SOG Camp Axe Review: Chop, Chop, Chop
Words By: Wally F. Photos By: Wally F.
……….I know a great many people that carry around tomahawks like the VooDoo or Survival Hawk, or their little brother versions like the Fast-hawk or VooDoo Hawk Mini. Beyond it adding to your “Look Cool Factor” and adding more weight to your kit, I wanted to see if having a mini axe/hatchet/tomahawk was worth it and what it’s all about.
……….Just about every reputable brand blade manufacturer out there has pushed out some type of hatch or tomahawk styled mini short handled axe. I quickly settled on the SOG brand, mostly because it was within my price range and I know enough folks that use them and rely on them.
……….While I was very tempted to go and get the same hatchet/tomahawk everyone else had I actually settled with the SOG Camp Axe. For as much as I imagine myself ever needing to go my tomahawk as a last resort tool for anything, I was looking for something more useful in a bush-craft type of situation. The Camp Axe to me fit the bill quite nicely.
……….Weighing in at just a hair over 16 ounces the Camp Axe is a nice light weight and fairly well balanced mini axe. A total length of 11.5 inches it’s actually on the short end, which I liked because it was easier to strap on to the belt line or the outside of a pack. What I really liked about the Camp Axe when I initially bought it was the glass reinforced nylon sheath that it came with. It’s just large enough to cover the blade side of the axe and securely wrap around the handle just underneath the hammer-tang side, it’s simple and it works.
……….Now it was time to put the axe to work. I took a short hike into a wilderness area near my place along the river to see what I could sink this SOG axe into. I just tossed the axe into my tool loop on my pants for easy access and stepped off. I didn’t even noticed the weight or the size, even if I didn’t find a decent use for it, I didn’t mind the trade off of the barely there weight and size. I tried the Camp Axe out on dead drift wood as well some smaller live tree branches.
……….The blade angle and sharpness on the axe were pretty spot on. The chops were precise and ate through the drift wood pretty easily. Due to the light weight and shorter handle length though sacrificed the total amount of force I could drive down on the head of the axe, which translate to a few more chops to get through whatever you’re cutting, as opposed to say a longer handle of say a 16 inch handle versus a 11.5 inch handle. You’re trading one thing for another. The one thing I found out quickly, the handle is too thin, even for my smaller hands. As a result I had to compromise my grip a little chopping which started to create hot spots on my hand.
……….After my hike I braided out the handle of the axe with 550 paracord. For the majority of my fixed blade tools I will wrap with paracord, it has a multitude of advantages, but in this case adding some girth to the handle and better grip when wet. The next thing I wanted to test out was whether or not the Camp Axe could be reliably thrown. I’ve seen plenty of Fast Hawks and other tomahawks be successfully thrown with repeatable accuracy. The weight distribution on the Camp Axe is fairly well balanced. Even with the paracord wrap it took me about 10-15 minutes to find the sweet spot for the release in the throw. You can definitely throw the Camp Axe if you had to.
……….I took the Camp Axe out a few weeks later camping. Lo and behold, this little hatchet was thriving in this environment. Using the flat side of the head was pounding my tent pegs with ease. Chopping fire wood and making kindling were all fairly easy tasks, even with a slightly knotty piece of wood I could use the flat hammer side of the axe head to baton the rest of the way through what I was cutting. If you’re not paying attention while chopping and miss, mashing the area just below the handle is supported with a single forged piece of metal to take the impact, and unlike wood handled axes when you miss, you won’t end up denting, dinging, and chipping your handle. Any fine tuning tasks like feathering branches was easily done by just choking your hand all the way up handle with a high tang grip, and because the handle is only 11.5 inches long it wasn’t unwieldy to handle with that type of grip. That grip is also a good for using the blade of the Camp Axe in a CQB defensive position if need be to punch out like an over sized set of brass knuckles.
……….For the priced paid just under $50 CDN or $40 USD the SOG Camp Axe I found to be much more useful in all around situations, but still can be used in a tactical setting. The design and aesthetic isn’t as sexy or tacti-cool as some of SOG’s other offerings, but for the weight and length the Camp Axe is still a sharp looking (pun intended) tool that is sized just right and can get variety of jobs done reliably.
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Reporting for TV-PressPass