If you are an avid outdoors enthusiast or a survivalist, you know that having the right gear is crucial to your success. One of the most important tools in your arsenal is a good bushcraft saw. Whether you’re camping, hiking, or backpacking, a bushcraft or survival saw can be incredibly useful for cutting firewood, clearing trails, and more. But with so many options on the market, it can be overwhelming to choose the best one for your needs. In this ultimate guide, we will explore everything you need to know about choosing the best bushcraft saw for survival and wilderness adventures.
What is a bushcraft saw?
Before we dive into how to choose the best bushcraft saw, let’s first define what it is. A bushcraft saw, or survival saw, is a type of saw that is specifically designed for use in the outdoors. It is typically smaller and more portable than a traditional saw, axe, or hatchet, making it easier to carry with you on hikes or camping trips. Bushcraft saws come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and they are often used for cutting through small to medium-sized branches and logs.
Why is having a good bushcraft saw important?
A bushcraft saw is a vital tool for anyone who spends time in the outdoors or in the wilderness. It can be used for a variety of tasks, including:
- Building shelter
- Gathering firewood
- Clearing trails
- Processing game
- Making tools and other items
Without a good bushcraft saw, these tasks can be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to accomplish. Having the right survival saw can make all the difference in a wilderness survival situation.
Best Bushcraft Saws for Survival
Now that you know what factors to consider when choosing a bushcraft saw, let’s take a look at some of the top bushcraft saws on the market:
Agawa Boreal21 Folding Bow Saw – EDITOR’S CHOICE – Best Bushcraft Saw – Overall
The Agawa Boreal21 Folding Saw is a versatile and durable saw designed for outdoor enthusiasts. The saw has a 21-inch blade that’s made from high-quality hardened stainless steel, making it tough enough to cut through hard wood and thick branches with ease. The handle folds and snaps into place during assembly, without even needing to touch the blade, and the trapezium-shaped frame geometry increases the range of motion while sawing. Additionally, it offers good clearance above the saw blade, allowing you to cut through larger logs without having to change the angle.
One of the standout features of the Agawa Boreal21 Folding Saw is its folding design. The saw can be folded down to a compact size, making it easy to carry in your backpack or pocket. When you need to use it, simply unfold the saw, and it’s ready to use. The saw also comes with a durable nylon sheath that makes it easy to store and transport.
This saw is also lightweight, coming in at 18.7 ounces. The only downside is that it’s a bit pricier than some of its competitors, but its quality construction, ease of use, and sharp cutting action might just pay off in the long run.
An alternative to the AGAWA folding bow saw is the Gerber Gear Freescape Camp Saw.
Corona RazorTOOTH Folding Saw – Best Budget-Friendly Bushcraft Folding Saw
If you’re looking for a reliable, efficient saw for your bushcraft trip, the Corona RazorTOOTH Folding Saw is an excellent choice. The Corona RazorTOOTH Folding Pruning Saw features a 10-inch blade that utilizes pull-back action. The saw blade’s 3-sided razor teeth easily cut through small to medium branches up to 6 inches in diameter. The replaceable curved blade folds into the handle and the saw features a safety lock to prevent accidental opening when not in use. The Corona RazorTOOTH Saw Folding Saw also has a comfortable, ergonomic grip that reduces hand fatigue and makes it easy to use for extended periods of time.
The Corona RazorTOOTH Folding Pruning Saw is a durable and affordable option for those on a budget. While it may not be suitable for heavy-duty tasks or thicker branches, it is a great choice for most wood-cutting tasks you’ll face in the wilderness.
Silky Bigboy Folding Saw – Best Survival Saw for Thicker Wood
If you anticipate the need to cut down larger branches or small trees on your next bushcraft trip, the Silky Bigboy Folding Saw may be the right bushcraft saw for the trip. The Silky Bigboy Folding Saw features a 14.2-inch curved blade made from premium Japanese steel. The laser-cut, extra large blade teeth provide efficient cutting of even dry, hardwood. The handle of the saw is rubber-cushioned for comfort and improved grip.
While it’s one of the larger folding saws on the market, the Bigbog saw weighs in at just 1lb. Overall, the Silky Bigboy Folding Saw is a high-quality saw that offers excellent cutting performance and durability. Its large blade size and curved design make it a great option for a variety of cutting tasks, and its lightweight and folding design make it easy to carry and store.
HME Pocket Chainsaw Survival Saw
The Hunting Made Easy (HME) Pocket Chainsaw is designed for convenience and portability. Its compact and lightweight design allows it to easily fold up for storage in a backpack or pocket. Heavy-duty nylon handles provide a secure grip to the 36-inch high carbon steel chain. The chain features bi-directional cutting teeth to help it tackle tough cutting jobs in the wilderness, allowing you to easily cut through branches and logs.
