So you’re going camping! That’s great. But do you have everything you need? One thing you might not have considered is an axe. You might be wondering, why do I need an axe for camping?
The answer is that it depends. It can be a handy tool if you’re planning on doing any serious camping, like backpacking or camping in remote areas. It can be used to chop wood for fires, clear campsites, and perform various other tasks.
However, if you only intend to stay in a developed campground for a few nights, you won’t need an axe. There will most likely be wood ready for fires, and you won’t have to chop down trees or underbrush.
In this post, we’ll talk about some of the ways an axe can be helpful while camping and provide tips on choosing the right one and how to maintain an axe. Let’s get started!
Uses of Axes in Camping
There are many different ways that an axe can be used while camping. Here are some of the most popular uses:
1. Chopping Wood for Fires
Chopping wood for fires is one of the most typical uses for an axe while camping. If you want to make a campfire, you’ll need to have some wood on hand. And if there’s no wood already chopped up, that’s where an axe comes in handy.
You can easily chop up enough wood for a small campfire with a few swings of an ax. Just be sure to practice proper safety precautions when using it. And if you’re uncomfortable using an axe, there are other options for chopping wood, such as a saw or hatchet.
2. Clearing Campsites
Another everyday use for an axe while camping is clearing campsites. In order to pitch a tent in the wilderness, you’ll need to remove any branches or underbrush that might be in the way. An axe can quickly clear a campsite, making it ready for your tent. Moreover, if you’re backpacking, it can clear a path through thick brush.
3. Hiking and Backpacking
If you’re planning on hiking or backpacking, an axe can be a helpful tool. It can clear a path ahead of you, and if you encounter any obstacles in your way, an axe can help you get around them. Moreover, it can be used as a makeshift walking stick, which can be helpful if you’re hiking over rough terrain.
4. Hunting and Fishing
An ax can be useful while camping if you’re an avid hunter or fisherman. It can be used to chop down trees for blinds or shelters, and it can also be used to skin and clean the game. Moreover, you can chop through the ice, making it easier to get to the fish.
Even chopping down fish isn’t a bad idea while camping. After all, the less time you spend cleaning fish, the more time you have to enjoy the great outdoors!
5. Emergency Situations
Finally, while not every woodcutter uses an axe, it is still useful in emergencies. If you get stranded in the woods, an axe may be used to construct a shelter or send for help. Furthermore, if you come across any dangerous animals, it can be utilized as a weapon to defend yourself.
How Do You Choose the Right Camping Axe for Your Needs?
Let’s go through some of the ways axes may be utilized. Here are a few things to consider.
1. Type of Axes
The first thing to consider is the type of axe. Many different types are available, such as felling axes, splitting mauls, hatchets, tomahawk,s and more.
Felling Axe: A felling axe is a large axe designed to chop down trees. It is the way to go if you’re planning on doing any heavy-duty work, such as chopping wood for fires or clearing campsites.
Splitting Maul: It’s a different type, as the edge of the maul is dull. A splitting maul is a large axe that’s designed for splitting wood. If you’re planning on chopping firewood, a splitting maul is a good choice.
Tomahawk: A tomahawk is a small axe that’s easy to carry. It’s not as effective for chopping wood, but it can be used for other tasks, such as clearing brush or hiking. But most effective for self-defense as an adventurer’s camping companion.
Hatchet: A hatchet is a good option if you’re looking for an all-purpose axe that can be used for various tasks, such as chopping wood and clearing brush. It’s small in size and weight, so carrying it for a day trip is not a problem.
One of the most important things to consider when choosing is size. You want an axe that’s big enough to handle the tasks you need it for but not so big that it’s cumbersome to carry.
If you’re only going to be using it for small tasks, like chopping wood for a campfire, then a small hatchet, which is 15–18 inches, is a good option. However, if you’re planning on doing some serious chopping, like cutting through thicker wood, then 30-36 inch felling axes are the better option.
Another thing to consider when choosing a camping axe is weight. You want an axe that’s easy to carry, especially if you’re going to be hiking or backpacking with it 2-3 lbs is enough. But, if you don’t mind the extra weight, a heavier axe can be more effective for chopping.
4. Handle Material
The material of the axe handle is also important to consider. Most axe handles are made from wood, but you can also find ones made from metal or plastic.
- Wooden handles are the most common because they’re durable and easy to replace if they break. However, they’re also more prone to slipping, so get a good grip.
- Metal handles are less common but offer more durability. They’re also less likely to slip, which is extremely important.
- Plastic handles are the least common but are becoming more popular because they’re lightweight and durable. However, they’re not as strong as metal or wood.
How to Use an Axe Safely?
Now that you know how to choose the right camping axe for your needs, let’s talk about how to use it safely.
- Wear protective gear: Always wear gloves and eye protection when using an axe.
- Be aware of your surroundings: Watch out for other people, animals, and obstacles when swinging an axe.
- Use a stump or log: Use a stump or log as a backstop when chopping wood. This will help to prevent the axe from bouncing back and hitting you.
- Don’t overswing: Don’t try to chop more wood than the axe can handle. This can damage the axe and cause it to break.
- Stop if it gets stuck: If it gets stuck in the wood, don’t try to force it out. This can damage the axe and cause it to break. Instead, use a wedge to help loosen it.
Axe Maintenance Tips
Here are a few tips to help you keep your axe in good condition.
Clean it after each use: Be sure to clean the axe afterward. This will help to prevent rust and buildup.
Sharpening regularly: Sharpening the axe regularly will help to keep it in good condition and make it easier to use.
Store it properly: When not in use, be sure to store the axe in a safe place. This will help to prevent accidents.
Check for damage: Inspect it before each use for any damage. This includes cracks, chips, or other damage.
What Is the Difference Between a Hatchet and a Camp Axe?
If you’re still unsure whether you need a hatchet or a camp axe, here’s a quick rundown of the differences between the two.
- Hatchets are smaller and lighter than camp axes. They’re also more versatile and can be used for various tasks, like chopping wood, cutting rope, or hammering in tent stakes.
- Camp axes are larger and heavier than hatchets. They’re designed specifically for chopping wood and are not as versatile as hatchets.
- Hatchets are an excellent option for general use, while camp axes are better suited for specific tasks.