If you’re going camping, then I implore you to try and do it the proper way. Sure, you can ‘cheat’ and use a range of tools to make life easier, but then what’s the point of leaving the comfort of your home in the first place?
Camping should be an adventure and it should be an opportunity to test your skills and your resourcefulness out in the wilderness.
This means you should learn how to start fires, you should familiarize yourself with orienteering and you should know how to hunt and find your own food.
Each of these skills actually can be broken down into many more crucial skills too. For instance, orienteering will teach you to use your eyes and ears, as well as to read a compass. Likewise, starting fires requires you to learn how to create a spark, which types of wood and foliage to look out for and how to prepare that firewood.
And even preparing firewood is an art all of its own that will require you to use a variety of different blades and tools. Here are the best tools for splitting firewood when camping:
A folding saw does precisely what it says on the tin. This is a saw that can be folded down for easy storage. Sawing requires a lot of time and energy, and as such this is not the optimal way to find and prepare your fire wood. However, if you are stuck for options, then it does provide the best way to chop off a large branch at an awkward angle.
Preparing firewood isn’t just a matter of chopping up some logs. You’ll also need to carve tinder and for that, the kukri is perfect. This is a type of machete that features a curved shape that is perfect for carving. Just brace the back of the blade against your chest, and then you’ll be able to twirl the wood through the curve to create your tinder. With very little effort, you’ll be able to make enough tinder to last nearly an entire camping trip!
Tinder of course is the easily combustible upper layer of material that will readily catch fire to get it started.
The classic image of chopping firewood involves a large axe. But while this does its job well, it’s also going to weigh you down significantly when you’re trekking through the wilderness. That’s where a hatchet comes in: this is a lighter and smaller axe that can be used for chopping firewood and a whole bunch of other jobs too!
But if you really want to make splitting your wood easier, then a splitting maul is handy. Also called a ‘block buster’, this is a larger tool that has an axe on one end and a sledgehammer type shape on the other. Its head will typically weigh around 6-8lbs and it is this head with its unique shape that makes it easier to split apart harder, seasoned logs. While less convenient for travel, the splitting maul is nevertheless considerably more powerful and well suited to chopping through large logs easily and quickly.
This will likely come down to the amount of storage you have and the amount you are willing to carry – but either will do a good job for you!
Finally, a knife can be useful for removing wet bark, for making kindling, for scooping holes for a ferro rod and more. A knife isn’t the ideal choice for any of these jobs, but its small size and weight and general versatility ensures it is still a popular choice!