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Best Survival Axe [10 Picks for Emergency Preparedness]

A survival axe is an indispensable survival tool to have in your bug out bag. In this article we review our top 10 best survival axes and why you need one!

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Are you a prepper, an outdoorsman, or a survivalist who likes being prepared for any event? The chances are that you have a survival kit at your disposal.

One of the items that should never miss in your kit is a survival axe.

A survival axe is an essential tool to own mostly because of its multi-functional nature: it comes in handy in almost every situation.

A survival axe can be used for hunting, to process a tree into firewood, to defend yourself against predators, and even to construct a survival shelter.

There are many types of survival axes out there- this article will enable you to choose the best survival axe to fit your needs.

In a hurry? If you just want to get to our conclusions, here are our top picks and recommendations!

Last update on 2024-05-30 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

10 Best Survival Axes Reviewed

Below you will find our breakdown of the best survival axes on the market today, along with their pros and cons.

Further on in the article we also explain our review criteria, the anatomy of a good survival axe as well as some tips and tricks for blade maintenance and safety.

Estwing Special Edition Camper’s axe

If you are an outdoorsman and you do camp every now and then, this camper’s axe would be a perfect companion for your bug out bag.

You can choose from two sizes depending on your needs: 16 inch and 26 inch.

The head and handle are forged in 1-piece to create a beautifully crafted tool with a polished black finish. It’s hand polished head and neck will catch your attention, especially compared to similar products.

Made through the drop-forging and tempering process, this Camper’s axe boasts durability over other axes in the market. Thus, you do not have to worry about replacing it for a long time after purchase.

The Estwing Camper’s axe features a patented shock reduction grip which reduces impact vibration by 70%.

With this, your worry of impact-related injuries is reduced a whole lot. Hence, it enables you to use the tool in a relaxed mode, which is the best condition to work in.

The grip is firm and bonded to the handle so that it does not slip when you are swinging it. The axe comes with a rugged nylon sheath with a belt loop to facilitate carrying it around and at the same time, protect you from the sharp blade. 

This Estwing Special is undoubtedly the best survival camp axe in the market. It is advisable to wear eye protection gear when using the Camper’s Axe.

Last update on 2024-05-30 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


  • Durable
  • Compact
  • It is tempered for strength
  • Hand sharpened and polished
  • It has shock absorbent grips


  • Contains chemicals that are harmful to human beings

Schrade Mini Axe/Saw Combo

The Schrade Mini Axe is a perfect tool to invest in if you are into hiking, camping, bushcrafting or you're caught in a bug out scenario.

With a length of 12 inches and a weight of 1.5 pounds, it is portable enough for you to carry it wherever you go. It comes with a hammer pommel and a blade cover to facilitate safe transportation.

Its durability is assured with a blade made of Ti-Nitride stainless steel and a handle that is reinforced with rubber.

The ergonomic rubber grip will give you confidence as you use the axe because it reduces the chances of it slipping.

The multi-functionality of the axe is further enhanced by the inclusion of a saw.

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  • Pocket-friendly
  • Compact
  • It is made with quality material which makes it durable
  • It has an ergonomic rubber handle for a firm and comfortable grip
  • Comes with a limited lifetime warranty


  • It is too light to perform heavy-duty tasks

CRKT Freyr Axe

The Freyr Axe has a Viking feel when you look at it, especially because of the deep beard. The unique beard shape is perfect for chopping things and controlled cutting.

The Freyr’s Norse design is out of this world with a balanced combination of ancient and modernity.

The blade of the axe is forged of 1055 carbon steel and treated for ultimate resistance to corrosion, which explains its incredible strength and durability.

The blade is further coated with Magnesium Phosphate for a non-glare, durable finish.

At 1.79 pounds, the axe can be carried easily making it a convenient travel partner. On top of that, its handle is crafted with quality Tennessee Hickory which is known for strength and shock resistance.

The grip is firm and comfortable thanks to its ergonomic shape. The Freyr axe is undoubtedly a must-have in your survival kit.

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  • Its handle has an ergonomic shape for a firm grip
  • It is compact and thus portable
  • It is made of quality, durable material
  • The blade receives a passivation treatment, which also makes it durable
  • It has a beautiful finishing


  • You have to keep sharpening the blade for it to work effectively
  • It is on the heavier side

WilFiks Chopping Axe

If you are big on outdoorsmanship and construction, then this is the chopping axe you have been looking for! It is the tool missing in your survival kit.

