Having a bug out bag or survival kit with you is one of the best things you can do to be prepared for any unforeseeable circumstance. Even when you go camping or for any outdoor activity in the wild, having a survival kit with you is essential.
Aside from including medical supplies, tools like knives, flashlights, cords, and dry food, having a tomahawk in the bag can also prove to be beneficial. Like many other survival tools, the tomahawk has also evolved rapidly to cater to the changing needs of modern times. There are various kinds of tomahawks (and these are the real deal and not what you see at Atlanta Braves games), and it is one of the most multipurpose items to include in your survival kit. In this article, we share some tips you need to consider when buying one, plus, the best tomahawks available in the market.
HOW TO CHOOSE A STELLAR TOMAHAWK
Tools like swords and spears have quite gone out of use, but tomahawks still remain popular as a weapon for self-defense. There are many cases where owning a tomahawk can prove to be useful. Self-defense isn’t just protecting yourself from another human; it can also mean protecting yourself from wild animals while you’re outdoors.
Some of the other purposes a tomahawk can be used for are chopping wood, rescuing someone trapped in a vehicle, breaking glass, prying something open, cutting sheet metal, and hunting.
Not everyone is comfortable owning firearms. A tomahawk is a good alternative to a gun, and you don’t even need a license to own one (or many). Maybe you live in an apartment and don’t want to own a gun, the tomahawk is a good weapon for self-defense in such a case.
Maybe you live in a dorm and aren’t old enough to own a gun, you can easily have a tomahawk on you. There’s not much training needed to be able to use tomahawk. Anyone can wield an axe or hammer. Even when used by someone with little experience, the tomahawk is a formidable weapon.
A tomahawk looks and functions like an axe, and comes in several types. The most common type is the spiked tomahawk. A regular spiked tomahawk can be bought for as little as $40, while if you get one custom made, be prepared to shell out as much as $500. Regardless of the type of tomahawk you choose, it is always a useful tool to have.
When you decide to buy your first tomahawk, it can be confusing to choose among the various types available. This is the reason why you need to know the things to look for in a tomahawk. Some of the factors that you must consider when picking a tomahawk are:
Weight: You must be able to lift the tomahawk before using it. Therefore, the weight of the tool is one of the first factors to consider. A tomahawk between 16 and 23 ounces is the best choice for anyone buying their first tool. This is the optimal weight of any tomahawk. Of course, there are ones far heavier than this, and although they are much more capable, they shouldn’t be the first choice for self-defense because of the excess weight.
Edge: Tomahawks usually come with a utility edge that may be useful for chopping wood or breaking glass but barely enough for self-defense. In that case, you have two options: either buy a tomahawk with an edge that’s sharp enough, or use a whetstone to sharpen the edge of the existing tomahawk. Whichever you prefer, remember that an edge that isn’t sharp enough will not suffice for self-defense purposes.
Handle Material: There are three types of handle materials for tomahawks: wood, metal or hybrid. Tomahawks with a wood handle are the least expensive because the weight is concentrated on the head. Wood handles are also easy and inexpensive to replace, so you can always get a new one if the handle breaks.
Metal tomahawks, also called integral tomahawks, have the handle and the head made from the same piece of metal and are usually more expensive. In these tomahawks, the head is generally lighter than the handle, creating a problem with balance. Hybrid ‘hawks have a non-wood handle separate from the head. They are lighter and easier to use and last for a long time.
Handle Length: The length of a tomahawk’s handle varies between 12 and 22 inches. When choosing the handle length, keep in mind your strength and build. The length of the handle must not exceed your elbow when laid flat against your arm.
If you are confused between handle lengths, consider buying a tomahawk with a longer handle and then cutting off little pieces until you get to a suitable length. Although ‘hawks with a longer handle are more versatile, ones with a shorter handle are easier to carry and conceal.
Head Styles: Tomahawk heads come in a variety of styles, but the three most common ones spiked, polled, and un-polled. The poll is the part of the tool that projects from the opposite side of the main blade. Spiked polled tomahawks are the most popular because they are versatile, offer great balance, and can be used as utility as well as self-defense tools.
You can watch the fantastic movie Last of the Mohicans if you want to see one in action!
Training: Before using your newly purchased tomahawk, you must practice getting your aim right. The best way to practice hitting a target is to use it on a space car tire. Tie it to a tree or hang it from somewhere high up, and then practice hitting it to get your aim right.
