A Handy Guide to Camping Axes – What You Need to Know

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Apart from a good knife, a camping axe is one of the most essential tools any serious camper should have in their toolkit. It can do jobs that no knife can such as chopping through thick animal bone or felling a tree for shelter or firewood.

There are several types of camping axes available, so how exactly do you choose one that’s fit for your needs?

We’ll provide the answers in the sections below as we go over some of the most common types of camping axes and describe which jobs each one is most suited to.


3 Types of Camping Axes



  • Hunter’s axe


A hunter’s axe, as the term would suggest, is best suited for dealing with animal carcasses for their meat and pelt. It’s defining feature is called a flay poll. This is located on the opposite side of the cutting edge, and its design enables the axe wielder to easily flay animal hide from the underlying tissues. These axes are also great for chopping through thick portions of a carcass like an animal’s pelvic bone.  They’re also useful for chopping through wooden logs.

The main drawback of a hunter’s axe is that it’s usually quite large and unwieldy. If you intend to carry one around for long treks or hunting expeditions, be sure you’re prepared to handle the extra weight.



  • Small forest axe


On the opposite side of the spectrum are small forest axes. These are less powerful than a heavy hunter’s axe, but they offer great portability and are easily stashed away in a backpack. A forest axe is good for cutting through vegetation to clear a path, and you can use one to cut through smaller pieces of wood. Some varieties are even small enough to allow for more intricate cutting jobs like carving and building basic tools.


A small forest axe typically doesn’t feature a flay poll, so using one for hunting isn’t ideal. Additionally, they can be quite awkward to wield effectively as their small size doesn’t provide much leverage.



  • Limbing axe


A limbing axe falls somewhere in between the first two types. They are longer than the aforementioned varietes, allowing the wielder to easily split logs and make quick work of even the thickest vegetation. Due to their size, however, they can’t be conveniently carried around.


However, they don’t usually feature a flay poll, making them less ideal for cutting through carcasses and hunting in general.


Types of Axe Blades

Another differentiating factor between axes is the shape of the blade. The shape plays a huge role in determining which camping activities a given axe is best suited.



  • Convex


These blades are good for splitting logs to use as firewood. The shape allows the force behind the swing to effectively push parts of the log apart.



  • Concave


A concave blade, on the other hand, allows for deeper cuts as there is less steel that gets in the way. These blades are good for cutting through tree branches and other types of vegetation.



  • Round


A round axe blade is an all-around design that can do the jobs of the two previous ones. It provides the most flexibility and is suited to many different types of camping activities.



  • Flat


Finally, a flat axe blade is designed to provide neat cuts for specific tasks that require greater precision.



Apart from the different kinds mentioned above, camping axes can also come in other styles. Some are hybrid designs that combine the features of different types, while others are reserved for more specific purposes such as fishing.

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