The HME Pocket Chainsaw is perfect for those who will need to cut wood but don’t want the weight or bulk of a larger folding saw or axe.
Sven Folding Saw
The Sven Saw is a classic camping and bushcraft saw that has been around for over 60 years. Available in either a 21-inch blade or a 15-inch blade, the Sven Saw features a unique, all-metal folded saw design. The saws fold into a compact, ruler-like form that’s just 1.5″ wide and 5/8″ thick. The Sven Saws are also very lightweight, with the 21″ saw weighing less than 14 ounces and the 15″ Sven Saw weighing 11 ounces. The Swedish steel blades are crafted to last for 15-30 years and can easily cut through trunks or branches for firewood, clearing trails, and more.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Bushcraft Saw
When choosing a bushcraft saw, there are several factors to consider. Here are some of the most important ones:
Blade Types: Finding the Right Saw for Your Needs
The blade is one of the most important components of a bushcraft saw. There are several different blade types to choose from, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. Here are a few of the most common blade types you’ll encounter when shopping for a bushcraft saw:
- Crosscut Blades: These blades have teeth that are angled towards the handle, which makes them ideal for cutting across the grain of the wood. They’re typically used for cutting smaller branches and limbs.
- Rip Blades: Rip blades have teeth that are angled perpendicular to the handle, which makes them better suited for cutting with the grain of the wood. They’re typically used for cutting larger logs and branches.
- Combination Blades: As the name suggests, combination blades offer the best of both worlds. They have teeth that are angled towards the handle on one side and perpendicular on the other, making them versatile enough to handle a variety of cutting tasks.
Handle Materials: Comfort and Durability in the Wilderness
The handle of your bushcraft saw is another important factor to consider. It should be comfortable to hold, even after extended use, and durable enough to withstand the rigors of the outdoors. Here are a few of the most common handle materials you’ll encounter:
- Wood: Wooden handles are comfortable to grip and can be customized to fit your hand. However, they may not be as durable as other materials and can be prone to cracking or splitting over time.
- Plastic: Plastic handles are lightweight and durable, making them a popular choice for many outdoor enthusiasts. They may not be as comfortable to hold as other materials, but they’re typically very affordable.
- Rubber: Rubber handles provide a good grip, even in wet or slippery conditions. They’re also comfortable to hold and can be very durable. However, they may be more expensive than other handle materials.
Saw Size and Weight: Balancing Portability and Cutting Power
The size and weight of your bushcraft saw will also play a role in how well it performs in the outdoors. A larger saw will typically be more powerful and able to cut through larger logs and branches, but it will also be heavier and more cumbersome to carry. A smaller saw, on the other hand, will be more portable but may not have as much cutting power.
When choosing a saw, it’s important to find the right balance between size and weight. Consider the types of tasks you’ll be using your saw for, as well as how far you’ll need to carry it, to determine the best size and weight for your needs.
Folding vs. Fixed Blade Saws: Which One is Right for You?
One of the biggest decisions you’ll need to make when choosing a bushcraft saw is whether to go with a folding or fixed blade design. Both types have their pros and cons, so it’s important to weigh them carefully before making a decision.
Folding saws are typically more portable than fixed blade saws since they can be folded up and easily stored in a backpack or gear bag. They’re also generally safer to carry, since the blade can be folded away when not in use. However, folding saws may not be as durable or as strong as fixed blade saws, and they may not be able to handle heavy-duty cutting tasks.
Fixed blade saws, on the other hand, are typically stronger and more durable than folding saws. They’re often designed with larger, more powerful blades that can handle heavy-duty cutting tasks with ease. However, they can be more cumbersome to carry, and the blade is always exposed, which can be a safety concern.
Different types of Bushcraft Saws
Choosing the best bushcraft saw requires an understanding of the different types of saws available and how they can benefit your needs.
1. Folding Saw
Folding saws are one of the most popular types of bushcraft saws. They are compact and lightweight, making them easy to carry in a backpack or pocket. Folding saws typically have a blade that folds into the handle for safe storage and transport.
Folding saws come in a variety of blade lengths and tooth patterns, which can affect their cutting ability. Generally, they are ideal for cutting through smaller branches and logs. Some folding saws have aggressive teeth for cutting through thicker branches, while others have finer teeth for smoother cuts.
2. Bow Saws
Bow saws are another type of bushcraft saw that has been used for centuries. A bow saw is a type of frame saw that features a long, straight blade attached to a frame that is shaped like a bow. The main benefit of bow saws is their ability to cut through larger pieces of wood quickly and efficiently. However, they are larger and heavier than other types of bushcraft saws, making them less portable.
