Firewood tools to transform thick logs into easy-handling fire fuel
Fire is an indispensable resource when facing Mother Nature’s extreme cold temperatures. However, fires require fuel to burn (and, if you want to get technical, oxygen). And, for the majority of circumstances, fuel for fires comes in the form of wood.
Yes, you can purchase ready-to-use-and-burn wood from local hardware and food stores, but these seasonal and sometimes hard-to-find sources just won’t cut it when you need a great amount to get you through a long stay in cold climates. In addition, buying a cord or two from a firewood supplier might seem a costly waste of money to those who prefer to literally take matters into their own hands and gather their own firewood.
If you’re determined to do it yourself, this guide can be handy for you. From axes and sharpeners to log-splitters and kindling-creators, you’ll need reliable equipment on hand to get the job done both quickly and efficiently. If you use one or more of the options we offer here, you’ll enjoy a fire’s gift of heat, light, the ability to cook your food, emotional comfort and dozens of other benefits.
So, chop and split away today with these firewood tools and build a pile of wood, as well as peace of mind for tomorrow and the rest of your soon-to-be cold season.
1. Gerber Gear Bushcraft Axe
This axe provides all the features needed for rugged outdoor use: a solid, one-piece axe head, hammerhead back, an overstrike guard and a rubber grip that allows a firm hold, no matter the environmental conditions. However, this axe takes preparedness up several levels because of its included waterproof compartment. Store tinder, matches, a mini lighter or any small survival gear, and rest assured that everything will stay dry and secure throughout your time in the wild. It all fits in the tubular storage stick that fits within the axe handle.
- Overall length: 26.25 inches
- Blade length: 6.87 inches
- Rubber overmold grip
- Overstrike guard for added durability
- Waterproof gear storage stick with 9 feet of paracord
2. Gerber Gear Downrange Tomahawk
Multitasking is the backbone of this chopper. Utilize its sharp head for splitting logs or creating kindling. And when you’re in an urban surrounding, step it up with an integrated pry bar and hammerhead breaching tool. This tomahawk features a 420HC steel body. Its G10 handle won’t break or falter, whether you’re in the wilderness or in your own backyard, preparing a log for your lounge-around pit or meal-cooking barbecue. It includes a MOLLE-compatible sheath and a limited lifetime warranty.
- Triple-purpose axe head
- G-10 handle with integrated scales for a solid grip
- Pry bar end for both large and small jobs
- Easy-carry handle built into the axe-head
- Created from durable 420HC steel
3. Gerber Gear Pack Hatchet
Sometimes, going small is the best way to get a job done, and the Pack Hatchet can help with that. Compact and highly useful for splitting small logs, splintering kindling or even shaving tinder from dry wood, this hatchet features a rubberized grip for powerful strikes, as well as exaggerated finger grooves for precision wood cuts. Its stainless steel, full-tang body will stand up to the rigors of hard-core outdoor use and will become a staple in your gear bags for years to come.
- Full-tang construction
- Tall blade grind allows for optimal sharpness
- Rubber overmold handle for added grip and comfort
- Included nylon sheath can be mounted to a pack or belt
- Available in Flat Sage or Coyote Brown colors
4. Gerber Gear Freescape Hatchet, 17.5-Inch
Built for both chopping efficiency and less user fatigue, the Freescape can tackle a plethora of campsite chores to make your life outdoors just a bit easier. From splitting small logs and creating kindling to pounding tent spikes, this slim-profile hatchet gets the job done fast and cleanly. Additionally, its distinct, green-colored handle accent stands out against the drab colors of nature, so you won’t leave this precious tool behind by mistake.
- Overall length: 17.3 inches
- Weight: 2 pounds, 1 ounce
- Forged steel head
- Composite handle is both highly durable and lightweight
- Made in Finland
5. CRKT Jenny Wren Compact Tomahawk
Most tomahawks have one or possibly two sides that are sharpened. The Jenny Wren Compact Tomahawk sports three edged sides for maximum effectiveness for hearty, outdoor use. Don’t be fooled by its stout body; this ’hawk delivers big with every chop as your powerful swing translates to wood being split, severed or shaved with little effort and minimal user fatigue. The tough, glass-reinforced handle offers just the right amount of balance and stability within your grip. To top it off, a MOLLE-compatible sheath keeps the Jenny Wren nearby.
