Reviewed by: Alex Johansen. Modeled by: Angel & Zaza.

Full-size axes help fell trees and split big logs, but they have drawbacks like weight and price. A lightweight camper’s axe costs less and is easy to swing. They’re ideal for camping, hunting, and other outdoor activities.

But not all camping axes are created equal, and some aren’t worth your money. This guide provides an in-depth review of the Black Estwing Camper’s Axe 14″. We rigorously tested this tool to uncover its features, strengths, and weaknesses.

Holding a Black Estwing 14" Camper's Axe isolated on white background
A Black Estwing 14″ Camper’s Axe.

Overview of the Estwing Camper’s Axe

The Estwing Camper’s Axe 14” is made from drop-forged steel and is super tough. It’s made for one-handed use, but there’s space to hold the tool with two hands if needed.

The Camper’s Axe is ideal for splitting smaller logs and kindling, felling saplings, pruning branches, and light hammering. Use it for everyday yard work, on the worksite, or outdoors. It’s built to take the knocks and stands up to piping-hot weather better than wood axes.

An infographic showing the Estwing Camper's Axe fourteen inch performance data
Dashboard stats for the 14″ Estwing Camper’s Axe.

Important features

The Estwing 14” Camper’s Axe has innovative features that make swinging easier and more efficient. For its price, this is an impressive tool.

  • Hand-sharpened cutting edge.
  • Comfortable grip that’s easy to grasp.
  • Drop forged and tempered steel for maximum durability.
  • Nylon sheath protects the blade and provides safety.
  • Made in the United States from American steel.
A feature-packed tool at an appealing price point.

How does the Black Estwing 14″ Camper’s Axe perform?

The 14” Camper’s Axe is a sturdy, well-built hatchet that does a good job of chopping and splitting. We tested this tool on a range of tasks in the field and got pleasing results.

Unseasoned softwood logs take one or two swings to split. Its thin blade quickly ripped through rounds of 12” spruce. You can also split small hardwood logs with some extra swings. Large rounds or elm were backbreaking work, so use a splitting axe or maul for difficult splitting jobs.

We bucked a fallen black locust that had an 8″ diameter. Its solid head and blade profile provided some decent bite. This tool pops out large chips with a few swings.

Simple jobs around the campsite and yard work are within reach with this tool. Pruning tree branches and chopping down saplings were easy work. We could sharpen makeshift tent pegs from sticks within a few minutes.

In choke grip, the handle is a little thicker than the Estwing 26” Camper’s Axe. The added width makes it easier to control for intricate work like whittling, carving, and carpentry. However, many other axes are better suited to this type of work.

Overall, the Estwing is great value for money, providing good power from an axe that’s easy to swing and carry. It is durable and will provide years of service to its owner.

Holding the Estwing Campers Axe in one hand
An axe that’s light and easy to swing.

Parts of the Estwing 14″ Camper’s Axe

The 14” Camper’s axe has some handy features which are impressive for a budget hatchet. Let’s look at the tool’s components to see what it offers.

1. Axe Head

The head of a Camper’s Axe is constructed with American-forged steel. Made from a single piece of metal, it’s resilient and won’t come loose. Even an overswing that brings the handle down heavily on the target won’t damage it.

The curved cutting edge is 3¼ inches, with a relatively thin head. It easily penetrates wood and makes light work of limbing and small splitting jobs.

Closeup of the blade on a Camper's Axe 14"
The curved edge is 3.25″.

Whether you sharpen the blade or not will come down to personal preference. Most find the edge is sharp enough straight from the store. However, anyone preferring a razor-sharp edge will need to spend some time up-front sharpening the bit. It takes a few minutes to get a nice edge using a bastard file.

We saw minimal evidence of burring, chunking out, or rolling of the head after several days of relentless swinging. If you’re after an axe to treat rough, then this tool will take what you throw at it.

Many axes don’t recommend hammering with its poll (butt). However, the Estwing Camper’s Axe will handle most hammering jobs, including driving in wedges, stakes, or nails. Remember that the poll is thin, so you’ll need accurate swings.

Zoomed in shot of the poll on a black Camper's Axe
The poll is great for hammering but relatively small.

The head also has a valuable tent stake puller that makes camp tear-downs easier. When you’re tired and ready to go home, this added feature is worth its weight in gold.

2. Axe handle

The 14” Camper’s Axe has a full tang handle which means it’s solidly built. Forget replacing handles with this tool.

At 36 ounces (1kg) in weight, the axe is light enough to make vertical and lateral swings easily. That’s good to know if you’re pruning branches in awkward positions.

A hand holding the Camper's axe to demonstrate its length
A 14″ hatchet is easy to wield.

