Throw, chop and defend with a primitive weapon that has been perfected throughout history. While tomahawks have overlapping similarities with camp axes, there are some defining characteristics that you will want to consider when choosing the best tomahawk.
We chose a handful of the best tomahawks for under $50 that can handle medium to heavy camp duty. The best tomahawks are lightweight and can still chop through a good-sized limb and make quick work of small branches. Anything larger and you will want to use a hatchet or a full-size axe.
What makes tomahawks so desirable for camping, hiking and everyday carry is the fact that they are versatile and fun to use. You can strap them to your pack or attach to your belt for easy access and still have room for a knife.
And yes, most of them are accurate to throw unlike regular hatchets or camp axes which have thicker blades. It all has to do with design and balance. We know you’re going to eventually gather the courage to toss one. Just make sure to practice. It’s actually easier to throw a tomahawk than it looks, but that’s a topic for another day.
We did our best to keep this list around the $50 mark, however, if you spend a little more coin, you can upgrade to a better tomahawk. There’s nothing wrong with starting cheaper and moving up once you know you enjoy the feel of a traditional tomahawk versus a regular camp axe.
What is the best tomahawk you can buy? The answer depends on what you plan on using it for. While most tomahawks are well rounded enough to handle nearly everything you will need, they each excel in different categories based on their size and design.
Throwing – You want a tomahawk designed specifically for throwing or at least balanced to be a capable thrower.
Chopping – Look for a tomahawk with more heft and a larger blade.
Everyday Carry – There are numerous tomahawks that are both lightweight and highly efficient at chopping through small branches.
Defense – While all tomahawks are capable of survival and self-defense, take a look at tactical tomahawks as they are designed with fighting in mind.
Read this article on how to sharpen an axe or tomahawk.
The Top 5 Tomahawks for Under $50
A throwing tomahawk that has teeth. Not literally, but this badass from SOG is built to hit its target with precision. A sleek design made of hair splitting sharp 420 stainless steel. Weighing in at only 19 ounces, it’s heavy duty enough for backpacking, survival and hiking or to simply add to your throwing tomahawk collection. You can hammer nails with this beast and pierce with the backend spike. Making quick work out of small to medium chopping duties, it can also be used as a formidable weapon. There’s an entire style dedicated to fighting with tomahawks and today’s blades make it even more sophisticated. Throw one of these at a target once and you will be hooked on throwing axes for life.
SOG Tactical Tomahawk
This is the big cousin to the SOG Fasthawk. Larger and heavier, this one can breach doors, clean up a campsite, defend against zombies and thrown with accuracy. This is the workhorse of the SOG tomahawk lineup. 15.75 inches in length, you can use this in emergency situations and heavy-duty chopping duties. You still get the hammer axe edge and piercing spike for extra duty. Take care of this tool and it will last you a long time.
SOG Tomahawk Pack of 3
These tactical tomahawks fall nicely into the throwing category. You get three in a pack, which is awesome because you won’t have to retrieve your blade as often when throwing at a target. Perfectly balanced tomahawks, these bad boys stick easily and are great for beginners or pros. Only 8.4 ounces, these are great for family fun. Remember to always supervise non-adults when throwing tomahawks. Watch a video on how to throw them.
You probably won’t be able to do much heavy chopping with these, so keep that in mind. But, man are they fun to throw! These are lighter than most other tomahawks, so they may take some getting used to as they spin faster. They come wrapped with paracord, but feel free to modify if you like.
Cold Steel Trail Hawk
While many have viewed this tomahawk as a “budget” tomahawk, it is actually a pretty good hawk for the price. This is the one you see everyone modifying on YouTube. It’s not the most beautiful thing right out of the box, but can look like a stunner with a little elbow grease. There’s an entire community that mods these things and the first thing they will tell you is to put some work into it and make it yours. Sand it, stain the handle, wrap paracord, remove the paint from the head and you will have yourself a sweet little hawk.
These are relatively cheap, so I would recommend picking up more than one to practice with.
Estwing makes some of the best tomahawks on the market. This entry falls more into the category of self-defense/survival and breaching tool. This can be used to defend your camp, as well as breaking through car windows and chopping through doors. It has the negative space in the blade for faster striking. The handle is good for preventing blisters while chopping with the patented shock reducing grip. You can get a lot of strikes in before you get tired.
While this tactical tomahawk excels in the self-defense and breaching category, it is still versatile enough for outdoor use. You can chop small trees and branches to be used as fire and clean up the camp. It has a spike end for multiple uses such as digging and prying.
Throw one of these in your car and you will feel prepared for just about anything!
Jerome is an avid outdoorsman who moonlights as an attorney when he’s not creating the world’s greatest online content.