The RMJ Woods Chogan Tomahawk is a great all around utility tool for chores around camp and more.
While it comes to splitting wood and basic camp work most people look to a hatchet. We often overlook the usefulness a tomahawk can offer in its more simple and lightweight form. After all our ancestors out exploring the frontier almost never went out without one tucked into their belts.
I have had my eye on getting a new tomahawk for quite a while. I finally decided to purchase Columbia River Knife & Tool's RMJ Woods Chogan Tomahawk after hearing good things about it from some of my fellow woodsman.
I ordered it from Amazon for $49.77 and have been using it on various bushcraft outings since early January.
- Length: 19 inches
- Weight: 2 pounds
- Hot forged 1055 carbon steel head. Axe edge with hammer end.
- Lacquer coated Tennessee hickory handle
When purchasing a tomahawk or hatchet for bush work we look for it to be able to do a few things: keep/hold a fine edge, split wood easily for fires, chop/pole small trees, have enough heft to hammer stakes easily, and weight.
The Woods Chogan does weigh a little more than a standard tomahawk. At a little over two pounds it is the same as my hatchet I had been using. The extra weight is nice and really allows it to be a work horse and not limited to small tasks.
I was disappointed with the blade upon arrival as it was rather dull. It did not take long with my sharpening puck to change that and put a keen edge on it before heading out with it the first time.
Besides a few touch ups here and there the edge has held very well. Even after splitting and chopping some hefty amounts of limbs and logs around my bushcraft camp and home.
When it came down to splitting the Chogan almost out performed my traditional hatchet. The heads thin profile bit into and ate one to 8-inch diameter logs until my arms grew tired. The only times I had problems were when my hands would get a little sweaty and sometimes make it hard to keep a good grip on the slick hickory handle.
I plan on roughing the surface of the handle up some and adding a simple leather wrap to eliminate the issue, as well as adding in some comfort.
When it came to knocking stakes into the ground with the hammer side it had no issues. The 1055 carbon head is extremely hard and the handle absorbed most of the vibrations from pounding wood or metal stakes into even frozen earth.
I usually use my Bahco folding saw instead of chopping down trees. I decided to really put the Chogan through its paces by processing up a 8-foot long, 6-inch diameter tree branch that fell from an oak tree in my backyard during a wind storm.
It cleared the branches, in most instances using one quick stroke. It then easily chopped the branch up into four, two-foot sections which I then split into firewood.
The length of the handle is darn near perfect giving you just enough leverage to really get in there and get it. I probably had the entire branch processed in about 40 minutes with small breaks in between chopping the sections.
One final little test I did for my own amusement as a amateur knife thrower was chuck the hawk into my log round. It did alright considering it wasn't really designed for this purpose. It stuck every time I threw it up until I did it a little too hard once and made it hit handle first into the log. The head slid straight down the handle as it tumbled to the ground.
On a good note resetting the head back on was a cinch and it continued to function fine afterwards.
The only negative I found wasn't with performance. I don't like that it doesn't come with a sheath of any kind like most others do. The edge is covered by a flimsy rubber cover out of the package, but that is it. CRKT does sell a sheath with a belt loop specifically for it. I ended up ordering it as well for an additional $22.61 off of Amazon.
The sheath is nice and fits the tomahawk exactly, but I wish it came with something better than what it did. Just a cheap head cover without a belt loop would have been better than nothing.
If you are looking for a tomahawk for use around camp or in the bush you won't do much better than the CRKT Woods Chogan for the price range. I was just overall impressed with how well it performs, its durability, and the quality of the product.
After owning this tomahawk I will definitely be looking at more items from Columbia River Knife & Tools when the time comes to replace other items I frequently use.