I was expecting it to be junk. However, during testing, I was shocked to find I liked this axe way more than expected. The compact Lexivon V9 is essentially a knock-off of my favorite pack axe the Fiskars X5.
I’m a big supporter of carrying a compact hatchet when backpacking, on day hikes, or any time you are out in the wild. So, I already had a bunch of compact hatchets I’ve carried over the years. But the Lexivon V9 is so affordable (about half the price of the Fiskars), that I had to give it a shot.
It has an effective 1lb wedge-shaped head and manages to weigh only 1.25 lbs with its sheath. The steel is cheap and the finish is noticeably lower quality than the name brands (like Fiskars) – but it worked well, and held up well (especially for a potential emergency tool).
So if you want a budget-friendly compact pack axe or survival hatchet the Lexivon V9 is worth considering.
What the Lexivon V9 is Good For
Small hatchets like the Lexivon V9 (or V10) are not meant to act as your standard kindling hatchet at home or the campsite. They are for carrying in your pack when size and weight matter the most. Whether it’s backpacking or even just day hiking – people get lost or hurt all the time, and an axe can be a life-saving tool in an emergency (see why).
The V9 Design & Specs
|Total Weight (inc. sheath)
The Lexivon V9 design is a Chinese-made hatchet inspired 100% by the Fiskars X5. It has a similar wedge-shaped head and lightweight composite handle.
The compact but “full-weight” head concentrates the force, and both chops and splits well for the size – far better than the “lightweight” all-steel hatchets that also get marketed for this role. The wedge shape busts chips out and spreads wood apart quickly.
The blade comes roughly sharpened, which is fine for emergency chopping or campsite splitting. The texture on the head is rough, and the metal is painted black. The black paint is purely cosmetic and will not prevent rust (as you can see on mine).
The rough texture also seems to get more material stuck to it, which can be a pain to clean or lead to more rust. On the Fiskars X5, the blade comes uniformly sharp, smooth, and completely coated in a Teflon-like coating that protects against the elements.
The Lightweight “Bag Clip Sheath”
The V9 comes with a typical hanging plastic sheath, very similar to the X5. But it also comes with an ultra-light clip-on sheath that looks just like a bag clip (shown above). This reduces the footprint and weight even further and comes with the axe.
It’s nothing special, and I often feel like I am at risk of snapping it when taking it on/off – but I haven’t yet. And it works great. (Update it broke after about a year).
A Decent Composite Handle
The short handle is hollow, very light, and made of a polymer material.
One of the core benefits of a composite design is the strength and weather resistance compared to a wood handle. The short composite handle won’t break and can get wet, cold, hot, or frozen without coming loose or needing sanding and oiling.
Truthfully, I do not trust the durability of the larger Lexivon axes – but at this size, it’s hard to imagine it breaking (it hasn’t failed me yet).
It can be a little slick and cold in the rain or winter, but the smooth surface is actually a good thing. Lots of other “pack axes” have bumps and nubs for “grip”, that end up just being painful hot spots when you chop.
How the V9 Performs
It’s rough, it’s kind of ugly, but it works.
A Good Emergency Chopper
The Lexivon V9 can effectively chop through logs and trees up to 5-6” wide, which should be beyond any tasks you will hopefully need – but it’s nice to know it can.
Most tasks you would need this axe for in an emergency involve chopping. Whether it’s for gathering firewood, building shelter, or crafting some other tool.
It chops deep and pops out large chips of wood, and the wedge design won’t get stuck. And performs way better than the super skinny “ultra-light” axes also marketed for emergencies.
Splitting campsite kindling is also pretty easy. The stout wedge shape makes the wood pop apart quickly, and the head doesn’t get too stuck.
You will never swing without a little bit of fear you are going to scrape your knuckles (even though I never have), and these little hatchets cannot deliver as much power as a standard hatchet. But the V9 did as well as any other hatchet this size I have tested.
Carving & Bushcraft
This axe is too rough to use for serious bushcraft work as the thick head and rough sharpened edge aren’t great for carving or shaving small tinder.
Alternatives to the Lexivon V9
You can find it on Amazon.
If you need a cheap pack axe that works, it’s hard to beat the value of the Lexivon V9. It’s not the prettiest, or most refined, but it will get the job done in an emergency and is light enough to bring with you anywhere.
The Fiskars X5 is my go-to.
While the Lexivon impressed me – I would still choose the X5 if you can afford the difference. The finish and materials are worth an extra $20 in my opinion.
Check out the full review.
The Gerber 9-inch Hatchet.
Yes, it’s the same hatchet in black.
Gerber is owned by Fiskars, and they sell the same axe under the Gerber brand, but in Black. So, if you like the X5 but don’t like the bright orange look – here is your option.
Note: There is also the Gerber Gator that looks very similar, but is made in Thailand. The quality is not the same as the Fiskars or Standard Gerber models.
Please comment below If I missed something or if you have any questions. I do my best to respond to everyone.