Outdoors

Gear Junkie: Old-school or new-age, both axes get job done

A fire roaring, sticks and logs stacked up, we got to work.

Fuel was needed in the form of wood cut into burnable lengths. A pair of axes would do the trick.

We wielded two distinct models, one a classic and solid design. The other axe was made by a brand best known for its cigarette lighters.

Indeed, Zippo Manufacturing Company ( www.zippo.com) has diversified in recent years and now sells camping gear. Its 4-in-1 Woodsman product is an axe and saw in one.

It costs $79.95 and offers a steel head and a hard plastic handle. Stored inside are two saw blades. They attach from the axe head to the base of the handle and make a 15-inch bow saw.

The saw blade is thin and sharp, and it attaches to the axe with a spring-loaded clamp to keep it tight. You grip the axe head, which is enclosed in a plastic cover, to saw and cut.

I sliced through small logs in fast order with the saw. The axe offered a solid chop, too. As a hybrid product, Zippo has built something unique.

But for down and dirty chopping I preferred the second axe in my test. The Long Handle Camper’s Axe from Estwing ( www.estwing.com) is 26 inches in length and made of a solid piece of steel.

A rubbery grip absorbs shock and gives grip as you swing.

The forged steel head has a 4-inch blade.

While chopping firewood, the Estwing simply felt more solid than the Zippo. Both got the job done, but the utilitarian Estwing swung a bit easier and chopped quicker.

Estwing makes its axes in the USA. The Camper’s Axe comes with a leather sheath and costs $75.

If you need a saw and want an interesting “all in one” design, go with the Zippo axe. For basic chopping stay with the old-school Estwing to feed the campfire as fast as you can swing.

On the Web: www.gearjunkie.com.

 



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