When out and about in the Great Outdoors, there are various pieces of equipment you will need, which will not only make it easier, but may also work to save your life in an emergency.
Whether you’re camping in the wilderness, you’re enjoying a hiking break somewhere with little in the way of towns or villages close by, or you’re backpacking your way around a region, enjoying everything along the way, it pays to have everything you need with you.
Failing to research these items can land you in very hot water indeed, so it’s vital that you know ahead of time what you may need. One item that you probably haven’t given much thought to is a hand saw.
Different saws will be more or less suitable based on what you will do with it.
Table of Contents
- Best for camping and survival
- Best for hiking, backpacking and trekking
- Folding, Bow, Wire, & Chain Hand Saws Comparison Chart
- Best Hand Saws Reviews
- Best Axe Saw Combos
- Best Bow Hand Saws Reviews
- Coghlan’s Folding Bow Saw Review
- Gerber Freescape Camp Folding Bow Saw Review
- Outdoor Edge Pack Saw Review
- Agawa Canyon Folding Bow Saw Review
- Gerber Gator Saw III Review
- Gerber Gator Saw I Review
- Agywell Portable Bow Hand Saw Kit Review
- WAYPRO Universal Handsaw Review
- Texsport 15” Bow Camp Saw Review
- Hukoer Hand Saw Kit Review (Bow Saw)
- Generic 12” Bow Saw Review
- Best Folding Hand Saws Reviews
- Best Wire Hand Saws Reviews
- Best Chain Hand Saws Review
- Buyer’s Guide
- What is a Hand Saw?
- Why Might You Need This Equipment in The Outdoors?
- What Are the Differences Between The Different Types?
- What to Look For When Buying a Hand Saw
- Best Axes and Hatchets for the Wilderness
- What to take on a short hike
- Kids safety when camping
- Camping in Bear country?
Best for camping and survival
More functional & heavy duty use options:
- Best choice for camping & survival: Zippo Axe Saw Combo
- Best bow saw for camping & survival: Gerber Gator Saw III
- Best folding saw for camping & survival: Sportsman Folding Hand Saw
Best for hiking, backpacking and trekking
Small lightweight options for light use:
- Best folding bow saw for hiking, backpacking & trekking: Gerber Freescape Camp Bow Saw
- Best ultralight backpacking saw: EverSaw Folding Hand Saw
- Best hand chain saw for hiking, backpacking & trekking: Sportsman Pocket Chain Saw
- Best wire saw for hiking, backpacking & trekking: Faocean Stainless Steel Pocket Wire Saw
Folding, Bow, Wire, & Chain Hand Saws Comparison Chart
|Blade Size||Use For
|EverSaw Folding Hand Saw||Folding||$||8”||Camping, backpacking|
|Tabor Tools T6 Folding Saw||Folding||$||8”||Hiking, camping|
|Bahco 396 LAP Laplander Folding Saw||Folding||$$||7.5”||All purpose|
|SHINE HAI Folding Hand Saw||Folding||$||7”||Camping, hiking|
|Sportsman Folding Hand Saw||Folding||$$||10”||All purpose|
|Primos Folding Saw||Folding||$$||6”||Hiking, camping|
|Coghlan’s Saw||Folding Bow||$$||21”||All purpose|
|Gerber Freescape Camp Saw||Folding Bow||$$||12”||Camping|
|Gerber Exchange A Blade Saw||Folding||$$||7.1”||Camping, hiking, backpacking|
|Gerber Gabor Combo Axe II||Saw & Axe Combo||$$||8”||Survival, camping|
|Agywell Portable Bow Hand Saw Kit||Bow||$||6”||Hiking, camping|
|WAYPRO Universal Handsaw||Bow||$$$||7”||Camping|
|Texsport 15” Bow Camp Saw||Bow||$$$||15”||Camping|
|Hukoer Hand Saw Kit||Bow||$$||8”||Camping, hiking|
|Generic 12” Bow Saw||Bow||$$$||12”||Camping, hiking|
|Zippo Axe Saw||Bow Saw & Axe Combo||$$$$||15”||Survival, camping|
|Outdoor Edge Pack Saw||Bow||$$||12”||Camping, backpacking, hiking|
|Agawa Canyon Folding Bow Saw||Bow||$$$||21”||All purpose|
|Gerber Gator Saw III||Bow||$$$||10” & 20” chain||All purpose|
