CRKT Chogan T-Hawk Review for 2020: Survival Tomahawk Axe

Having a remote SHTF Bug-Out camp equipped without an axe would be about as silly as trying to drive a car with Survival Tomahawkonly three wheels mounted on it.  Something in the accomplishment of the tasks at hand would come up short.  Now of course there are endless types, styles, weights, and models of axes.  In reality a well-stocked camp might have several different types on hand for different jobs.  I have found a lighter weight tomahawk style axe to be very handy around the alternate hideout camp as well as the home place for a variety of tasks.

CRKT’s Chogan Tomahawk Review

The tomahawk version of the axe I have been using with very pleasing results is the CRKT Woods Chogan T-Hawk Survival Tomahawkmade and assembled by/for the Columbia River Knife and Tool Company out of Oregon.  This tool was designed by Ryan Johnson with a history of making such tomahawks for nearly 25 years.  He brought this particular design to CRKT in 2013.

For curious history buffs or such the term “tomahawk” or as Johnson calls his version the “T-Hawk” comes from the Powhatan term coined from the American Indian tribe by the same name. The Powhatans were members of a confederation of tribes from Virginia.  These tribes were encountered when the English founded Jamestown in 1607.  The term tomahawk means “to cut off by tool.”

This Chogan T-Hawk is a Woods Chogan model designed for those needing a handy everyday axe for a variety of jobs around camp, home, or recreational use.  It’s intended uses includes trimming limbs, or small trees such as for clearing a campsite, chopping split wood into small strips for campfire kindling or wood stove use.  It is not a heavy duty weighted axe for chopping camp wood or falling trees.

  • 1055 Carbon steel provides durability and edge retention
  • Multi-Purpose Utility
  • Very durable
Check Price on

Also Read: Grunsfors Bruks Outdoor Axe

This CRKT T-Hawk’s axe head is hot forged from 1055 carbon steel at 50-55 Rc into a solid head.  The main and CRKT Chogan T-Hawk Reviewsecondary edge bevels are ground flat for cutting through camp wood timbers.  The axe head has also been formed with a hammer head useful for hammering nails, tent stakes, shaping metals, fencing work, or similar tasks.  The handle on the CRKT Woods Chogan is a fine piece of Tennessee hickory known for its stability and durability.  It is seal coated with a lacquer finish which though adding longevity to the handle, results in a pretty slick grip.  In my practical uses of this axe I have resorted to the use of good leather gloves for a secure grip.  I am contemplating adding a wrap of double-sided sticky black tape, which I have supplemented on a variety of slick handled tools.  This seems to work well in providing a very firm, non-slip grip.  I still suggest you wear the gloves.

When I bought the CRKT T-Hawk from the A. G. Russell knife store either I had a momentary lapse of reason or just overlooked buying the fine snap on leather sheath that goes with the axe.  If you buy both at once, the rate is cheaper than buying the sheath later as I did.  It is well worth the extra $13 for the protection it offers the edge and axe head.

Putting the Chogan to Work

Frankly I don’t have use for a really serious axe at my Bug-Out backup camp.  We are either removing downed SHTF Tomahawktrees with a gasoline chain saw or a gas boom saw but never with an axe.  Our main campfire wood is bought already split or we use round logs from chain sawing jobs.  However, I use the T-Hawk for handy trim out jobs around the cabin or the property, which is used primarily for hunting every season.

Having a swing tomahawk with a good sharp head like this CRKT Chogan has been handy to trim away encroaching bushes, to cut away limbs and branches around the bases of hunting stands, gate posts, and other structures on the place.  A couple of easy chops takes out most saplings in quick order.  Always be mindful of where and how you swing this blade.  More than many times I have found the hammer head on this tool very useful.  When you own an aging cabin with lots of wood stairs the nails on step planks are always easing out.  All I have to do is catch my boot on one once, and I’m reaching for theChogan T-Hawk to pound it back down.

Also Read: Survival Choppers, Understanding Axes

The CRKT T-Hawk with the sheath can be carried on your pants belt, but I don’t like to do that.  The snaps on the Survival Tomahawksheath can be a bit cumbersome to release or lock snap back down when it is worn on the belt.  I prefer to keep my tool lashed on the rack of my ATV for quick access.  Maintenance wise this tool is like any other.  It is not stainless, so it will rust if not taken care of properly.  After each extended use I wipe it down with a good oil, which is my case is usually a good gun oil.

