What Exactly Makes a Survival Axe?
It is easy to get confused when trying to figure out the differences between axes, tomahawks and hatchets. Tomahawks and hatchets are less than 12” in length, while axes are normally longer than 22”. See a list of everything a hatchet can do in this What is a Hatchet Used For article.
That also means that axes are heavier and difficult to carry with you. If you want to carry an axe with you in your backpack, a lightweight survival hatchet is probably a better choice. Survival axes are great for a survival vehicle, garage, tool shed, or the family cabin.
Our Best Survival Hatchet
When Husqvarna introduced their hatchets and axes to the market, it made a huge impact. These hatchets and axes have become hugely popular for many different types of uses, ranging from campers to gardeners to survivalists.
Husqvarna 13″ Wooden Hatchet
The Husqvarna 13″ Wooden Hatchet should not be confused with a Husqvarna axe. Axe handles are much longer than those of hatchets. One of the main features of the Husqvarna hatchet is that it really lasts a long time.
Its versatility in terms of being able to do the numerous jobs associated with camping and backpacking, and doing them really well is also unequaled. Cutting firewood, whittling, building shelters and cooking rigs, and even skinning animals are all achieved easily with a minimum of fuss.
This model is a power house tool and considering the value, comes at a price that’s absolutely a bargain.
Users of this hatched love the fact that it’s made in Sweden, is hand forged, while both the length and weight rate as positives, but the number one reason users keep on coming back to this hatchet is its chopping power.
It is a beast and easily outperforms any other mid-priced hatchet. Nothing in its class comes close to the performance this hatchet delivers effortlessly. This also makes it lots of fun to use because you feel like you’re totally unstoppable when you manage to cut in much deeper than you would be able to with other hatchets.
To see why we have selected the Husqvarna 13″ Wooden Hatchet as the best axe for survival, check out this video:
- Very packable
- Huge chopping power
- Slightly wider to help split kindling
- Heavier head
- Hickory handle
- Swedish steel head
- Can be used for carving
- Very decently priced
- Edge retention is excellent
- Comes very sharp
- A lighter hatchet will probably be preferable for long hikes over multiple days.
- Might be a bit heavy for the ladies
Check out the current price here
So when is an axe a “survival axe”? There is not really a specific definition or features that will determine this. A survival axe is simply an axe you buy for survival purposes. Most axes don’t have any extra features. Multi-tool survival axes are often gimmicky and don’t really add value. You rather need a solid, proven axe that will last you for years to come.
A survival axe will allow you to:
- Fashion new weapons and tools
- Defend yourself
- Build a shelter
- Start a fire
- Fell trees
- Process game
The only real challenge for survivalists trying to find the perfect survival axe is the number of choices. Today there are axe styles, types, shapes, weights, and designs to achieve just about anything.
Key Factors In Finding The Perfect Survival Axe
There are some things you need to check when deciding to get a survival axe:
If you want to carry the axe with you wherever you go, it might be better to get a hatchet, as axes are almost always too heavy for carrying for long.
Finding a balance between weight and the axe being able to generate momentum when swung is important. It’s one of those things you might have to test out with your own hands.
It is vital that an axe is durable as it will be swung with a large force at hard objects.
There are a number of factors that go into the durability of an axe. The first is the type of metal it was made from (low or high carbon steel). The material the axe handle is made of is also important, as is how you take care of the axe.
If an axe is unbalanced, it will not swing properly and is more likely to break.
Using a Survival Axe
The genius of an axe lies in its simplicity. This tool that can be used to achieve almost anything.
Its versatility is only limited by your imagination:
This is a classic job for a survival axe.
Axes are good for chopping down trees and cutting them into smaller segments for lumber. It is one of the original purposes for which the tool was designed.
The significant amount of blunt force that an axe can generate can be used to break dead branches off trees.
Although a battle axe and a utility-axe are very different, a utility axe can still be used for fighting purposes.
As a weapon, axes are even older than swords, and if you have to swing it at an attacker, it is going to cause damage.
Shaping Pine Boughs
With an axe that is sharp enough, you can easily shave and shape pine boughs to make a bow and arrow.
You can also use an axe to clean and skin game when preparing it for cooking. Your prey can be decapitated, sliced open, gutted and skinned with your trusty axe.
I’m not talking about smashing bottles with an axe to get them open, but if you wedge the blade or butt of the axe under the bottle cap and add leverage, the bottle cap will pop off.
If you sharpen your axe to a razor edge, you can shave with its blade.
This takes precision, and when you do it for the first time, you will probably take a couple of gashes to the face.
This could be classified as self-defense, but many people throw axes for fun nowadays, and there are even leagues where axe throwing is done competitively.
Axe throwing does however need a lot of practice and it is a pretty dangerous sport. Make sure you don’t get careless and cause accidents just because you are having fun.
Starting a Fire
If you have a piece of flint, or a real spark generating rock, you can start striking it with your axe to start a fire.
Be careful not to strike directly down on the rock, or your axe’s blade will get blunt quickly, and you will risk fracturing or chipping it. Rather strike the flint or rock at an angle until you start generating sparks.
This is why i always have my Everstryke match with me. Get yours for free here.
The Husqvarna 13″ Wooden Hatchet is a great hatchet for your survival backpack. It is a great buy for backpacking or camping. It is also a good companion around the house for random projects due to its complete versatility. You might not expect a big difference from other models, but it handles the biggest jobs while still being small enough to carry around. You can definitely use it in just about any situation. Highly recommended.
If you need something bigger for large felling jobs, check out this Gransfors American Felling Axe Review for a full comparison.
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