Is the Axe the Best Survival Tool?
nutnfancy – It’s just another data point for you guys but the short answer is no. But Nutnfancy’s is not really anti-axe. There are situations for which an axe is well-suited. But I am realistic about how it rarely fits well into SURVIVAL AND BACKPACKING systems. Some armchair critics and car campers, sometimes inexperienced in backpacking, will tout the axe as a much better wood chopping and splitting tool than the survival knives I review and show in use. True, an axe is a capable tool as I show in this video. When wielded with skill it can chop effectively and it pairs of limbs with ease. But you’ll need a long handled version like this $30-$45 Gerber Splitting Axe, #GB-42763, to minimize your work. Even then the axe is bulkier, heavier (4 lbs!), potentially more dangerous than a large survival blade, lacks the finesse to produce fine kindling, and its an inefficient use of your limited energy in a survival situation. Also its pretty much guaranteed that you wont have a large handled axe like this with you when you get stranded and/or youre miles into the backcountry. I have backpacked many hundreds of miles into various terrains and I see few backpackers, miles into the backcountry, porting around an axe of any kind. Theyre just too heavy and bulky (of course the Hot Shots use their Pulaski axes with good effect for trail-building, brush clearance, and fire suppression techniques but thats wilderness fire fighting). However, as I proven myself many times, a medium to large knife coupled with a Sawvivor backpack saw indeed are packable commodities. And that pair will do everything an axe can, more efficiently and safely and with less energy expenditure. Also an axe will experience more damage and wear on its edge, frequently requiring the carry of a large file for re-sharpening as well so add another 10 oz to the load out. Finally even when your axe is sharp, cutting a full size dense tree, like this one, takes A LOT of effort. Youll save NO work of any kind with an axe as I prove in this video and this was just ONE cut. In a survival or even backpacking situation this is bad as youll have to replace those calories somehow. At the cabin or while car camping, who caresits probably a good thing. The full sized axe is a good camping or cabin woods tool but rarely will it make a good backcountry woods tool. As Nutnfancys proven in real world, wilderness videos, theres just better, more efficient systems to use.
Nutnfancys Likeability Scale of Gerber Splitting Axe: 5 out of 10