- Overall length: 10.06 inches
- Blade length: 2.59 inches
- Handle: Glass-reinforced nylon
- Powder-coated blade finish
- Glass-reinforced nylon sheath
6. CRKT Black Woods Chogan
With both a traditional design and modern additions, this tomahawk tackles intense chopping tasks with ease. Its fire-treated hickory handle delivers power to its carbon steel head, making short work of any wood put up against it. Additionally, it’s steel exterior is coated for optimal corrosion resistance, so this brute can play outdoors all season long. Need a tent stake hammer? No problem: The Black Woods Chogan’s solid back hammer pounds even the most resistant stakes cleanly into the earth for fast shelter-building.
- Overall length: 19 inches
- Magnesium-phosphate coating offers superior corrosion resistance
- Fire-treated, Tennessee hickory handle
- 1055 carbon steel axe-head and hammer
- Leather sheath included
7. CRKT Cimbri
The Cimbri is an exceptional example of a design taken from ancient history that’s been transformed into a hard-working, log-chopping tool. This two-handed axe mimics the contours, weight and superb balance of 8th-century weaponry, but today, it only attacks wood and doesn’t let up. It offers modern characteristics, such as hot-forged 1055 carbon steel, black magnesium phosphate coating and a well-balanced, 26-inch-long hickory handle. Go into “battle” against your woodpile with this trusty tool by your side.
- Overall length: 26 inches
- Blade length: 4.09 inches
- Magnesium phosphate blade coating
- Tennessee hickory handle
- 1055 carbon steel axe-head
8. Whiskey River Trading FSS Boy’s Axe
Don’t let the name of this axe fool you. This boy’s axe can be used by wielders of all ages and sizes and can perform both large and small jobs. The 2.25-pound FSS Axe is designed to be stored for long periods of time without use but be ready to work at a moment’s notice. This incredible outdoor tool has been a favorite and iconic axe for forest rangers and wildland firefighters, so you’ll be in good company using it at your own campsite.
- 1080 steel construction
- 28 inches overall
- Painted head and bit
- Midsized axe is ideal for both small and large projects
- Leather mask covering
9. Whiskey River Trading Hudson Bay Belt Hatchet
Referred to as a “gateway hatchet,” this incredible camp tool is the perfect starter hatchet for the outdoor newbie, novice or young adult learning the fundamentals of creating a campsite, as well as for the family member assigned to get the fire roaring with plenty of chopped wood. Its compact size allows you to easily pack it away when traveling; yet, when it’s time for action, this chopper can step up and deliver. An included full-leather mask protects the edges when this hatchet isn’t in use.
- 1.25-pound, 5160 steel axe-head
- 14-inch scout handle
- Ideal for first-time users
- Convex grind blade edge
- Leather mask included (or choose an optional sheath)
10. Whiskey River Trading Flying Fox
A hatchet can have many functions, and the Flying Fox is one such multitasker. On the surface, this simple, yet sturdily built, hatchet can perform myriad campsite functions with relative ease. From creating kindling and shaving tinder to pounding tent stakes, no job is too large or too small for this versatile tool. Then, when the work’s done, it’s time for play, because the Flying Fox backs up its name and becomes a recreational throwing instrument. Accurate, tough and designed for reliability, it’ll hit its target more often than not. Work hard—and play hard—with this hatchet.
- Compact, easy-to-use/easy-to-carry design
- 1.75-pound, 1060 steel head
- Can be used for competitive hatchet-throwing
- Hardened poll can be used to pound tent stakes
- Ideal for novice throwers and campers alike
11. Whiskey River Trading Arctic Fox Dual Grit Sharpening Puck
Axes are indispensable when you’re deep in the backwoods, but even the best edged tools get dull. That’s when you’ll reach for the Arctic Fox Dual Grit Sharpening Puck. It offers dual sharpening sides—one with gray ANSI 240 grit and the other with icy-blue ANSI 400 grit—to attack your dull axes, machetes and long blades with a one-two punch! The Arctic Fox erases scratch marks and finishes the job with a superb mirror finish.
- Ceramic blend
- Handy in the field
- Two grits in one convenient unit
- Readily absorbs and retains water
- Leaves a fine finish
12. Rothco Deluxe Camp Axe
This no-nonsense, one-hand axe can be your go-to tool in the wilderness for chopping firewood quickly and efficiently. Its rubberized handle provides a firm grip, allowing you to transfer more power to every swing while reducing user fatigue for longer use. This axe’s steel head with an extra-sharp edge ensures no wood will remain unsplit. Additionally, the included sheath makes transport and storage safe and easy.
