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Though the ax is one of the first tools created by humans, practically no humans today even own one. Modern life has made them largely obsolete — that is, until you leave the city and have need of one. Luckily for us, Coleman makes some fine axes, like the Camp Axe pictured above, for cheap.

We like the Camp Axe because it’s a basic, no frills, steel-headed axe. For around $15 you can throw one in the shop or in with your gear and have it ready when you need to cut down a tree or make firewood in that caveman kind of way. Even if you’re just taking the 4×4 out for the weekend, this little axe might be handy to have around for cutting down that bush or tree you’ve managed to hang the Jeep on.

A good axe is much like a good knife: carrying one around seems a bit silly, till you have to have one. Once you need it and don’t have it, you won’t be without it again. Remember, you’ve got it easy. You can buy one at the local sporting goods store — way easier than carving the handle from a tree and chipping flint into an axe head.

Hand Axe [Coleman]
Street Pricing [Google Products]


22 Responses to The Modern Hand Axe

  1. Unless Coleman has improved the camp axe over the years, I would think about one with a stronger shaft, my friend bent mine on a bet that he couldn’t cut through a 12 inch log with it. He did it in about an hour, but bent the handle in the process.

    It does work petty well for stripping branches and chopping up brush into firewood though.

  2. jeff says:

    I keep one in my pickup but mine has a much more durable fiberglass handle (like a hammer). It works really well.

  3. l_bilyk says:

    I don’t suggest any striking instrument with a steel tube shaft. Especially an axe. That tube will get dented by errant blows, and as soon as that happens it’ll just fold.

  4. Jim K. says:

    Agreed with the above comments. Spend the $’s and get a fiberglass handle (really not too much difference in price anyway). I’ve had one in my truck for a few years now and it’s definitely come in handy on a few occasions where other tools just weren’t up for the job at hand.

  5. PutnamEco says:

    Re; A good axe is much like a good knife.
    Coleman makes good axes like they make good knives…. NOT.

    If you want a good ax, you want a Gansfors Bruks. I would recommend their #420 small forest ax for a general carry around ax.


    If the Gransfors are too pricey, go for a Snow and Nealley


    If you just want something to beat on, get an Eastwing.


    Plumb used to make some fair hatchets and axes, I don’t believe they are still in production but if you see one used, they’re worth a look.

  6. Bugler says:

    I keep a hatchet in the truck too, but I’ve been slobbering over this for a long time: http://www.woodmanspal.com/

  7. PutnamEco says:

    Re: A good axe is much like a good knife.
    Coleman makes good axes like they make good knives………… Not.

    If you want a good ax get a Gransfors Bruks, I would recommend the small forestry ax (#420) for a general carry around ax.
    If they are a little to pricey for you, you’ll want to look into Snow and Nealey.
    If your looking for an ax to use for rough work look into Eastwings.

    Plumb used to have some nice axes and hatchets, (I haven’t seen any for sale in a long time) If you see on for sale used, they may be worth a look.

    My 2¢ from spending to much time in the woods.

  8. Wayne D. says:

    Estwing makes some nice ones. My wife got one when she worked for the Forest Service a few years ago (although I am the one who uses it). I included a link to the one she has.


  9. Bill says:

    For what it’s worth I have to recommend any axe by Fiskars. O.k. I know it’s not made in America and most people think of Fiskars think of knives and scissors, but a few years ago I picked up a standard size axe made by Fiskars and I will never buy another brand, in fact I probably wont have to. The head looks a little smaller than what your used to and it uses a lightweight composite handle, not the most beautiful axe, but boy does it cut/chop. At first I thought it would be to light for the job but the blade is so damn sharp it goes through green wood like Oprah through cookies. It’s so sharp it’s almost dangerous and yet it holds an edge like no tomorrow. The sharpener that they sell for it looks and works more like a knife sharpener but does maintain the edge. Now my father and I did a lot of lumbering when I was younger, both dropping trees as well as cutting and hauling fire wood, and we both know how a good axe can make life as easy as a bad one can make it hard, but even he, the old fashioned swamp yankee that he is, was impressed with it, so I have to say, if their hatchets are anything like their axes, buy one, they’re more expensive but you won’t regret it.

