8 Best Survival Axes and Hatchets for Under $60

When it comes to survival, a good axe or hatchet is essential. While the knife is considered to be the most basic survival tool, it’s a whole lot easier to cut the wood needed for building a shelter and starting a fire with a camping axe or hatchet, than it is to cut it with a knife. The knife just isn’t heavy enough for the task. When it comes time to split that firewood, you’ll really see the value in having a hatchet for survival.

So, how do you pick the best camping axe for your bug out bag? That depends. This is one of those areas where what’s best for one person isn’t best for another. A lot has to do with your personal skill in using that survival axe, as well as the types of trees you’re dealing with in your chosen bug out location.

A few important things to consider:

Weight – The heavier the backpacking hatchet, the better it usually cuts. But that’s more weight to carry too

Hammer – Many camping hatchets have a hammer on the back of the head, allowing you to use it for driving tent stakes as well

Other Tools – Some survival hatchets incorporate other tools, like pry bars. You need to take your total tool need into consideration, as well as what other tools you are carrying

Let me clarify something here. There are many people who have chosen a survival tomahawk over a survival axe, thinking they could use the tomahawk to do the work of a camping hatchet. While they are right, to some extent, no survival tomahawk is going to work as well for work around your campsite, as a backpacking hatchet will. The tomahawk is first and foremost a weapon, not a tool, even though it looks similar. Nevertheless, if you want to have the option of using it as a weapon, you’re better off buying a tomahawk, instead of a camping hatchet.

Fiskars X7 14” Hatchet

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Fiskars is known for cutting tools of all kinds. Therefore it shouldn’t be surprising that they produce top quality survival hatchets and axes, as well. What makes this tool so good, as a survival hatchet, is the sharp edge; much sharper than most other hatchets. That, coupled with a low-friction coating and perfect balance, makes this hatchet sink deeper with each swing, allowing you to cut faster. Of all the hatchets on this list, this is the best axe fro splitting wood. The low weight, at 1.38 pounds, and a FiberComp handle make it virtually indestructible and easy to fit into your bug out bag.

Cold Steel War Hawk with Sheathe

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The War Hawk was designed to be the perfect tactical survival tomahawk. Its 19 inch length and 29.5 oz. weight make it a perfect fighting axe, reminiscent of the fighting hand-axes of old. As with most tomahawks, it’s well balanced for throwing. The bearded blade design provides more cutting surface to make a greater impact on every strike, while the spike on the back of the head provides deep penetration. This tomahawk has been tested against cement blocks and steel car bodies and shown to be effective in delivering the damage. Comes with a polymer sheathe.

Iunio Camping Axe Multi-Tool

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This survival hatchet is designed with survival in mind. In addition to being a hatchet with a 17 inch handle and hammer head back, it incorporates a number of other tools, mostly inside the handle, which comes apart for compact packing in the included MOLLE pouch. These include a saw, knife, compass, Ferro Rod fires starter, compass and glass breaker. Weighing in at just over two pounds, it not only serves as your survival hatchet, but provides a backup for a number of other needs as well.

Camillus Ravenous Tomahawk

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The Camillus Ravenous Tomahawk is a compact tomahawk, with pretensions of being a camping hatchet. Made by Camillus cutlery, the 2.75 inch blade and spear knife point are made of 420 stainless steel, a highly favored steel for its balance of characteristics. But they didn’t stop there; they coated that stainless steel head with titanium, which is three times harder, allowing this tomahawk to hold an edge much better than most 420 ss knives. the handle is glass filled nylon, making it nearly indestructible and has an overall length of 13.5 inches. Comes with a belt sheathe.

Kolour 17” Battle Axe Hatchet

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This survival hatchet… or perhaps I should say survival battle axe, combines some of the best features of a tomahawk, with the most important features of a survival hatchet. The battle axe style head, including the two knife points, is extremely sharp, making it good for both chopping and fighting. A hammer head, rather than a spike on the back of the blade, allows you to use it for driving tent stakes and breaking things up. Hex wrenches, cut into the blade provide the ability to make repairs. But with all that, it’s still a tomahawk, designed for fighting, as well as working.

15” Black Ronin Survival Throwing Tomahawk

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If you’re looking for a pure tomahawk, this Ronin Survival Tomahawk is ideal for you. the elongated 3.5” “bearded” blade gives plenty of cutting room, and is backed by a spike that’s actually a sharpened blade. So when it’s thrown, it can stick on either side. Since both blades are sharpened, they can also serve as a backup knife for your survival kit. The 15” handle is wrapped in paracord, giving you one more valuable survival tool. At 1 pound in weight, it’s balanced nicely for throwing, with the head all but guaranteed to hit. Comes with a tactical belt sheathe.

9” Tactical Survival Combat Throwing Tomahawk

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Sometimes, compact is the way to go. Often, the tools we might think of carrying are just too big to be practical. Whether you’re putting together a bug out bag or survival kit, that’s something you have to take into consideration. That’s why this 9” tactical tomahawk is so popular. It’s considerably smaller than the others we’ve looked at, but still gets the job done. Four sharpened edges provide excellent penetration for throwing or striking. The full tang handle is wrapped in paracord as well, providing extra survival functions. Comes with a protective tactical sheathe.

M48 Tactical Tomahawk

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M48 is a brand name for United Cutlery, so you know that this tomahawk comes from a company which knows about blades. That becomes obvious when you see the four sharpened edges on it, two on the 3 7/8” stainless steel bearded axe head and two on the reverse spike. If you’re wanting something with some penetration, this one has it. The 8 inch axe head is attached to a replaceable nylon reinforced fiberglass handle, with grip rings, so that you don’t lose your grip when it’s wet. All this enclosed in a durable nylon sheathe that you can carry on your belt or pack.


Regardless of whether you’re looking for a tool or a weapon, the hatchets and tomahawks on this page can provide you with what you need in a hatchet for survival. Before buying though, think through how you’re going to use it. There are other ways of cutting wood, besides a hatchet, and having a melee weapon hanging from your kit may be just the thing you need. On the other hand, if your bigger concern is being able to make camp and survive, then passing the tomahawks by for a more practical survival hatchet is the way to go.