The Trucker’s Friend Hammer Axe Tool – Used, Abused And Reviewed

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The Trucker’s Friend hammer axe is a handy and durable multi-tool.

It fits eight functions into one convenient and easy-to-carry item, and it’s even backed by a lifetime guarantee.

  • Hammer
  • Nail Puller
  • Pry Bar
  • Wire Twist
  • 4.5″ curved axe head
  • Tire chain hook
  • Grapple hook
  • Hose spanner

But does the Trucker’s Friend really live up to the hype?

Specs and Buying Options

Total Length: 19″ | Steel: Cast alloy steel blade | Weight: 2.2lb | Made In USA

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It’s Definitely Durable

Truckers friend head

One of the first assessments I like to administer for new purchases is a durability check. If a tool can’t handle some abuse in the line of duty, is it really worth purchasing? Not in my book, it ain’t!

As soon as this hefty tool arrived I gave it a good toss into a pile of gravel and loose stone. Besides a few cosmetic nicks and scratches, it survived the initial test. Good on the Trucker’s Friend.

The business end on the Trucker’s Friend is made from carbon steel, and boy is it durable. I’m pretty sure I heard it laughing at me as I beat it up and went through all of my tests.

Finish

While I prefer a natural steel finish to my gear, the Friend has a no-nonsense black finish that makes me think twice. While mostly a cosmetic consideration, the blackened steel is also good for eliminating glare during use, and it could be helpful for avoiding detection if the blade is exposed but you don’t want to be.

Unfortunately that nicely hued head is offset by a yellow Nupla fiberglass handle. It’s pretty good for fiberglass, as good as you can get, but it’s still fiberglass. In my opinion, that’s a serious drawback of the Trucker’s Friend. I’d have preferred a wood handle, or a full tang style build.

That said the rubber handle on fiberglass shaft seems potentially helpful if you’re breaking into a wall and hit electric wiring. That bit of insulation could save you from a serious injury!

Why Not Fiberglass?

Truckers friend handle

This is largely a personal preference, but I simply dislike the weight, feel, and look of fiberglass. The Trucker’s Friend’s handle is made from the best fiberglass available, and it really is stronger, sturdier, and lighter to wield.

You can also leave this tool outdoors without fear of the handle becoming damaged like would happen to a wood handle, and if you knick the handle it’s a minor problem for fiberglass but potentially fatal for wood.

The Friend also features a heavy-duty and contoured rubber handle for a sturdy grip (more on that grip later!).

So that’s a lot of good for the Trucker’s Friend’s fiberglass handle, it really is… but I still don’t like it, and here’s why.

Balance? Who Needs Balance?

This tool is among the most unwieldy I’ve ever used. The head of the Friend is incredibly heavy compared to the molded rubber handle. I popped in a few nails using the claw hammer but realized very quickly that I had to adjust my grip to do this safely. It also bent some of the nails I tried driving in.

That heavy head is great for chopping, but I’d never use this tool to actually split or chop firewood. Again, it’s too unwieldy for this kind of work.

However, it is great at smashing through plywood.

What I used here was a throwaway piece of plywood from a jobsite. It was wet and not secured in place like it would be in a house, but the Friend still smashed through the bouncing wood with zero hesitation.

But for any sort of delicate work, or any effort when accuracy is needed, I would seriously reconsider using the Trucker’s Friend. With extra caution and a modified grip, it can drive home nails, but if I had the option I’d grab a real hammer or hatchet first.

The awkward balancing makes this tool simply weird to handle.

It’s Got An Axe! … kind of …

Truckers friend axe

The first appeal I saw to the Trucker’s Friend was the axe blade it sports. Immediately I had visions of carrying this tool to work and into the field as a replacement for my trusty Estwing axe, but those visions were quickly dispelled when I put this it to work.

A nice and rounded blade sure looks nice, but it skipped a lot during use while attempting to cut through a fallen tree limb.

If I’m using an axe or hatchet in the field, I need to know it will perform its duties well. Chopping firewood is only one task; in a survival scenario impromptu bushcraft and construction projects (a shelter, for example) are likely to be encountered.

I wouldn’t trust the axe on the Trucker’s Friend as my tool of choice for any of these projects. It’s a blade very good at smashing and whacking into obstacles where finesse isn’t required, but that’s about it.

The Claw Hammer/Pry bar Combo

Truckers friend pry and claw

As I mentioned my dislike for the balance of this tool a few times, I won’t go into that again here.

