Who still brings axes?

Joined
Jul 27, 2013
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In my travels in canoe I am coming across more and more parties of people that aren't packing an axe with them. In my opinion an axe is essential, especially where I am located in northern Maine. Back in the earlier days many woodsmen would leave camp to go on a trip, and always bring an axe, no matter how light they were traveling. I never go into the woods without one. What about you guys? Here is a picture of mine.

Alex
 

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Joined
Jul 31, 2011
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Aberdeen, MD
Folding/takedown bucksaw and usually a Norlund axe (sometimes a Granfors Bruks) for me.... Only don't bring them if it's a hard trip like the St Regis, and even then I reduce it to a folding saw (Bahco Laplander) and Norlund hatchet. If you don't bring them, you're reduced to scrounging for wood that other people have rejected, or walking further for it (or scavenging for it along the way).
 
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Colrain MA
When we go to Maine we take 2 but that's more for the young ones on the trip. More and more I find a saw is all you really need.
 
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I've come to understand that campfires have nearly as much psychological value as physical. I made the decision one summer to forego the saw and axe, and try tripping without fires. I wasn't a happy camper. I don't mind cooking on stoves, but something seemed missing in our day and evening without the comfort of a small fire. It not only takes the chill off my bones, but warms my soul and lifts my spirits as well. And for that reason, campfires are as integral a part of our canoe tripping experience as paddling, walking, and swimming through the landscape; they all help to connect us to the place sensually and emotionally.
An axe is now an important part of my gear, along with sharpening stone and folding saw. I really enjoy the whole routine of gathering and preparing wood. Forays into the surrounding forest is a magical little glimpse beyond the "tamed" campsite, and I tend to spend more time stopping and smelling the earth and trees than foraging for wood. If I paddle down the shoreline in my searches, my wife knows it'll be some time before there's a fire in the hearth. When I eventually wander back to camp, I have the sawing and splitting to look forward to. I sometimes grumble "how much work all this relaxing vacation stuff is." My wife smirks knowingly, humming while she gets to work in her outdoor kitchen.
Of course, all of my blab doesn't take into account the ease of making stick fires, without the need of axes and saws. A sturdy fixed blade knife for splitting can be all one needs for this. I haven't tried this approach to fires, though I've taken the first tentative step by purchasing a twig stove. I'll see where it takes me, though I doubt I'll ever leave my axe at home again.
 
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I often don't build fires, the axe and chainsaw are for the ports and non existant campsites.
 
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Altoona, Pennsylvania
I like to have fires in camp. I'm usually solo and therefore my fires are smaller. I typically do most tripping in the Fall and ports are pretty clear. That said, I have been bringing fairly lightweight saw and axe on a lot of trips. My main saw and axe right now (pictured) are the camp saw at about 1/2lb. and the 1.5 lb. GB axe. These have been a great combo for me. When I believe a heavier set up is required, I will bring a full size saw with 24" blade and splitting hatchet or small splitting axe. Definitely in the Spring when I may be more likely to be the first one through the ports. I've occasionally just used a knife for splitting, but I prefer an axe.



Cheers,
Barry
 
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
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Appleton, Maine
I bring one most trips, mainly for splitting wood for fires. I like a fire, cook over it and feel good when I paddle away from a site leaving a nice stack of split wood for the next tripper.
Hopefully, the next guy will have an ax too so he can split wood for the next tripper coming threw, or if he doesn't carry one, he or she is nice enough to forego the fire no matter how cold and wet they are:(.

My ax fits neatly into my Cruiser Duluth Pack,



It pays to carry an ax when everything is soaked and the rain just won't stop,

 
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Ontario
Wonderful pics and reasoning too, Robin. Guess we'll never qualify as ultralight trippers. Glad to hear I'm not the only soul still carrying one (and a folding bucksaw)...

Woods+Pack+w+Axe.jpg
 
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Dave, That's Robin's folding saw. Every time he does this, showing scenes from his trips, I keep thinking he ought to make a calender. Now, if he could get that cute little French Canadian gal to contribute wouldn't that be grand!

I always bring an axe, it's for self-defense; after all the money I've spent on various axes, if I didn't and my wife found out I'd be a goner for sure!

There's just something about an axe: it's one of the fundamental tools. Right along with a knife. I can't imagine being without one when camping.

Best Wishes, Rob
 
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Eastern PA
I carry an axe. I usually just carried a gerber axe (about 16" I would guess) backpacking and canoeing. About a year ago I bought a nice lightweight axe made by browning for canoeing, it's longer than the gerber but still not full size. It has some sort of plastic/composite handle. It's ok but kinda scares me if it gets wedged good into a piece, handle really flexes.

Here is a pic of my buddy using it.

2C2D0179-1918-417A-B8E4-A6AA58D6522F-14697-000023DEC0D7C105_zpsbbe63b8a.jpg
 
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Joined
Nov 23, 2012
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Western Adirondacks
During SAR and at other times, I notice that many (most?) NYS Forest Rangers carry a 19" axe in their backpack. During a SAR crew boss training session I witnessed a ranger demonstrate a take down and dismantle an 8 foot balsam fir with a couple of slices. In less than a total of 2 minutes he used it to get a fire going with massive billowing white smoke easily visible for miles from the air through heavy overhead canopy.
 
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What is next to the axe on the pack. I see a wood handle or something.


Hey Rippy, OM's right, it's a folding Schmidt Pack Saw, 24", works like a beauty.

Murat, Is that the old canvas pack you restored? Nice job on the leather work, the ax looks great in it's sheath.
 
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Raymond, ME
Some people shouldn't use axes. Me probably. I can tap split wood, but solo an axe is a dangerous tool for me. I have not developed sufficient hand eye coordination. My husband has none. We probably should never carry till we get better chopping at home. We do a good bit of splitting just fine at home

Anyway a trip is not a time to practice. The problem is that we may not use the axe enough at home.

Plus as there is already a downside, that extra 19 or 20 ounces is a detriment when I go solo. My saw is pretty light. Its made by a friend.
 
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Red Lake, Ontario
I carry an axe. Always have, but until recently it never really got used. This changed when I bought the GB small forest axe. Find it is more practical to use with it's design and it is a finer tool which to me means it works better and is a joy to use.

I really want one of those folding saws, I carry a 21" G-Man buck saw, it easy to access and gets used lots, spare blade is usually in the food barrel.
 
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This axe ain't pretty, but it splits wood pretty well.
http://vipukirves.fi/english/
You need to keep a firm grip on that handle when you swing!
The old car tire trick is pretty good, but ya might want to be standing in one for safety's sake.
And put the kids in the house. And get the dog outta the yard. And put the ambulance on speed dial.
I think I'll stick with what I've got; old fashioned, old school, and old dependable.
 
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