I’m a huge fan of Gränsfors Bruks axes. My first decent axe was a Gränsfors Swedish Carving Axe (now called a Large Carving Axe), which remains one of my favorites.
Like all Gränsfors axes, the Outdoor Axe is shaving-sharp and ready to use right out of the box.
It was designed in part by survival expert Lars Fält, so it’s built for bushcraft; it’s small, light, and packable--a perfect camp axe.
1 lb. (.5 kg)
14.5” (37 cm)
|Light, small, and packable||Expensive|
|Excellent quality steel||Sheath design could use work|
|Impeccable forge work|
|High quality hickory handle|
|Shaving-sharp and ready to use from the factory|
|Collar on handle to protect against overstrike|
|Great for camp chores|
|Great for kindling|
|The Axe Book that comes with all Gränsfors axes|
The Outdoor Axe really shines for camp chores like felling saplings, cutting up kindling, or limbing dead branches for a fire.
The handle is somewhat thin but it’s relatively long for the size of the axe, which gives you a bit more chopping leverage than a shorter handle would. A slender handle also means less weight.
Using two hands is possible but the narrowness makes it a little awkward.
The sharp 25° bevel also makes it great for shaping and pointing the butts of tent poles, wooden pegs and stakes, and roughing out carving projects like wooden spoons.
As for splitting, don’t expect it to work well on wood stove sized rounds. I’ve seen some video reviews that show this axe struggling through bigger chunks of wood. It’s a camp axe; it’s not made for heating a cabin.
Will it split kindling and smaller sized camp firewood? Absolutely. The steel collar helps protect the handle near the eye where a splitting axe typically falls victim to overstrike.
I’m sort of on the fence about the aesthetic of the collar, but it it serves its purpose, and the look is growing on me.
The Outdoor Axe also makes a good knife for cutting up food, cleaning fish, or anything else that doesn’t require the fine control that an actual knife would provide.
If you could choose one packable tool to be lost in the wilderness with, this axe is a good candidate.
And of course, as with all Gränsfors axes, when you buy a new one, you get a free printed copy of The Axe Book, which has lots of useful info about axe use and maintenance, as well as descriptions of Gränsfors' models of axes. You can download a PDF copy here.
A couple of things I don’t like about the Outdoor Axe:
The factory sheath could use a re-design. It’s impossible to re-sheath the axe without cutting into the top of the sheath, so, it will eventually slice through. Also not a big deal, since the sheath would likely still be functional and you can always replace it with a better after-market sheath or make your own.
It’s pricey. Is it worth it? It falls within the same price range as the rest of the Gränsfors line of axes. You’re paying for an axe that will potentially last several lifetimes, hand-forged by a master craftsman.
Can you get something cheaper? Of course. But you probably won’t get the same attention to detail.
Gränsfors is known for its high quality steel, hand-selected hickory for its handles, and of course the level of craftsmanship that comes with a 100+ year old handmade-axe company.
It’s worth it.
The Outdoor Axe is a solid tool that will last a long time. If you’re looking for a good camp axe, I think you’ll be pleased with it.
Yes, it’s expensive, but you will likely never need to replace it given proper care. I believe tools are worth extra expense for higher quality.