|Gerber Gator Saw I||Bow||$$$||10”||Hiking, camping|
|Faocean Stainless Steel Pocket Wire Saw||Wire||$||24”||Camping, hiking, backpacking|
|Great Job Survival Wire Saws||Wire||$||29”||Camping, hiking, backpacking|
|Rambling Hand Pull Wire Saw||Wire||$||19”||Camping, hiking, backpacking|
|Sportsman Pocket Chain Saw||Chain||$$||36”||Multi purpose|
|Chainmate CM24SSP 24” Survival Pocket Chain Saw With Pouch||Chain||$||24”||Hiking, Camping|
|Bluestraw Survival Pocket Chain Saw||Chain||$||29”||Hiking, Camping|
|We Do Lifestyles Pocket Chainsaw Blade||Chain||$$||24”||Hiking, camping, backpacking|
|Ylovetoys Survival Pocket Chain Saw||Chain||$||26”||Hiking, camping, backpacking|
Best Hand Saws Reviews
Let’s review some of the best on the market, splitting them into the different types to make life a little easier.
Best Axe Saw Combos
Axe saw combos have the advantage of… that’s right…. both an axe and a saw. In certain circumstances you may prefer one over the other and having them as convenient packages can save weight and space.
If you just want an axe or hatchet that is not integrated with a saw I suggest that you read my review of the best camping, backpacking, hiking & survival axes & hatchets. I am sure that you will find an axe or hatchet that meets your outdoors needs.
This particular saw could be classified as a bow saw type, and it comes from a big brand name in the outdoor world.
This is perhaps why the cost is higher, but overall it is certainly worth the extra investment if you’re serious about your outdoor endeavours.
This is a 5” stainless steel axe head which has a firm polymer handle, which is easy to hold and ergonomically designed for comfort.
There is also storage for the saw blade, for safety and comfort.
This particular product is certainly a survival product, because it is so durable and heavy duty, so it is not going to be the best choice for a simple day hike or similar activities.
The handle is dual function and includes a safety sheath for peace of mind.
There is also a self-adjusting tension compensator, to allow you to personalise its use to whatever it is you need it for.
|Big brand name for peace of mind||Higher cost|
|Easy to hold handle, with ergonomic design||Very heavy duty product, so only going to be ideal for survival use or very experienced outdoor enthusiasts|
|Handle is also dual function and has a built in safety sheath|
|5” stainless steel axe head
This particular hand saw is an axe combination, so you get two for the price of one!
That very fact makes this product ideal for all types of outdoor endeavors.
Whether cutting firewood, creating a shelter, or whatever else, this is a good product to opt for.
The axe has a forged steel head, and the handle is made of glass filled nylon, so it is comfortable and secure to hold.
The saw has a coarse blade of 8”, which is enough to cut medium sized items.
The saw is attached to the axe by a magnet and stored inside the handle.
The product is lightweight and fairly compact and doesn’t take up much space in a bag.
Despite the fact that axe does add weight, it is surprising just how light it is.
|Combination of axe and saw for a great price||This is only really for survival and extreme camping, not really for hiking or general camping trips|
|8” blade on the saw, which is coarse in type|
|Axe and saw safely attach together for easy transportation|
Best Bow Hand Saws Reviews
This particular folding saw is ideal for anyone who regularly heads out on camping, hiking, or backpacking trips, as it folds down super-small, and weighs next to nothing – it won’t take up precious space in your bag!
The saw is also very effective at cutting hard materials, such as metal or wood.