You might find interesting to read our best hatchets for survival article.
TOP 10 TOMAHAWKS FOR SURVIVAL
Now that we know how to choose a tomahawk for self-defense purposes, let’s take a look at the ten best options available today. No matter where you live, you can easily buy a tomahawk online. However, keep in mind that it possible to weigh the tool beforehand, so you might go wrong sometimes.
#1 KERSHAW 1073X SIEGE TOMAHAWK
(+) Well balanced
(+) Durable material
(+) Sharp edge
(+) Firm, comfortable grip
(-) The nylon sheath feels inferior and isn’t MOLLE compatible
Wood-handled tomahawks may be commonplace and inexpensive, but they get worn over the course of time and need frequent replacement. Therefore, if you are looking for a tomahawk that will need no replacement for years to come, you must pick one with a non-wood handle that has good grip.
The Kershaw 1073X Siege Tomahawk seems to fit the description well. This no-frills tool is an expert at every purpose imaginable, from opening crates to chopping trees to protecting yourself from danger.
The hatchet-style head has a sharp edge that is also durable for the long run. The handle and the head are made of high strength steel, while the black-oxide coating prevents rusting and staining. This spiked polled tomahawk is designed for the maximum impact while being comfortable to use.
The tool is well balanced, with the head weighing about two pounds, which is just the right weight. There’s also a pry bar at the base for pulling out nails easily. The Kershaw 1073X Siege Tomahawk is ideal for a bug out bag or survival kit when you’re out camping or want to have a weapon at hand for self-defense. The tomahawk also comes with its own sheath to be used for carrying and easy storage.
Whether you’re a newbie or a pro, this tomahawk is a handy tool to have around the house, or when you’re outdoors in the wild. No, you don’t need to carry one to the movie theater to see the next impressive Transformers movie! That would be ill-advised!
#2 COLUMBIA RIVER KANGEE T-HAWK
|Steel:||SK5 Carbon Steel|
(+) High quality and durable
(+) Grip coils and long handle for enhanced reach and control
(+) Sharp edge and spike
(-) The head is a little light
Another integral tomahawk is the Columbia River Kangee T-Hawk. According to the brand, when you are armed with their T-Hawk, the only thing standing between you and your obstacle is nothing.
Crafted from a single piece of carbon steel, this tomahawk is great for utility and self-defense purposes, since it’s so easy to handle, with the high strength blade and also a useful spike on the opposite side.
The brand claims that the designer behind this tool has been crafting tomahawks since the last 30 years for special force troops, which goes on to show the expertise that has gone into manufacturing this product.
The head features tapered cutting edges that make the tool great for splitting, chopping, and breaking open things. The spike also evenly distributes the weight of the head. The tomahawk also comes with a curved handle and a finger grip coil for a firm grip.
The blade has a black powder coating that prevents rust and scratches, and the glass-reinforced nylon that is used to make the curved handle has grip coils for better control. Regardless of the task, the tool will not slip out of your hands. The long handle is also good for reach and control. The MOLLE compatible Kydex sheath lets you properly store the tomahawk as well as attach it to your bag or pack easily.
For anyone looking for a high quality sturdy tactical tool, this tomahawk is the one. It can cut through wood, glass, and aluminum, making it ideal for both utility and self-defense tasks.
Check out our suggested bushcraft axes article.
#3 SOG SURVIVAL HAWK
(+) Sharp and aggressive
(+) Comes with a fire starter rod
(+) Includes a spike and hammer
(-) The head feels a little light
When you need to carry your tomahawk in your pack or bag, you need something that’s lightweight, sturdy, and also does the job.
The SOG Survival Hawk is ideal in this case. Based on the Vietnam Tomahawk, this tool is called by the brand an evolution of the original tomahawk, which used to be a very popular weapon back in the day. Even today, there are tasks that require such a strong, versatile utility tool.
Some of the applications of this tomahawk are chopping and breaking, excavation, extraction, and obstacle removal (you don’t need to use it to crack some eggs in your kitchen!). While the head is made of stainless steel with a polished satin finish, the handle is made of nylon and encased in fiberglass with high strength bolts and a steel ferrule. The grips at the side enhance control.
