I will be travelling to and returning from Norway, to/from the UK. I will be carrying two ice axes within my checked-in luggage, to use for sporting activities. They do have a somewhat menacing appearance which leads me to question whether they could be classed as a weapon, and whether or not I should declare them at customs?

Picture for reference: Ice axes

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    Will they be packed also with a well-balanced selection of other mountaineering equipment? Commented Feb 20, 2018 at 18:42
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    If you remove the pick, adze, and spike (if removable) it would look a lot less menacing.
    – StrongBad
    Commented Feb 20, 2018 at 19:32
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    Ice axes? Shouldn’t be a problem; they’ll melt before you get there anyway. Commented Feb 21, 2018 at 16:46

3 Answers 3


No, you do not have to declare these to customs or expect any problems bringing ice axes to Norway. They are freely available to buy in Norway and not categorized as a weapon.

They are obviously not allowed in hand luggage and explicitly mentioned in the list of prohibited items by the Norwegian aviation authorities.

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    That said there is the potential for issues on the UK end... Commented Feb 20, 2018 at 22:57
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    Avinor lists the same on their list of baggage regulations (in English). Axes (including ice axes) are explicitly states as allowed in checked-in luggage but not in hand luggage. As that page also states, the baggage regulations are common for EU and EEA countries (which, until Brexit completes still includes UK as well).
    – Frxstrem
    Commented Feb 20, 2018 at 23:35
  • I have travelled for many years to Scotland from France with one or two ice axes and never got any problem. Except the time I was late and hurried by airline agents with my bag to security, where they took the ice axes from the bag and I found them back on the luggage beltway in Glasgow! Commented Feb 21, 2018 at 15:06
  • I once carried a serrated breadknife in my rucksack from the UK to Germany. Because the bag wasn't a suitcase, I had to take it to the oversized luggage booth and get it x-rayed. The baggage handler didn't bat an eyelid. Commented Feb 21, 2018 at 15:15

Always, if in doubt, declare them.

My guess is that they would be quite familiar with these objects, but if they ask you if you have any weapons, say "no, but I have some ice axes for ice climbing [or whatever purpose you have in mind]". They'll probably nod and go on to the next question.

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    Note that, depending on the point of entry, finding someone to make a customs declaration to can be somewhat involved in Europe.
    – origimbo
    Commented Feb 20, 2018 at 17:04
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    I would declare the ice axes as part of a laundry list of climbing gear. "I have climbing gear, ropes, carabiners, ice axes, harnesses, and such" is more clear that all of that kit are tools for climbing versus calling out the axes independently. I'm not sure of how to phrase an edit to this effect.
    – Freiheit
    Commented Feb 20, 2018 at 19:22
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    @Freiheit In reality, no Norwegian customs officer will ask you to list everything you bring with you. If you are checked at all, he will ask if you bring alcohol or tobacco above the allowed limits. If you answer 'no' and the officer believes you, he will wave you through. Commented Feb 21, 2018 at 10:52

From the UK side, the definitions of banned offensive weapons are somewhat loose, but are generally aimed at implements designed to evade detection or specifically to injure humans, rather than tools with a legitimate purpose. As a rule of thumb, if you were able to buy it there in the first place from a reputable merchant, then it's probably ok.

Note that there's also a separate UK offence of having an offensive weapon in a public place, which it wouldn't be brilliant to fall foul of, so remember to take the items out of your bags when you get home from your trip.

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    Providing the axes are attached to your rucksack you are unlikely to run into any issues in the UK. If you run down the road waving them around it might be a problem though.
    – Ian Turton
    Commented Feb 20, 2018 at 18:36
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    I have -- many years ago as a teenager -- walked down the street with one in each hand and another few on my rucksack. In London in the middle of summer. The coppers were about the only people who didn't give me funny looks. (I was collecting a kit order for a trip to the Alps, and had receipts on me) Commented Feb 20, 2018 at 21:59
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    @ChrisH I can't believe you got a funny look from anyone in London, tbh. Usually you need to do something quite heinous, like start killing people or stopping on the left of the escalator, before anyone will take notice of you at all.
    – J...
    Commented Feb 21, 2018 at 10:31

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