Do Bushcraft Axes Live up to the Hype?

Which is the best tool to have when out in the wild? A true adventurer knows they need three things to survive the outdoors, shelter, fire, and something sharp. Many would go with a knife, but those who know better know what works best- a bushcraft axe, which is handy and very versatile.

In the wild, real survivalists live with minimum equipment and make use of available resources. Having a bushcraft axe allows you to thrive and survive in the woods. These tools come in real handy, especially if you know how to make things out of nothing.

Therefore, living out in the woods, a good bushcraft axe is something you will need in your kit or go-bag.

bushcraft axe
1844 Helko Werk Germany Classic Journeyman Pack Axe – Hand Forged Bushcraft Axe for Felling Hatchet and Hand Axe Made in Germany 11441

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Why use a bushcraft axe?

When living in the wild, there is a lot you can do with a bushcraft axe. Whether you are felling trees, splitting, chopping ice, dressing animals, carving, or chopping wood, this tool does it all. Hence, you can use one to build shelter, make fire, procure food and find water.

So you see, this tool should be every survivalist's best friend to make it out there.

What are the types of bushcraft axes?

There are many types of bushcraft axes that serve different purposes.

General duty axes

A general duty axe has rounded bits which makes it perfect for different activities. You might need to consider this type if you are a beginner.

survival axe
Coleman Camp Axe

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Splitting axes

These axes have wide and heavy bits that can effectively split wood.

bushcraft axe, splitting axe
JXE JXO Chopping Axe, 15.2″ Camping Outdoor Hatchet for Firewood Splitting, Forged Carbon Steel Heavy Duty Axe, Fiberglass Shock Reduction Handle with Anti-Slip Rubber Grip

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Cutting axes

This type has thin but heavy heads that bring maximum impact to the area of focus.


These have short handles and light bits. They are best suitable for light tasks.

bushcraft axe, camping hatchet
Estwing Sportsman's Axe – 12″ Camping Hatchet with Forged Steel Construction & Genuine Leather Grip – E14A

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Parts of a Bushcraft Axe

Axe blade steel

Blades are mostly made of steel, but steel differs. The head is meant to reach a sharp cutting edge and hold without cracking or dulling.

Axe bit

Axe bit or the cutting edge can either be single or double. Both types have their advantages. A single-bit one enables all the force or a swing to go into the single head, while a double-bit one offers more balance when swung, making it more accurate and efficient to use.

Blade face

The blade face keeps the axe from getting stuck in the wood and makes it easier to handle frozen wood.

Axe handle

The handle is all about composition, grain, and growth rings. All these components make it more efficient.

Axe eye

The axe eye is the part where the handle enters the head. This portion plays a huge role when it comes to user safety.

bushcraft axe, parts of a bushcraft axe
Parts of a bushcraft axe
Photo courtesy:

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How to Choose the Best Bushcraft Axe

Consider the following to ensure that you end up with the best bushcraft axe.

How comfortable are you handling it?

You will first want to determine your skill level.

If it's comfortable in your hand, you can perform your tasks more effectively and safely.

Intended use

There are many different uses, as discussed earlier. It's unlikely that you will be doing all these tasks. As such, it would be best to know what you want to do with it and choose the right one for that task.

bushcraft axe
1844 Helko Werk Germany Classic Journeyman Pack Axe – Hand Forged Bushcraft Axe for Felling Hatchet and Hand Axe Made in Germany 11441

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Efficiency is determined by size and weight.

An axe works by cutting through the wood using its bit (refer to above illustration for parts). The heavier the bit, the more effective it is to cut wood. A rule of thumb is to master your swing and not miss the mark to prevent fatigue.

The size is crucial to determine its portability and ensure that it meets your needs. Heavier and larger ones make hard tasks like chopping wood or splitting logs much easier, not allowing you to exert a lot.

Lighter ones with a short length can allow you to perform basic tasks that need skill. These types of axes won't wear you out while allowing speed.

Type of wood

If you plan on using it for heavy tasks such as chopping wood, it most likely would be hardwood found in American forests.

Ironically, axes made in Sweden are very popular, yet the wood is much softer.

bushcraft axe
Bushcraft Axe

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Long handles are suitable for heavy-duty tasks such as clearing out trees. For lighter duties such as carving, a long handle will only get in the way and be ineffective at the same time.


Axes are not all the same. Some will do just what they are supposed to, while others will be a huge disappointment. All this goes down to the manufacturer and product quality.

Some can be relatively cheap but of poor quality. You could end up severely injuring yourself with these. Plus, you might save a few bucks buying a cheap axe and spend much more on replacements.

Therefore, choose a well-known axe manufacturer. While these will cost a bit more initially, they will serve their purpose for years to come.

Top 5 Bushcrafter Axes

Council Tool Woodcraft Pack

Council tool is a beautiful axe with a shaped bit to reduce weight and cuts wood effectively.

bushcraft axe
Council Tool 2# Wood-Craft Pack Axe, 24″ Hickory Handle

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  • Great bit design
  • Comfortable curved handle
  • Leather sheath
  • High-grade hickory handle
  • Not so versatile
Husqvarna 26 inch Multi-purpose

Husqvarna axes are high-value Swedish axes. They are versatile, with a great balance between quality and budget.

bushcraft axe
Husqvarna 26″ Wooden Multi-Purpose Axe

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  • Long handle best for beginners
  • Great value
  • Retains edge well
  • Type of steel not given
  • Issues with head breaking
Gransfors Bruk Small Forest

Gransfors Bruk is a high-quality axe that is very versatile.

bushcraft axes
Gransfors Bruks Small Forest Axe 19 Inch, 420

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  • Excellent craftsmanship
  • Incredible chopping power
  • Great warranty
  • High-quality handle
  • Leather sheath
  • Costly
  • Too light
Cold Steel Trail Boss

Cold Steel axe is cheap but performs rather well.

bushcraft axe
Cold Steel All-Purpose Axe with Hickory Handle, Great for Camping, Survival, Outdoors, Wood Cutting and Splitting

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  • Affordable
  • Great for beginners
  • Comfortable handle
  • No sheath
  • Rusts easily
  • Poor quality control

Final Thoughts on Bushcraft Axes

There are many reasons why bushcraft axes are that much popular with outdoor enthusiasts. They are effective, available in different types to allow for various tasks and do what other tools can't.

You only need to know what to look for when choosing yours to make your outdoor adventure the best experience yet.