Heading outdoors means you need to be prepared. The camping life requires your gear to be precise, lightweight, and durable. Of course, these 3 qualities also describe the best camping saws available. No, a backpacking saw isn’t like that battered saw from your father’s workshop. You need one built for survival and bushwhacking.
No one wants to carry a heavy, full-sized saw with them when hiking. Not only is it somewhat dangerous, it’s also unnecessary.
Main Categories of Camping Saws
When deciding what to buy, think about the 3 main categories camping saws are divided into: pocket chain saws, bow saws, and folding saws. Each have pros and cons; and one type might be more effective for your hike or campsite than the others.
Let’s look at what makes these 3 categories different:
- Pocket Chain Saws - These are based on the same design as the oil-powered machines but require your own physical strength to operate. Because you are basically pulling the chain back and forth, the packaging and design is the most minimalistic out of the 3 main types. A factor to keep in mind when looking at pocket chain saws is the longevity of the product. Though many of these look like a space-saving dream, they usually aren’t up to snuff when it comes to lasting for more than one or two trips.
- Bow Saws - Other names for the bow saw include “swede saw,” “buck saw,” and “finn saw.” Consider these the top rung in the ladder of camping saws. Bow saws have a durable frame, longer blades, and more efficiency when cutting wet or green wood. These saws can also be disassembled and packed up for easy transport. However, they are quite large and heavy. Plus, they are the priciest option out of all three.
- Folding Saws - For portability and durability, nothing beats the reliable folding saw. Typically, a folding saw has a double row of teeth that cut in both directions. Though you have a large blade and wooden handle, the size and weight of these camping saws won’t tip the scales and make your gear unbearably heavy. In fact, they are a great balance and give you the able to handle both small and big tasks, like cutting tree limbs, cutting down boxes, and creating/cutting joints into material (which is something pocket chain saws can’t do).
The Best Camping Saws
Now that you’ve been introduced to the 3 main categories of camping saws and some advantages and disadvantages of each, here are the best camping saws that money can currently buy:
1. LivWild Hand Chain with Pouch
Sure, it seems like an As Seen on TV gadget, be hear me out. The Chainmate actually comes in three lengths (24, 36, and 48 inches). Whichever one you choose, you are going to receive an item that will stay sharp for years, because the saw is diamond-tipped.
The strap hands are even made of heavy duty fabric that can even fit over winter camping gloves. Anyone can easily operate this handheld chainsaw by simply wrapping around a tree or log and alternating strokes left and right. It cuts incredibly well. Another plus would be the pricing. You certainly won’t break the bank.
The only downside to the Chainmate Hand Chain is that it needs to be sprayed often to avoid rusting.
2. Bahco Ergo Bow Saw
Need a saw that handles dry, seasoned wood or lumber well? The Bahco Ergo Bow Saw measures at a decent 21 inches (but there’s also 24 and 30 inch blades), comes with a tempered steel blade, and is guaranteed to handle various conditions and cut through whatever those teeth meet.
The blade is also covered in enamel to prevent premature rusting and corrosion. You’ll also love the ergonomic handle that provides a comfortable grip and a knuckle protector to keep you safe. Plus, there’s a tension mechanism built-in that keeps cuts moving straight.
The only downside is that this bow won’t cut through green wood happily.
3. Gilmour 21-Inch Bow Saw
Here is a bow saw that excels in both pruning your bushes and camping situations. The design is rather unique and allows for a strong grip as well as extra clearance for bigger projects. The saw itself is 21 inches long, and the cutting length is 5 inches. Furthermore, like the above mentioned Bahco, this blade has a self-adjusting tension mechanism to keep the cuts moving straight.
The blade is a raked design that’s been tempered for quickly cutting through materials. Also, the blade’s has a non-stick coating to protect against corrosion and rust. Friction is also minimized.
But as you can probably tell when looking at the picture, this bow saw will eventually make your hand hurt.
4. Gerber Freescape Camp Saw
A star in the camping saw scene would be the Gerber Freescape. You are assured quality, because Gerber is a household name that has supplied millions with superior items. This camping saw is ideal for saving space in your pack and not bogging you down. The folding bow saw packs down flat, and you don’t have to disassemble anything, which is extremely convenient.
The 12 inch saw is easily replaced when it gets dull. However, there is also a drawback to this 12 inch blade. You need to make a lot more strokes to finish your job, and you can’t do specific cuts on twigs and whatnot. But you can definitely cut through an 8 inch log log without issue. That’s why the Gerber Freescape Camp Saw is a wonderful choice for recreational campers and outdoorsy people.
5. Bahco 396-LAP Laplander Folding Saw
For the experienced survivalist and woodworker, one of the best choices would be the Bahco Laplander Folding Saw. Many folding saws you find on the market can only handle limbs and have a recurved blade. However, Bahco took the design of the Laplander a step further to give those with woodworking experience the ideal knife for their adventures. This camping saw has a straight edge blade, giving it the capability to cut joints and other fine cuts.
Other features include a safety lock, coating to prevent rust, a 7 TPI blade that can cut through a number of materials (from wood to even bone), and 7 teeth per inch on a 7.5 inch blade.
However, because the blade is relatively short, you wouldn’t want this one for an arduous task like building an entire campsite from scratch.
6. Silky Folding Landscaping Saw GOMBOY Professional
Silky has a variety of folding saws like the POCKET BOY, BIGBOY, and now the GOMBOY. The reason why the GOMBOY Professional makes the list and not the others is because it balances a decent length of 9.5 inches with 8.5 teeth per inch, making it the greatest concentration of teeth out of all other options on this list.
The cut is swift, aggressive, it will gnaw through green and dry wood, as well as other materials. Every single time you make a cut, the stroke will be smooth and precise. Many reviewers of this product report that you have excellent control of the cuts, but overtime the saw “gums up” and needs to be cleaned before proceeding with your project.
Despite it’s size, the Silky Gomboy is hassle-free, portable, and lightweight. It even comes with a carrying case for quick storage.
All of the survival camping saws listed here are wonderful options to add to your hiking gear. There are so many different styles, brands, and features out there that you might get blindsided by the options. Hopefully, this article has enlightened up about what to look for when shopping. After that, it’s up to deciding what you need for your camping or hiking experience then matching those points up to the perfect saw.