If the metal has become spotted or tarnished, I will brush it down with some coarse steel wool coated with the oil.  Likewise the leather sheath will need some attention like any good blade sheath.  I oil the snaps regularly and occasionally brush them out with an old toothbrush or a small wire brush.  I try to wipe the leather itself with a soft cloth, maybe with just a little saddle soap if it has gotten dirty.  I am not a big fan of using oils on leather because they change the color and sometimes weaken the texture of the leather.  You may be a better judge of that.


All in all, I can handily recommend this CRKT Woods Chogan T-Hawk.   This tool fits a lot of SHTF requirements.  If you need a handy, lighter, long wood handled axe/hammer tool/weapon, then look into this one.  Pick one up on Amazon today.

  • 1055 Carbon steel provides durability and edge retention
  • Multi-Purpose Utility
  • Very durable
Check Price on

All Photos By John J. Woods

Written by John J. Woods

John J. Woods, PhD, has been outdoor writing for over 35 years with over 3000 articles, and columns published on firearms, gun history, collecting, appraising, product reviews and hunting. Dr. Woods is currently the Vice President of Economic Development at a College in the Southern United States. Read his full interview here. Read more of John J.'s articles.

9 thoughts on “CRKT Chogan T-Hawk Review for 2020: Survival Tomahawk Axe”

  1. It is a sad commentary on our society where the description for a tomahawk states "batteries not required"
    I might have missed it but I do not see a weight this is not an axe it is a hatchet with a long handle.
    I have a felling ax and a couple of double bit axes and a few hatchets a tomahawk is neither fish nor fowl.

    Mass equals work and time an 8 ounce hammer is not going to drive 90 penny nails I do realize that it is being defined as a tool and it can do work but at the expense of time and effort of the user.

    I do like the tapered handle the length over a hatchet makes it less usable as a hammer.
    Dependant where you live the spike version may be a good choice for digging roots, climbing trees or as a retrieving tool to pull wood off the stack to split it out for kindling.

    would not use this on certain wood it does not have the mass to bite or split without some serious effort
    I carry a 20 ounce Estwing framing hammer I am not a finish / trim carpenter because I either want to knock it out bust it or drive it home in as little time as possible. small tools are for small work.
    1 to 1 1/2 pounds is a hatchet 21/2 3 pounds + is a ax 6 + pounds is a maul.
    the edge is chisel cut a good wood tool is more tapered like the Gransfors designs
    you can choke up your grip and use a brush / bucking axe as a hatchet for short periods it is hard on the hands.
    but for its weight it double that of a hawk or hatchet you can do real work.
    Gasoline well if we never have to worry about running out why have an axe at all just a hydraulic wood splitter and a chain saw.

  2. So have you tried batoning with it? When weight and multi-use are important, I can sure see a niche. Not to mention the head cleaving aspect. I waiver in between hatchet and short ax for long term packing. I have been hacking around with an Ontario Spec Plus 8 Machete recently. Completely different than anything else, but sure is fun and is always surprising me with is versatility.

  3. I have never used a tomahawk. I have had a few hatchets, however, in various sizes. I prefer a thick-bladed machete over a hatchet for most jobs, including cutting limbs and trees of 6" diameter or less. Actually, an aggressive-toothed saw like the Stanley Short Cut is better than either of them for actually cutting wood, and a saw can also serve double-duty for clearing weeds and vines, filling some of the role of a machete.

  4. I carry an Estwing riggers axe. Hatchet on one side and waffle face hammer on the other. In my BOB I carry both 16 and 8d nails in case we have to build a structure of some kind. You cannot beat USA made Estwing products. I also carry a campers axe for knocking down trees and splitting wood. Stay prepared my friends.

  5. I was excited when I ordered the chogan but disappointed when it arrived.
    Unfortunately I recommended this product to a friend also.
    It did not look that much like the advertised product picture in my opinion.
    The handle almost looks plastic due to a slick clear coat finish, not ideal for grip to say the least.
    The head wiggled a noticeable amount, at least a centimeter up and down, not inspiring.
    In addition, there were shavings of wood I think, possibly foam glue, all around the top of the head/handle connection.
    I will say that the actual metal head in and of itself seemed fine but nothing special.
    My general impression of this product is that I should have gone to WalMart instead.
    This is the first and likely last product I purchase from CRKT.
    Disappointed and buyers remorse are my lasting impression.

