Over the past year I've grown an interest in 2-wheeled adventure travel. Anyone who has traveled with the intentions of camping on their vintage motorcycle has quickly learned how valuable space and weight can be, especially when it's on your back. I'm not too keen on throwing saddle bags onto the CX so when I travel everything I need goes into a backpack. An axe and a knife are key elements in gathering and breaking down wood as well as preparing tinder shavings to start your fire.
A few months back I picked up a Gerber Gator Combo Axe. I bought it for it's ultra compact size and weight. This axe also houses a 2.75" bladed knife in the handle; hence the "combo" in the name.
+1 for an efficient use of space.
Yes, we took a pristine E30 M3 camping. Some might say this is far from the ideal camping vehicle. I would then have to disagree on account of how ideal this car is for the 2 hours of Wisconsin twisties leading up to the camping location. I originally planned on bringing the CX out for the trip however it was already below freezing in Chicago and I knew it'd get worse once we headed north. We woke up to snow so I didn't regret my decision.
The issue with a compact and lightweight axe is just that - you don't have as much heft behind the blow. That being said, this little guy had no problem collecting and breaking up all the tinder we would need for the night. It's a great balance of size and weight. I personally prefer having to put in a little more elbow grease splitting logs over adding more weight to my backpack. Not having a long handle meant I could use it to make wood shavings to start the fire. The flat butt also works great for driving in tent steaks.
The only real negative I found with this tool was in the rubber sling around the butt of the handle. This sling is used to hold the knife inside the handle, in addition to some magnets and clip details. When you're whaling on a log the sling gets in the way and ends up coming undone. I ended up just taking mine off. The magnets and detents in the handle do a good job of holding the knife in there firmly.
Gator Combo Axe - 1, Mossy Knoll - 0
All in all I'm pretty impressed with this tool and haven't come across any other axe's that seem more fitting for a 2-wheeled backpacker. If you've got any recommendations I'd love to hear them. I'm specifically on the look out for an ultra compact 1-man tent.