Anyone who has ever gone camping can attest to the importance of a steady supply of firewood. It's always frustrating to run out of wood after dark, and if you're in a cold environment, this can lead to dangerous frostbite or hypothermia. This is why we've often heard expert survivalists say to collect as much wood as you think you'll need to make it through the night, then gather two or three times as much to be sure you won't exhaust your firewood supply.

Fire wood types infographic fireplace tinder kindling 3

Unless you're lucky enough to be surrounded by bone-dry deadfall, gathering all this wood usually means a lot of chopping and cutting. This is where a bushcraft axe comes in very handy. It provides the leverage and power you need to fell trees, and turn those trees into usable logs. Survival knives are useful for many tasks, but they simply don't have the impact force to break down firewood as quickly as a good axe.

Ray Mears bushcraft axe blade wood fire split chop 2

A Gransfors Bruk Small Forest Axe can be used with one or two hands. Photo:

There are many types of axes on the market, so how can you choose the right one? More importantly, how can you use your axe efficiently, and without the risk of injury? Expert bushcrafter Ray Mears answers these questions in the following 5-minute video clip.

Mears' advice about kneeling and using a block while chopping wood is especially important — the last thing you need during a survival scenario is a deep gash in your shin from an axe that glanced off or missed its mark.

What sort of bushcraft axe do you prefer? Let us know in this poll:

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