Even though the blade isn’t razor sharp, the acute angle makes it great for all kinds of jobs. However, the tool gets its name Survival Hawk for the fire starter rod that lies inside the handle. Whether you go camping or get stranded in the woods, this rod can be screwed out easily to start a fire by using it together with the head.
The paracord that the handle is wrapped in provides some shock absorption, and can also be taken out if you need a cord. The MOLLE compatible sheath not only secured the blade when not in use, but also makes it easy to carry the tool.
A very versatile tomahawk, the SOG Survival Hawk is great for utility as well as self-defense purposes since it comes with a spike, hammer, pry bar, and also a fire starter rod. Lightweight and easy to carry, it also has a sheath that attaches to a bag or pack.
#4 SCHRADE SCAXE5 FULL TANG TACTICAL HATCHET
|Steel:||SK5 Carbon Steel|
(+) Lightweight and comfortable
(+) Ergonomic handle
(-) A little short in length
A full tang tactical hatchet can be very expensive, but the highly reputed Taylor Brands LLC manufactures one that is not only affordable but also small enough for ease of use and strong enough for all purposes. Don’t be fooled by the size or the price. The tool packs a punch indeed. It is meant to be comfortable enough to carry, but also mighty enough for times when a larger tool is unavailable.
Made of high strength high carbon steel with glass filled nylon handle, this formidable weapon must find place in every survival kit. The powder coating prevents rust and scratches, and the pry bar at the bottom of the handle is great for pulling out nails.
The handle is ergonomic, with the grooves and contours making it slip resistant. The blade is razor sharp, and the saber grind on the cutting surface makes it easy to chop wood and metal. But given its short stature, it is not very effective on tough materials that are best performed at farther range.
The spike is also strong and sharp, and easily chops through wood and breaks through walls. The tool weighs less than two pounds, which makes it lightweight and comfortable to use and carry.
This is a tomahawk of great capabilities, given that it is made by one of the most respectable weapon manufacturers. For an affordable pricing, you get the highest quality. But no, you don’t need to buy one for your 8-year-old nephew. That would be the wrong move!
Check out our selection of the most stellar splitting mauls article here.
#5 SMITH & WESSON SW671 EXTRACTION AND EVASION TOMAHAWK
|Steel:||1070 High Carbob Steel|
(+) Solid and aggressive
(+) Firm grip
(-) Requires sharpening out of the box
Smith & Wesson is one of the most reputed and trusted tomahawk makers in the world, and coming from them, the SW671 Extraction and Evasion Tomahawk is definitely going to be a remarkable product. Smith & Wesson has been making tomahawks and other utility tools since 1852, and their quality has never disappointed.
This full tang tomahawk is made of high strength carbon steel and the handle from steel and Kraton. Sturdy and durable, the blade will smash through anything in its path, from a tree to a car to a wall. Whether you want to chop wood for winter or protect yourself in the woods while camping, this remarkable tool is versatile and can save your life in emergencies.
But this does not mean you should walk around with it in the grocery store!
The spike on the other side of the blade is aggressive enough to snap through rock, steel, cinder blocks, aluminum, and more. Although the scales on the handle make for a good grip, they can be uncomfortable when used without gloves. The protective coating minimizes scratches and protects from rust, while the nylon sheath is good for storing and carrying the tomahawk.
The quality of the tool is outstanding, given the price. From breaking down a wall to chopping wood, this aggressive little tool does all tasks perfectly.
#6 SOG SPECIALTY KNIVES & TOOLS F06P-N FASTHAWK TACTICAL TOMAHAWK
(+) Lightweight and comfortable
(-) The handle can be slippery
We have already talked about the SOG Survival Hawk, but the FastHawk is lighter, sharper, and more comfortable to use. It can be used for cutting, chopping, hammering and other utility purposes. You can also use it to fend off wild animals if you’re camping in the outdoors.
Constructed from high strength stainless steel, the two-inch blade is polished to an attractive finish, which also prevents damage and corrosion. SOG believes in combining multiple tools into one, so just like the Survival Hawk comes with a fire steel, the FastHawk comes with a blunt edge for hammering, and a chiseled edge for extraction.
But no, you don’t want to use this to open your car door. That would be ridiculous! Well, unless you were trapped inside somehow!
