Best Backpacking Saws 2019 – Reviews, Top Picks & Guide

Last Updated: by: Kyle Newton

a great saw for backpackers

Backpacking is a very popular activity, but you never know what you’ll encounter on the trail. It’s wise to carry a saw with you to cut back brush or any downed tree limbs in your path. There are many different kinds of saws geared towards campers and backpackers. We have reviewed several of them and made a list of eight that we think you might like. We will include some of the best and worst things about each to give you the full picture of the product.

ModelPriceEditor Rating
Agawa Canyon Folding Bow Saw (BOREAL21)
Agawa Canyon Folding Bow Saw (BOREAL21)(Top Pick)

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4.70/5
Bahco Laplander (396-LAP)
Bahco Laplander (396-LAP)

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4.50/5
EverSaw Folding Hand Saw
EverSaw Folding Hand Saw(Best for the Money)

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4.45/5
Silky PocketBoy Folding Saw
Silky PocketBoy Folding Saw

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4.20/5
Gerber Freescape Camp Saw
Gerber Freescape Camp Saw

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4.10/5

8 Best Backpacking Saw Reviews 2019

1. Agawa Canyon Folding Backpacking Bow Saw (BOREAL21) – Top Pick

Agawa Canyon Folding Bow Saw (BOREAL21)

The Agawa Canyon Folding Bow Saw (BOREAL21) has a stainless steel blade that you can unfold and snap open in seconds. It has automatic tensioning on the blade, so you don’t need to touch the edge while opening or closing it, and a high clearance aluminum frame with a glass-filled nylon handle. It is a handy saw that’s lightweight and compact so you can carry it with you.

It is heavy enough that you won’t want to carry it long distances, so know how far you’re going before you grab it. Also, as previously stated, this saw snaps open and closed. The issue is that while this saw is made of metal, the lever you use to open and close it is plastic and has a higher chance of breaking.

Pros
  • Stainless steel blade
  • Opens in seconds
  • Automatic blade tensioning
  • High clearance aluminum frame
  • Compact/lightweight
Cons
  • Heavy
  • Plastic lever

2. Bahco Laplander (396-LAP) – The Best Folding Saw for Backpacking

Bahco Laplander (396-LAP)

The Bahco Laplander (396-LAP) is the best folding saw for backpacking because it has a 7 ½-inch stainless steel blade with seven teeth per inch. It is rather thin and has quite a bit of flex in it. It also has a coating to help prevent rusting in case it gets damp.

The Bahco Laplander is a great design for hunters and backpackers alike, due to the sturdy plastic handle with built-in safety lock. We did have some instances where the lock gave if we applied too much pressure, and the saw began to close up during use. Just be aware of this issue and use it cautiously.

Pros
  • Stainless steel 7 ½-inch blade
  • 7 TPI
  • Rust-protected
  • Designed for hunters and campers
  • Plastic handle
  • Safety lock
Cons
  • Thin blade
  • The lock gives

3. EverSaw Folding Hand Backpacking Saw – Best for the Money

EverSaw Folding Hand Saw

The EverSaw Folding Hand Saw features a rugged eight-inch blade with triple-cut razor hardened teeth. There’s a comfortable slip-resistant handle with a locking mechanism, though the lock is made poorly. This saw does come with a lifetime warranty, though, if anything happens to it.

The teeth on this saw are tough, but they aren’t very deep, and it gets bound up in wood easily, so it takes more effort on your part to cut. It also weighs more than other saws, so be aware of where you’re going and how long you’ll have to carry it.

Pros
  • Rugged eight-inch blade
  • Triple-cut razor hardened teeth
  • Ergonomic slip-resistant handle
  • Lifetime warranty
Cons
  • Poor quality locking mechanism
  • Teeth aren’t deep enough
  • Binds in wood
  • Heavy

4. Silky PocketBoy Folding Backpacker Saw

Silky PocketBoy Folding Saw

The Silky PocketBoy Folding Saw comes in several different lengths and TPI counts. They range from 5.1 inches in length with a 6.8 TPI to 6.7 inches with a 16.9 TPI. It also has a rust-resistant blade with a non-slip rubber handle for your comfort and convenience.

The blade on this saw is somewhat fragile and can break easily if you try to apply too much pressure or cut too fast. Part of the issue is that we naturally use more power when we push, and this saw cuts on the pull stroke. The key is to cut slowly with the emphasis on the pull stroke.

Pros
  • Variety of blade lengths available
  • 8 to16.9 TPI
  • Rust-resistant blade
  • Non-slip rubber handle
Cons
  • Fragile blade
  • Cut is on pull stroke
  • Have to cut slowly

5. Gerber Freescape Camp Saw for Backpackers

Gerber Freescape Camp Saw

The Gerber Freescape Camp Saw is handy to carry with you because it folds down flat, making it convenient for almost any backpack. It uses standard 12-inch blades and has a rubber grip handle with a lock, though the locking mechanism isn’t very dependable. The blade that comes on it is pretty dull. Be prepared to replace it quickly.

This saw isn’t made of the best materials. The pin used to connect the blade and the handle is made of plastic, and the locking mechanism is a hook that fits into a hole in the blade. The problem is that the hook isn’t perfectly perpendicular to the hole, so the blade gets twisted slightly. The blade is thin and doesn’t take much to bend, so this little twist throws it out of alignment and causes the blade to get bound up in the wood.