The blade is 21”, which is large enough to cut bigger items, and the blade is also serrated for extra strength and sharpness.
The frame is made of strong aluminum and has a section where you can store extra blades, saving even more space.
When folded down, the saw weighs just 16 oz.
The handle is molded for comfort when in use, as well as safety, and is also ergonomically designed.
Overall, this is a great product for all-purpose use, so whether you’re camping, backpacking, hiking, or you’re using it for survival treks, you won’t find it lacking in quality.
|Lightweight and compact choice, ideal for saving space in your bag||There is storage for extra blades, but you will need to purchase these separately|
|Large 21” blade|
|Strong frame with room for storing extra blades|
|Moulded handle for comfort when using the saw|
This particular saw is ideal for keen campers, and is not going to take up a huge amount of space in your kit bag!
This folding bow saw, however, looks more like a bow saw in appearance, which can be easier to use for many people.
The blade is 12” long, which is medium sized, and therefore perfect for cutting branches and medium thickness pieces of wood, which may be required for firewood.
The handle is molded with rubber, to make it comfortable to use, and also prevents slippage when cutting.
There are also four points where the saw pivots, so you can pack it into a more compact shape and unpack it without any tools.
|Ideal for camping specifically and designed with that in mind||For more heavy duty cutting, a larger blade made be required|
|12” saw blade, ideal for medium sized items|
|Moulded handle for comfort and safety, without slippage|
|Four pivot points, for precise cutting|
This particular saw is bow in design, however it does collapse down small for compact storage, therefore ideal for camping, hiking, and backpacking trips.
The blade is 12” long, and the saw consists of three interchangeable blades – one allows you to cut wood, one for bone, and another for metal.
The handle is also made of nylon glass polymer, for easy gripping and comfort, and the frame is made of steel tubing, to make it super strong and durable in the outdoors.
The saw comes with a storage bag, made of nylon, and the even better new is that it weighs very little, just 14oz, so it is not going to add extra weight to a bag that is probably already bulging with necessities!
|Three interchangeable blades, which are designed to be effective on specific materials||Changing blades could be a time-consuming thing, which you may not want to do|
|Strong frame for durability|
|12” blade, ideal for cutting medium to large items|
|Easy grip handle for lack of slipping and plentiful comfort|
This particular saw is a combination of a folding saw and a bow saw, but it’s construction is more in the bow saw category.
It is ideal for most types of outdoor adventure, including camping, hiking, and backpacking. This is also good enough to be used on survival outings too.
The saw opens easily, simply snapping into position and allowing you to begin cutting whatever it is you need cut.
It has a 21” blade, which is perfect for cutting large pieces of wood or other materials, and for its size it is surprisingly lightweight, at just 17oz.
The saw has no loose parts, so there is no safety issue, and it has automatic tensioning on the blade, so you don’t need to make any changes to settings.
You don’t need to touch the blade, so again, extra safety.
The frame is also strong and durable, made of aluminum, and the handle is coated with nylon, for comfort.
|Lightweight, despite a large blade size of 21”||Large blade may be too large for basic outdoor requirements, such as short hiking or camping trips|
|Ideal for all types of outdoor activities|
|Nylon handle for comfort and no slip|
|Blade has an automatic tension mechanism|
This particular bow saw is perfect for medium duty camping and hiking trips, and it has several blades to interchange, depending on your needs.
There is a 10” bone saw blade, a 10” wood blade, and a 20” chain saw, which collapses down and can be stored very compact and easily.
The handle is also very comfortable to hold and is molded for extra grip and safety.
The saw also features a wing nut and attachment system, which means that saw is going to stand the test of time, and won’t break after a few uses.
This means you are investing in a durable product, which is going to be a great investment for your outdoor endeavors.
|Very durable product, which will stand the test of time||Changing blades may be time consuming whilst outdoors|
|10” interchangeable blades included|
|20” chain saw included, which folds up very small for storage|
|Moulded handle for comfort and ease of use|
This particular bow saw is another Gerber model, which is a big brand name in the outdoor equipment world.
