What is a Boy’s Axe? Design Features and Uses

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Written By Michael Culligan

With over 12 years of experience in Oregon's forestry industry, I have established myself as a skilled and knowledgeable lumber professional. As a passionate competitor in local timbersports events, I have consistently ranked among the top lumberjacks in my area. I take great pride in meticulously maintaining an extensive collection of restored vintage axes. I personally test every axe I review by using it to fell and chop up oak firewood on my land.

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A boy’s axe is between 24 and 28 inches in length and between 2.25 and 2.75 lb in weight that is versatile enough to be used for anything from felling small trees, splitting firewood, and limbing branches.

If there is one type of axe that confuses the most people because of its name, it is the boy’s axe. These axes are not designed for children or youth but describe the axe itself.

In this article, I will fully explain what is a boy’s axe, its history, design features, and purpose. I am a big fan of having a boy’s axe permanently stored in my truck. They are so versatile and lightweight that it is piece of mind knowing that I always have an axe capable of cutting through anything I come up against in a typical day.

What is a Boy’s Axe

A boy’s axe is a medium-sized axe that is purpose-built, versatile enough to be used one or two-handed, and ideal for camping.

They have become very popular in the outdoor community because they are large enough to cut through seriously large logs and light enough to perform delicate tasks like carving or splitting kindling. Boy’s axes are the ultimate in flexibility. You will often hear a boy’s axe called a “cruiser axe” or even a “house axe.”

A boy’s axe is in between a hatchet and a full-sized felling axe in terms of size and weight.

Axe SizeHandle LengthWeight
Hatchet16 to 20 inches1.25 to 1.75 lb
Boy’s Axe24 to 28 inches2.25 to 2.75 lb
Full-Sized Axe30 to 36 inches3 to 5 lb
what is a boys axe


Originally a boy’s axe was just that – an axe for a youth or child. This was due to their small size and lighter weight, allowing a younger child to use them when a full-size axe was too much effort.

In modern times the term boy’s axe is used to describe the axe itself and is used by adults for different purposes to a full-sized felling axe.

A Hudson Bay axe is a smaller boy’s axe with a weight of around 2 lb that has a proud history of use as a camping axe. They also have a square poll ideal for hammering in tent pegs. However, you should also get a heat-treated poll for durability before using it as a hammer.


Boy’s axes are often called a camp axe because their design makes them ideally suited for the various tasks around a campsite. They are lightweight but with a large enough head to apply significant force. A boy’s axe can do anything from felling small trees, splitting firewood, and clearing branches.

Boy’s axes are particularly well designed for limbing trees. Their short lengths allow you to swing even in congested areas with large branches limiting your backswing. They are long enough to swing with two hands and apply almost full power. They are also light enough that you can use them single-handed if the situation requires it.

Features and Design

The key specifications that define a boy’s axe are the weight and length:

  • 2.25 to 2.75 lb Axehead Weight
  • 24 to 28 inches in Length

An axe that is smaller than these specifications is classified as a hatchet. They have a weight of 1.25 to 1.75 lb and a handle length of 16 to 20 inches.

An axe that is larger than this is a full-size axe. A full-size felling or splitting axe would have an axe weight of 3 to 5 lbs with a handle length of 30 to 36 inches.

Boy’s axes are ideally suited as a versatile camp axe. They can split smaller logs, chop kindling, and limbing branches. I also like that they don’t take up as much space to transport or store. This makes them well suited for throwing into your truck or camper in case you need them.

Hults Bruk Boy's Axe in Action Cutting Kindling

Modern Boy’s Axe Brands

Plenty of modern axe manufacturers are currently selling boy’s axes, although you may hear them described using other names such as a camp axe, multipurpose axe, cruisers, or forest axe.

You can find a high-quality boy’s axe in your local hardware store or wherever axes are sold.

You can find boy’s axes of all different styles and patterns with handles made from wood or composite materials. American hickory wood is a popular choice for most axe handles.

Council Tool Boy's Axe
Council Tool Boy’s Axe

Different Names for a Boy’s Axe

There are dozens of different names for the same style of a medium-sized axe. These names are generally used interchangeably.

  • Boy’s Axe
  • Forest Axe
  • Cruiser Axe
  • House Axe
  • Camp Axe
  • Multi-purpose Axe
  • Utility Axe
  • Half Axe


I would define a boy’s axe as a medium-sized axe best suited for camping due to its versatility. They are popular among travelers because you can store them easily in your truck or car without taking up too much space. They can also be used effectively when limbing trees as you can get a full back swing in congested areas and can use them both single and two-handed.

Boy’s axes are the ultimate utility axe and often come at an affordable price tag, making them a must-have for homeowners. I recommend that all serious outdoorsmen should have a camp axe that they are comfortable with sharpened and ready to go at all times.