Pros
  • Folds down flat to carry
  • Rubber grip
  • Uses standard 12-inch blades
Cons
  • Bad locking
  • Not very durable
  • Flimsy blade
  • Blade binds

6. Gilmour 21-Inch Backpacker’s Bow Saw

GIlmour bow saw

The Gilmour 21-Inch Bow Saw has a hardened and tempered raker tooth blade to aid in making faster cuts and give the saw a longer shelf life. It also comes with a replacement blade for when the original one gets broken or dull. That can be very important because it’s not very durable. It doesn’t take a whole lot to break it.

The angle of the physical saw is different than what is pictured. It doesn’t narrow down as much, making it hard to get into small spaces.

Pros
  • Hardened and tempered raker tooth blade
  • Gilmour replacement blade
Cons
  • Cheap blade
  • Angle is different than pictured

7. Bahco 30-Inch Ergo Bow Backpacking Saw-Tool

Bahco 10-30-23 30-Inch Ergo Bow Saw

The Bahco 10-30-23 30-Inch Ergo Bow Saw has a blade that’s designed to cut both ways through dry or green wood. It has a sturdy handle with knuckle protectors and is lightweight, so your sawing is as comfortable and smooth as possible.

This saw is made out of good material, but it wasn’t put together very well. The blade fits loosely in the frame, leaving a bit of a wobble. The weld that connects the tension adjuster to the blade isn’t a strong weld. It breaks off really easily. This isn’t a big deal if you have access to someone who has a welder and can fix it for you.

Another safety issue is that the opening that the blade fits into in its sheath is too narrow. It’s challenging to get the edge into its slot. You may need to widen the opening so your saw will go in effortlessly without cutting you.

Pros
  • 30-inch blade that cuts both ways
  • Handle with knuckle protector
  • Lightweight
Cons
  • Blade fits loosely in frame
  • Weak weld connecting blade to tension adjuster
  • Opening in cover is too narrow

8. Zippo Axe Saw

Zippo AxeSaw

The Zippo AxeSaw is a convenient multi-purpose tool with a 15-inch hardened steel saw blade, a five-inch stainless steel axe, and a stake mallet. It also has a self-adjusting compensator to give you better cuts, a dual function handle, and a sheath to store your saw blade in safely.

We found a couple of issues with this tool, though. It’s made of plastic, so it can break more quickly than steel. Most of the handle is textured to give your hand a firm grip, but the end of it is smooth, allowing your hand to slip. The latch that holds your blade in is right there, so if your hand slips, you could possibly flip the latch, releasing your blade mid-stroke. When you are using the axe, you have to hold the handle about one-third of the way up, so you don’t get the best leverage possible.

Pros
  • Multi-purpose tool
  • 15-inch hardened steel saw blade
  • Five-inch stainless steel axe
  • Stake mallet
  • Self-adjusting tension compensator
  • Dual function handle
  • Safety sheath
Cons
  • Plastic parts
  • End of handle is smooth
  • Poorly placed latch
  • Difficult to get leverage when using axe

Buyer’s Guide

There are different kinds of saws that are good for backpackers. Before you purchase your backpacking saw, know what type of terrain you’ll be hiking through so you can get the most effective saw.

Types of backpacking saws:

1. Folding Saw:

Folding saws are multi-purpose saws. Most have two rows of teeth so you can cut when pushing and pulling. They usually have diamond-shaped blades that are great for all sorts of cutting and trimming tasks. They are very dependable saws that are compact and easy to store while you’re hiking.

2. Pocket Chain Saw:

Pocket chain saws, like folding saws, are compact, lightweight, and great for all kinds of cutting. They’re very efficient and effective saws due to their aggressive tooth patterns. However, it can be a little challenging to get the saw at just the right angle for your cut.

3. Bow Saw:

Bow saws are useful, bow-shaped saws that are perfect for pruning and cutting all sizes of trees and shrubs. Though these are the strongest saws that you could carry, they’re also the heaviest and most challenging to take with you.

Things to know:

1. Comfort:

Probably the most crucial factor of a saw is how it fits in your hand. The handle needs to fit nicely in your hand so you can maintain a firm and steady grip at all times.

2. Length:

The best saw blade for cutting is one that is 50% longer than the diameter of wood it will be cutting. That being said, make sure it’s small enough to store in your backpack.

3. Type:

Research the area you’ll be hiking in and determine which type of saw would be best for the expected terrain. They all have their advantages and disadvantages. What are the most important qualities for you?

4. Blade material:

The material that the blade is made out of directly determines its strength. Steel blades are always the strongest, but they can also rust if they get wet. You can get steel blades with a protective coating to keep them from rusting too quickly.

5. Design and safety:

A saw’s design is the main feature that determines how comfortable you are using it. To be safe, get a saw with a handle that fits comfortably yet firmly in your hand. It should be long enough to do the job, but not so long that it’s difficult for you to control. Your control over the saw is what keeps you safe.

Conclusion

Now that we have told you about the different kinds of saws that are suitable for backpacking, and a list of things to look for, let us remind you of the saws we reviewed that may be good for you.

1. Agawa Canyon Folding Bow Saw (BOREAL21) – Top Pick
2. Bahco Laplander (396-LAP) – The Best Folding Saw for Backpacking
3. EverSaw Folding Hand Saw – Best for the Money
4. Silky PocketBoy Folding Saw
5. Gerber Freescape Camp Saw
6. Gilmour 21-Inch Bow Saw
7. Bahco 10-30-23 30-Inch Ergo Bow Saw
8. Zippo AxeSaw

Hopefully, you have a pretty good idea of what type of terrain you hike in, giving you a pretty good idea of the kind of saw that will meet your needs. Now all you have to do is go find that perfect one.