When you adventure out into the wilderness, it’s amazing the tools and devices that can come in handy to have in your backpack. One such tool is a really good and sturdy saw. Yet, this is backpacking we’re talking about here. So, it’s not as if you can just take any old saw from your garage, stow it in your backpack, and head off.
Nope, it’s going to be best to buy a saw that’s specifically designed for backpackers, campers, travelers, you name it. That’s why, today, we wanted to talk about backpacking saws. Specifically, we want to detail what we feel are five of the utter best backpacking saws on the market. You just can’t go wrong with these bad boys.
1. Bahco Laplander Folding Saw
To say that consumers have been quite fond of this saw is a bit of an understatement. The Laplander from Bahco is an outstanding combination of affordability, value, convenience, portability, and practicality.
While we will admit that the handle does feel a little cheap when compared to the rest of the folding saw, the blade is incredibly nice. Featuring hardpoint toothing, the blade has also been coated to protect it from rust. It can handle your typical backpacking needs tremendously.
As for the actual mechanics of the saw, they’re pretty darn good too. The folding mechanism is very easy to operate as there’s simply a button that you have to push to open and close the blade. Plus, for additional safety, there’s a safety lock that will keep the blade locked in both open and closed positions.
All this is at a price that’s hard to beat. However, do note that for larger branches, this is going to be a bit of a workout. That’s to be expected from most backpacking saws when dealing with beefier obstacles, though.
- The blade is really nice
- Great mechanics
- Lightweight and small
- The handle could be better
- Larger branches can make for a workout
- Blends a little too well with the ground
2. Nordic Pocket Survival Chainsaw
Unlike our top choice, which is a folding saw, this is a little different. This is actually a pocket chainsaw, but it still makes for one of the best backpacking saws out there. No, you won’t be lugging around an actual chainsaw, just the links of a chainsaw attached to a couple of hand straps.
One thing to note right away with this pocket chainsaw is the quality. The chain links have been made of heat-treated, high-carbon steel and the handles have been made out of heavy-duty nylon. Let’s just say you can expect to get more than a few uses out of this sucker.
It also comes with a case that can actually be worn on your belt if you wanted to. However, the pouch probably should’ve been designed to be a little bit bigger to make it easier to get the chainsaw in and out. One of the few gripes we have with this option.
Other than that, this one’s pretty simple and gets the job done. Depending on the task, it may take a little elbow grease. Yet, again, that’s more or less to be expected with backpacking saws.
- The quality is fantastic
- Will fit compactly in its case
- Easy to use overall
- The included pouch is a little too small
- Teeth on both sides would’ve been nice
- A little heavy for what it is
3. Sportsman Pocket Chainsaw
Most pocket chainsaws are similar in that they can allow you to reach branches that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to reach with other types of backpacking saws. However, this specific chainsaw is even longer than most of the competition.
Excluding the handles, you get 36 inches of chain to deal with here. Better yet is the fact that you can cut both ways with the chain links, and they’ve also been made of high-carbon, heat-treated steel for enhanced quality and durability.
The handles are not too shabby either, and the chainsaw also comes with a tough nylon storage pouch. Oh, and when needed, the links can be re-sharpened with little to no hassle (granted you know what you’re doing). Don’t be surprised if you build up a bit of a sweat while using this bad boy, though.
One last thing, to avoid blisters, it may be advised to wear some type of gloves while using this chainsaw. The handles are nice, yes, but they can still cause blisters if you hold them with your bare hands.
- Light, compact, and an efficient motion
- Works great for hard-to-reach branches
- Cuts really well overall
- It can bind from time to time
- Handles can cause blisters
- It can be quite a workout
4. Agawa BoReal21 Folding Bow Saw
If you’re looking for something a bit different than a hand saw or a pocket chainsaw, you may want to look into a bow saw. As far as backpacking saws go, this particular folding bow saw is such a great choice…and here’s why.
For starters, though it’s a bow saw, it does fold and does so in mere seconds. When folding and unfolding, you’ll also never have to touch the blade itself, which is great for safety reasons. However, though it’s advertised as lightweight, it weighs just over a pound, and when your backpacking, ounces can add up very quickly.
