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Best Axes For Splitting Wood / Winter Camping

Tim Foley
March 11, 2020
Last Updated: April 23, 2020

Since winter camping with hot tents involves feeding a stove, and feeding a stove involves cutting and splitting firewood, you're going to need two tools: an outdoor saw and a splitting axe. Using solely an axe to feed your stove is possible, but it's a lot more work – more than it's worth in our estimation. It's also not an efficient use of your wood. Saws will be covered in a later post, but let's for now assume we have dead standing logs already bucked up.

The work of the axe in winter is primarily in splitting the logs, so a splitting axe style takes precedent. This style is the most useful and efficient for splitting your logs for your stove, hence the name.

Gransfors Bruk has a line of dedicated splitters:

Axe Name Handle Head
Gransfors Bruk Maul 31" 5.5 lb
Gransfors Bruk Large 31" or 27" 3.5 lb
Gransfors Bruk Small 23" 2 lb
Gransfors Bruk Hatchet 19" 2 lb

Choosing The Right Size Splitting Axe

Since winter camping includes portability as part of the equation, the maul is a bit big and overkill for the job you'll need done. A maul is more for home and/or cottage use and isn't really the size you want for winter camping.

The Large Splitting Axe has a handle lengths of 27" or 31" - but like the maul, the 31" handle is a bit big for packing out with you. The 27" is your best bet, as are the small and lighter  Small Splitting Axe or Splitting Hatchet.

All Gransfors splitting axes come with collars on the handle shoulder to protect from overstriking. All Gransfors splitting axes feature wedge-like head geometry and concave cheeks, so once into the wood, it forces it apart as the head is driven down.

The size and weight preferences you have will help determine the axe that's right for you.

Another possible option would be the Council Tool Wood Craft 24" Pack Axe. This is not a dedicated splitting axe but more of a jack-of-all-trades axe that covers all the bases of limbing, felling, chopping, etc but also can be used as an effective splitter. It penetrates extremely well due to its flat Scandinavian grind. If you're looking for an axe that's not quite so narrow in it's designed purpose, Council Tool Wood Craft is a good choice.

Axe Name Handle Head
Council Tools Wood-Craft Pack Axe 24" 2 Lb

As a side note, winter is a tough time of year on all tools, so making sure your wooden handles are oiled and waxed is a good idea. We have a full line up of products to keep your axes looking and performing at their best.


We also have winter hot tents, winter camping stoves and other winter camping supplies available.

Happy hot tenting!

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Tim Foley

Tim grew up spending summers and much of his spare time in the backwoods of Northern Ontario and has been canoeing, camping and hiking ever since. When not running the Canadian Outdoor Equipment Co., you can find him riding his bike, hiking the Bruce Trail, canoeing, or clearing trails, cutting firewood and testing gear out in the bush.
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