If you’re looking for a versatile tool for anywhere with heavy vegetation, the axe should be your first choice. While large specimens can get heavy, versatile medium weight options do exist, and it’s a truly useful tool that can be used for anything up to and including self-defence.

With the right axe, you can go far, no matter the tasks or vegetation that may face you. Below, we look at some of the best bushcraft axes available on the market today, as well as how to make the right choice for your needs.

Top 5 Best Bushcraft Axe’s for 2017

ModelLength (in)Weight (lbs)Our Rating 
Husqvarana Carpenter’s Axe20 inches2.2 Pounds4.7 /5
Granfors Bruks Small Forest Axe
21 inches1.5 Pounds4.6 /5
Husqvarna Hatchett14 inches2.4 Pounds4.6 /5
Condor Greenland Pattern Axe16 inches1.5 Pounds4.2 /5
Wetterlings Bushman Axe22 inches1.6 Pounds4.1 /5

What makes a good bushcraft Axe?

If you’re looking for a blend of power and flexibility, then the bushcraft axe is the style you’re secretly craving. This particular design is usually a top seller for axe companies, driven partly by some celebrity popularity but mostly by the usefulness of design.

They’re versatile, but still easily portable, small enough to be used single-handedly but tough enough to take heavier two handled operation. It occupies a niche area in the axe world, and while the style does have its detractors, most people enjoy working with these neat and compact axes.

It’s a good compromise for getting the right elements of both hatchet and axe if budgets a little tight. It’s easier to handle and to learn and can be easily carried in a backpack. The smallness of build, however, means that you need to pay attention to a few points.

Firstly, these axe heads are generally made of steel. Get the right kind of steel that can hold up to the tasks you need that axe to perform but sharpen easily enough not to be a drag. You also need to make certain that the blade shape is right for your needs, and the style of axe use you intend to use the most.

The handle is a critical part of a bushcraft axe. If you’re going to be straying from the tough polymers of other axe styles, it’s vital you get a tough and strong handle that won’t split and become a safety hazard. Most bushcraft axes are hickory, due to its properties, although some variants do exist.

It’s always worth paying some careful attention to the wedge that holds the head onto the shaft of the axe. Some careful time spent with reviews can give you a good sense of whether these will stand up to the task and keep a firm fitting hold on the axe head. It’s dangerous to use an axe which has a loose head, and a very bad idea for both the holder and anyone in the immediate area

Now you know what to look for in a good axe, let’s take a look at some of the better models available on the market at the moment, and what makes them particularly unique.

 

1. Husqvarana Carpenter’s Axe

Tech Specs:

  • Length: 20” overall
  • Weight: 2.2 lbs
  • Material: Swedish steel and hickory

Overview:

Similar in design to the Hudson Bay axe, the straight edge is great for whittling and carving with a unique design that allows for the hand to direct the force better. It also can be carried by lanyard for convenience. Its leather carrying pouch is particularly stylish too.

 

2. Granfors Bruks Small Forest Axe

Tech Specs:

  • Length: 21” overall
  • Weight: 1.5 lbs
  • Material: Steel and hickory

Overview:

With a thin blade and longer than normal handle, this axe is easy to pack but powerful in the field. It’s also a great choice for splitting sticks as well as cutting limbwood on trees. Hickory offers a good blend of springiness with strength to ensure your axes lasts a long time in a great state.

3. Husqvarna Hatchett

Tech Specs:

  • Length: 14” overall
  • Weight: 2.4lbs
  • Material: Swedish steel and Hickory

Overview:

This neat little hatchet is effectively a smaller version of the Husqvarna Carpenter’s Axe. It’s a neat, slim design ideally, suits to smaller garden tasks and chopping firewood.

4. Condor Greenland Pattern Axe

Tech Specs:

  • Length: 16” Overall
  • Weight: 1.5 lbs
  • Material: High Carbon Steel and Hickory

Overview:

With 106 sculpted vents and replaceable soft pads, this axe has slightly more tooling in it than the others on our list. Some users don’t like the grind on this particular axe and it can lose its edge faster then some similar axe heads- but it offers a budget friendly, versatile choice for anyone.

5. Wetterlings Bushman Axe – By Les Stroud

Tech Specs:

  • Length: 22”
  • Weight: 1.6 lbs
  • Material: Stainless steel with solid wooden handle.

Overview:

The name may not be the most politically correct, but this is a great axe for those looking to fell, carve and split wood. There is also a hammer on the back of the head to allow for extra versatility. Opt for the Gen 2 version as the wedge holding the head to the axe is far superior.

Each of these bushcraft axes may well be simple in design, but they each deliver toughness and quality to get the job done. You won’t go wrong with any of these in your backpack.