Camp Axe

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Scott 3

Well-known member
Jan 17, 2016
I'm going to upgrade from my 30 year old, cheap hatchet.  I'm looking in the $25-$35 range at the big box stores.  I would like it to be durable and hold an edge.  I will not be chopping often or large amounts.  What do you use?  Have you had a bad experience with any?
Get an old quality hatchet at a flea market, instead of an over-priced, made in China tool at the box stores.
I think you'll have a better chance of finding a hatchet with a good quality steel head at Northern Tool or Tractor Supply or similar hardware/farm supply stores.
I keep 2 in our rig (just in case the wife wants to help) from harbor freight. The fiberglass handle one is about $8, and the wood handle one is about $12-$13 and less if you can wait for a sale.
Of course there are more expensive ones but hey - it's a hatchet.
What is wrong with your 30 year old cheap hatchet? Did it serve you well for 30 years?
I have a cheap hatchet, although not 30 years old, none the less it is good and serves it purpose. All I use it for is to split kindling wood.
Conquest2011 said:
What is wrong with your 30 year old cheap hatchet? Did it serve you well for 30 years?
I have a cheap hatchet, although not 30 years old, none the less it is good and serves it purpose. All I use it for is to split kindling wood.

My HF hatchets are around 20 years old. Back when I bought them (on sale of course) they were probably about $3-$4 each. My axe is inherited from my grandfather and is likely at least 70 years old, I love it. I remember as a kid he replaced the handle which - I think - was around 47-48 years ago.
The handle is very short as most hatchets are which is really the driving factor. I've never owned a true axe. All good suggestions by the way, thank you.
  I carry Machetes and have them located in several spots around the RV. The very best one I had was accidentally left in the ashes from a fireplace fire. When I took it out several months later the edge had been hardened by the ashes to the point it would make a file sing. It looked rough at first but once sharpened it held an edge better than any.
Fiskars 28" (chopping) axe $39. 

Although it's a "chopping" axe and not a bulky "splitting" axe, it's still a better splitter than a hatchet or the like. 

Infinitely safer, IMHO, than a shorter handle...less risk to feet/legs/misc from awkward hatchet follow-through. 

The extra 12"-14" of fiberglass handle amounts to little space and just a couple of extra ounces. 

Not the most experienced camper, but have hand-split many cords of wood...and had a couple of weird/scary moments with hatchets vs the control & predictability of a small axe.  :)

Good luck!
I just went to Tractor Supply.  Their axe section was almost empty.  There must be an axe party I didn't know about.  I'm going to do some more looking this weekend.
Will you be splitting logs, cutting longer branches/logs to length, or merely trimming branches back (where permitted)? An electric (or battery) powered chain saw of saber/reciprocating saw is very effective at many of those tasks. Further, a camp axe simply lacks the weight and leverage (handle length) to do much better than a hatchet when splitting woods. Light duty electrics are close to your price range.
Gary, you are spot on as always! I need both of those for the house.  My hatchet has the length of a hammer.  It has been minimally effective.  I would like to be able to put two hands on the axe to drive forcefully and also do trim work like you mentioned.  I am hoping to see more this weekend.  I Googled axes before I submitted this question and read reviews of people having issues, etc.  I figured this is a great place to get valuable ideas.
In my verbiage, a hatchet is a short handle (hammer length) tool for trimming SMALL limbs or splitting wood for kindling.  I have a 50 YO one from my scouting days.  5 minutes with a file, and it is good as new.
An Axe is a long handle tool for cutting LIVE trees and limbs.  They may be single edge or double edge.
Neither a hatchet or axe is very good at cross cutting dry wood.  Saws work much better.
A splitting maul is a great tool to split dry wood.  It is similar to a sledge hammer with one edge tapered like a wedge.
The only one I carry is a hatchet.
This is on sale right now which puts it in your price range. These things are heavy duty industrial grade and the handles are meant to take the abuse of pounding wedges as hard as you can swing. This will be the last hatchet you ever buy.

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