If you are an avid outdoorsman who loves those backcountry adventures, chances are you would have to frequently process some wood for a fire or shelter. As we saw in our earlier article, hatchets and hawks are perfect tools for splitting and chopping wood.
But what if you want to prune branches or cross-cut some dead wood? Or process your game after hunting? A hatchet or a knife would still work, but a saw would surely be perfect. In this article, we look at one such type of saw for pruning and processing wood – the folding saw. This light, efficient and highly portable tool is a perfect item to carry for survivalists and bush-crafters who treat processing wood for fire and shelter as one of the greatest adventures of camping and backpacking.
We will look at some of the best folding saws available in the market for camping, backpacking, and bushcraft. We will see how folding saws are different from another ultralight, portable saw – the pocket chainsaw, which would be the topic of a future article. We will also share some of the most important factors to consider while picking the best folding saw for your needs and share our top picks.
List of best folding sawsSome of the best folding saws for camping, backpacking, and survival are listed below:
|Picture||Product||Size & weight||Features|
|Bahco Laplander Folding Saw||Blade Len: 7”|
Handle Len.: 9”
Weight: 6.6 oz.
|- Swedish made saw having a heavy gauge stainless steel blade with an additional anti-rust coating that also reduces friction. The blade is replaceable.|
- The blade has an XT-Toothing with 7 teeth-per-inch (TPI). Cuts in both pull and push motion. Works well for dry and green wood, plastic and bones.
- Features a reliable lock-in and lock-out safety lock that keeps the blade secure even when folded down.
- Comes with a two-component plastic handle and a leather strap for superior grip in the wrist and carrying in the belt.
- Backed by a limited lifetime warranty.
|Silky Pocketboy 130 Hand Saw||Blade Len: 5”|
Handle Len.: 6”
Weight: 5.6 oz.
|- Made in Japan, the folding saw has an impulse-hardened, chrome-plated steel blade. Compact and lightweight.|
- The blade has a Silky MIRAI-ME (Smooth Cutting) Technology with 8.5 teeth-per-inch(TPI) that cut hard and seamlessly.
- Allows sawing in two different positions. Works for all types of wood and even fine pruning.
- Has a non-slip rubberized handle for superior grip, with a two-stage locking mechanism.
- Comes with a plastic flip-lock carrying case with a belt clip.
- Backed by a limited lifetime warranty by the manufacturer.
- Available in multiple blade types and sizes, including the popular Silky Gomboy.
|EverSaw Folding Hand Saw||Blade Len: 8”|
Handle Len.: 9.5”
Weight: 10 oz.
|- General-purpose, heavy-duty folding saw with an uncoated carbon steel blade. Made in China.|
- The blade has triple-cut teeth with 9 teeth-per-inch (TPI). Can cut through wood, bone or plastic.
- Reliable lock-in mechanism with an ergonomic handle that is connected to the blade through an adjustable bolt.
- Backed by a limited lifetime warranty and a dedicated customer service.
|Wicked Hand Saw||Blade Len: 7”|
Handle Len.: 8.25”
Weight: 7 oz.
|- Portable hand saw with an Impulse-hardened high carbon steel blade. Made in China.|
- Reliable locking mechanism with a hardened steel lock-pin, retention nut and spring.
- Features a heavy-duty cast aluminum body with a rubberized non-slip over-molded grip.
- Backed by a limited lifetime warranty.
|Felco F-600 Classic Folding Saw||Blade Len: 6”|
Handle Len.: 8”
Weight: 5.5 oz.
|- Lightweight pocket saw with a high-quality steel blade that is chrome plated for rust resistance. Made in South Korea.|
- The blade uniquely shaped and tapered from top to bottom to prevent clogging and binding.
- Newly redesigned locking mechanism provides secure lock-in and lock-out
- Ergonomically designed handle with a large lanyard hole.
- Backed by a limited lifetime warranty.
|Corona Razor Tooth Folding Saw||Blade Len: 7”|
Handle Len.: 9”
Weight: 6.2 oz.
|- Made in South Korea, folding saw with a high Carbon Japanese SK5 steel blade that is triple-ground, impulse-hardened for performance and chrome plated to reduce friction.|
- Designed to cut in only pull action. Blade has 6 teeth-per-inch, but is replaceable with finer blades.
Latched open/close lock keeps the blade secure.
