Sometimes, you just need an axe. While we push survival knives to be stout enough to chop, if weight isn’t an issue, or you have the room, an axe or hatchet will make easy work of felling a tree, chopping limbs, making shelter, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I love tools like the Spax or SP8, or even the Cold Steel Kukri. But if I needed one ax for camp, I’d want something that was light, strong, and multi-functional.
The SOG Backcountry Axe does both. It has a lightweight yet sturdy glass-reinforced nylon handle with a soft fiberglass core and a joined ax head for optimal power and stability. The ax head has some great weight to it, ideal for hammering stakes or smashing problems in the bush. Moreover, the handle hides a limb saw. At 1.8 pounds, it feels slightly heavier.
Now that being said, the item does have some issues. First and foremost, is the sheath. It’s plastic and locking with grommet holes to mount to pack, however, the plastic clip on the interior feels cheap and flimsy, and I wouldn’t trust it to stay secure over miles in the mountains. Also, the ax head isn’t super sharp. I’d like to see it arrive a bit sharper, but a couple slides on a whetstone and it’s serviceable. However, I personally like my hatchets and camp axes to have slightly less than a razor sharp blade so they don’t burr when I inevitable hit a hard point in a tree or a rock accidentally. The 3 inch cutting surface is able to hold an edge, though.
Overall, it’s a good idea, but could have been executed a bit better. I would rather be without the limb saw and have a little more heft in the handle. While SOG does put out stellar products, this admittedly, isn’t my favorite.
Pros, what we like: It’s innovative, I’ll give it that. The ax head is heavy and moves well when choping or hammering. It can hold an edge, and is balanced for chopping work.
Cons, what we don’t like: The heft balance in the handle needs some work, and although it hasn’t broken, I am not 100% confident without testing it in the field like it should be – beaten down. Stay tuned for that. Also, that sheath leaves a lot to be desired.