The WilFiks axe is extremely easy to use as it is designed to chop away at firewood, logs and branches. It has an optimized blade geometry that ensures efficiency for one-strike splits.

The splits are smooth, sharp and quick, thanks to the forged carbon steel heat treatment on the blade. You can, therefore, be sure that the axe will deliver top-tier, long-lasting performance.

Additionally, the edge is polished with a finish that you can re-sharpen easily.

The grip of the handle is extremely impressive. Not only is it ergonomic shaped, it also has a shock absorbing anti-slip grip.

Made with fibreglass, the grip reduces strain on the hand and makes using the axe comfortable.

The axe comes with a rubber protective sheath for the blade for safety while storing and transporting.

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  • It is made to last long
  • It is pocket friendly
  • It comes with a sheath to cover the blade thus ensuring safety
  • It is multi-functional


  • It is heavier than most axes

TABOR TOOLS Chopping Axe

This is one of the most convenient chopping axes in the market. With a handle length of 24 inches, it has a perfect balance of power-to-weight ratio which increases swing speed and reduces straining.

Thus, you can comfortably tackle medium to heavy-duty chopping and tacking activities without expending too much energy. It has a superb design which is easy to use.

It is convenient for homesteaders, preppers, bushcrafters and other survivalists.

You do not have to worry about it slipping and causing injuries as it has an ergonomic handle that ensures a firm, comfortable grip.

The handle also has a rubber-cushioned grip that acts as a shock absorber and protects the hand from strain.

The blade, which can be easily re-sharpened, is coated and hardened making for precise and clean cuts. The axe comes with a sheath which facilitates its safe storage and transportation.

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  • It has a balanced power-to-weight ratio
  • It is affordable
  • It is durable
  • It is portable


  • The quality is not exactly top-tier

Schrade SCAXE2L

As a survivalist, having this survival axe in your collection of survival tools would be a big bonus. Not only is it multi-functional, it has features that make it so convenient and easy to use.

With a weight of 1 pound and 15 ounces and an overall length of 15.7 inches, it is compact enough to comfortably carry around. It comes with a polyester belt sheath for carrying, which ensures easy and quick access.

That is very convenient especially in a dangerous situation where your life would depend on speed and accuracy.

The sharp stainless-steel blade is coated with reliable 3Cr13 Titanium, so you can be sure that it will serve you for a long time. The axe has a cold resistance flexibilizer handle with an ergonomic black rubber grip. 

The grip sees to it that you use the axe with confidence, without fear that it may slip and injure you or someone in the surrounding.

The cost-friendly axe comes with a hammer pommel and a ferro rod that is conveniently kept inside the haft.

Last update on 2024-05-30 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


  • It is multi-functional
  • It is affordable
  • It is light-weight and portable
  • It is durable as it is made with quality materials


  • It can only perform light-duty tasks
  • No warranty
  • It can expose you to chemicals such as TDI which are harmful to your health

REDCAMP Tactical Axe

If you are involved in activities that include hunting, hiking, camping and a myriad of other outdoor activities, the REDCAMP tactical axe would be a perfect companion.

With a weight of 0.91 kilograms, it has a compactness that makes it conveniently portable. The nylon sheath it comes with makes it easy to carry as it can be hung on the belt for easy access.

The 3.94-inch razor-sharp blade is made of durable stainless-steel material which will serve you for a long time. Opposite the blade is a sharp pointed spike that is made for piercing.

With this feature, you can defend yourself from prey by driving the spike into them. Also, you could aim from a distance and throw the axe at the enemy using the spike.

The handle of the tactical axe is made of nylon that has been reinforced with glass. It features a non-slip grip that ensures safety when using the axe.

The lanyard hole on the rear end of the handle facilitates storage. The axe comes with a 365-day manufacturer warranty. It goes without say that the REDCAMP is a must have tactical survival axe.

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  • It is compact hence portable
  • It has a non-slip grip
  • It is multi-functional
  • It comes with a sheath to facilitate storage and transportation


  • The handle can break easily if not handled with care.

Hults Bruk Torneo Compact Felling Axe

The Hults Bruk is perfect for felling and cutting up trees that are small to medium sized.

It is compact with a weight of 1.75 pounds. You can easily carry it from place to place in a get home bag. With a handle length of 26 inches, it provides for a balanced power-to-weight ratio.

