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The 8 Best Camping Saws for Wilderness Excursions

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Photo: Gerber Freescape Camp Saw

There seems to be this misconception that, when traversing the great outdoors in search of wood for a campfire or to build a shelter, a wood-chopping axe is the only tool you need. The truth is, you could certainly get by with an axe, hatchet, or tomahawk if you had to. However, it’s not the ideal tool for the job in the case of larger pieces of lumber or if you want clean cuts. For those circumstances, a camp saw is a must.

Unfortunately, your average wood saw is a bit unwieldy for off-the-beaten-path usage. Thankfully, there are plenty of makers and brands that have figured out ways to make them more compact, collapsible, and hiking and/or backpacking-friendly. Now, whether you want one that folds in half, comes apart and stores within itself, or is little more than just a chain with handles, you can have exactly that — and you can get all your wood sawing done whether you’re in your own backyard or out in the middle of the Yukon. We’ve rounded up the best camp saws in the following roundup for your wood-cutting pleasure.

Best Camping Saws

Types of Camp Saws

Folding Saws: Essentiall a folding knife with a serrated edge (or edges), a folding saw are the most popular choice for campers for how compact and easy to use they are. Typically ranging anywhere from 5 to 9 inches, the blades tuck into the handles and lock so you can carry them safely.

Collapsible Bow Saws: Heavier and less nimble than folding saws, collapsible bow saws are better for those using their saws for thicker lumber. The fixed blade allows for more strength, as does the triangular or angular handle.

Sliding Saws: Similar to a folding saw in terms of compactness, sliding saws also see their blades tuck into their handles, but by literally sliding back inside and being tightened by some sort of nut on the side. The blades of sliding saws are also typically the thinner and less capable than folding saws.

Wire Saws/Pocket Chainsaws: Wire saws and pocket chainsaws are difficult to use and require some know-how. The former uses a thin wired metal while the latter is a toothed blade. Both feature handles on either sides of their metal blades, allowing them to wrap around a log or branch so they can rip through it.

What To Look For

Size: Obviously, if you’re hiking or backpacking, you’ll need a saw that can fit in your pocket or bag. However, if you’ve got a homebase, consider a heavier saw for delivering some extra power.

Handle: Handle materials can vary from wood to nylon to aluminum. However, the most important aspect of a saw handle is how it fits into your handle when cutting logs or branches.

Blade: When looking at your blade, you’ll want to balance thickness with length. Thinner blades can cut easier but are less durable. Likewise, a blade with fewer teeth per inch will cut quicker but can also be more prone to clogs. Additionally, your blade’s tooth pattern will also determine its efficiency. If the teeth are bidirectional, the saw will cut both during the push and pull strokes, although the average blade is more efficient on just the pull stroke.

SOG Folding Saw

  • Fantastic construction and durability
  • Stealthy appearance
  • Comfortable handle
  • Limited lifetime warranty
  • Placement of locking mechanism can get in the way for some

Best Folding Saw: SOG has been making ruggedized folding tools for a long time now. Long enough, in fact, that you can trust them, sight-unseen, to build a solid folding saw. And truly, their take on this outdoor tool does not disappoint in either style or substance. The high-carbon steel blade boasts a black powder coat finish for a more sinister look and upgraded durability, and the matching soft grip TPR handle is comfortable and reliable. It also comes with a limited lifetime warranty against defects, so you can depend upon its built quality for years to come.

Blade Length: 8.25″
Blade Material: Powdercoated High Carbon Steel
Style: Folding

Opinel No. 12 Folding Saw

Opinel Folding Saw
  • Short yet sturdy blade
  • Virobloc safety ring locks when opened or closed
  • Lightweight
  • French heritage construction
  • Could be more affordable

Best Compact Saw: With its five-inch blade, this Opinel No. 12 is one of the most compact folding camp saws on our list — but it’s still plenty tough to stand up to heavy usage in the great outdoors. Sporting a Virobloc safety ring that locks whether opened or closed, this one is intended to be used for gardening, camping, or hunting purposes as well as sawing wood with its super durable anti-corrosive carbon steel blade with two rows of teeth. Allowing it to achieve a 3.6-ounce weight, the knife also boasts, like most Opinel models, a French-made beechwood handle that’s great in both dry and wet weather, although you should thoroughly dry it off before storing.