But I do really like these two functions of the Trucker’s Friend. The hammer is very powerful, one of the strongest I’ve used, and it’s capable of repeatedly breaking through stone after stone.

Have an obstacle in the way? Pow, claw hammer.

Trying to dismantle something quickly? Bam, claw hammer.

Got a few pallets that need to be partially deconstructed and reassembled for a new purpose? Zoom, claw hammer.

The pallet I used to break apart was an old one that was on its last legs. The wood was flimsy and broke easily, but the Friend still ripped whole planks off.

The pry bar feature is solid. That’s a tool I often wish I had but never think to carry. With the Trucker’s Friend, I don’t need to worry about having a solid tool for leverage anymore.

More importantly I don’t need to substitute a different tool that isn’t designed for the job, risking injury to myself or damage to the tool.

Strong enough to get the job done and durable enough that I wasn’t concerned of breaking the Trucker’s Friend during use. That gives this tool some extra credit.

The Rigorous Testing

Here we go, a look at the tests I performed using this tool.

The Smashy-Smashy

If the Trucker’s Friend has a special purpose or place in my heart, it’s as an excellent smasher.

Yeah, I know, really eloquent word choice there, but the Trucker’s Friend doesn’t want a fancy title. It’s a simple, strong, and heavy tool for smashing stuff. In that capacity it works wonders.

The Choppy-Choppy

So I decided to crack into a few different materials for this, and I regretted much of it immediately.

This tool is not good for chopping wood, plain and simple. It’s pretty good at splitting dried wood and can fell a tree well enough, but I’d never trust it with anything else.

For serious wood chopping we would recommend a dedicated survival axe.

But if for some reason you need to hack into a stump, or to whittle your way through a large tree, the Friend will get the job done eventually. Just practice some extra caution along the way.

We had a few Christmas trees ready for the chipper and I took the axe to their stumps. It cut well enough, but not as good as a hatchet.

Hammer Time

It works admirably as a nail puller and disappointingly as a hammer.

How often are we going to need to drive nails? Not sure, but I wouldn’t like using this tool for it in almost any scenario. It’ll get the job done but it’s not very good at it. The modified grip it requires for precision work takes a lot out of the effectiveness.

But as a nail puller it works great, and it saves my other tools from being damaged.

I broke apart pallets with ease using the prybar and found no problem whatsoever doing it.

Cutting Through Food?

Truckers friend cutting

Well, it’s not very good at cutting through anything delicate; the edge of the this thing is far from fine, but it did produce some nice crinkle cut apple chips!

Definitely not the tool for any sort of careful cutting or delicate blade work.

And don’t worry, I didn’t eat those apple chips. The blade of the Friend is visibly covered in sap, and that’s not a great part of your diet!

The Random Bits

I try to be organized with my packing and gear selection. I’m far from anal about it, but I definitely like each item to have a specific placement in my bag or on my belt. The Trucker’s Friend makes this difficult as it arrives right out of the box.

It does arrive with a thin piece of rubber formed to fit as a blade guard, but it would be easily lost with regular use.

This flimsy blade guard won’t last long.

You can purchase a sheath custom fit for the Trucker’s Friend, it is well reviewed, but I haven’t had my hands on it so can’t say if it’s worth the cost.

A sheath or holster would be nice, or at least a hole for a lanyard. This positions the Trucker’s Friend as an inconvenient tool to carry around and have at the ready. An improvised sheath or holster would be easy enough to put together, but this tool not having one standard knocks points off.

I could store it in my bag somewhere secure, but it’s the type of tool I want at a moment’s notice.

That rubber handle is simply ugly. In the immortal words of the late, great Stan Lee, “‘Nuff said”.

All in All…

It’s a good tool for the price, but it’s not my favorite.

Like most multi tools the Trucker’s Friend can do a lot, but it can’t do any of it exceptionally well.

It’s a good option to keep handy in your car, your pack, or your home (I keep mine in my work truck), and the strength of the tool as a prybar alone makes the tool worth its weight. Considering the additional features you get out of it, this is a decent purchase.

Maybe with future use I will become accustomed to the balance, awkward weight, and other erata of the Trucker’s Friend, and though it isn’t the tool to beat all tools it has definitely found a place in my bag.

Specs and Buying Options

Total Length: 19″ | Steel: Cast alloy steel blade | Weight: 2.2lb | Made In USA

Check On Amazon

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