- Ergonomic, curved shape handle with a polymer plastic grip.
- Backed by a limited lifetime warranty.
|Coghlan's Standard Sierra Saw||Blade Len: 7”|
Handle Len.: 9.5”
Weight: 5.5 oz.
|- Cheap, lightweight folding saw with a flexible tempered steel blade.|
- Designed to cut only in the pull motion and not during push.
- Features a one-touch lock system that holds the blade securely.
- Also available in pocket size with a 4-inch blade.
- Backed by a one-year manufacturer warranty.
|Tabor Tools Folding Hand Saw||Blade Len: 8”|
Handle Len.: 9”
Weight: 6.4 oz.
|- Lightweight pruning saw available in curved and straight blade designs. The blade is made of high-quality steel with a rust-resistant coating. Made in Taiwan or Israel.|
- The blade has “three-angle” razor teeth that are designed to cut in the pull stroke only.
- Reliable click locking mechanism that holds the blade securely while folded and when in use.
- Rugged, ergonomic handle that acts as a sheath and holds the blade completely inside it.
- Backed by a lifetime warranty.
Pocket Chainsaw vs Folding Saw
If you are considering to pack a saw for cross-cutting, pruning and other wood processing tasks for camping, backpacking or bushcraft, you have the option to picking either a folding camping saw or a pocket chainsaw.
Folding Saws are compact, foldable like a knife and light enough at under 10 ounces to carry during backpacking. They are better at handling bigger logs when compared to chainsaws. They can also be used for cutting bones and plastic. However, they are costlier and not as packable as the pocket chainsaws.
Pocket chainsaws consist of a saw-chain that can be operated by hand power. Such camping saws are small, extremely lightweight at under 2 ounces and flexible enough to be packed in a small space. They are generally available in different lengths and cheaper than other portable saws. However, they require more effort from both the hands to cut through the branches and cannot be used with bones or plastic. Moreover, they are generally not as reliable as the folding saws. We would list out the best pocket chainsaws in a future article.
So, unless you are going to do serious wood processing during your outdoor trip that warrants carrying a folding saw, you can consider carrying a pocket chainsaw with a knife for the wood-work that you would need during a camping or backpacking trip.
How to pick the best folding saw for your needs?
Whether you are looking for a folding saw for rigorous use or as an emergency tool in your bug-out bag, you need to pick a saw which handles all the wood processing tasks thrown at it, while being lightweight, compact and cost-efficient.
With so many different pruning and camping saws available in the market, picking the best folding saw can be a challenge. Worry not! The next sections are just for that. Before picking the best folding saw for backpacking and bushcraft, you should consider the following major factors:
- Blade material
- Blade type and performance
- Handle design and locking mechanism
- Size and Weight of the saw
- Additional features and considerations
The blade is the most important part of any folding saw and hence getting a folding saw which has a blade hard enough to cut and prune branches up to 4-inch thick is lightweight and rust-resistant.
The blades of a folding saw are generally made of carbon steel or stainless steel. Stainless steel blades, especially the ones in Bahco Laplander Folding Saw, are more robust and perform reasonably well for most types of wood you would need to handle during backpacking or bushcraft. They are also more rust resistant and do not break easily.
High-quality carbon steel blades are generally impulse hardened and chrome-plated or covered with any other anti-rust coating to prevent corrosion and reduce friction while operating. Such blades are harder and a lot sharper than the stainless steel blades, but tend to corrode quicker and can get damaged relatively easily. Still, considering the cheap price of saw blades, such blades are also an excellent material to consider.
Check the manufacturing material of the blade to ensure that it can perform well in the field.
Blade type and performance
The type of the blade is an equally important factor as it governs how the blade would perform in the field. A folding saw is best suited for pruning and processing cottonwood (and sometimes hardwood) which are anywhere from 0.5-inch to 4-inches in diameter (You would probably need a chainsaw or an ax for anything bigger).
Some of the things to consider about the blade type are:
- Teeth positioning: The positioning and alignment of teeth govern the motion in which the saw would cut the wood. If the teeth are slanted towards the handle, which means that the saw would cut the wood in the pull motion. If the teeth are slanted away from the handle, then the saw would cut the wood in the push motion.
Pull saws have thinner blades, but give more control to the user and are easier to use for most people. They are designed to produce more precise cuts on wood.
