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Axes and shovels? Fixed or fold down?

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posted on Dec, 5 2006 @ 04:05 PM
I have to admit that i've never had to use an axe for any kind of wilderness survival, whether it be for cutting trees for shelter or anything else. Shovels i've dug plenty of trenches with, but till now they've always been fixed.

I have noticed a lot of people mentioning them here and whilst looking into the different models, notice that some are fixed like the Gerber ones, or there are others that fold down to about 6 inches.

Any recommendations? I'd of imagined that a solid fixed ones would be better, but i may be wong there. What does a person look for in a good axe or shovel? There are a few cheapy ones around for anything as low as £10, they look the part but i'm not sure they'd last that long.



PS: Has anyone spotted a survivalists forum in the new and improved ATS?

mod edit: removed survivalist from title due to creation of new forum

[edit on 12-12-2006 by UK Wizard]

posted on Dec, 6 2006 @ 12:42 AM
A good survivalist should always buy to last.

My experiences have proven again and again that fold-down or 2 piece models are made to break at some point. No matter what they are made of, at some point they will fall apart.

If you need a unit that is smaller than conventional, get a 2 piece that joins via a thread, but make sure the thread is not made of plastic, but that only goes for the shovel.

ALWAYS get a one piece axe.


posted on Dec, 6 2006 @ 12:48 AM
Yeah..I wouldn't ever want a folding axe, or a multi-piece axe. All the stress from the blow would be focused on the weakest section. So, bad idea...

A folding shovel, on the other hand, is a nifty little gadget. I have a nice little one, got it for about 15 bucks, surplus.

It folds down to twelve inches or so, has a sharp blade, with a serrated section, and weighs about a pound. Beats the hell out of digging holes with a stick or a knife. I'd rather carry the extra weight, and save my knife that trouble (or, more likely, saves me the trouble of digging with a stupid stick).

Having a shovel is not a necessity, but it makes quick work of chores that would otherwise be tedious. They're functional weapons in a pinch, also, so that's a plus.


posted on Dec, 6 2006 @ 04:27 AM

Originally posted by CX
Any recommendations? I'd of imagined that a solid fixed ones would be better, but i may be wong there. What does a person look for in a good axe or shovel? There are a few cheapy ones around for anything as low as £10, they look the part but i'm not sure they'd last that long.

My favorites both come from the same company. Fiskars

I can't say enough good things about this shovel. You wouldn't think it would be a big deal but once you use it you HATE using a regular shovel.

I also love their axes. They make Gerber's axes (might be the same company as well now)

posted on Dec, 6 2006 @ 12:16 PM
I picked up my fold up shovel from surplus aswell. Cost me about $7.00 came with a hard plastick case, its very light and has never let me down. As for my ax I keep a few at home and a few in my up north stash. Most bought at yard sales and then re-handled never bought a new ax. Axes are only as good as there handles.

[edit on 6-12-2006 by angryamerican]

posted on Dec, 6 2006 @ 12:42 PM
For the ax, I'd go with a wood handled one for a survival situation. You can always make a new handle with the head if you have to. The composite handles are harder to break (not impossible, I know
but also considerably harder to replace as it's a real trick to get the old one out of the head. Same goes for glued it wooden handles. You can always toss it in the fire but that's probably not real good for the head. Practicing with it is a good idea and good exercise.
I'm old school and would put a good ax right up near the top of a survival tool list. You pretty much get what you pay for as far as quality goes.

posted on Dec, 6 2006 @ 02:37 PM
I found that even a pretty small sized hatchet will work pretty good to. Real light, can be attached to a belt and can cut down good sized trees in little time.

posted on Dec, 12 2006 @ 02:45 PM
I think that Fiskars owns Gerber these days.

Finnish army uses their shovels (made in finland) and they are decent, very strong, but the "screw" mechanism has a tendency to jam... oil will help, but it's quite annoying at times.

Their axes are the best, don't even consider anything else, they are plastic, but very, very strong.

posted on Dec, 12 2006 @ 02:53 PM
I purchased a folding shovel, surplus, for $11.00 and find it to do the job quite well. Axes, however, should consist of only two pieces - the chopping head and the handle. A wooden handled axe is best as it can be easily replaced. The head simply needs resharpening.

Here's an additional recommendation. Purchase an axe that has only 1 chopping side and one "Sledge" side. This way you can carry a splitting wedge with you instead of needing a separate splitting maul which can be quite heavy!

posted on Dec, 12 2006 @ 05:25 PM
When thinking about shovels, you must first consider whether or not much travel could be involved. Traveling with a full handled shovel, if on foot or limited carriage, can be quite difficult. If you only need a shovel at basecamp, or need not worry about any travel difficulties, then by all means get a full handled shovel. Folding, or collapsible shovels are superb when you need something light weight and portable. Remember however, that collapsible shovels tend to do just that, collapse, just when you need them most. No folding shovel will last as long, nor be as sturdy, as a good solid handled shovel. In both types, a spade pointed blade is best for general usage. Some folding shovels also come with a limited pick axe end as well. Great for starting fox holes or digging a latrine.