3. Pocket Chainsaw:
Pocket chainsaws are compact saws that consist of a chain with cutting teeth that is attached to two handles. They are designed to be compact and portable, so the saw can easily fit into a backpack or pocket.
Pocket chainsaws are very effective at cutting through branches nearly a foot in diameter. To use a pocket chainsaw or wire saw, you wrap the chain around the branch or material you want to cut and pull the handles back and forth to make the cut.
4. Wire Saw:
Wire saws are similar to pocket chainsaws, but instead of a chain, the wire saws are made of a length of wire with teeth or abrasive particles. They are very lightweight and can be rolled up for easy storage. The wire design limits wire saws to cutting smaller branches. Since the wire can break or become damaged over time, wire saws are not as durable as other types of bushcraft saws. However, they are an excellent choice for ultralight backpacking or emergency situations.
Each type of saw has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it is important to consider your needs when selecting a saw. When deciding on the best bushcraft saw for you, make sure to consider the portability, field serviceability, comfort, construction quality, and blade material/teeth composition of the saw. Ultimately, understanding these factors will help you make the best choice.
What is the difference between a folding saw and a pocket chainsaw?
The primary difference between folding saws and pocket chainsaws is their design and mechanism for cutting. Folding saws feature a saw blade that is typically hinged and folds into the handle, whereas pocket chainsaws consist of a chain with cutting teeth that is attached to two handles.
Folding saws come in a variety of sizes, with larger ones being better for cutting thicker branches and smaller ones being ideal for more precise cuts. Pocket chainsaws are great for cutting through thicker branches and logs, but they are not as precise as folding saws.
Maintenance and Care: Keeping Your Saw Sharp and Ready to Go
No matter which type of saw you choose, it’s important to take good care of it to keep it performing at its best. This means keeping the blade sharp and properly lubricated, as well as storing the saw in a dry, protected area when not in use. Here are some simple steps to keep your saw in top condition:
- Clean the saw after each use. Use a damp cloth to remove debris from the blade, and also from the handle, if it’s made of wood.
- Sharpen the blade regularly. A sharp blade is essential for efficient cutting and reduces the risk of injury. There are various methods for sharpening saw blades using files and stones, but you can also take it to a professional sharpener if you don’t feel confident in your own skills.
- Inspect the saw for any signs of wear or damage. Look for broken teeth, loose screws, and warping of the blade. Repair or replace any parts that are not in working order.
- Store the saw in a dry place. This will help prevent rust and other damage caused by moisture.
- Oil the blade periodically. This will help keep it in good condition and also make it easier to cut with.
Sharpening your saw blade can be a bit tricky, especially if you’re not experienced with sharpening tools. One option is to take your saw to a professional for sharpening, but this can be expensive and time-consuming. Another option is to invest in a sharpening tool designed specifically for saw blades, which can make the process much easier and more affordable.
Taking proper care of your bushcraft saw helps to ensure it will perform its best in the field.
Final Thoughts About Bushcraft and Survival Saws
Choosing the best bushcraft saw requires careful consideration of several factors, including blade type, handle material, saw size and weight, folding vs. fixed blade design, and maintenance and care. It’s an important piece of bushcraft gear that is useful for a variety of bushcraft and building tasks.By weighing these factors carefully, you can select a saw that’s well-suited to your needs and will provide reliable performance in the great outdoors.
FAQs about Bushcraft Saws
Q: How do I maintain my bushcraft saw?
Answer: To maintain your bushcraft saw, make sure to clean it after each use, oil the blade to prevent rust, and store it in a dry place.
Q: Can I use a regular saw for bushcraft?
Answer: While a regular saw can be used for bushcraft, it is not ideal. Bushcraft saws are designed specifically for outdoor use and are more durable and portable than regular saws.
Q: How long should my bushcraft saw blade be?
Answer: The length of the blade you choose will depend on what tasks you will be using it for. A longer blade will allow you to cut through larger logs, while a shorter blade will be more portable.
Q: What’s the best blade type for a bushcraft saw?
Answer: The best blade type for your saw will depend on the types of tasks you’ll be using it for. Crosscut blades are generally better for smaller branches and limbs, while rip blades are better for larger logs and branches. Combination blades offer the best of both worlds and are often a good choice for general bushcraft tasks.
Q: Can folding saws handle heavy-duty cutting tasks?
Answer: Folding saws may not be as strong or durable as fixed blade saws and may not be able to handle heavy-duty cutting tasks as well. However, they’re typically more portable and easier to carry, making them a good choice for lighter cutting tasks.
Q: Can I sharpen my bushcraft saw blade myself?
Answer: Yes, you can sharpen your bushcraft saw blade yourself using a saw file or a sharpening stone.