Making metal-on-wood contact with this ax felt as satisfying as hitting a line drive. Perfectly balanced, with a four-pound head that's slice-your-finger-sharp out of the box, it split and chopped everything from white oak to blue spruce with ease. Minor flaw: a slightly unforgiving handle, but this is still our best-in-class pick. [$170; counciltool.com]
The 2014 Adventure Issue
From Iceland's Highway 1 to Utah's Canyonlands, an epic itinerary for modern explorers.
Plus: Building a Bigger Action Hero
ON NEWSSTANDS NOW
The Interpreters We Left Behind
The Rise of Cyclocross
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