The polymer handle comes with durable bolts, steel ferrule, and a slip-resistant grip that lets the tool fit comfortably in your hands. There’s also a nylon sheath and belt loop for the ease of storing and carrying the hawk. The hatchet is lightweight enough for throwing, and also strong and sharp enough for chopping and cutting tasks. The product comes with a lifetime warranty from the manufacturer.
This multipurpose tomahawk is great for throwing, chopping, cutting, and hammering. Easy to carry and use, it comes at an affordable price and provides great value for money.
#7 ESTWING ETTA ESTWING DESERT CAMO TOMAHAWK
(+) Durable and sturdy
(+) Shock resistant grip
(-) Handle isn’t too flexible
Looking for a tactical tomahawk at an affordable price? Look no further than the Estwing ETTA Estwing Desert Camo Tomahawk, which comes at $35 and offers exceptional value.
Constructed from a single piece of steel, the tool has a sharp cutting edge, and also a spike that’s great for tearing down walls or puncturing metal. Since the whole tool is made from a single piece of metal, the head, and the handle aren’t going to separate unless broken.
At this price, the quality is far better than that of many other tomahawks. You could also use it for menial purposes like chopping wood or throwing hatchet, but this tool is actually meant for heavy duty tasks. Estwing manufactured tools for military personnel and sports professionals, and is reputed for the high quality and standard of the products.
The grip on the handle is made from shock absorbing material, like the one used other Estwing products. Estwing hammers and axes are also used for construction duty. The nylon sheath provided with the tomahawk is useful for storing and carrying the tool.
For comfort, durability, and value, this tomahawk is exceptional. At an unbeatable price, this tomahawk is a must have in your survival kit.
#8 UNITED CUTLERY M48 HAWK
(+) Good for beginners
(-) Not powerful enough
(-) Handle is flimsy
For a lightweight versatile tomahawk that’s great for throwing and for utility purposes, the United Cutlery M48 Hawk is a good deal.
The blade is broad and upswept, and the spike is ultra-sharp. The head is made of anodized stainless steel, and has a scratch resistant black oxide coating, while the handle is made from reinforced nylon and fixed with three heavy-duty bolts. The handle gets a tad uncomfortable after prolonged use, although there are slip resistant grooves to prevent it from slipping out of your hands.
Using gloves while handling this tool is highly recommended. The manufacturer offers a limited warranty, which covers manufacturing defects. The tool also comes with a nylon sheath with a button-snap closure. Although the tool looks powerful, it is best suited for beginners or those with light duty work.
This tomahawk is great for beginners and those that don’t have heavy-duty tasks. It is also good for throwing, and best suited to light tasks.
#9 CRKT WOODS CHOGAN T-HAWK
|Steel:||1055 carbon steel|
(+) Long and sturdy T-Hawk
(+) Sharp edge and strong hammerhead
(-) A bit too heavy
Finally, a wood tomahawk that looks like a traditional axe. This outdoor tomahawk from Columbia River Knife & Tool has its head made of high strength carbon steel, while the handle is made from Tennessee hickory. The tool has been designed by Ryan Johnson of RMJ Tactical, who has been crafting fine tomahawks for the last 25 years which was before the Patriots began to cheat and the ACA health care law devastated jobs and businesses but this is another topic.
The blade is sharp enough to cut trees and chop wood, while the hammerhead is ideal for fixing nails. This traditional looking T-Hawk also comes with a nylon sheath that both protects and makes for easy transportation.
This T-Hawk from CRKT looks traditional and chops through wood and metal just fine. Although a little on the heavier side, this axe is a good addition to a bug out bag.
#10 BROWNING SHOCK N’ AWE TOMAHAWK
(+) Right size
(+) Useful spike
(-) A little too heavy
Browning has been manufacturing outdoor gear for years, and they are all of high quality. This tough as nails tomahawk is made for utility, self-defense, and recreational purposes. Made from carbon steel, this full tang tool is of the right size, and the spike can be used to punch holes and pound nails easily. Although on the heavier side, the product is great for all outdoor and utility purposes.
If you can handle the weight, this is a right-sized tomahawk to include in your bug out bag for outdoor, recreational, and self-defense purposes.
YOUR CALL! WE DID OUR JOB!
Whether you choose a small tomahawk, a heavy-duty tool, or a traditional wood axe, there is no doubt that it is an extremely useful weapon to include in your survival kit or have at home. Now that we know the different types of tomahawks available, go ahead and buy one that suits your purposes.