You have had TWO people put an axe in their foot? I think you need different friends! I have never seen anyone do that in all these years of everyone having and using an axe. Sounds like a city folk party to me.
My brother and I had hatchets when we were kids. You can cut a fairly large pine tree down with a sharp blade and determination. The only accident we had he hit himself on the head with a back swing. Good thing it wasn’t double bitted.
I have made plenty of things with an axe. I have not needed to make a paddle yet. It would be no big deal to make something serviceable to get home with .
Saw. Folding. I normally refuse to build fires, and too often they are prohibited by law, by location, wind, or dry season. In permit rivers you are bidden to carry out all ash. Strictly no trace camping. An axe is a useless tool looking for trouble. The possible injuries far from any possibility of medical assistance make it a liability. And I am strictly NOT chopping down trees or chopping sticks or brush, to build shelters, to build fires, I have a fairly low opinion of both of those.
I have been in campsites where half the forest was hacked to pieces, large rock rings for the bonfire that would serve a football game rally. I have seen scorch and withered needles and leaves on trees 30 feet off the ground. Leave the axe at home.
paddler236278, I agree about leaving the axe (or hatchet) at home if you’re not capable of using it wisely or when camping in areas where they aren’t appropriate. Unfortunately, as you point out, a lot of people are clueless when it comes to being a considerate camper. I learned as a young man to leave campsites as “no trace” as practical and often end up cleaning up someone else’s mess.
Tom, You are a man after my own heart. I always travel with large construction garbage bags, and I make a point of bringing them back full. If I am camped at a wilderness spot, I always pick up everything I can, and when I pass the next road, I’ll climb the embankment and stand the tied garbage bag next to the road, assuming the local or county garbage collector will spot it. Or I use a dumpster if I am in a such civilized location that has one.
We have got by without a saw or hatchet on many camping trips, and almost always have a fire even when it rains. The real trick of the trade is dry wood and finding it. If it is a wet environment you look for standing dead wood and dead branches. For kindling and fire standing dead grass and dead twigs of off of trees. you can often break long pieces over a big rock or by laying them over a wide space and standing on them while holding on to a tree or hitting them with something heavy. smaller stuff can be broken up by hand or stepped on and leveraged. really big stuff can just be burned in two. That said a small light weight folding saw is more handy than and ax and I often carry one. We often carry one. when canoeing small rivers with many downfalls a saw can help avoid portages and trying to get out and over vertical 5 to 8’ bank to make a portage…
If i was going to do a few day paddle/camping trip then I’d take this
Some people cannot bring enough firepower and blades.
They are obsessed.
I like my 44magnumbolo.
And some worry about what others are up to too much. I carry two pocket knifes all the time. Not obsessed. Simply tools. Need a razor sharp one and need one that I don’t mind giving some abuse to. Camping I throw a hatchet into the mix. Firepower… I tend to bring a pistol when I’m in the woods, because it’s a tool. If it’s appropriate and practical for what I’m doing, I’ll bring a long gun also. If I’m in my truck I may have a saw, axe and another long gun. Not an obsession. The things are tools and being someone who seldom chooses to go anywhere with concrete in my free time, they are tools that are as needed as the mechanical tools I keep in my truck, just incase.