A rubber handle absorbs shock and never feels like it’ll slip. Hunters and anyone working in wet conditions will appreciate this feature. We splashed water and blood (true story) on the haft to see what happened. Impressively, the handle wasn’t affected at all.

The Black Camper’s Axe is hard to spot in long grass. It doesn’t stand out like the Husqvarna, Gerber, or Fiskars ranges, which have vibrant handles. While not ideal in the forest, this won’t be a big problem for campers and anyone using this hatchet for yard work.

Macro image of the Estwing Camping Axe handle
The handle is shock resistant.

At the end of the handle is a hole for attaching a lanyard. This is a convenient feature for hanging in the tool shed when not in use. You could also tie it to a pack for easy transportation.

Tip: If you want a similar axe with a fancier-looking handle, consider the Estwing Sportsman’s Axe. It has a comfortable, long-lasting leather handle that looks impressive.  

3. Blade sheath

A ballistic nylon sheath gives the head protection, and the user added safety. A single dome is used to take off and reattach the cover. It is easy to remove and very tough.

The reverse side of the cover has a helpful strap for sliding a belt through. This makes for easy carrying when you’re on the move. You can also attach the tool to a pack using a cord.

A protective cover protecting the Estwing 14" Axe's head
A sheath protects the blade from damage.

Strengths

  • Durable handle with shock-resistant technology.
  • A strong tool that will take the knocks.
  • An edge that’s hard to chip and easy to sharpen.
  • Versatile axe for splitting and chopping.
  • A hard poll that’s ideal for hammering.

Weaknesses

  • Not suited to tougher splitting jobs.
  • Blade tends to stick in wood.
  • Not ideal for choking up.
  • Black is hard to spot outdoors.
Vertical image of the Estwing Camper's Hatchet
The handle isn’t ideal for intricate cuts in choke up grip.

Commonly asked questions

What are the best uses for an Estwing 14″ Camper’s Axe?

The Black 14″ Camper’s Axe is excellent for felling small trees, light splitting jobs, and chopping kindling. Hunters can process animals on the spot for easy transportation back to a vehicle.

Where are Estwing axes made?

A family-owned company makes the Estwing range of axes in Rockford, Illinois. Since 1923, Estwing has built a solid reputation for selling durable, functional hand tools in the affordable segment of the market. The business proudly designs and manufactures all its hand tools, which means they have a tight rein on quality control.

What materials are used to make Estwing Camper’s axes?

The Camper’s Axe is forged from a single piece of 1055 carbon steel.

Can this axe be used for throwing?

Axes with metal handles and a rubber grip are not recommended for indoor axe throwing. A misdirected throw can bounce back dangerously, causing severe injury.

What is the difference between the Estwing Camper’s Axe and Sportsman’s Axe?

Both axes are made from forged carbon steel and share the same-sized head. While their designs are essentially the same, the Camper’s Axe is 1½ inches longer, has a notch for tent peg removal, and a slightly thicker handle which allows for more control choked up. The Sportsman’s Axe has a premium leather handle, while the Camper’s has a rubber one.

Does the Estwing Camper’s Axe 14″ make a good splitting axe?

This axe is great for light-duty splitting of firewood and kindling. However, a specialized splitting axe or maul is recommended for larger logs and tough wood.

What is the best alternative to the Estwing 14″ Axe?

If you’re looking for an alternative within the Estwing range, consider a longer 26″ Camper’s Axe for more power. If you’ve got the budget, consider the Hults Bruk Jonaker Hatchet, which is more compact.

Specifications

AttributeImperialMetric
Total length14”35.5cm
Cutting edge length3¼”8.2cm
Total weight36 oz1kg
  • Handle material: Drop forged steel and rubber Shock Reduction Grip
  • Head material: Drop Forged Medium Carbon Steel
  • Country of manufacture: USA
Specifications for the Estwing Axe - 14" Camper's.
Specs of the Estwing Camper’s Axe.

Summing up

The Estwing Camper’s Axe 14″ is a super-handy tool that prunes, limbs, hammers, chops, and splits. It is durable, well-built, and great for camping, survival, trekking, hunting, and yard work.

Its one-piece design is made to take the knocks, and the edge will take a beating before it dulls. The blade profile is easy to bring back to a sharp edge.

A vertical collage of the 14 inch Estwing Camper's Axe.
A vertical collage of the 14 inch Estwing Camper’s Axe.

A specialized maul or axe will do better if you mostly split medium to large logs. They cost more, but you’ll make life much easier.

Overall, the Black 14” Camper’s Axe is an excellent option for anyone needing a tough, long-lasting axe that’s affordable.

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