The bow saw is a compact and smaller type, with a 10” blade, ideal for cutting medium sized items in the wilderness.
The saw snap fits together, so it can be taken apart quickly and put back together again.
There is a storage pouch included in the purchase, so you can store it away safely and easily.
The frame is made of stainless steel, which is strong and durable, standing up to harsh tests with that push and pull action of sawing.
Overall, the saw is 11” in length, and it is also very lightweight.
This saw is therefore good for camping and hiking trips.
|Snaps together quickly and easily||A saw which snaps together and comes apart may be time consuming for some users who are used to the folding type|
|Compact and lightweight for storage and transportation|
|Strong 10” blade|
|Stainless steel construction for strength and durability|
As far as bow hand saws are concerned, this is a very highly rated product, and one which comes with all the accessories you need for your task.
This is a kit, and it comes in a box, with replaceable blades.
The fact this saw doesn’t fold up particularly easily, and has to be stored in the bow (although small), could be an issue if you’re short on space, or need to grab your saw quickly, without having to rummage around in your bag.
Regardless of that issue, this saw is very accurate and strong, with a 6” blade, making it perfect for cutting smaller materials.
You can easily cut PVC plastic, ropes, and soft metals with this type of bow saw, although it isn’t going to be ideal for cutting strong wood.
The blade, however, is very strong, with serrated teeth, and the blades are easily replaceable, and cheap to replace after the included blades in the kit have been used up.
|Very highly rated amongst users||The saw doesn’t fold up easily, and needs to be stored in the storage box. Although it is small, it uses up space|
|Multi-purpose for ‘softer’ tasks, and can be used around the home and garden also||6” blade isn’t ideal for cutting strong wood|
|Handle is ergonomically designed and slip-proof|
|Replaceable blades, with a set included in the purchase|
This particular bow handsaw is ideal for camping trips, but also for gardening and household tasks as well.
The price is low, and users agree that the quality is also very high, which makes for the perfect product!
The saw comes in a case, which is small and compact, therefore ideal for carrying out during outdoor adventures.
The blade is 7” in length, and has 8 teeth per inch, making it possible to cut larger pieces of wood.
The case which comes with the saw is also designed with safety in mind, with slots to hide the teeth of the blade, so you won’t accidentally catch yourself whilst rummaging around in your bag.
Many users state that you don’t need to use a lot of strength to cut wood or other materials effectively with this bow saw, and the only real issue is the extra space it will take up, as, like many bow saws, it will be stored in a box/case.
|Strong and durable blade, which is able to cut large pieces of wood with ease||The blade will need to be sharpened regularly|
|Carry case hides the blade’s teeth for extra safety||The case will add to the space needed in your bag when carrying it around|
|Small and compact, despite the case|
|7” blade is larger than some other bow saw types|
This particular bow camping saw is ideal for those who want to cut very large pieces of wood, because the blade is a huge 15”, the largest on our list so far!
Of course, the downside of that is the storage side of things, because it doesn’t fold up.
This isn’t a foldable hand saw, and the issue with bow saws overall is always going to be storage.
If you do want a strong and very durable saw, however, and you don’t mind the extra space, this is a good option to go for.
The saw has that 15” blade, which is made of very strong diamond sharpened teeth.
The frame is made of strong, tubular steel, and the handle is moulded for easy grip and safety.
There is also a chrome plated blade release mechanism in a clamp-style, which adds extra safety and ease of using the saw in the Great Outdoors.
|Strong and durable blade, which is a large 15” in size||The larger blade, and the lack of folding action, means it is going to take up a lot of space in your bag|
|Sharp diamond cut teeth on the blade|
|Able to cut large and thick pieces of wood with ease|
|Tubular steel frame with easy grip handle|
Hukoer Hand Saw Kit Review (Bow Saw)
This bow hand saw kit is seriously multi-functional and actually has 14 different uses, with various blades for different situations.