As for the quality of the saw as a whole, it’s quite impressive. The aluminum frame coupled with the nylon handle and stainless-steel hardware makes for a solid build overall. The hinges could’ve had some stronger reinforcements, but that’s about the only gripe we can find.
Now, this is a somewhat pricy option and is probably going to be better suited to backpackers who want to get more use out of their saw. It’s a bow saw, after all.
- The folding mechanism is great
- The blade is very sharp
- Well-made overall
- The hinges could be stronger
- Can bend a little while cutting
- Not the lightest option out there
5. Corona Tools Folding Saw
Probably one of the most affordable options when it comes to backpacking saws, don’t be fooled by the somewhat generous price tag here. This folding saw is great in so many different ways, but it all starts with the blade.
The chrome, 10-inch blade offers a smooth and efficient cut when cutting wood that’s mostly dry. However, a common complaint with this folding saw is that the blade dulls rather quickly. That just means you’ll probably need to sharpen it before each backpacking trip if you plan to use it a lot.
The ergonomics of the saw are really good, and the handle does feel really good in your hand. Meanwhile, the folding mechanism is solid overall, but you can cut yourself even when the blade is folded. There’s a small opening where the blade’s exposed, and this is one design feature we wish would’ve been addressed.
Yet, we don’t want that one flaw to take away from the great value of this saw. Just be careful when grabbing this when you get ready to use it. Know where that small opening is, and you should be good to go.
- Not too heavy for backpacking
- The ergonomics are great
- The chrome blade is good overall
- Dulls pretty quickly
- Can bind from time to time
- Part of blade is exposed when folded
Frequently asked questions
Let’s take a look at some of the many questions you may have when looking for a new backpacking saw 🙂
What can you do with a backpacking saw?
It obviously depends on the type of backpacking saw you go with (folding, chainsaw, bow, etc.). For the most part, backpacking saws shouldn’t be expected to be utter workhorses. By their design (being more compact and lightweight), this is going to be the case.
Still, in spite of that, they can be great for clearing bushes, pruning trees, building shelters, and cutting wood (in general). Basically, they can make for a great multipurpose tool that you may wind up needing depending on where you go backpacking.
How do you maintain backpacking saws?
Saws, and blades in general, do need to be maintained to ensure that their performance doesn’t decrease over time. Here are just a few pointers to keep in mind with your backpacking saws (and blades).
Sharpen them when needed: It’s simply dangerous to handle a saw or any other blade that’s dull. In addition to the blade making you work more, a dull blade will also force you to add more pressure, which can in turn lead to accidents. If you notice your saw is not cutting with the same efficiency it once did, the blade probably needs to be sharpened. Be sure to educate yourself on how to sharpen your specific backpacking saw. The internet is a great place for that!
Lubricate the blade: Whether with gun oil or even WD-40, it’s wise to lubricate the blade of the saw after each use. Or, if you don’t want to bring lubrication with you while backpacking, just lubricate the blade before each backpacking trip.
Keep it dry: The quickest way your saw is going to rust is if you leave it exposed to water and moisture for extended periods of time. So, be sure the saw is dry before you store it or even fold it.
Are pocket chainsaws worth it?
Pocket chainsaws might be the most unique backpacking saws to go with. The one huge advantage they offer over many others is they can account for limbs and branches that you couldn’t reach with normal saws. Well, at least without a ladder of some kind.
Regarding whether you should go with a pocket chainsaw or a folding saw, that’s tough to say. We’d say go with both but that might be adding too much weight to your pack. Also, keep in mind that pocket chainsaws use both hands for cutting and not just one.
How does a folding saw work?
Quite simply actually. Most folding saws will feature locking mechanisms that will secure the blades when they’re either open or closed. These mechanisms will be placed a safe distance away from your hand to ensure that you don’t accidentally hit them while cutting.
The reason folding saws work so great for backpacking is that they are much more compact. Plus, you don’t need a sheath to cover the blade as the blade folds into the handle.