Best Bushcraft axes are built to be both powerful and flexible. Highly versatile, these axes are small enough to be wielded with one hand and carried in a backpack, but are sturdy enough for more heavyweight, two-handed jobs. In addition to being versatile, Bushcraft hatchets are easier to handle than larger axes, and accordingly easier to learn to use.
Best bushcraft axe of 2017
When choosing an axe, it is important to know what tasks you will be using it for, and what characteristics of an axe would be useful for that type of work. For example, one looking for an axe to whittle and carve wood might opt for a model with a straight edge, whose design facilitates slow and precise directing of the blade for accurate carving, while someone looking for more power might prefer an axe with a longer handle for increased momentum and control with harder strokes.
|Small Forest Axe|
|Gransfors Bruk||1.5||19"||Check Price|
|Council Tool||2.0||16"||Check Price|
|Aneby Hatchet||Woodcraft||2.75||20"||Check Price|
|Snow & Nealley||2.8||24"||Check Price|
1. The Gransfors Bruks «Small Forest Axe» – The Best Bushcraft Axe
Despite its size, this axe still retains the compact qualities of a good Bushcraft axe, and is small enough to fit in a rucksack. Simple and sturdy, the Forest Axe has an elegantly plain hickory handle with a small lanyard hole at the end.
The Small Forest Axe’s extra power gives it the qualities desired for when felling and limbing trees. Gransfors Bruk’s standard, 20 year warranty covers the axe head, but not the handle or the leather sheet. The axe is not the most economic axe model, but its quality is certainly worth its hefty price tag.
- Powerful and sturdy
- Ergonomic, comfortable grip
- 20-year warranty
- Expert design and manufacturing
- Not as compact as other axes
2.The Council Tool «Velvicut Premium Saddle Axe» – An Axe to Get Any Job Done
This premium axe is renowned for its heat treated and tempered, 5160 Steel blade, a strong and sharp metal with long-lasting blade retention. The Council Tool axe is also multifunctional, with two blades; the left blade has an incredibly sharp 25-degree flat grind, which is perfect for shaving and carving, and the right blade has a blunter 32-degree flat grind, which is more fitting for heavier jobs such as chopping or splitting wood.
- Small, sturdy design
- Quality 5160 steel
- Double-sided for more functions
- Slightly heavy
3. Schrade «SCAXEL2L Survival Axe» – The Most Cost-Effective Axe for a Bushcrafter on a Budget
While the Schrade Survival Axe lacks some of the more premium features of more expensive axes, such as hickory handles, more premium steel, and fine, hand-forged craftsmanship, it is still a very good axe choice. The axe is ideal for starting fires and the occasional light woodwork, and can be held with one or two hands, depending on the task at hand and the power needed.
The axe’s stainless steel, coated in titanium, while susceptible to getting scratched up, retains sharpness for a long time, and can definitely get the job done. While it may not be a Gransfors Bruks, this axe is certainly up to the test, and can go a very long way for a very good price.
- Very inexpensive
- Not as quality of an axe as some more expensive models
4. The Council Tool «2# WOOD-CRAFT Pack Axe» – The Outdoors Axe
Aside from heavy work, the axe is also capable of many other tasks, making it one of the more multi-functional axes you’ll find, despite its size. This premium axe can chop, split, carve, shave, hew, hammer, and even start fires.
This axe’s multi-functioning characteristics make it our choice for the best outdoors axe. Extremely sharp and forged from the quality 5160 steel, this axe is always up to the challenge. It is accompanied by a high quality leather mask to protect the head from the elements and its user from the extremely sharp edge. The axe is a little pricy, but not too over-the-top, a good price for a very capable axe.
- Long and powerful
- 5160 steel
- Many functions
- Slightly expensive
- Hard to transport due to size
5. The Hults Bruk «Aneby Hatchet» – A Power Axe
The axe head is hand forged using Swedish axe steel. Built for durability, the axe head is struck multiple times during the hand-grinding production process, increasing the density and making the end product as durable as possible. The tempered zone of the axe facilitates maximum blade retention.
The Aneby model is not the cheapest Bushcraft axe you will find, but is at a fair price for the qualities it offers.