This, coupled with an ergonomic grip, ensures that you will not strain when using the axe. The handle is made with Solid American Hickory which is durable.

On top of that, the shaft is treated with linseed oil. Therefore, you will not have to think of replacing it anytime soon. The head is made of blasted and clear-lacquered solid Swedish steel.

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  • It is compact
  • It is made with quality material hence it is durable
  • You are free to do your own finishing
  • It has an ergonomic grip to protect you from slip-induced injuries.


  • It is costly
  • It does not have a finish

LIANTRAL Portable Survival Axe

This is the perfect survival axe multi-tool for an outdoorsman, a prepper or a bush crafter.

Where most survival packages come with just a sheath, this one also contains foldable portable survival tools such as a hammer, a whistle, a bottle opener, a knife, a compass, a rope, a sheath and extension bars.

It is a multi-tool in itself. Acquiring it will save you the hustle and bustle of running up and down looking for the other tools it comes with.

It has a sharp blade which would come in handy in dangerous situations that require self-defence.

The axe is strong and sturdy. The axe is made with premium steel, and the handle with a special thick aluminium alloy. It can cut, chop, and hammer without wearing out so easily.

You can control the power-to-weight ratio according to the task as the axe has extension bars with which you can adjust the length of the handle.

This feature also makes it easy to carry around. You do not have to worry about it slipping as it has a hard, strong grip. Transportation is made safe by the sheath which covers the blade when not in use.

The LIANTRAL camping axe is the best survival tool for hunting, hiking and camping.

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  • It is a multi-functional tool
  • It is made with quality products
  • It is affordable
  • It is portable
  • It has a strong, non-slip grip


  • It cannot perform heavy-duty tasks
  • The handle is not very stable

JXE JXO Camping Axe

This survival axe is one of the best for outdoorsmen and preppers.

Its razor-sharp blade and hammer design make it a perfect choice for outdoor wood splitting, pounding tent stakes and tinder breakdown.

The stainless-steel blade comes with a durable nylon sheath to protect it is storage and transportation.

The handle is made with nylon and fibreglass which provide a firm and comfortable grip with minimal risk of slipping. At 21 ounces, it is very light and hence, portable.

The JXE JXO Camping axe can also make for a good throwing axe, which is effective when defending yourself.

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  • Pocket friendly
  • It is portable
  • Its handle has non-slip features


  • It is not suitable for heavy-duty activities due to its light weight
  • The shorter handle reduces leverage

If a survival axe is too big for your needs, check out something smaller in our guide for the best survival hatchets for preppers and survivalists.

Survival axe components

When you look at an axe, you are most likely to notice the two primary parts: the handle or axe haft, and the survival axe head.

Those are the most basic parts of an axe. However, the make-up of a survival axe is a little more technical than that.

As a prepper or a survivalist, you should have a proper understanding of the anatomy of this tool.

The various parts of a survival axe are as outlined below:

Axe haft

Also known as the handle, this is the part of the axe that one holds when using the axe. It acts as the lever of the simple machine.

Axe head

This is the part at the top of the haft that is wedge-shaped and does the work. It is the part that does the chopping, cutting or defending. Each side of the head is known as a cheek.

Axe blade

This is the sharp area in the head of the blade that does the actual cutting. Some preppers and survivalists call it the ‘bit’. The top of the bit where the cutting edge begins is called the toe and where it ends is called a heel.

Axe eye

This is the hole in the head that is used in attaching the haft to the head.

Axe beard

This is the part of the head of the axe that extends diagonally from the blade towards the haft.

Axe poll

Also known as the butt, it is the blunt end of the head away from the blade.

Here's a great video showing how to use an axe to cut down a tree.

Types of Survival Axes

As we’ve already mentioned, there are many uses to the survival axe. To that respect, there are many types of axes, depending on the function they perform.

A survival axe meant for defending yourself against wild animals would be structured differently from an axe for chopping wood. In the same breath, an urban survival axe will have features different from axes adapted to the rural areas.

In this article, we shall categorize survival axes into three main types depending on their uses: tools, weapons, cutting.

Survival Axes for Cutting

These are specifically for cutting wood, shaping it and for construction purposes. These axes come in different shapes, weight, bits (single or double), handles, depending on the type of wood and the particular purpose: cutting, shaping, felling trees.

These axes have blades that are so sharp that they can cut through the fibers of the wood efficiently. Their handles are relatively longer than other types of axes to reduce the effort used in swinging the axe.

