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backpacking axe?

Discussion in 'Axe, Tomahawk, & Hatchet Forum' started by willvest98, May 10, 2012.

  1. willvest98


    Mar 10, 2012
    Can anyone recommend a good backpacking axe? I really like the gransfors bruks small forest axe but I don't have 120$ to spend on an axe right now. So can anyone recommend an axe for around 30$?
  2. OutdoorEnvy


    Nov 22, 2011
    A condor woodworker axe is probably the closest you will get for that size axe and that price. I know it's called a wood worker axe but it's a very good all round axe.
  3. HandAxeProMan


    Apr 9, 2011
    Your other option with a wood haft would probably be the Cold Steel Trail Boss.
  4. scouter27


    May 27, 2000
    In backpacking, I find I have rarely needed an axe. However, I've packed one along plenty of times, because I like to.

    Besides cost, do you have any other requirements?

    Have you considered a tomahawk? They are usually lighter than their axey brethren, a welcome bonus when packing your gear in.

    I believe Cold Steel is now providing longer hafts with their 'hawks. Give them a look if you're interested.
  5. Humppa

    Humppa Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 25, 2010
    Well, imo (!!) an axe is no real good for backpacking. An axe is a two handed tool; so it´s usually pretty heavy and bulky. While being outdoor, I prefer a tomahawk instead of any axe or hatchet. Why no hatchet? When breaking the haft it can not be replaced easily out in the fields. A hawk is better for being outdoor. But that are just my thoughts...

    A good and prizey hawk would be the CS Frontier Hawk.

    Kind regards
  6. scouter27


    May 27, 2000
    I don't think it's fair to say the hawk is better, but it is quite capable and certainly should be lighter.
  7. Kiah

    Kiah S&S Moderator Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jul 20, 2006
    Fiskars 14". I've kept myself in firewood (home) for the last couple winters with one almost exclusively. I do like the CS Trail Hawk as well.
  8. bearhunter


    Sep 12, 2009
    you might try to find an old hatchet at a pawn shop around you... that would be my first place to look if it were me...

    their usually are some decent hatchets around in those old pawn shops...
  9. scrteened porch

    scrteened porch Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 19, 2012
    I'm not convinced that it's so much easier to whittle a 'hawk handle than a hatchet handle in the field.
    And why is it an issue for 'hawk people, because 'hawk handles are so thin they need replacing more often?
    I've never had to replace a handle in the field, so I don't know- I'm seriously asking.
  10. tiguy7

    tiguy7 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 25, 2008
    Firestone makes a couple of plastic handled light weight axes. The heads are blanked instead of forged, so the prices are reasonable. The also make forged stainless models, but the price and the weight go up.
  11. MacCairnie


    Jul 17, 2011
    I don't want to derail the thread, but this doesn't seem worthy of its own thread. I'm a frequent user of the traditional machete- not a kukhri, or a bolo, or any of the various machete subcategories, but the classic machete with the straight edge and weighted tip, a la Jason Voorhees (I know, I hate to use the reference too). I've never used a tomahawk, but from what I understand their slim blades make them terrible splitters, so what's their edge on a machete? Why bring a tomahawk with its limited cutting surface instead of the longer machete, if they're both used for fine slicing more than for splitting?

    I'm sure I've got a major misconception here, so if someone could clear it up, I appreciate it.

    As for backpacking axes- I've been backpacking with them, and I just hated it. For the tiny amount of time I spent using it, it wasn't worth the weight, and after I stopped carrying it, I found simple ways to get around using it. You can split firewood with a folding saw very easily, and unless there's been a very heavy rain, I don't even need to split at all.
  12. JayGoliath

    JayGoliath Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 27, 2010
    Hi Mac,

    Traditional machete or we like to call parang here is unanimously the most versatile tool you can trail-blaze your way through thick jungle (Bearthedog recently posted a thread about his use of Bolo in Philippines jungle). I would say most tools are built for the environment the people are in; In Sweden and Scandinavian countries, logs are abundant which axes and saws are the best to harvest the wood for many use.
    For low-growing vines and plants in tropical rainforests here, Bolo/parang is still my favorite (once a while i will break out my khukuris for showdown)
  13. scouter27


    May 27, 2000
    Whether I carry a hawk or an axe or even a large knife/machete (or none of the above) I split wood with a wooden wedge and wooden "mallet", if at all. There's no sense in wasting your edge, eh?

    On to your statement I quoted above; to go from "they both have a thin edge" to "they are only good at the same thing" is quite a leap. Neither the 'hawk nor the 'chete are for "fine slicing" as you put it. They are both for chopping. But they are designed for chopping different things.

    You might prefer your machete and it might be the best tool for your location. For the weight, a tomahawk will chop wood better, presuming equal quality of course. But the smaller cutting edge of the hawk doesn't lend itself as well to cutting vines or brush.

    That's why machetes are commonly found in tropical locations where you are dealing with a lot of greenery, vines etc.

    A tomahawk is what you get if you take an axe and combine it with a warhammer in an attempt to get a utility item that you can use to good effect in a fight. The two best examples you see commonly, IMO, are the Cold Steel Trail Hawk and Pipe Hawk. I choose these only because of their prevalence, not because they are the ultimate examples.

    They have about the right size and weight to be useful tools yet remain quick in the hand. That, to me, is what a "real" tomahawk needs to be. And because they are lighter than an axe, and usually a hatchet too they make a good tool to travel with.
  14. Goodmanfj


    Nov 8, 2004
    Fiskars from Wallmart in the lawn and garden section works great , cheap and low weight.They make one for Gerber also just make sure its not made in China.
  15. cattledog


    Oct 7, 2011
    Jay or anyone reading this can you recommend a decent parang that is in the 50 or< price range. A user not an art piece. I have machetes but was thinking about a parang for compactness.I think it would be useful where I live. I see the Gryllis one and like that size style...Gonna search for that thread about BTD. thanks

    Oh and the Fiskars would serve you well for backpacking Also check out the husqvarna hatchet around $39 wood handled also very good. These are two popular choices. There are many more depending on budget.
    When I backpack I always take an ax even if I don't use it. I have it when I need it for harvesting fatwood, kindling, ridgepoles,splitting etc.
    Last edited: May 11, 2012
  16. cattledog


    Oct 7, 2011
    Why worry about edge retention for everyday hiking or over nights. Most good edges hold up really well under normal use. I usually take a pocket stone along too.
    Last edited: May 11, 2012
  17. scouter27


    May 27, 2000

    I should have mentioned that when I split wood it tends to be long pieces. I do this to make it easy to build a body-length fire, or to feed the longer logs into the fire through the night. It's much easier to make 6'+ long splits with a few wedges and a mallet.

    Also, edge retention doesn't change on short outings, you just aren't out as long to wear it down. I prefer to not use a blade unless it's necessary.
  18. cattledog


    Oct 7, 2011
    cool thanks!
  19. Shotgun


    Feb 3, 2006
    Yep. Plus, if you look closely, the edge on a thick knife hardly touches the wood when batoning.

    To the OP: I also recomend the gerber/fiskars but like everyone else, I usually don't take one backpacking.
  20. maverick3981


    Jun 26, 2009
    Estwing Hatchet.....

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