What is the Best Camping Saw? Reviews and Buying Guide (2024)

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Camp saws are known as tough and well-made for extreme weather conditions. But, honestly, not all camp saws are built the same. Over the years, I’ve encountered a few that couldn’t even slice through a thick branch, let alone firewood. 

To spare you the trial and error, I’ve handpicked, tried, and tested the crème de la crème of camping saws. Dive into my findings and ensure your next outdoor adventure is equipped with only the best!

Premium Option
Nordic 25-Inch Pocket Chainsaw
Editor’s Choice
Bahco Laplander Folding Saw (396-LAP)
Budget Option
SOG Folding Saw (F10N-CP)
Nordic Pocket Chainsaw
Bahco Laplander Folding Saw
SOG Folding Saw
• Dual-cutting teeth
• Portable & lightweight
• Heat-treated carbon steel blade
• Multi-purpose folding saw
• Two-part plastic handles
• Safety locks in & out
• Compact folding saw
• Soft handle for cutting
• Tempered steel teeth
Premium Option
Nordic 25-Inch Pocket Chainsaw
Nordic Pocket Chainsaw
• Dual-cutting teeth
• Portable & lightweight
• Heat-treated carbon steel blade
Editor’s Choice
Bahco Laplander Folding Saw (396-LAP)
Bahco Laplander Folding Saw
• Multi-purpose folding saw
• Two-part plastic handles
• Safety locks in & out
Budget Option
SOG Folding Saw (F10N-CP)
SOG Folding Saw
• Compact folding saw
• Soft handle for cutting
• Tempered steel teeth

Reviews of the Top Camping Saws

1. Bahco 396-LAP Laplander Folding Saw

The Bahco 396-LAP Laplander is the best folding saw that’s built well and costs reasonably. It features a straight, long blade made of Sandvik steel. 

The Laplander saw’s blade worked well for cutting branches up to four inches thick, be it freshly cut old wood, greenwood, or deadwood. Also, its seven-inch blade length cuts very quickly. The curved yet secure grip gives your hand a lot of room, and the longer handle gives you more leverage.

Besides, its folding blade glides throughout the handle, and the simple button lets you lock it in closed or open positions.

What I Like

What I Don't Like

2. Nordic 25-Inch Pocket Chainsaw

This hand-powered pocket chainsaw is quite smaller than my number one pick but still packs good features. I appreciate how light this saw is, tipping the scales at only 132 grams, yet boasting a high-carbon steel blade material. Every major link is equipped with a double-cutting tooth, making the sawing process efficient and manageable. 

The nylon straps are a nice touch as well, easy to grip and control. In addition, its durability outshines others. It’s designed to withstand 20 times more force than one could manually exert.

You can confidently bring the Nordic 25-Inch Pocket Saw with your outdoor escapades, as this makes a great chainsaw for cutting firewood, logs, and trees without worrying about backup or storage space. While it’s a little more expensive, this saw can withstand the test of time! 

What I Like

What I Don't Like

3. SOG F10N-CP Folding Saw

This tool has a good price and is cheaper than most folding chainsaws. Its two-part grip and eight inches, high-carbon steel blade allow easy holding.

What I particularly appreciate about this camping saw is its elongated, slender blade equipped with coarse teeth. It’s ideal for slicing through larger branches of deadwood or dry timber, making firewood preparation a breeze. However, it doesn’t fare as well in heavy-cutting marathons or when tackling densely overgrown trails.

The SOG F10N-CP has a nylon case for storage, and it is safer than most folding chainsaws as you can lock it in closed and open positions. The blade slides cleanly towards the handle, so there are no teeth sticking out.

What I Like

What I Don't Like

4. Sven 60th Anniversary Folding Edition Saw

The Sven Saw  is a bow saw that you can fold up. It has a high-quality Swedish steel blade and a strong but lightweight anodized aluminum frame.

It comes in 21-inch and 15-inch sizes, so you can choose whether you need the most cutting power for bigger logs or would rather have a slightly smaller saw that is easier to carry. This folding bow is longer when folded up than any other folding saw.

What I liked about this saw is its clever design, making it slim and small, so it fits easily into your hiking backpack. The Sven Saw 60th Anniversary Edition is another staple I recommend for basecamps and group camps, whether you’re backpacking, hunting, canoeing, or fishing.

(Looking for other outdoor options? Check out the best backpacking saws today!)

