Whether used for splitting firewood or bringing down that shaky tree, an ax is a winter necessity. We found the best. To test them out, we took the axes out to the Catskill Mountains to clear white oak, paper birch, blue spruce, and white ash trees that had been felled by Hurricane Sandy. We then tested each ax's splitting ability, comparing the build, balance, and feel. Here are our favorites.
The Wetterlings Bushman Ax by Les Stroud
Designed by TV's 'Survivorman,' this lightweight ax has great balance, making it the best choice for one-handed swinging and felling small trees; its compact head is perfect for hammering. The ax isn't large enough for substantial splitting – though we did chop a pile of white oak that would've made Les proud. [$150; lesstroud.ca]