Saws that cut in both pull and push motion will have straight teeth. Such saws are fastest in processing wood and also quite efficient in dealing with bones and plastic. For example, the best-selling Bahco Laplander Folding Saw has a blade with straight teeth.
- Teeth-per-inch (Teeth Density): The teeth density, generally measured in teeth-per-inch, governs the precision and quality of cuts. The larger the number of teeth-per-inch, the more precise cut you would get. But higher the TPI, the softer wood it would cut. For the versatile backcountry activities, a medium-toothed saw with 8-9 TPI is best suited.
Moreover, if you so desire, most manufacturers have saws and replacement blades with different teeth density readily available, so you can pick the one that suits your requirements.
- Blade Angle: Curved blades are best suited for smaller, thinner branches while straight blades can handle even thicker branches. That is why we prefer you pick a saw with a straight blade for backpacking and bushcraft.
Check out the blade type to determine the best suitable option for your needs.
Handle design and locking mechanism
The two other important parts in a folding saw, besides the blade, are the handle and the lock.
The handle of the saw should be large enough to hold the folded blade safely and securely when not in use and provide an ergonomic grip while operating. A handle made of high-density plastic with a rubberized coating provides a comfortable and strong, grip even in wet weather. It should also be smartly curved to provide a better grip while cutting.
We especially loved the handle provided in our top two picks Bahco Laplander Folding Saw and Silky Pocketboy Hand Saw- they provide a superior grip and make saw easy to use with dry and wet wood, plastic or bone.
The locking mechanism is another important consideration. You should always pick a folding saw which has a proven locking mechanism that is reliable and easy to operate. Just remember that if you are a left-hander, you may find the locking mechanism that is not on the top of the handle a little unintuitive to operate with a single hand because of the curved grip.
In terms of the locking, the Bahco Laplander Folding Saw is an excellent choice with its two-stage lock-in and lock-out system that keeps the blade secure during use and when closed.
Check out the handle design and the presence of a secure locking mechanism (and the position of lock if you are a lefty). You can generally get some details on this from the videos of the product or the product Q&A section on Amazon.
Size and Weight of the saw
The size and weight of the folding saw are also important criteria, especially if you are going to carry the gear on your back.
While folding saws are available in blade sizes of up to 10-inches, we have listed folding saws with a blade length of 8-inches or less. A smaller blade with finer teeth is efficient in cutting through dry or hardwoods up to 4-inches thick.
A folding saw is suitable for camping, hiking and wilderness survival only if it is light enough to be carried in the backpack, pocket or belt. All the options that we have listed weigh less than 7 ounces, except for the heavy-duty EverSaw Folding Hand Saw which weighs around 10 ounces.
The Silky Pocketboy Hand Saw is a clear winner in terms of performance, size and weight with a 5-inch blade, 6-inch overall size and a weight of under 6-ounce.
Additional features and miscellaneous considerations
In addition to the major criteria discussed above, there are some other miscellaneous considerations that can make a particular purchase more suitable for your needs.
The reputation of the manufacturer, customer service and warranty on the folding is probably the most important additional consideration. Most options that we have listed are established names in the market and provide excellent lifetime warranties and after-sales services, so you can pick any of them without a worry about quality and reliability of the product.
The color of the folding saw can also be something to look for, though it does not affect the overall performance of the saw. A vibrant color makes it easier to spot the folding saw in the dark, thereby minimizing chances of you losing it.
Finally, the availability of replacement blades and other accessories such as sheath is also a factor, especially if you are going to use the saw rigorously. Most of the options that we have listed – such as Bahco, Corona, Tabor, and Silky are established names in the market and have replacement parts and accessories readily available online, so you can pick them without worries.
You can look at all these additional factors to determine if they make a folding saw a better choice for your needs.
Which are the best folding saws and what our picks are?
Bahco Laplander Folding Saw review – Editor’s pick for the best folding saw for camping
The Bahco Laplander is and has been the most popular choice for folding saw among backpackers, bushcrafters and survival enthusiasts, and for a good reason.
The Laplander is made in Sweden and features a heavy-gauge stainless steel blade with an additional anti-rust coating that also reduced friction. The blade is easily replaceable by unscrewing a single bolt. The stainless steel blade means that it can withstand wet weather and corrosion better than most other saws.