- Overall length: 17 inches
- Durable, fiberglass handle
- Drop-forged steel head with fully polished exterior
- Ergonomic, rubber-grip handle
- Includes a heavy-duty sheath
13. Zippo AxeSaw
Is it an axe, a saw or a mallet? That’s easy: It’s all three in one convenient outdoor tool. The AxeSaw features a unique design that not only makes it easy to saw and chop quickly, it also keeps the user safe from the blade that’s not being used. A 15-inch saw rips through small saplings and branches, while the axe head literally destroys any log in its path and quickly supplies firewood for your campsite. It’s lightweight, but ultra-durable, for season after season of reliable use.
- Full-tang, 5-inch 420 stainless steel axe-head
- Durable polymer handle
- Integrated tent stake mallet
- Equipped with rust and corrosion protection
- Cam and self-adjusting tension compensation
14. Kindling Cracker Firewood Kindling Splitter—XL
Bring the wood to the blade, not the blade to the wood. That’s the philosophy behind this kindling-splitter. Constructed of heavy-duty cast iron, this mammoth of a tool offers a safe, reliable and efficient way to create a huge pile of kindling in no time flat. Just position the log in place and strike downward for instant splitting. This splitter’s sturdy base keeps the unit solid and stable, while the wide top ring takes care of logs up to 9 inches in diameter. It’s easy to sharpen and clean after it’s done with your splitting tasks.
- Safely keeps hands away from blade
- Uses less force than a standard axe
- Splits up to 17-inch-long logs
- Square feet design keeps the unit steady and secure
- Cast iron construction
15. Ironton Horizontal Electric Log Splitter
Long, cold winters demand large amounts of firewood, and this Ironton splitter can meet that demand. Utilizing its powerful electric motor and heavy-duty construction, you’ll be quickly and efficiently splitting logs up to 10 inches in diameter. Its intelligent, cradle-catch design keeps the split wood from falling to the ground; and that means spending less time picking it up and restarting your job. Don’t overwork yourself with an axe. Let this amazing machine take over, and you’ll see your pile of firewood grow superfast.
- Powerful, 5-ton splitting force
- Smooth, 15-amp electric motor
- Built-in cradle catches split wood pieces
- Extremely short cylinder cycle time
- Rear tires provide easy mobility
16. Powerhouse Double Flywheel Electric Log Splitter
Is two seconds fast enough for you to split logs for firewood? Well, this mini marvel can do just that. This beast delivers 7 tons of splitting force, so logs up to 12 inches in diameter won’t stand a chance. Its double-flywheel design and copper-wire kinetic motor ensure steady performance as you prepare for a long, cold season. Best of all, a built-in cradle catches the split wood to eliminate the hassle of gathering the wood, unnecessary stopping and time-wasting. When you need results, this splitter gives them to you—in spades.
- Powerful, 7-ton maximum splitting force
- Splits logs up to 20 inches long and 12 inches in diameter
- Built-in cradle catches split logs
- Smooth, powerful copper-wire kinetic motor
- 6-inch tires for easy mobility
17. Kestrel Feather Tomahawk
Sometimes, you’re deep in the backwoods; other times, you’re tackling projects around your house. Either way, this tomahawk can get the job done. Compact, lightweight and tough as nails, this tactical and campsite tomahawk can go from chopping wood to shaving kindling to breaching a wood door. Its full-tang construction ensures a solid tool for repeated, nonstop use, while its G10 handle provides just the right amount of grip in both wet and extremely dry environments. With a 3-inch facing blade and 3-inch, distal tapered spike on the back end, it’s double trouble for anything that stands in this ’hawk’s way.
- Blade material: 80CRV (HRC 57–58)
- Weight: 19 ounces
- G10 handle with textured scales offers a solid grip
- Tungsten Cerakote finish for extra corrosion resistance
- Included molded Kydex sheath and low-ride M.O.C. straps
18. Richardson Axeworks Vintage Restored Double-Bit Axe
Claim your piece of American history with this highly functional double-bit axe. From the selection of the meticulously restored head to the attachment of the durable hickory handle, you’ll have a traditional tool to take down trees and split logs with ease. No two axes are identical, thereby adding to the uniqueness and personalization. Best of all, you can add your initials, a painted grip and a sheath for safety and protection when this axe isn’t in use.
- 28- to 32-inch hickory handles
- Fully functional for nonstop chopping
- Available customized initialing, paint and sheath
MSRP From $350
A version of this article first appeared in the January 2022 issue of American Outdoor Guide Boundless.