  10. Ted says:

    I have to second the Fiskars recommendation. I own their 14 inch hatchet. The shape of the blade is different from other axes I have used. It makes chunks pop out of the wood rather than cutting in and getting buried(maybe not a big deal with a hatchet). Mine came with a useful plastic blade cover/mount. The composite handle does look flimsy but it has proved sturdy. Their marketing says that a car can drive over it and the handle will just flex. I use a bench stone to sharpen it.
    The best price I found was at Lowes for $20 (found it in the garden center not the tool rack with the $40 Estwings).

  11. hazelwoodfarm says:

    I’m 58 years old and live on a small farm. I have five hatchets laying around along with at least four axes and a couple of splitting malls. And a machete or two, also. How could anyone live without these fine chopping tools. Beats me.

  12. Teacher says:

    I have and still use axes and splitting mauls and a couple hatchets. A friend of mine picked up a nice hatchet at the local scout shop.


  13. PutnamEco says:

    A friend of mine picked up a nice hatchet at the local scout shop.
    BSA Sells Snow and Nealley through their retail website

  14. Lasivian says:

    The best axe i’ve ever owned is this one:


    It has finger grooves so you can use it just like an ancient hand axe, or you can cut a branch to use as a handle and make it a modern axe.

    Either way since it’s just a head it’s much easier to transport. I’ve taken it on several backpacking trips and once it saved the day when we needed wood badly and nobody had even brought a simple hatchet.

    After that nobody made jokes about why I carried such a heavy thing around in my pack.

    Sadly you cannot get one anymore except on Ebay.

  15. Richard says:

    I want a good German or Swiss made hatchet for splitting kindling. The Gransfors is too much money . Does anyone have any suggestions on another brand from Germany or Switzerland?

  16. David Bryan says:

    Richard, I know it’s Chinese, but there’s a “Han era 206BC~25AD Dian culture socket bronze axe head” on ebay right now for a buy-it-now price of $8888.00. Free shipping!

  17. Richard says:

    David Bryan – Your a dumb ass . Go to Hell !

  18. Richard says:

    David Bryan – Go ahead and stick that Chinese ax handle up your ass !

  19. David Bryan says:

    Richard, it doesn’t come with a handle.

  20. Richard says:

    Your still a dumb ass and a fat ass – your family probably thinks so too. Loser.

  21. Kronos says:

    Well Richard neither Germany nor switzerland produces any axes that i would own for the cost. in my experience the steel is often good, as you’d expect from a county steeped in knife culture and tradition (Germany anyway). But the timber selection is most often very very poorly selected. You see i lived in Germay for a time and was in need of a good axe, long story short i could find one new so i bought a used head at a flee market (flomarkt) for 3 euro and made my own handle from German walnut my friend and i removed from his yard. i treasure it still.

    In short the only hatchet tha i own from a manufacturor that i would buy again would also have to be my fiskars 14”. i wieghts nothing and cuts like most axes in the 1.8-2.25 lbs range. for the 18-25 (depending on vendor) that you pay for it, it’s an enormous value. My fiskars is also the ONLY axe i own (2 snow and neely included) that didn’t need to be fully reprofiled to achieve what i expect from my axes (deep penetration, big chips, good control, and smooth extraction as a bonous).

    Hope this helps you all,

  22. Kronos says:

    i forgot to add that i have a whetterlings 26” on the way now and have high hopes for it from indications i’ve been given from trusted friends. This is of course because a) i have a freekinsh pasion for axes, and b)I’m reely more of a purist and would prefer to use only carbon steel and wood most of the time. however if i’m going out with the intention of not needing an axe necessarily and weight is an issue the fiskars 14” is the only ax i ever take. it wighs just barly over one pound total weight!!!!!

    ok thats my whole two cents.

    good luck with your decisions guys.

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