What I Like

What I Don't Like

5. Stihl PR16 Handycut Camping Saw

This small but powerful tool can do much more than just work in your backyard. Its 6.25-inch, chrome-coated high-carbon steel blade makes it perfect for life around camp or on the trail. 

The folding saw blade features 6 teeth per inch, making it ideal for tackling wood with smaller branches or mid-sized logs. Among the various saws I’ve tested, this one emerges as one of the lightest and most compact. It’s just the right size for tucking into your backpack or into the pocket of your hiking pants.

The Stihl PR16‘s ergonomic handle is nicely shaped and has a pistol-style rubber grip. On its back, there’s a place for your thumb which gives you better control and accuracy.  

What I Like

What I Don't Like

6. Silky Pocketboy 170mm Outback

This special Silky Pocketboy 170mm Outback Edition has been glorified with a thicker saw blade made of high-quality premium Japanese steel. The blade folds all the way into the handle and has a notch.

I like its plastic handle with a strange mix of wood that feels warm and smooth to the touch. It comes with a hard case made of clear plastic with a metal belt loop and a hole for a lanyard.

The PocketBoy works well on both fresh and old wood, and you can lock the blade, with sharp teeth, in two places, suitable for wild camping.

What I Like

What I Don't Like

7. Felco F600 Saw

This small but powerful tool has everything you need for camping or trailing. It is small and light, so it is easy to put in your pocket or backpack. 

What’s more good is that the blade is made of chrome-coated high-carbon steel, and the handle is flawlessly shaped and has a pistol-style grip made of rubber.

The Felco F600‘s blade length, with six teeth per inch, is triple-ground, so you can cut on pull stroke, allowing you to prune approximately 3-inch branches. However, you might find it hard to start cutting with its coarser blade, but it often doesn’t get clogged with sap or sawdust.

What I Like

What I Don't Like

Camping Saw Buyer's Guide

Type

Pocket Saw

Pocket chainsaws are best for occasional, emergency, or survival use. This cutting tool can work on wood by wrapping them around branches or logs with a pulling motion. 

But although it has a good amount of cutting power for something so light and portable, it takes much effort and skill to use it well.

Collapsible Bow Saw

You might need to process wood if you plan to build a semi-permanent camp, go on a long trip, or camp with a large group. This needs more cutting power, so a bow saw that folds up is the best choice. 

This type can easily cut small logs and branches with a bigger diameter. Bow saws are strong and rigid because they feature a triangular frame and a fixed blade. But they tend to be heavier and bigger compared to folding saws.

Folding Saw

Most hunters and campers opt for a folding saw (sometimes called a Japanese saw (since Silky, a Japanese brand, popularized this saw type). 

Folding camping saws typically come with a blade measuring around 6-9 inches (15 to 23 cm) in length, securely locked towards the handle with a pivot. The blade conveniently folds away into a groove in the handle. 

These saws are lightweight, usually weighing less than 300g, allowing for easy one-handed use to cut branches up to 5 inches (or 12 cm) in diameter.

Survival Wire Saw

A survival wire saw acts much like a pocket chainsaw, though it doesn’t offer the same level of comfort. While it’s incredibly lightweight and impressively compact, its downside is its tendency to snap. Nonetheless, its portability can’t be understated.

Sliding Saw

Choosing a sliding saw means you’re getting a blade that doesn’t fold but slides into the handle. There’s usually a tightening nut on the side of the handle to secure the blade. While sliding saws tend to be lighter and more compact than folding ones, they don’t offer the same ease of use or robustness.

Given their susceptibility to breakage, these thin blades excel at cutting smaller diameter branches. Personally, I’d lean towards a folding saw over a sliding one, unless your camping saw tasks are limited to minor jobs.

The Good and Not-So-Good Types: Which is Which?

In my extensive testing of various camping saws, I’ve consistently found folding saws and pocket chainsaws to be the top performers. They strike the right balance between strength and weight, making them my go-to recommendations.

Although pocket chainsaws should be able to cut in both directions, not all of them have teeth on the chain’s both sides. 

Both folding and pocket chainsaws work well, but make sure the handles are made of soft nylon to protect your hands.

It’s the same with survival wire saws, but this one is harder to use and more likely to break. However, they’re light and don’t take up much space in your pack, making them good for emergencies.

On the other hand, there are not-so-good types of camping saws: collapsible bow saw and sliding saw.  