The kit comes in an easy carry case, and it has 8 blades which are classed as multi-purpose, as well as 2 drill bits, a wood saw blade screw, a smaller bow saw, and a user guide, which is all included in the one case.
The case is very portable, with carry handles at the top.
The case also has slots for the various blades, for extra safety and to stop them from falling out and causing injury when the case is opened.
The blades are ideal for cutting wood and PVC plastic, as well as rope, rubber, and even bone, hunters this one is for you.
The kit also comes with a sharpening saw blade. The grip on the saw is ergonomically designed, to avoid slipping and to make for a comfortable cutting experience.
Overall, this bow saw kit is perfect for low duty cutting in the wilderness.
The case does add bulk to your bag, but it is quite compact and easy to carry, so it isn’t the biggest problem to opt for this product over some of the more foldable options.
|Strong and durable blades||A carry case adds extra weight and space in your bag|
|Including blade sharpening tool in the kit|
|Everything you could need included in the carry case|
|Great value for money|
This bow saw has a large 12” blade, which makes it good for cutting larger pieces of wood whilst camping or hiking.
The fact the saw doesn’t fold up, again, means that it may not be ideal for backpacking, when space is of the essence.
Aside from that however, many users state this particular bow saw is great for hiking and camping use, and is quite easy to carry, as it is lightweight and quite compact.
The blade is made of high carbon steel and has a coating over the blade to offer less resistance whilst cutting stronger items, such as wood.
The tooth pattern on the blade is also designed to slice through items with ease.
The frame is made of steel and there is a quick release lever on the blade, for safety and ease of use.
Overall, if you are sure you want to use a bow saw whilst out and about, and you don’t mind the extra space, then this is a great option to go for, despite the slightly higher cost.
|Strong and durable blade which is a large 12”||The larger blade means extra space taken up in your bag|
|Special coating on the blade to ensure it cuts quickly and easily, even through tough materials, such as thick wood||Slightly higher cost could work to be too much, depending on what you’re using it for|
|Lightweight and compact|
|Quick release lever for ease of use and safety|
Best Folding Hand Saws Reviews
In this section, as mentioned, we’re going to review some of the best hand saws on the market within type groups. We will list the pros and cons of each, to help you make your final purchasing choice.
Firstly, let’s talk about the best folding hand saws on offer.
This particular folding saw is a very handy piece of equipment to have in your outdoor kit, and folds up small; it is just over 14” when extended.
The blade is 7.1” long, which makes it ideal for cutting smaller pieces of wood, but the blade is also very strong, so it will slice through quite thick items too.
The saw is quite lightweight, at just over 8oz in weight, so its not going to weigh you down whilst on your travels.
The blade is interchangeable, so you can tailor-make your cutting experience to whatever material it is you’re trying to slice through, be it wood, greenery, bone, thin metals etc.
Overall, this is a good folding saw to have for camping, hiking, and backpacking adventures.
For survival endeavours, the blade may be slightly too small however.
|Folds down to small and compact size||Small blade may not be big enough for survival needs|
|7.1” long blade for cutting small but thick items|
|Lightweight, it won’t weigh you down|
|Interchangeable blades to tailor-make your cutting experience|
This is a great budget choice of folding hand saw, ideal for those who are off exploring the world by backpacking, or for those who regularly enjoy camping expeditions.
The saw is durable and strong, and doesn’t feel light or loose in the hand, ideal for cutting strong wood or branches.
The grip is strong and moulded, helping you to keep your grip in even wet conditions, and has a safety lock, to clip into place when using the saw.
Another safety pro is that the blade can be tightened, so it doesn’t move around or wobble whilst in use.
This saw has a 8” blade, which can even be used for home use in the garden, such as pruning bushes, as easily as it can be used for cutting wood in the wilderness!