  6. I have a variety of higher-end axes, from the Fiskars X-27 splitter to the Wetterlings Carpenter's axe. I picked this up for cheap off ebay and opted for a 45 degree belt loop and $27 single button custom leather sheath. It took about 30 min to get it shaving sharp and I chose to sand the handle to bare wood and coated it with linseed oil. My intention was just to have it around for throwing fun and some utility if needed. I have found many more uses for the hammer head over the "tacti-cool" spike. I live on a small farm and actually have it on my side for much of my property work these days. I also like to put tools through their paces, so I went backwoods camping and used it to build a tipi, limb/chop small firewood, split some smaller stuff (<8"), make a bowl and spoon, and clean a few fish. It did a decent job, although my overall bushcraft favorite is still my Husqvarna multipurpose axe. Back home I have hammered a few nails and slaughtered a chicken with no problems. IMHO would be alright for fighting, but you should be better prepared to prevent having to resort to edged weapons:)

  7. From a surfing visitor, the SP-8 mentioned by Pineslayer is my "Go-To" hacker, though I have a full size Estwing axe beside it in the truck just-in-case, as well as the Chogan, and numerous other Estwing products usually left behind in the garage. The SP-8 does all wood processing needed except felling big trees, which is illegal and politically incorrect in the high country woods now anyway. For today's camp work, baton work, or direct splitting of log sections smaller than 8 inches diameter, the SP-8 works great.

    And, all else failing, the 1095 steel tosses a spark using flint/chert. I've used my Dremel to etch a flat section on the spine, eliminated a few rasp teeth for striking my ferro rod, which is much more efficient than flint sparks though while you still have the ferro rod.

    Lost Mountain Iron Works makes a 10" X 1/2" sheath that works perfectly for hauling it. I have the Ontario stock black sheath as permanent mounting for the SP-8 in my truck camper and the Lost Mountain on my pack to shift the SP-8 into when I pack out and away from the truck.

    Sure, the size/weight of SP-8 makes more work of major efforts so I wouldn't want to build a cabin with it. But it's portability vs. capability is better than any other woods tool I've found in my 50 years of back country fun.

    As for the Chogan, my experiments showed that the head can be hauled in backpacks by carrying it inside a tupperware container along with your sharpening tools and such. The handle is then easier to haul anywhere inside or outside the pack. Further, I've made several handles of different lengths to get different uses out of the Chogan. The tomahawk mounting is easy to duplicate even from any available tree branch, if all else fails.

    So as my 2 cents in the discussions, the SP-8 is pretty bullet proof and about as "no fail" as you can get in a portable package. I'm with Pineslayer on that finding.

  8. Since I tripped over this site I'll toss in 2 pennies here, too. The Estwing Rigger's axe is an outstanding choice. I've been stymied at every turn trying to determine if it's higher carbon steel than the Estwing-typical 1055 though. And that's the only reason I chime in with a preference for the Ontario SP-8 if I can only carry one tool. If the Rigger's Axe is 1085 or higher carbon, then spark generation flint/chert would be useful and would put the Rigger's Axe at the top of my list as well.

    I'm with you on the 16d + 8d nails in EOTWAWKI situation. I have a selection of those along with cordage + tie wraps of varied sizes in several kits. And the Rigger's Axe is better for that situation. That's when you'd have to build a new life and more permanent community like the brothers did in the movie "Defiance" which is recommended for looking at what you'd need in that situation. Just look at what the movies "heroes" grabbed as they made a run-for-it at the start of the movie and what they needed as they went. Good food for thought.

    But if you've gone mobile and temporarily nomadic in many SHTF scenarios, my vote goes to the SP-8 as mentioned in my feedback on Pineslayer's input.

    No wrong answer in my book. Heck, if we each bring something different, then we're all better off, I think.

  9. It cuts well and I find myself frequently using it in conjunction with my cross cut and brush saw to clear out the channel. it packs well but the handle, well, it sucks. First, it is tapered. I assume that this is due to people who throw tomahawks. Not to offend people who practice this find sport but I really don't go for throwing a weapon at someone. It probably pisses them off a whole lot and provides them a weapon, your weapon, as well. We have too many meth heads here who don't seem to feel pain for me to have confidence in such an action.
    Further, the slick finish means that s soon as the hands get sweaty the tomahawk threatens to take part in the sport of throwing all on its own.
    A sheep's foot handle would be so much better.
    I don't buy the argument that being able to take off the head converts the tomahawk into a second tool for, say, scraping hides or make it more portable. It MIGHT may the tool a useful "cache" item in a PVC cache, and of course if the handle broke in the wilds it would be easier to fix than a wedge attachment.
    All together a good tool, just some minor bitching on my part.


Leave a Comment