Blade Length: 5″
Blade Material: Carbon Steel
Style: Folding

Sven-Saw Folding Wood Saw

  • Collapsible for travel
  • Super sturdy
  • Two size options
  • Made in USA
  • Lifetime warranty
  • N/A

Best Bow Saw: Combining the convenience and portability of a folding blade with the sturdiness of a bow saw, the Sven-Saw is an intriguing option for a camping wood-cutting tool. The folding format makes this an easily and safely packable saw, but the structure adds a bit of strength not found in its other folding brethren. It also doesn’t hurt that the Sven-Saw is available in either 15- or 21-inch options, is made right here in the USA, and comes with a lifetime guarantee.

Blade Length: 15″, 21″
Blade Material: Steel
Style: Bow

Gerber Freescape Camp Saw

  • Can fold down flat for storage
  • Four pivot points for adjustment
  • Blade can be swapped out
  • Lightweight for travel
  • Comfortable rubber grip
  • Lightweight nature may affect power a bit
  • Assembly can take some time

Best Compact Bow Saw: If there’s any brand that knows how to make a sturdy outdoor-focused cutting tool, it’s Gerber. Be it a pocket knife, hatchet, or a folding saw, this EDC and outdoor staple brand has got you covered. Their Freescape Camp Saw is excellent for several reasons. First, it has the ability to fold down completely flat, making storage when not in use a snap. But it also accepts any standard 12″ saw blade. That means swapping out a dull one is super simple — also giving this device some unheard of longevity. All told, this is one of the most impressive options on this list.

Blade Length: 12″
Blade Material: Steel
Style: Bow

Zippo AxeSaw

  • Saw features self-adjusting tension compensator
  • Saw acts as sheath for axe
  • Axe features mallet tip for hammering
  • Axe is full-tang
  • Went up a lot in price
  • Latch on bottom of axe can come open from swinging

Best with Axe: One of the biggest drawbacks to the other camp saws on this list is their lack of versatility. All of them, except for the Zippo AxeSaw, functions solely as a saw. This one, however, is a double-threat, with both a functional 15″ saw blade and a 420 stainless steel axe head. That way, when it comes to outdoor cutting tasks, you’ve got all your bases covered in this single, portable, versatile tool. It also boasts a safety sheath so you can avoid cutting yourself when using the saw and the backside of the axe features a mallet tip that’s handy for hammering in camping tent stakes.

Blade Length: 15″
Blade Material: Hardened Stainless Steel
Style: Bow + Axe

Silky BIGBOY 360 Folding Saw

  • Bulkiness gives it some power
  • Six teeth per inch
  • Long blade
  • Non-slip handle
  • Takes up a lot more room than others

Best High-End Folding: While it’s a bit on the bulky side of the spectrum — weighing 1.25 pounds with a blade that measures up at over 14 inches — there’s no denying what a stellar camp saw the Silky BIGBOY 360 is. This bad boy is robust and tough, with six teeth per inch that can make quick work of just about any cutting task. Really, the only downside to this ultra-functional saw is that it will take up a good deal more room than any of the other options on our list. But that’s hardly a drawback considering how much you get out of it.

Blade Length: 14.5″
Blade Material: Steel
Style: Folding

Other Notable Saws

Best Of The Rest

Eversaw 8.0 Pull Cut Saw

If only for the fact that it comes with a lifetime warranty, the Eversaw 8.0 Pull Cut Saw is worth considering to add to your loadout of camping and outdoor gear. That’s not, however, the only thing that makes it worthwhile — not by a long shot. It also features an 8″ blade complete with triple-cut razor teeth for fast and smooth cutting. And the handle is comfortable and grippy for extended usage in any weather. For the price you’ll pay, it’s definitely hard to do better than this one.

Blade Length: 8″
Blade Material: Carbon Steel
Style: Folding

Bahco Laplander Folding Saw

Even if you excuse the fact that the Bahco Laplander folding camp saw boasts a handsome appearance, with its black-finished blade and forest green handle, it would still make this list for its overall built quality, materials, and packability. Its 7.5″ toothed blade is great for sawing all manner of materials, including wood, brush, and even animal bone. And the composite handle offers up plenty of grip. Lastly, it comes with a handy safety lock that will keep the blade deployed or closed, helping to avoid any unfortunate accidents.

Blade Length: 7.5″
Blade Material: Black-Finished High Carbon Steel
Style: Folding