Gear Camping Gear

Our 10 Favorite Short Axes, Hatchets, and Tomahawks

We've rounded up the latest and greatest of these versatile tools. So go ahead, chop to it.

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1. Wetterlings Cruising Axe
A graceful combination of design and function, the Cruising Axe features a hand-forged carpenter’s head and gently curved hickory handle. At just over 2 pounds and 23 inches, it’s equally suited to carpentry tasks and more woodsy endeavors like limbing logs and chopping wood. ($131;

2. SOG Base Camp Axe
Given its weight (33 ounces) and length (16 inches), you might imagine that the Camp Axe is quite forward-heavy, and you’d be correct. This offset balance lends substantial chopping power, though, while cheek grooves minimize friction. A perfectly flat poll makes quick work of tent stakes. ($80;

3. Gränsfors Bruk Hunter’s Axe
Equally adept at cutting through wood and animal pelvises, the Hunter’s Axe is short enough (18 ½ inches) to be carried in a hunting pack. The rounded, polished flay poll comes in handy for skinning chores. Chatter marks around the lower 7 inches of the hickory handle provide grip. ($171;

4. Stihl PA20 Splitting Hatchet
The 2.9-pound drop-forged splitting head on this beefy hatchet is designed to power through pieces of wood. The 17 ½-inch-long ash handle features a thick shoulder and an exaggerated knob for sure handling, whether using one hand or two. ($56;

5. Husqvarna Carpenter’s Axe
The Carpenter’s Axe’s long beard allows the user to safely choke up on the shoulder for precise control. It’s designed for carpentry, but it certainly wouldn’t look out of place at a hunting camp, with its hand-forged head and hickory haft. ($62;

6. CRKT Kangee T-Hawk
This menacing-looking tomahawk features a cutting edge that runs from the rear spike all the way to the finger notch where the head meets the handle. The single-piece, full-tang carbon steel won’t rust, and a MOLLE-equipped Kydex sheath completes the package. This is a perfect addition to a bug-out bag. ($185;

7. CRKT Woods Chogan
The Woods Chogan more closely resembles a traditional ‘hawk than the Kangee does, but this versatile tool is made for more than just throwing. It practically begs to turn split logs into kindling; it’s easily wielded for short-stroke work; and its hammer poll is always looking for something to pound. ($70;

8. Estwing Sportsman’s Axe
As familiar a hatchet as has ever graced a campsite, the American-made Sportsman’s Axe is the perfect length (14 inches) and weight (29 ounces) for any number of tasks. The attractive leather handle complements a utilitarian 3 ¼-inch cutting edge and ample pounding poll. ($59;

9.Ontario Knife Co. SP16 SPAX
Modeled after the WWII-era aviation crash ax, the SPAX’s carbon steel head combines an 8-inch cutting edge, a breaching tool, and the ability to open and close fire hydrants and gas valves. The ribbed Kraton polymer handle ensures a great grip, and the blaze-orange color means it’ll never be misplaced. ($118;

10. Gerber Myth Hatchet
Designed for field dressing big game, the Myth features a sweeping 3 ½-inch cutting edge on its high-carbon stainless-steel bit. The pronounced finger notches and hole in the head allow for deft manipulation. Weighing less than a pound (14.6 ounces) and measuring just 8 ½ inches, it’s a no-brainer addition to any backcountry pack. ($48;