Estwing produces a wide variety of smaller axes and hatchets – from their popular Camper’s Axe all the way to their recreational Black Eagle Tomahawk. They are renowned for their one-piece, full-tang design and blue coloration.
They are also famous for their trademarked ‘Shock Reduction Grip’, which has proven to substantially reduce the vibrations that come through to your hand. Estwing claims that this grip can reduce the vibration by as much as 70%. This made be true when compared to bare steel, but I’m not sure if the difference is that significant when compared to other manufacturers’ rubber or composite handles.
So let’s look at their range of axes and determine whether they suit your needs.
Table of Contents
Who Are Estwing?
Estwing was formed in 1923 in Illinois and has always focused on creating striking tools from axes to hammers. They upgraded their grip to their famous blue shock reducing grip in 2001 which boosted their brand among tradesman. All Estwing axes are manufactured in Rockford, Illinois.
Range of Estwing Axes
Estwing’s range of axes focuses on the smaller types, such as camp axes, hatchets, and tomahawks. They don’t produce the full size splitting or felling axes that other brands manufacturer. This gives them a very focused specialization and might explain why they manufacture some of the top hatchets at very reasonable prices.
|Camper’s Axe||Camping, splitting kindling, felling small trees||18.75 or 26 inches||3 lbs||American Tool Grade Steel|
|Hunter’s Axe||Clearing brush, field dressing large game||14.25 inches||2 lbs||Powder coated American tool grade steel|
|Sportsman’s Axe||Outdoors camping and bushcraft||12.5 or 13.5 inches||1.75 lbs||American tool grade steel with a lacquered leather grip|
|Black Eagle Tomahawk Axe||Recreational axe throwing||16 inches||1.5 lbs||American tool grade steel with shock reduction grip|
|Double Bit Axe||Preparing kindling, clearing brush, and felling small trees||17 inches||2 lbs||American tool grade steel with a grip of either shock reduction or lacquered leather|
|Splitting Tool||Splitting firewood||14 inches||4 lbs||American steel with a grip of either shock reduction or lacquered leather|
I have used many Estwing axes extensively over the years, and own quite a few in my own collection. I have tested these personally and put them through a series of tests to judge their performance, durability, and balance.
1. Estwing Camper’s Axe
One of my favorite of their products is the Camper’s Axe. It comes in two lengths – the shorter but more common is 18.75 inches and the longer is 26 inches. The longer axe is more suited for felling small trees and cutting firewood, while the shorter axe is better suited for kindling and camp work. In my opinion the 26 inch axe is too light and I would rather select a full-size splitting or felling axe from Gransfor Bruks or a more premium axe manufacturer.
This is a high quality axe that is manufactured in one-piece from American tool grade steel with a nylon grip. This axe will be extremely difficult to break or bend and will last for decades. If you are worried about durability or longevity, then these full-tang designs are extremely impressive.
It is also available in Black, Blue, and Orange.
- Purpose – Splitting kindling, felling small trees, and generic camp tasks
- Weight – 3 lbs
- Length – 18.75 or 26 inches
- Material – American Tool Grade Steel with a Nylon Grip
- The Camper’s Axe is made from high-quality American tool grade steel, providing durability.
- The full-tang design enhances the robustness of the axe.
- The nylon grip provides a solid and comfortable grip.
- The weight of 3 lbs is relatively moderate, offering a good balance of portability and performance.
- The 26-inch variant may be considered too light for its length, reducing its effectiveness for felling trees or splitting large logs.
- Despite its durability, the nylon grip does not provide the same aesthetic or tactile feel as traditional wood or leather grips.
2. Estwing Hunter’s Axe
The Hunter’s Axe is a more specialized tool. The addition of a ‘gut hook’ on the pole side of the head allows it to field dress large game. It is available in both black and orange. The hollow head design also makes it extremely lightweight which is ideal if you are backpacking long distances into the wilderness.
This axe isn’t suitable for felling trees but I found it fine for clearing brush or limbing small branches around your deer stand. Personally, I would also prefer to use a proper hunting knife rather than an axe when skinning game.
It also has a powder-coated finish for protection against corrosion and rust.
- Purpose – Clearing brush and field dressing large game
- Weight – 2 lbs
- Length – 14.25 inches
- Material – Powder coated American tool grade steel
- This axe is designed explicitly for hunting tasks, featuring a gut hook for field dressing large gamel.
- The axe is extremely lightweight, ideal for long-distance backpacking trips.
- The axe is made of powder-coated American tool grade steel, protecting against corrosion and rust.
- The Hunter’s Axe is unsuitable for felling trees.
- I would prefer a hunting knife to an axe for skinning game.
