When it comes to surviving on nothing but your environment, tools and skills, you’ll want to ensure that you have the very best tools for the job.
That’s where the best bushcraft tomahawks come in.
You might be aware of the various types of survival knives, but fewer survivalists are aware of tomahawks and how they can be adapted in several ways to get you out of a precarious situation.
But why purchase a tomahawk over a knife?
Well, a tactical tomahawk has much more reach than a knife, which can help if you’re stuck with little room to maneuver or need to retrieve something that’s just out of reach.
A tomahawk is also a lot more heavy-duty than a knife, you can use it’s longer handle as a lever to separate a rib cage from a limb if you’ve just caught a hefty game animal. You can also use tomahawks as miniature battering rams to breach something thick and heavy like a fallen tree.
But where can you find the perfect tomahawk for the kind of outdoorsmanship that you practice?
What features and capabilities should the perfect tomahawk have to give you the best value for money?
How much can a decent tomahawk be looking to set you back in terms of price?
Well, don’t worry preppers, because we’ve got all the answers for your tomahawk-tinged questions, with our list of some of the best tomahawks that you can currently pick up on the market.
Then we’ve got a buyer’s guide that will help you when picking out the best bushcraft Tomahawk, and finally some frequently asked questions.
OUR TOP PICK
Our first tomahawk is one that comes at a decent weight and heft, with a nylon handle that allows the wielder that extra solid grip.
It won’t weigh you down too much in your pack, with a very sharp blade that should help you dispatch dry and wet wood with ease - introducing the CRKT Kangee Tomahawk.
First off, it will be worth commenting on the luxurious design of the Kangee.
The ergonomic handle will make quick work of hacking down thicker, sturdier branches, the graspable handle making it easy to cut those trunks off from the side or straight from the top down.
This material of this tomahawk is also built for the outdoors, made from carbon steel, it’s something that is both lightweight and won’t succumb to rust when left out in the rain for prolonged periods like other axes.
It is sharpened along the top edge as well as the front, with a spike in the rear so you can sink it into a log when you’re not using it.
- The handle is reinforced with a glass nylon grip, which is more than capable of handling the carbon steelhead.
- The sharpness across the top and on the face makes this a very versatile tool, meaning that you can slice thick tree trunks from many different angles.
- The longer handle offers the user a double-handed grip that gives you more control and more power, essential for chopping thicker chunks of firewood.
- The durability and anti-corrosive properties of this tomahawk make it the perfect weapon and tool to be used in consistently wet conditions.
- Some users have complained that the edge of this blade is too brittle and can chip when wielded too hard across a prolonged period.
Our next axe comes forged in the good old USA, with the manufacturer boasting that the metal that comprises this tool is American steel.
It is great for chopping firewood and splitting smaller trees to lash together a shelter.
The size of the axe is lighter than others, with a good balance between the axe head and the handle - introducing Estwing Special Edition Sportsman’s Axe.
The material in the handle is lacquered, which will provide you with additional comfort, especially when operating it bare-handed.
The handle is a little shorter, but it can still be wielded dual-handed if you need that additional control.
The look of this axe is particularly fetching, with a stylish wooden-style handle. The blade on the front comes sharp straight out of the box, meaning you can get to work right away on using this tomahawk in even the rainiest of conditions.
- The balance in the head and handle is well done, the smaller design and weight of this tomahawk will ensure that it won’t add any unnecessary kilos to your backpack. This will be ideal if you’re planning on a long journey.
- The lacquered leather handle makes for added comfort and will reduce welts and sores accumulating on your hand, especially after repeated use.
- The body and design of this axe are very solid, the entirety of the one-piece body will hold up well to intense impacts over a long period.
- The price - the more compact size of this axe results in a cheaper model, which is perfect for the more casual camper or survivalist who doesn’t want to break the bank.
- The blade isn’t as durable as some of the other models on this list and might result in chipping and corrosion when used in more moist and humid conditions.
Our next tomahawk is certainly the most compact on this list, measuring at just 9-inches, but that does not mean that it skimps on design quality or materials.
This is the ideal entry-level tomahawk for a camper that will only need to be chopping small amounts of wood - introducing the Gerber 9-Inch Hatchet.
The sharpness of the blade is decent, with a good balance between the small blade and the small handle, giving the user enough control and force to split those smaller branches to gather for firewood.
You also can stow this one flat against the side of your backpack, which will save you a lot of space for more essential items like toiletries and dried foods.
- The size - this mini-hatchet is perfect for beginner or intermediate levels of camping. You might want to construct a small fire but not have to lug a heavy tomahawk around in your backpack. If this is the case, the Gerber is the one for you.
- The steel composition of this axe means that you won’t be sacrificing durability for size. The weight in the head and the handle is perfectly balanced, favoring slightly more control in the handle.
- There is a curve in the handle, which gives you that extra purchase and looseness of swing which will give you more accuracy when chopping your wood.
- The price - for a hatchet with all the basic features, then this axe is very affordable. It is ideal for the casual camper who doesn’t see themselves making more than one or two fires per trip.
- The shortened handle might not give the purchase you are looking for when it comes to chopping larger amounts of wood. It also doesn’t have the flexibility of some of the larger handles.
Our next product is one built and designed by a very respectable tomahawk manufacturer, SOG having made some of the most highly rated axes currently available on the market.
