’ve also written historical articles for War History Online, how-to articles for WonderHowTo, and the nonfiction book Fidget! for Adams Media.

Types of bushcraft axes

Bushcraft axes, like plenty of other axes, come in all different shapes, sizes, lengths, and weights. They can feature various kinds of cutting edges and head shapes, and each specific type of bushcraft axe can be used for specific needs or uses. Meant for wilderness skills and uses, most bushcraft axes are hardy and durable. 

Typically, any bushcraft axe is meant to help you handle a variety of outdoor tasks. Part survival tool and part wood splitting and chopping tool, a bushcraft axe can cover skills like felling trees, chopping logs, cutting apart game, and even hammering tent stakes into hard ground. Survival tasks like chopping through ice and creating kindling are also possible with one of these axes. 

To find just the right bushcraft axe for your needs, you can learn more about the different types of axes and their uses right here.

Bushcraft Hatchet

A bushcraft hatchet is a smaller, more compact axe that’s designed to be held and used with just one hand. It’s a perfectly portable option, with a handle that typically measures between 9 and 14 inches in length and an axe head that weighs between 1 and 1.5 pounds. With a bushcraft hatchet, you can tackle tasks like splitting small logs for firewood, carving various types of wood, and cutting limbs or clearing a path. 

You shouldn’t rely on a bushcraft hatchet for any chopping or cutting jobs that require you to slice through wood that’s 2 inches or more in thickness. It’s a better choice for smaller, one-handed jobs that don’t require a ton of force or effort. 

Small bushcraft axe

A small bushcraft axe is a step up from a hatchet. This kind of axe can be used one-handed or with both hands, and it’s both longer and heavier. Small axes tend to have handles between 18 and 20 inches in length and a head that weighs between 1.5 and 2 pounds. It’s able to handle larger pieces of wood and tougher jobs; you can use one of these bushcraft axes for carving, chopping, and splitting. 

A small bushcraft axe is one of the most versatile options available, as it’s still easy enough to carry anywhere and highly versatile. You can cut items up to 4 inches thick with one of these one- or two-handed cutting tools. It’s even possible to take down medium-sized trees.

Bushcraft felling axe

A bushcraft felling axe is the right choice if you want an axe that can handle some seriously big tasks. It’s the biggest kind you’ll find for bushcraft use — these axes are significantly longer and heavier, and they’re designed to take down big or even massive trees. Made just for felling, these axes tend to have handles between 24 and 30 inches long with a head that weighs between 2 and 4 pounds in total. 

A felling axe isn’t the most travel-ready option, but it’s the best choice if you need to take down trees. These are great for anyone who’s working on their own outdoor property or headed into thickly wooded areas. 

What to consider when buying a bushcraft axe

When you’re considering and comparing different bushcraft axes, it’s important to think about two features that’ll directly affect how your axe cuts: the handle and the blade. These two critical components determine how heavy your axe is, how easy it is to wield, and how powerful it is for various outdoor jobs.

To determine which axe has just the right handle, you’ll want to pick one that measures between 18 and 28 inches long. These are the most comfortable handle lengths for bushcraft, and they offer the best balance of comfort and ease of use. You’ll also want to think about the material the handle is made from. Wood is the best choice for bushcrafting; American hickory and ash are two popular, durable choices because they can easily absorb the shock of your swings and impacts.  

When it comes to the axe blade, you’ll want to opt for one that’s medium in thickness and crafted out of forged steel. Bushcraft axe blades come in all kinds of different steel varieties and formulations; one of the most common is Scandinavian. And don’t forget to consider the weight. A blade weighing 3 pounds or less is best, as heavier blades can be too difficult to carry with you.

Do you need a bushcraft axe?

If you’re someone who works outdoors, camps, or simply enjoys bushcrafting as a hobby, then you’ll want to make sure you have a quality and reliable bushcraft axe. These axes are powerful and convenient, helping you to tackle all kinds of different jobs outdoors. Whether you’re cutting up lumber, working with wood, creating kindling for a fire, or even felling huge trees, a bushcraft axe is your best ally.

The right bushcraft axe can make a world of difference. Having one that’s efficient and comfortable to wield means you’ll be able to work quickly and easily. But the perks of choosing and using a bushcraft axe don’t end there. You’ll also enjoy:

  • A sturdy cutting tool that stays sharp and effective throughout many uses and countless challenging jobs.
  • Increased strength when you’re cutting items thick and thin, depending on the axe you choose.
  • More power as you cut wood of all varieties, whether you’re working with one hand or two.
  • Better flexibility, as many axes and their handles offer a good balance of flex upon impact to prevent aches and pain.
  • Great versatility to cut all kinds of different items from logs to trees to branches and limbs.

Pricing ranges for bushcraft axes

  • $45 or Less: If you’re looking for a value-driven axe that won’t break the bank, there are plenty of one-handed hatchets and small to medium axes available within this price range. Quality can vary, but they’ll get most jobs done.
  • $50 to $150: For $50 to $150, you’ll find a wealth of great bushcraft axes. From small hatchets to large felling axes, there’s an option for every budget and every quality level within this price range.
  • $150 and Up: Within this range, you’ll find the most premium axes. This includes handmade axes with specialized uses and carefully forged blades. Most are made with top-tier and more expensive materials, too.

How we chose our top picks

To create our list of the best bushcraft axes, we scoured the selection of available options online at retailers like Amazon and Bass Pro Shop to find the highest-rated and most-reviewed products. We looked at the potential uses, sharpness of each blade, and other key factors like the weight and customers’ real-world experiences putting these axes to use as well.

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