Axes are one of the earliest tools our human ancestors made and are still an extreemly useful tool. A folding Axe is just a bad idea. I personally have never even seen one. If you need small and lightweight, then go with either a hatchet or, my personal choice, a Khukri. If you decide to use a splitting wedge as someone suggested earlier, then be sure to get an axe made for this. Most axes have a single bladed design but the butt will not stand up to repeated severe blows without eventually distorting the eye. This tends to make the axe head loose which can be dangerous. A good splitting axe has a stronger butt and a more robust walled cheek. Double bladed axes have the advantage that you only need to sharpen them half as often and they make you look quite the barbarian when encountering foes.

Here is a link to some innovative German designed Axes. Not intended for use with wedges, but great performers and much easier to swap out handles.

Axe terminology:

posted on Dec, 13 2006 @ 08:06 AM
My opinion (and what I have) is to have both. The folding shovel might not be as sturdy in the long-haul, but the blade can be used at 90-degree angles, which can be helpful.

I have a folding military surplus, as well as a fixed shovel - the Soviet Spetnaz shovel. Both are small and light, and can be easily transported.

As for axes, I do have a Gerber, but I like the idea of the wooden-handled one in the event of a handle break, good idea!

posted on Nov, 21 2008 @ 11:01 AM

Originally posted by northwolf
Finnish army uses their shovels (made in finland) and they are decent, very strong, but the "screw" mechanism has a tendency to jam... oil will help, but it's quite annoying at times.

Expecially annoying, when it jams at the loose position in the middle of digging your foxhole :mad
in the end it ended up being probably my best foxhole ever. even got little hole for my radio.). Basic method for releasing the screw is to abuse it long enough to get it free. That's literally abusing. in addition to trying to turn the screw allowed methods for releasing are kicking, punching, using miscenelious leverage tools, hitting against trees etc. Just beat it until the screw turns again. Done that couple times. weapon oil was used allso, but it had usually minimal effects.

That little thing is basicly bomb proof. As said it is standarn issue here in finland and during my 6-months in army I heard none of the shovels to breakdown, except jammings. This was not do soft handling. We used those blades literally as axes sometimes to cut down bushes and little trees on our way. Sometimes they were used for leverage. In the winter those were used as pickaxe for ice, when needed. Those were kept in battle harnesses, which are thrown around all the time. One of the best and allso most hated equipment in finnish issue. Taking that thing out usually meant serious digging.

posted on Nov, 21 2008 @ 11:11 AM
Check out the folding shovels from Glock and Gerber/Fiskars. I like the Gerber but both are reasonably priced and Gerber/Fiskars also makes a great line of light and durable axes and hatchets that can actually hold an edge.

A good alternative to an axe.

posted on Nov, 21 2008 @ 11:32 AM
Once considered one of the most important tools a man could own, sadly, the axe is losing its place and quality in todays modern society.

In a world without cars, gas, functioning machines, an axe will be a lifesaver. The ability to cut wood, build cabins, will in the end make a huge difference in our ability to survive. No one should be without an axe.

With that, a broken axe is useless. Quality is everything. I do own a small military hatchet that is on my BOB, but in my bug out location, I keep a few top end axes. Someone earlier had a link to Granfors, who produce an excellant product. Granfors

Also, there are a few other quality axe makers out there.

Snow & Nealley


Granted, these arent cheap. But if I only had one axe to serve me for a lifetime in the woods, it would come from one of these companies.

As for shovels. If you are planning on being mobile. A full sized shovel and handle simply isnt practical. A good foldup should be on your list. Just be sure to pack some extra nuts and bolts should you need to repair it.

However, one could easily carry a shovel head from a full sized shovel. Just remove the handle. Its not terribly difficult to fashion a handle from the trees in most areas.

posted on Nov, 23 2008 @ 10:03 AM
Keep both of them. The main thing is every shovel has to be sharpened! Keep sharpening hones in a safe place.

posted on Nov, 24 2008 @ 05:11 AM
Cant really help ya on an axe ive never bought a new one in my life, i just replace the handle and sharpen the head. I have two folding army shovels in my BOB i picked up surplus for about 9 dollars each. also look into something called a pocket saw.

posted on Nov, 24 2008 @ 05:48 AM
Has anyone thought about having a Tomahawk instead of an axe? Could also be used as a decent weapon as well.

posted on Nov, 24 2008 @ 05:55 AM

Originally posted by Wotan
Has anyone thought about having a Tomahawk instead of an axe? Could also be used as a decent weapon as well.

Cold steel used to do a top quality Infantrymans Hatchet/ Tomahawk as used by the British skirmishers in 17th and 18th century Canada, The American frontier fighters also adopted it.

posted on Nov, 24 2008 @ 05:58 AM
Gerber Axes made by Fiskars!!! I would have access to an E-tool, but, if it were a choic..I'll pick the axe anyday..

However...if somebody made a non folding shover that you could sharpen...

closest thing or maybee an alternative..would be Cold Steel's Spetznas (sp)...shovel

posted on Nov, 24 2008 @ 05:59 AM
Feast Your eyes on this kit Hatchet/ Tomahawks Bush Knives

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