When extended, the product is a full 17” and is quite lightweight, at 10oz overall. The blade teeth are resistant to wear, as they are triple cut, and there are 9 teeth per inch. The blade is also made of carbon steel for extra strength.
|Low price, ideal for those on a budget||Some users found it difficult to cut particularly thick branches|
|8” blade is long enough to cut most items needed to be cut|
|Can be used around the house/garden, as well as outdoors|
|Ergonomic, moulded handle|
|Strong teeth, with 9 per inch|
|Easy to tighten the blade into place, to stop it wobbling around|
This is another great value, budget option and is ideal for hikers or campers, who want a tool in their bag which is going to serve them well, through a variety of different circumstances.
This is another 8” blade choice, which is the general average, but the blade on this particular product is curved, to help you to cut branches in particular.
This blade cuts branches which are up to 4” in diameter and the blade is also rust resistant.
The curve also allows you to cut much faster than a regular straight blade.
Again, this saw is ideal for gardening work, as well as for outdoor adventures.
The saw folds up to a small size and easily fits into your backpack.
The saw has a red handle, which makes it easy to find in lower lighting conditions, and when opening it, you simply press the lock, which will pull out the blade, and you can then lock the blade to stop it from slipping during use.
The handle is also non-slip, so you’re not going to feel unsafe whilst using it. The teeth on the blade are also rugged, which cut everything easily and accurately.
|8” blade is sufficient for cutting most things you will find in the wilderness||Whilst the saw can easily cut 4” diameter branches, anything over that may be a stretch|
|Curved blade for extra precision when cutting|
|Able to cut branches that are sized up to 4”in diameter|
|Rust resistant blade|
|Folds up small|
|Red handle for finding in low light|
This is a very highly rated folding saw, and is ideal for all purpose use, so whether you’re backpacking, camping, hiking, or generally heading into the Great Outdoors for whatever reason, this saw will see you through.
The blade is slightly smaller than our other products we have reviewed so far, at 7.5”, but this is certainly enough for most uses, and with 7 teeth per inch, it certainly packs plenty of strength into a slightly smaller space.
This blade can easily cut dry wood, plastic products, or green items.
The blade is also rust protected and is designed to be low in friction.
The handle has a leather strap, so you have double protection when using it, and there is a strong, ergonomically designed grip, which adds to the safety punch.
The safety lock is designed to lock the blade both in and out, and is very effective at both.
|Very highly rated amongst users||Slightly smaller blade length, at 7.5” could be an issue if you prefer a larger blade|
|Multi purpose||The cost is slightly higher compared to other products of a similar quality|
|7 teeth per inch makes it a very sharp and strong product|
|Rust resistant and low friction design|
|Handle has a leather strap and is also ergonomically designed|
|Effective safety lock in both directions|
This folding hand saw is very effective and folds up small enough to fit into your pocket.
The blade is 7” in size, which is smaller when compared to some of our other reviewed products, but it has triple cut razor teeth, which are sharp and strong, so cutting is fast and very effective.
Because of the smaller blade size, this saw is ideal for short camping trips and hiking, but perhaps not for serious wilderness expeditions, where a lot of strong tree and branch cutting is going to be required.
The handle is ergonomically designed, as well as slip resistant, whilst being comfortable all at the same time.
The handle is designed to be held by any hand size without issue or safety problems.
There is also a safety lock which stops the blade from moving around when it is stored away, and this is imperative when it is being stored in your bag.
The other plus point is that you can easily use this hand saw for gardening and household chores, so it is a very cost-effective and multi-purpose product.
|Very highly rated amongst users||Slightly smaller blade length, at 7” could be an issue if you prefer a larger blade|
|Multi-purpose||Not ideal for hard-core wilderness adventures|
|Handle is ergonomically designed and slip-proof|
|Effective safety lock in both directions|
This is a very strong and durable folding hand saw, and is ideal for any type of outdoor adventure.