Axes used specifically for splitting wood have a wedge whose shape is more pronounced, or flat, to separate the fibers without cutting through them.

Those used in construction of tend to have chisel-shaped blades to facilitate the shaping of wood.

Survival Axes used as Tools

Axes used as tools also vary in their specifications and appearance. The fireman’s axe, for instance, is often decorated with bright colors to make it easily identifiable during fire emergencies.

It has a pointed poll to facilitate the breaking of doors and windows. Other tool axes are double-bladed with an adze head on one side and a pick on the other, strong enough to crash rocks and concrete.

If you are an ice or mountain climber, there is a myriad of axes to enhance your stability and enlarge your steps. Compared to axes used for cutting, these have a shorter handle. Still, their features vary depending on the specific use.

Survival Axes used as Weapons

Axes used as weapons should provide a strong grip on the handle. Also, they have a heavier head compared to the other types.

A heavy axe-head delivers the required power against a smaller target area, which increases its effectiveness against armor. Others like the spontoon have a knife-like blade that is perfect for stabbing an intruder or a dangerous animal.

If you do not wish to defend yourself from a close range, there are throwing axes that are compact and sharp, with which you can aim and shoot using one hand.

If you're looking for a more offensive survival tool, you can't beat the versatility of a tomahawk. Check out our guide on the best survival tomahawk for more information.

Bushcraft survival axe out in the wilderness

How to choose a Survival Axe

Shape of the Axe Head

The shape of the head should suit the purpose for which you need the axe. If you need the axe to chop and shape wood, then go for an axe with a flat-edged shape.

A flat-edged head increases the area of contact between the axe and the material being chopped making it very efficient.

A flat-edged blade, however, would be cumbersome if used for demolition or for fire escape, which is why you should go for half-moon shaped blades for this purpose.

Axes used as weapons, on the other hand, tend to have more pointed heads which are suitable for stabbing an enemy.

It would be awfully difficult to shape wood using a pointed blade, which is why you should be considerate of the shape of the survival axe-head before you acquire one.

Axe Distribution of Weight

An axe is most effective when most of its weight is in the head as compared to the handle. This is because most of the ‘work’ is done by the head- be it chopping, demolishing or attacking.

The handle also needs to be light enough to hold comfortably so that the user can swing the axe without straining too much. Still, the weight distribution between the head and the handle should vary in accordance with the purpose of the axe.

For instance, a wilderness survival axe may require a lighter handle than a fireman’s axe. You should, therefore, pay attention to the weight distribution when comparing models of survival axes.

Length of the Axe Handle

The workings of a survival axe are largely determined by the length of the haft. It is, therefore, essential to be very particular about how long your axe’s handle is.

Some axes, such as those used as weapons, perform best with a relatively short handle. This is because a shorter handle brings with it speed and agility and let’s face it, you need to be as fast as possible in the face of danger. Others require a longer handle to get the job done efficiently.

For the more strenuous activities such as construction on your bug out location, the longer the handle the less the effort you will be required to use.

Therefore, as long as the weight distribution between the handle and the head is proportional to the task, choose a handle that will require the least effort to get the job done.

Insofar as portability is concerned, for a bug out bag for example, the shorter the handle the more portable it is. It is therefore recommendable to choose an axe that strikes a balance between portability and a workable power-to-weight ratio.

Thickness of the Axe Head

An axe with a wide blade is perfect for splitting items such as wood. The thick wedge forces the pieces to split through the opposing pressure as opposed to sinking into the wood and slicing it.

An axe with a thinner head has knife-like characteristics and is most suitable for cutting through stuff. A sharp, thin-bladed axe would fell a tree much faster than a thick-bladed one.

Preppers and outdoorsmen prefer thin-headed axes because they are comparatively more versatile and can perform a variety of functions.

For instance, you could use it to cut through bushes, cut meat into smaller pieces for cooking and even for self-defense.

Here's a great video from Ray Mears showing how to choose the right bushcraft axe for the job.

Survival Axe Maintenance

Like any other tool, a survival axe requires care and maintenance for it to function as effectively as possible.

Tools are subject to wear and tear and for that reason, the more you use them the more care you should give them.

The following are ways in which you can keep your survival axe in a top-tier condition so that it serves you for as long as possible.

