True North Blog

Equipment Review – Axe

Equipment Review - Axe

If you are in the market for a survival knife and spend time perusing the various online catalogs, you will quickly notice that the manufacturers and distributers give much attention to their particular line of machetes.  For good reason: the machete has a long history of being a robust, versatile and dependable tool that can be used in a wide variety of ways under even the most extreme conditions.  Still, I can’t help but believe that they are being used nowadays as more of a marketing gimmick.  It is a shame to see such a fundamentally wonderful tool too often being designed to put style over substance — That is, to offer the general public what it believes a “survival” tool should look like, rather than provide it a tool that can be most effectively used in actual reality.  The frequent use, then, of “Zombie” in product monikers, like the Ka-Bar “Zombie ‘Zomstro’ Chopper,” helps, I think, to prove my point.  Still, I would consider one day buying and using a machete if I found the right one for me and my needs.

That day, however, may never come because over the years I have grown instead to love and appreciate using a medium-size axe for use in the backcountry.  It may not be as flashy or as intimidating as a machete, but an axe can make an excellent addition to your survival kit or serve your GB Axegeneral outdoor needs.  Why?  Because despite what people may think, an axe can be used for far more more than just chopping trees and splitting logs — It can also be used for a variety of precision work, like making tinder for a fire, and makes a great all-around tool.  And it doesn’t have to be a heavy, awkward item to pack and carry either.  At 19″ in length and weighing roughly 2 pounds, the axe that I take with me on my trips doesn’t pack and carry much differently than many other items.  So whether you are a hunter, fisherman, park ranger, or outdoor educator, an axe may suit your needs and be a dependable tool that will last for years to come.

Which axe do I carry?  I own the Gränsfors Bruk “Small Forest Axe.”  Priced at about US$120, it isn’t cheap, but the company has been making axes by hand in Sweden for more than 100 years with only a handful of ironsmiths on staff.  The company is so focused on quality, and proud of it, that when an ironsmith completes an axe, he stamps his initials on it.  My axe is stamped “MM” for Matthias Mattsson.

So, not only do I have functional tool that I can maybe one day hand down to my children, but, if I am wrong and the Zombie Apocalypse really does hit, then I’ll still be prepared!

If you would like to learn more about this axe and the company that makes it, check out this nice video review and demonstration by “David’s Passage“:

Erik Kulick leaning aginst wall with True North badge on blue shirt

About the Author

Erik is the founder of True North Wilderness Survival School. He is a police officer, EMS provider, a Wilderness EMT, and a Fellow of the Academy of Wilderness Medicine. He has been featured in national and international media, including CNN, the Associated Press, and Backpacker. To learn more about Erik, visit him on LinkedIn and be sure to follow him on Facebook and YouTube.

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