How to Choose a Bushcraft Axe


A bushcraft axe is one of the most useful tools that you can have in the woods. Probably even more useful than a knife. In this blog, we’re going to discuss the different types of axes available, how to choose the right axe for the right job and what, in our opinion, is the best all-round bushcraft axe.

As always, please feel free to read the whole blog or skip to the section that interests you the most.

  • Key considerations
  • Understanding different bushcraft axes
  • Axes that we recommend
  • Kit list
  • Further reading

Key considerations

Not all axes are created equal and likewise, not all jobs are the same. At the end of the day choosing a bushcraft axe is a personal matter. It comes down to what you want to use it for, chopping, carving, splitting or general duty, the extra weight that you are prepared to carry, how you want to carry it and even your height. Those that are taller will probably find that an axe with a longer handle is easier to use than one with a short handle. Remember, an axe is a key element of your bushcraft kit. It needs to feel comfortable in your hands. So before rushing out and buying the first one you come across, spend some time with it and decide if it feels like the axe for you.


Understanding different bushcraft axes

There are many different types of axes for many different jobs. In theory, you should use different axes for different tasks, but the reality of the situation is that when out in the woods practicing bushcraft you are only ever going to be able to carry one, or possibly at a push, twobushcraft axes with you. Read on to learn more about the different types of bushcraft axes.

  • General bushcraft axesThese are the types of axes that you want to be looking for if you’re only going to take one out with you. General bushcraft axes, also known as forest axes, are designed to be used for everything from felling trees to splitting small logs. Forest axes, such as those from Gransfors Bruk are designed to cut across the grain, this is useful for felling and limbing trees.
  • Splitting axes Splitting axes are designed, as you might have guessed, to split wood. They have a large and heavy head with a relatively thin edge on the end of a concave wedge. They are designed to cut along the grain, as opposed to general bushcraft axes. With splitting axes the edge is designed to go straight into the wood while the broader section pushes into the wood, splitting it.
  • HatchetsHatchets are, essentially, small axes that are used for smaller jobs. They have a much shorter handle than axes and can, at a push, be used for splitting and chopping – though this is much harder with a hatchet than with a small bushcraft axe.
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Bushcraft axes that we recommend

At Wildway Bushcraft we use a variety of axes on our courses where we teach people how to use them safely and for a wide variety of jobs. For personal usage, we carry the Gransfors Bruk’s Small Forest Axe. This axe has a 49 cm wooden handle and weighs less than a kilo. It’s small enough to fit into a rucksack but it still provides enough chopping power for most bushcraft jobs.

Kit list

Here are some pieces of kit that you might find useful when out and about in the woods. Please note that Wildway Bushcraft is not associated with any of the products or manufacturers listed below; we don’t get anything from them if you choose to buy anything.

Gransfors Bruk Small Forest Axe

Wildway Bushcraft uses a small forest axe from Gransfors Bruk. You can find out more information about Gransfors Bruk via the link below.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>