3. Estwing Sportsman’s Axe
The next axe is also extremely popular among Sportsman – it is designed primarily for outdoorsmen when camping or bushcraft. It is available in two different sizes:
- 13.5 inches long with a 3.25 inch cutting edge
- 12.5 inches long with a 2.75 inch cutting edge
This lightweight hatchet is well suited for camping because it is lightweight but extremely durable. It has Estwing’s unique full-tang, one-piece design and is made of the finest tool grade American steel. It is also extremely lightweight at under 2 pounds, so you can easily store it attached to your belt or backpack.
The differentiating feature of the Sportman’s Axe is the lacquered leather grip with is striking in appearance and gives good non-slip grip and durability. It doesn’t offer the same vibration resistance as the shock reduction grips and you may need to repair the lacquer over time if it gets damaged.
This is best compared to the Fiskars X7 hatchet, which is slightly lighter if weight is a genuine consideration for you.
- Purpose – Camping, splitting logs, clearing brush, felling small trees
- Weight – 1.75 lb
- Length – 12.5 or 13.5 inches
- Material – American tool grade steel with a lacquered leather grip
- Lightweight yet extremely durable, makes it well-suited for outdoor activities like camping and bushcraft.
- The full-tang, one-piece design, made from high-quality American tool grade steel, ensures the axe’s durability and longevity.
- The axe features a lacquered leather grip that adds aesthetic appeal and provides an excellent non-slip grip.
- While attractive and functional, the lacquered leather grip will require repair over time if damaged.
- The grip doesn’t offer the same level of vibration resistance as the shock reduction grips.
4. Estwing Black Eagle Tomahawk Axe
The Black Eagle is Estwing’s recreational throwing axe. It is available in multiple colors from Blue, Black, Leather, and Desert Camouflage. If you have given axe throwing a try, then you will know how important the selection of the axe is in your accuracy and how sore your shoulders are the next morning. I found this Tomahawk is extremely lightweight at only 1.5 pounds and has a well-balanced head.
Although Estwing argues that it can be used for cutting, chopping, and clearing wood, the cutting edge is extremely small, and I wouldn’t pick this axe if you intend to do a lot of splitting and felling.
This axe is designed for throwing, breaching, excavation, and extrication.
- Purpose – Recreational axe throwing and military personnel
- Weight – 1.5 lbs
- Length – 16 inches
- Material – American tool grade steel with shock reduction grip
- This tomahawk is lightweight and well-balanced and is ideal for recreational axe throwing.
- Available in multiple colors including Blue, Black, Leather, and Desert Camouflage.
- Its small cutting edge is not ideal for tasks involving a lot of splitting and felling.
- As it is specifically designed for throwing, its utility as a general-purpose axe is limited.
5. Estwing Double Bit Axe
Double bit axes are generally made on a larger handle of around 26 inches with a 3 lb axe head and split between a felling bit and a splitting bit. This double bit axe is much smaller and lighter in design. It is not designed for splitting firewood or felling trees, but is more focused towards Estwing’s recreational sportsmen customers. This is a one-handed hatchet and I was able to use this axe for axe throwing.
The bits on this double bit axe are symmetrical and identical, so they have not been altered for two different purposes.
This axe is available in Blue, Black, and with a lacquered leather grip.
- Purpose – Preparing kindling, clearing brush, and felling small trees
- Weight – 2 pounds
- Length – 17 inches
- Material – American tool grade steel with a grip of either shock reduction or lacquered leather.
- This is a versatile tool, ideal for preparing kindling, clearing brush, and felling small trees.
- It is lightweight and compact, making it easier to handle and transport.
- This axe’s identical and symmetrical bits haven’t been altered for two different purposes as in traditional double bit axes.
- Given its smaller size and lighter design, it’s not intended for heavier tasks like splitting firewood or felling large trees.
6. Estwing Splitting Tool
Estwing’s Splitting Tool, also known as the ‘Fireside Friend’, is designed for splitting firewood. It has a much broader bit profile than the other hatchets and can pry apart the fibers of small firewood logs. I wouldn’t want to split large diameter rounds with such a short handle, but if you are only going to split a few pieces of firewood every night, then this is ideal.
The edge is tempered and hand-sharpened, so it should have no trouble going through the wood as long as you strike along the grain. It may not look it, but this single-handed splitting maul weighs 4 pounds and I found it can deliver a fair amount of force.
There is also a special edition Fireside Friend made with a lacquered leather grip if that suits your tastes.
- Purpose – Splitting firewood
- Weight – 4 lb
- Length – 14 inches
- Material – American steel
- This specifically designed for splitting firewood.
- Despite its compact size, it is relatively heavy at 4 pounds, allowing it to deliver a fair amount of force.
- The edge is tempered and hand-sharpened.
- Due to the short handle, it can’t split large diameter rounds.