- Long blade retention
- Trusted manufacturer
- Not as compact as other models
6. The Wetterlings «Outdoor Axe #118» – The Tree-Chopper
Wetterlings is a trusted Swedish axe manufacturer that has been growing and adapting for well over 100 years. When you buy one of their axes, you are not only purchasing a quality axe, but also a rich tradition and historical design, passed down by expert axe welders. The Outdoor axe is a lightweight but long axe that can be used with one or two hands. This allows it to be used for more difficult jobs, such as felling trees, and more intricate jobs, such as whittling or carving. This model is particularly effective in bringing down large trees, with an ergonomic, hickory handle that facilitates all uses of the axe.
The Outdoor Axe is 19-¼ inches long, fairly long but not enough to become unwieldy. A total weight of under 2.5 pounds makes it fairly lightweight for its size, which allows for more comfortable use. The axe is small enough to fit in a large backpack, or can be carried in a belt.
- Good for chopping down trees
- Lightweight despite size
- Hardened HRC57 steel
- Decently priced
- Slightly light for tasks that require very sturdy axes
7. The Hultafors «Classic Hunter’s Axe» – The Axe for Hunters
The axe’s ergonomically designed hickory shaft is a little under 20 inches long and it weighs 2 pounds, giving it the heft for the tasks done by hunters, while offering its user the comfort necessary for long sessions of use. The blade’s clear tempered zone allows for it to be sharpened continuously without the edge losing strength. Instead of a sheath, this axe comes with just a leather edge protector, where some axe users prefer full sheaths.
This axe is not just effective but also affordable, for those searching with a budget.
- Cost effective
- Designed for hunters
- Does not come with a full sheath
- Blade retention might not be on par with previous models
8. Snow and Nealley «Hudson Bay Axe» – The Campers Axe
Particularly appealing about the Hudson Bay Axe is the manufacturer’s lifetime warranty, which ensures you don’t need to constantly worry about your axe breaking. The axe is also quite inexpensive.
- Hand crafted
- Smaller head may be bothersome during large tasks
9. Husqvarna 26″ «Wooden Traditional (Multi-Purpose) Axe» – The Most Powerful Single Bit Bushcraft Axe
This Husqvarna model is not very expensive, adding cost-effectiveness to the characteristics of this fine piece.
- Blade is very securely fastened to the handle
- Cost effective
- Large size compromises the compact nature of a traditional Bushcraft axe
10. Husqvarna 19″ Wooden Carpenter’s Axe – The Most Precise Axe
The axe is designed with a long, straight cutting edge, and has a very thin blade as to allow for stability and control while cutting. This is not an axe for those who need brute strength, as the blade is very thin. A recess in the head allows for the hand to come very close to the head for maximum control of the blade. The ergonomically designed hickory handle is built for close contact, very specific and careful use.
- Straight cutting edge and thin blade for very precise cutting
- Ergonomically designed, hickory handle
- Very sturdy
- A little heavy for its length
- Thin blade may make larger tasks difficult
Buyer’s Guide — Bushcraft Axe of 2017
With the products described above, I hope I was able to explain to some extent the different qualities of these axes, and what to look for. Swedish made axes are often made extremely well, and Swedish axe steel is often very strong. Hickory is probably the most popular and preferable material for an axe handle, as it is strong but flexible, and often very comfortable.
Just to reiterate, it is crucial to understand what a Bushcraft is (explained above), and whether it fits your needs. Furthermore, some of the axes described above differ in ways from the traditional Bushcraft axe and its characteristics. Those looking for stronger, more powerful axes might have to compromise on versatility and compactness, as with the Hults Bruk Aneby Hatchet, while those looking for more intricate woodworking capability may have to sacrifice some power, as with the Husqvarna Carpenter’s Axe.
As with most things, it’s very important to know what brand you’re buying from. Brands like Wetterlings and Gransfors Bruks are renowned for their craftsmanship and the quality of their pieces, so one can expert superior quality when buying an axe from them.
Personally, the two axes of these 10 that I find the most attractive are the Council Tool Premium Saddle Axe and the Gransfors Bruks Small Forest Axe. The Council Tool to me is the most useful axe, as it has two sides or different angles, is built to last, and can do just about anything. The Gransfors model is just too beautiful to pass up, especially when I consider the intricacy of any Gransfors design and how much preciseness, care, and effort goes into each model to produce an elegant yet powerful, multipurpose axe that will get you through just about anything.
If you can trust the manufacturer and have a good sense of what you need from your axe, this guide should set you up for the perfect axe pairing. Good luck in your axe-related pursuits!