  • Always clean the axe after use. Start with cleaning the head using steel wool and acetone. The head is the most likely to be dirty because it is the part of the axe that gets in contact with nature. Next, clean the handle using steel wool and turpentine, and if necessary, smoothen it using sand paper. Before storing it, apply some oil on the axe-head to keep it dry.
  • Store the survival axe in a clean and dry place. The head of an axe is made of iron, which means that storing it in a wet place will corrode the head with rust. Corrosion is the single worst thing that could happen to your tools. It disintegrates the metal rendering the axe useless over time. To prevent the formation of rust, coat the metallic part with a protective layer of oil, and store it in a clean, dry place. In the event rust forms, use vinegar and steel wool to remove the rust as soon as possible.
  • Sharpen your axe blade as often as possible. Continued use of an axe will make the blade dull over time- it matters not if it the best steel. A blunt blade is ineffective and risky to use. For one, you will be required to use more force than usual to get the job done. A chipped blade is prone to damage and hard to control making it dangerous as it could slip and cut you. Therefore, adopt the habit of sharpening your axe ever so often.
  • Replace parts of the axe when they wear out. If due to corrosion the blade becomes difficult to work with, upgrade by getting a new one. The handle is also subject to wear and tear. Over time, the handle could splinter, shrink or warp due to different conditions. When this happens, it is wise to replace it with one in a better working condition. A handle is capable of lasting long with proper care and treatment such as cleaning it, smoothening it and storing it in a clean, dry place.

For more tips and tricks on survival blades care and maintenance, check out our dedicated guide on how to clean and maintain your sharp survival tools.

How to safely use a Survival Axe

Tools, especially sharp ones, have the capacity to injure the user. Axes can be particularly dangerous if mishandled.

It is, therefore, vital to be extra careful when using and storing them. Here are some of the ways you can ensure safety while using an axe:

  • While using the axe, position yourself in such a way that you are outside the trajectory of the swinging axe. This way, you will not be hit if the axe misses the target. In the same breath, ensure that nobody else is too close when the axe is swinging.
  • Use both hands when using the axe. This increases stability such that the chances of it slipping and hitting you are minimized.
  • Choose an axe whose length is proportional to your own height. If you are tall, using an axe with a short handle may end up with the blade buried deep in your shin. Therefore, consider the length of the handle in relation to your height. For a short person, a short handle is safe enough.
  • Avoid using dull and chipped blades. These often bounce off the surfaces you are hitting and you may lose control of the axe itself. Result? An injury.
  • When carrying an axe, ensure that the blade is facing away from you. Do not hold it by the blade nor should you randomly swing it when carrying it. You may cut off your head.
  • If your blade is corroded with rust, do not use it. It will be difficult to use and in the event it cuts you, you may contract dangerous infections.
  • If the blade is too cold, warm it up before using it. A cold blade becomes more brittle than usual, and may chip when in use, harming you.

Survival Axe FAQs

What is the best survival axe?

The best survival axe depends on your needs. If you are a camper, choose an axe that has specifications that suit camping needs such as the Estwing Special Edition Camper’s Axe.

Likewise, if you are more of a hiker, go for something that has a sharp blade and a short handle, like the REDCAMP Tactical Axe.

The same applies for all the needs you may have; the best survival axe is the one best suited for a specific need.

What length AXE should I get?

The length of an axe is an important factor to consider when purchasing a survival axe as it determines the power-to-weight ratio.

If you are a tall person, go for an axe with a taller handle. A short handle will be tiresome and ineffective for you.

In the same way, if you are short, get a shorter handle of the axe for a more balanced power-to-weight ratio.

What are the features of a good bushcraft AXE?

Bush crafting involves surviving in the wilderness. This will require the extra strong multi-functional survival axes.

Getting a survival axe multi-tool such as the LIANTRAL Portable Survival Axe would be a wise move.

The axe should also be portable and with a favorable power-to-weight ratio. The Hults Bruk Torneo Compact Felling Axe is also a good choice.

Best Survival Axe Conclusions

A survival axe is an essential tool to have in your tool kit. We hope that you choose the best survival axe for your needs.

If you need more information or wish to purchase one of the above survival axes, click on the links provided.

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Hi, I'm Russ!

I've been prepping for a long time, but 2020 convinced me that I need to take it to the next level.

This website started as a way to keep me going forward on the path to being better prepared.

Now, I’m turning it into a complete blueprint for anyone else looking to do the same!
Russell M. Morgan
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