The Best Camping Axe? – 511 Tactical Operator Axe Review

I’ve been a huge fan of products from 5.11 Tactical for a long time, especially their clothing and packs. I wear and use products from 5.11 almost every day of the week and I recommend them highly. In fact, that’s ultimately how I got ahold of their Operator Axe. My wife, knowing how much I love 5.11 products, got me a 5.11 gift card for Christmas, which I cashed in on the axe. Now I have to admit that I’m usually pretty wary of large multi-tool devices such as this one and they often come off as being rather gimmicky. Even though this product was made by my beloved 5.11 Tactical, I was still a little doubtful as to how it would perform and how useful it would actually be. So to test it out, I made it a point to bring it along with me throughout my fall hunting and fishing adventures of this past year, and I have to admit, it came in quite useful and performed well for a variety of outdoor chores.

Here’s an up-close look at the 5.11 Operator Axe and an overview of what it can do…

  • Weight- 1 lb, 15 oz (with sheath)
  • Length- 15 inches
  • Made from 7 mm-thick SCM 435 stainless-plate steel
  • Black oxide finish
  • Two-piece adjustable hard sheath
  • Axe
  • 21 mm hammer
  • Measurement units
  • Pry end with a nail-remover
  • Metric and standard hex drivers
  • Small and large socket drivers
  • 1/4 bit driver
  • Sheet metal cutter

After using the 5.11 Operator Axe for several months I found that the axe worked great for chopping wood while camping and the hammer came in very handy as well, especially for driving in tent spikes. I didn’t use many of the other features, such as the sheet metal cutter, but I did, however use the hex driver feature, which came in very handy and saved the day on one occasion. On one of my bow hunting trips this past fall I found that a critical part of my tree stand had come loose and I needed a wrench to fix it, as my little pocket multi-tool just wasn’t allowing me to get a tight enough grip on the nut that I needed to tighten. As I was scrambling around trying to think of a way to fix my stand, I recalled that my 5.11 Operator Axe had the hex driver feature on it, which worked great and got me back in action fast.

Overall, there are lots of positives about this axe. It’s well made and very practical. But, there are a few things I’m not too hot on. While the flat design makes it very easy to pack and stow away with your gear, it also makes it a little uncomfortable for things like chopping wood for any length of time. Also, and this is purely a personal preference, I’m not a real big fan of stainless steel. I much prefer tools and blades made from high carbon steel. Although it’s a little softer and it will rust if you don’t take care of it, high carbon steel is also much easier to sharpen and it holds an edge much longer. Finally, the 5.11 Operator Axe is made overseas, as so many outdoor products are these days. Now there are many high-quality products made overseas these days, and no offense to those of you who live overseas, but I do prefer tools and knives crafted from American-made steel.

Check out the video below to see more and click here to order one.