The Bahco Laplander has an overall size of 9 inches and a blade size of generous 7-inches. It weighs only 6.6 ounces, making it light enough for carrying around in the belt or your backpack.
The blade has a unique XT-hardpoint toothing, which means that the teeth remain sharp for as much as four times more than other saws. Moreover, since every third tooth is shortened, the wood chips do not stick to the blade. A hardpoint design means that the teeth cannot be re-sharpened and hence you would have to replace the blade once it gets blunt. But considering that the blades are cheap and refiling is anyway difficult, it is not a major drawback.
The saw comes with a medium 7 teeth-per-inch, though you may choose to get a finer blade if desired. The teeth are laser-hardened to an HRC-60 rating and aligned in a straight position. The saw is designed to cut in both pull and push motions, making it perfect to process wet and dry wood quickly and efficiently. It also works quite well with plastic and bones.
The handle of the Laplander is made of high-density plastic and has a rubber coating to provide superior grip even during wet weather. The handle is shaped comfortably for small and large hands both. It has a reliable lock-in and lock-out safety lock that keeps the blade secure even when folded down. This is a major plus over the Silky folding saws, which do not lock the blade when closed down.
A leather cord through the lanyard makes it easy to carry around and hold securely in the wrist while operating. An added advantage indeed!
Like all other Bahco tools, the Laplander is backed by a lifetime warranty, so you can get one without worrying about its durability.
Silky Pocketboy 130 Hand Saw review – Editor’s pick for the best pocket saw for backpacking and bushcraft
If you are looking for a small pocket camping saw then check out the smallest member of the Silky Hand Saw Family – the Silky Pocketboy Hand Saw.
The Silky Pocketboy 130 features a 5-inch blade, which is securely folded in a 6-inch handle. It weighs a mere 5.6 ounces, making it one of the lightest folding saw (The 130 in the title refers to the blade length There is a larger 170 mm version is also available)
The Silky Pocketboy is made in Japan and has an impulse-hardened, chrome-plated steel blade that is taper-ground. The blade follows the patented Silky MIRAI-ME (Smooth Cutting) Technology that is designed to provide seamless cut on even the hardest wood, plastic or bones. The most popular Pocketboy model has a fine blade with 8.5 teeth-per-inch (TPI), though you can always get a model with different teeth density.
The Pocketboy features a non-slip rubberized handle that provides a comfortable grip with or without the gloves in all weather conditions.
Probably the best part of this folding saw is that it has a two-stage locking mechanism that allows sawing in two different positions for inline and flush cutting.
The only drawback of the lock is that you would have to fold it securely as it does not have a folding lock – something that is addressed by including a carrying case. The Pocketboy comes with a clear hard-plastic case with a flip-lock and a belt clip. This means that you can compactly pack it in your backpack, glove-box or carry around in your belt.
Like all other Silky saws, the Silky Pocketboy is backed by a limited lifetime warranty from the manufacturer.
Recommended accessories to go along with a folding saw
Now that we have looked at some of the best folding saws, let us look at some of the accessories that you might consider with such tools.
While processing wood or pruning, you should ensure that you wear cut-resistant gloves or work gloves that can prevent your hands from injuries. Some of the best budget options to consider are listed below:
In order to keep your saw blade sharp, wipe it with a microfiber cloth and apply some machine oil from after use. If your folding saw blade gets blunt, you are better-off by getting a new blade. Most folding saw blades are laser-hardened to an HRC-60 level and coated with rust-resistant coatings, so they cannot be re-sharpened (If your blade is re-fillable, it would be indicated so).
Final thoughts on the best folding saws to buy
Processing wood is one of the most integral activities for a backpacking, bushcraft or survival camping trip. You may process wood to build or reinforce your shelter or to burn a fire for cooking or warmth. There are a lot of tools available for processing wood, each with its own advantages and disadvantages – hatchets, knives, machete, and saws. Which is the best tool depends on your requirements and preference?
In this article, we looked at one of the most popular types of saws used for processing wood in the wilderness – the folding saws. These portable tools are easy to handle, comfortable to carry and efficient in cross-cutting wood or pruning branches. We also looked at some of the factors to consider while picking the best folding saw for backpacking and bushcraft and shared our top picks.
We hope that this article would help you pick the best folding saw for your next camping or backpacking trip. Do let us know your feedback by providing your valuable comments below. Until next time, happy camping!