Choosing A Backpacking Saw: All You Need To Know
If you’re taking to the wilderness for more than just a day hike, a light weight saw you can pack can be a real lifesaver. Of course, not all of the products out there are well-suited for backpacking, which is where we come in.
This guide is designed to help you select the best backpacking saw on the current market.
- Coghlan’s Folding Saw
- Gerber Freescape Camp Saw
- Bahco 396-LAP Laplander Folding Saw
- Agawa Canyon BOREAL21 Folding Bow Saw
- Sportsman Pocket Chainsaw
- Sven Folding Camp Saw (15 Inch)
In A Hurry?
Our Top Pick – Agawa Canyon BOREAL21 Folding Bow Saw
Why Should You Buy A Saw For Backpacking?
The best reason to invest in a backpacking saw is warmth. If you’re planning on building a fire that’s big enough to put off some serious heat, you’re going to need more than just a few fallen twigs. Or if you need to feed a wood burning stove, a saw will help you put together a decent pile of quality firewood in no time.
Another great reason why you should keep a pack saw handy? Trail maintenance. As every frequent backpacker knows, sometimes the path ahead is not always as clear as we’d like it to be. Your excursion will be much more enjoyable if you’re able to trim your way through any thickets that you might encounter.
Finally, it’s a good idea to carry a backpacking saw in case you need to put together an emergency shelter. Your tent might not provide sufficient protection in extreme weather, or it could become damaged at some point on the trail. With a saw, you’ll be able to cut through branches thick enough to build a lean-to.
Types Of Backpacking Saws
There are three basic types of backpacking saws available. Here’s some general information to help you differentiate between them.
As the name suggests, a bow saw consists of a slender blade held together by a curved handle. They’re lightweight enough for backpacking, and the blades are usually quite strong. If you’re going to choose one for backpacking, however, you’ll need to choose a folding bow saw.
With blades that tuck away inside the handles, folding saws can be easier to carry than bow saws because they’re so light and compact. However, the blades aren’t as strong, nor do they provide the same degree of stability. For this reason, they’re better suited for small fires and trail maintenance than for more serious jobs.
The lightest type of saw listed here, and the easiest to carry by far. They can be used for kindling and light trimming jobs. Some might be able to handle small trees, but you’ll likely need a bit of practice before you get the hang of it.
What To Look For In A Backpacking Saw
Buy the best saw that you can afford, but don’t go over-budget.
Consider how often you’ll be using your saw, and what for. If you think you should have it on hand mainly for emergencies, then there’s no need to carry around a giant blade.
If you plan on relying mainly on your saw to procure firewood and shelter, you should go for a blade that measures at least eight inches long.
This abbreviation stands for “teeth per inch.” A higher TPI means that the teeth are positioned closely together, resulting in a smooth cut. For camping, a low TPI is generally sufficient, but it might mean more elbow grease.
Again, you don’t want to add unnecessary bulk if you don’t plan on using your saw very often. Choose one that’s lightweight enough to be carried easily across long distances.
Best Backpacking Saw: Product Review Guide
1. Coghlan’s Folding Saw
The 21-inch blade on this folding saw is set into a sturdy anodized aluminum frame. Weighing in at just one pound, it’s light enough to be transported easily.
2. Gerber Freescape Camp Saw
Gerber is a vary well known brand and makes great products. This version comes equipped with a 12-inch serrated blade, and weighs in at 1 Pound. It folds up pretty small which is importing if you’re going out for a long trek where you want to conserve space in your pack.
3. Bahco 396-LAP Laplander Folding Saw
With a 7-1/2 inch blade that folds neatly into its durable plastic handle, the Laplander is designed specifically for camping and hiking.
A leather strap is included, so you can keep it attached to the outside of your pack for convenience. We’re big fans of the dual safety lock, which holds the blade steady in addition to keeping it sheathed when not in use.
4. Agawa Canyon BOREAL21 Folding Bow Saw
The BOREAL21 snaps open easily, weighs in at 17 ounces, and features a sharp serrated 21-inch blade on a quality aluminum frame. Unlike some of the offerings listed here, it comes equipped with stainless steel hardware, so the minor parts are less prone to breakage.
5. Sportsman Pocket Chainsaw
When fully extended, this bi-directional chain blade measures 36 inches long. If you have the requisite skills, you’ll be able to use this tool in just about any situation. We would recommend keeping a 5/32 round chainsaw file on hand in case you need to sharpen the chain on the trail.
6. Sven Folding Camp Saw (15 Inch)
An industry leader, the Sven is available in several lengths and styles. This version comes equipped with a 15-inch serrated blade, and weighs in at 12 ounces. It’s pricier than some of the competition, but the blade is exceptionally sharp and efficient.
So, out of all the backpacking saws we’ve listed, which one takes home the top prize?
Assuming that you can afford the high price tag, we believe your best bet is the Agawa Canyon BOREAL21. This folding saw is compact enough to fit easily into your pack, sharp enough to require extra caution during use, and durable enough to withstand years of punishment. If you use the saw on a regular basis, you’re sure to get a good return on your investment.
Best of luck, and happy trails!