A fire roaring, sticks and logs stacked up at a camp site, we got to work. Fuel was needed in the form of wood cut into burnable lengths. A pair of axes would do the trick.
We wielded two distinct models, one a classic and solid design. The other axe was made by a brand best known for its cigarette lighters.
Indeed, Zippo Manufacturing Company has diversified in recent years and now sells camping gear. Its 4-in-1 Woodsman product is an axe and saw in one.
It costs $79.95 and offers a steel head and a hard plastic handle. Stored inside are two saw blades. They attach from the axe head to the base of the handle and make a 15-inch bow saw.
The saw blade is thin and sharp, and it attaches to the axe with a spring-loaded clamp to keep it tight. You grip the axe head, which is enclosed in a plastic cover, to saw and cut.
The axe weighs 2 pounds 10 ounces and is about 20 inches long. The name is the 4-in-1 — the saw and axe make up two of those functions. The other two features are a mallet on the back of the head and a “stake-puller” for tent stakes, which is essentially a hook on the end of the handle.
I sliced through small logs in fast order with the saw. The axe offered a solid chop, too. As a hybrid product, Zippo has built something unique.
But this axe is made for camping, not for serious firewood work. It’s not built to chop wood all winter to feed a stove. Rather, for camping trips where you need a saw and an axe the Zippo gives an “all in one” option.
For down and dirty chopping I preferred the second axe in my test. The Long Handle Camper’s Axe from Estwing is 26 inches in length and made of a solid piece of steel.
A rubbery handle absorbs shock and gives grip as you swing. The forged steel head has a 4-inch blade.
While chopping firewood, the Estwing simply felt more solid than the Zippo. Both got the job done, but the utilitarian Estwing swung a bit easier and chopped quicker.
Estwing makes its axes in the USA. The Camper’s Axe comes with a leather sheath and costs $75.
If you need a saw and want an interesting “all in one” design, go with the Zippo axe. For basic chopping stay with the old-school Estwing to feed the campfire as fast as you can swing.
—Stephen Regenold is founder of GearJunkie.com. He wrote about throwing axes and tomahawks earlier this year.