This wood chopping axe has a very versatile head, which will allow you to use the butt end as a hammer, perfect if you’re thinking about hammering tent pegs into the hard ground - introducing SOG Camp Axe.
The SOG Camp Axe comes with a glass-reinforced nylon sheath guard for that added level of safety. The handle is shorter than most other models, which means you can store it inside or hook it to the outside of your backpack.
The ominous-looking head packs a punch, made from stainless steel, it will be very important when it comes to slicing through the harder, thicker chunks of wood.
The flat butt can also be used as a hammer with which you can use to set up your tent - although be sure to mount the safety guard first, as the blade can easily slice through flesh!
- The heavy-duty steel blade is perfectly weighted to sheer through wood and meat. It is the ideal hunting axe, so you can sheer and hammer bone from muscle quite easily and efficiently with this tomahawk.
- The price - another more compact axe and another perfect choice for anyone who engages in more lightweight camping, exploring the wilderness no more than a few times a month.
- The shield guard on this axe will protect both you and your essential items from getting sliced, especially when it is being battered around in your backpack.
- Some users have complained that the sheath is too flimsy, so be careful when stowing this in your backpack.
Our final axe has made a few top 10 tactical tomahawk lists, with a blade that is made of solid titanium coated with a stainless steel alloy and a black rubber handle.
This tomahawk has a hammer pommel that can be used to knock tent pegs into the ground. This is an axe that can be used for multiple activities - introducing the Schrade SCAXE2L Large Survival Axe.
This has the longest handle of all the tomahawks on this list, allowing you to easily cleave through even the toughest trunks with maximum control and minimal effort.
The flat pommel head can be used as a hammer, made of titanium, the chances of the chipping or dulling after repeated use are very slim.
The handle is crafted from a black rubber grip that is also ergonomic and allows your hand to wrap comfortably around the handle length.
The top of the axe is far lighter than the handle, allowing you a lot more control when using it. This will be very useful when trying to negotiate tricky pieces of wood.
- The head of the axe is both versatile and durable, with both titanium and steel components, you can be sure that it will stand the hardest of impacts over a long period.
- The handle is adapted perfectly for the human grip, with enough length for one, two and even three hands! This gives you much more handling capabilities than a lot of the shorter axes.
- The head of the tomahawk can be used for multiple different activities - hammering, cutting, slicing, chipping and sawing. This is ideal when dealing with woods of different lengths and thicknesses.
- The extra length on the handle will make it very difficult to store safely in your backpack. You might find yourself having to strap it to the outside of your clothing or bag.
Best Bushcraft Tomahawk Buyer’s Guide
Picking the right tomahawk will depend on many different factors.
It won’t matter if your tomahawk has the most features or capabilities, because if your style of camping is very minimal, then a lot of these features might be surplus to requirements.
But there are some basic things you’ll need to look for when shopping for your next tomahawk:
What Is The Design Of The Head?
If you’re going to be using your tomahawk for hammering as well as chopping down thick slices of wood, then you’ll want to have one with a flat rather than spiked end.
A hatchet has a much narrower head than an axe, which has a curved slicing edge and a spike on the reverse side.
Tomahawks have a longer handle with a narrower and lighter head, meaning you can chop frequently and quickly, making it much easier to use at hand when out in the wilderness. This makes it great for chopping large amounts of firewood.
What Is The Head Made From?
If you are planning on using your tomahawk for a multitude of different purposes, then you’ll want something that is made from a very durable material. You’ll need a tomahawk that can withstand hard impacts without chipping, splitting or snapping clean in two.
Generally, we would recommend that you find a stainless steel or carbon-made tomahawk, as these are both very resilient and lightweight, making them ideal for chopping and carrying.
Carbon also has a lot of corrosion-resistant properties, which will mean you can wield them in very damp conditions. Stainless steel can still rust when exposed to moisture, so you’ll have to make sure to clean and cover them regularly.
How Long Is The Handle?
When performing precision tasks like shifting debris or chopping branches at a higher altitude, you’ll want a longer handle.
The longer the tomahawk handle, then the more control you’ll have over your blade. However, longer handles are more difficult to store in an average backpack.
A shorter handle hatchet gives the user a lot more control over the head and is much easier to store and carry.
What Material Is The Handle Made From?
The importance of the handle material cannot be overstated, as you will need to have a firm, comfortable hold, especially if you want to avoid accruing blisters from repeated uses.
Hickory wood has traditionally been the choice for tomahawk handles as it is durable. If it is lacquered, then it can withstand a lot of weather. However, these days there are much more state-of-the-art materials that can give you a much better grip on your tomahawk.
Most of the tomahawks on this list are made from fiberglass nylon or steel, that are incredibly resilient to frequent stresses. Plastics and polymers are also used, although they are prone to degradation when exposed to ultraviolet light.
It can also absorb moisture and the head of the axe can become loose, which will make it very unsafe to use.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which Is Better: A Tomahawk Or A Hatchet?
Well, the one nagging question that most tomahawk doubters can’t answer is: why have tomahawks persisted for so long throughout history?
The simple fact is that it is because they are still very useful to bushcraft.
You can remove the handle of a tomahawk, which means it can be adapted into a hand tool that mimics a hatchet. A tomahawk also combines the striking force of a hatchet and, when wielded with both hands, the maneuverability of a survival knife.
Also, one thing that also can’t be denied: a tomahawk is simply one of the coolest looking tools around and if you pick one of the best bushcraft tomahawks available you can't go wrong.