Start Chopping! Camp Axe Models Put Head to Head

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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.

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Zippo axe converts to a saw

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.

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4-in-1 Woodsman in its two modes

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.

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Classic steel: Made in USA Long Handle Camper’s Axe from Estwing

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.

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