Sliding saws don’t fold up, but collapsible saws can. Their common denominator is that their quality is less impressive than camping saws. I haven’t found any good reviews about using these two types of camp saws, either.

Material Durability

Many camping saws have steel blades, which are very strong and good at cutting. Steel is also good at keeping an edge, especially high-carbon steel [1], which makes it easier to cut.

On the other hand, the blades of some saws are made of aluminum, which is lighter and doesn’t rust. But it bends easily and is more likely to break after being used a lot.

When choosing the best camping saw, don’t forget to consider the materials used in the saw. Make sure it can withstand wet weather or any harsh conditions. 

Size and Portability

Generally, any saw that weighs less than 1.5 pounds (0.7 kg) is good for camping. Also, it’s best to have a saw that folds up to less than 12-inch (30.5cm) long, so it’s easy to carry. 

Portability is especially important for backpackers, but it’s something you should think about no matter how you camp.

Handle Design and Material

Many camping saws feature steel blades, but the rest of the sharp tools are usually made of lightweight materials like nylon, aluminum, or other types of composite or plastic material. I suggest looking for a saw featuring a curved handle that fits your hand well and is easy to use. 

Also, many saws have silicon or rubber grips that don’t slip to make them safer. A bump at the handle’s end near the blade prevents slipping. Molded grooves in the handle and absorbent materials like cork or wood fiber can help keep sweat and moisture from building up.

Blade

There are things about the way the blade is made that affect how well your camping saw works overall.  

Most camping saws feature carbon steel blades – a tool steel with a good balance of hardness and strength and are wear-resistant. 

Also, many coatings are made to cut down on friction, making the chainsaw cut faster and easier without getting stuck.

Size and Blade Length

When you have a longer saw blade, you can cut more with each stroke. But longer blades weigh more and are harder to carry.

Find a saw with a blade at least 6-inch long (15cm). This will let you cut through branches of least 3-inch (7.5cm) in diameter, about the width of your wrist. 

Angle

Camping saws may have a straight or curved blade. Straight blades work best on larger diameter logs, while curved blades make it easier to cut up smaller branches quickly.

Teeth per Inch

When you cut with a saw that has more TPI (or teeth per inch), the cut will be smoother and more precise. But this extra accuracy takes more time and work.

field testing Felco F600 Saw

Fewer teeth per inch, however, let you cut wood faster and better, even if the edges are a little rough. Here are a few important points:

Locking Mechanism

One easy way to make sure a tool is safe is if it has a good locking system. 

Some saws hold the blade with a lever lock, while others use push buttons or even adjustable nuts and screws. Ensure the mechanism works reliably and fully and that it can’t be pressed by accident. 

Also, a saw locking in and out is a plus since it prevents the blade from widening partway while moving. 

Tips for Using Your Camping Saw

How to Clean and Maintain Your Camping Saw

Clean the blade of your camping saw every time you put it away to get the most out of it. To get rid of sawdust or sap, blow out the teeth of the blade and the groove in the handle. When you get home, do the following:

How to Sharpen or Replace the Blade

Many saw blades aren’t too expensive to replace. Most camping saws have many options for replacement blades, depending on the blade length. 

For others, a flathead or Phillips screw is usually all you need. Because of these things, it is usually not worth much time to sharpen old blades. Without a special file, it’s hard to sharpen teeth that have been triple-ground. 

How to Prevent Rusting

Neglecting care for your bow saw, or any saw for that matter, will lead to rapid rusting of its carbon steel blades. Therefore, it’s essential to clean and dry the blade after every use and always avoid storing it in damp areas.

If your saw blade lacks a protective coating or finish against rust, I recommend applying mineral oil to stave off corrosion.

My Top Pick For a Camping Saw:
Bahco Laplander Folding Saw (396-LAP)

With all the variety of camping saws I’ve tested and used, I chose the Bahco Laplander Folding Saw (396-LAP) as the best camping saw. Considering its standout features, the price point is more than reasonable.

With a blade length of 7 ½ inches along, a traditional folding system, lightweight size, it’s both a powerful and nimble tool that delivers efficient cuts.

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Robert Johnson is a passionate furniture maker & carpenter, sought after for his knowledge on the craft.
You’ve probably seen his down-to-earth wisdom in USA Today, Bobvila, Family Handyman, and The Spruce, where he has shared commentary and guidance on various woodworking topics.

Robert is the brain behind Sawinery, where he aims to share tips, tricks, and a passion for all things carpentry.

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