The blade is a long 10”, which makes it perfect for cutting thick tree branches or wood, and is classed as being ‘aggressive’ by its product review, which gives you some idea of how strong and sharp the teeth are on this particular product.
The blade is also curved, which helps you cut much more accurately than a bone straight blade.
The teeth are made of high carbon and the shank is made of strong metal which goes most of the way down the handle.
The saw is also lightweight, and the handle is ergonomic and has a rubber grip which is raised, to allow you to hold it easily ad safely.
The product also has a nylon sheath and a belt loop on the saw, which helps you carry it safely and to be able to access it when you need it quickly.
Overall, this hand saw is ideal for every type of outdoor activity.
|Very highly rated amongst users||Very tough and durable hand saw which would be wasted on lightweight activities – best reserved for true wilderness adventures|
|Multi purpose and ideal for tough conditions|
|Handle is ergonomically designed and slip-proof, with raised rubber section|
|Curved blade for accurate cutting
|Belt loop and sheath included with purchase for extra ease of use and safety|
|Larger 10” blade with tough teeth for cutting very strong wood and other materials|
Not all folding saws have long blades, and some are more compact, which are ideal for light use.
This particular folding hand saw is very compact and easy to carry, and the purchase comes with a carry case and handle, so you can easily find it in your bag.
The blade is 6” in length, which is fine for smaller items, and it has offset teeth for power and precision.
The blade also has a push button lock, for extra safety and comfort whilst using the saw.
The saw is lightweight, so it isn’t going to take up a lot of space of weight in your bag, and will easily and quickly cut through thick branches and other medium-duty items you might come into contact with on your wilderness travels.
|Lightweight and compact choice, ideal for saving space in your bag||A small blade may be an issue if you are trying to cut very thick wood outdoors|
|6” blade is sharp and effective|
|Push button lock for safety and comfort|
|Moulded handle for comfort when using the saw|
|Offset teeth for precision and power|
Best Wire Hand Saws Reviews
This product is a two pack of pocket wire saws, which are super easy to carry, as they fold up into literally nothing!
The wire extends to around 24” in length at its maximum, and it has two finger hooks on either end, to help you push and pull to cut whatever it is you’re trying to cut, be it wood, plastic, rubber, and other soft materials.
The product comes in two color choices, e.g. steel colored and blue, so you can easily find it in your bag when you need it the most.
The major plus point of this product is how small and lightweight it is, and you won’t even notice the extra addition to your camping, hiking, or backpacking kit.
For this reason, this product is ideal for all types of outdoor activities.
The very nature of this type of saw does, however, mean that it is not going to slice through very hard wood without major effort, so this is something to bear in mind.
There is also advised not to cut in a U shape, and to hold the wire saw as straight as possible, for best results.
|Very lightweight and small, so you won’t notice it in your kit in terms of size or weight||Not ideal for cutting extremely strong or hardwood materials|
|Available in two colors, for easy finding||Does take a little more manual effort|
|Extends to a maximum length of 24”|
|Very effective on a range of materials|
Similar to our last type of wire saw, this is another multi-pack product, but this time you get three wire saws in the same pack, which makes it an ideal budget purchase.
The saw is made of strong stainless steel and has two rings on either side, to help with the cutting endeavors.
There is also a 360-degree rotational band on either end and requires no special maintenance overall.
There are four strands of steel on each saw, for additional strength.
Again, this type of saw is very easy to carry and lightweight, at just 25g, which is literally nothing!
The wire saw also extends to a maximum length of 29”, which makes it the longest we have reviewed so far.
For that reason, it is ideal for larger items, however, as with most wire saws, it isn’t going to do fantastically well on very thick wood items.
For medium sized items, however, this type of saw, and this product is ideal.
|Multipack of three wire saws, which makes it fantastic value for money||These types of wire saw are not ideal for cutting extremely thick wood, which is something to think about if you are heading out into the wilderness|
|Strong stainless steel construction for easy cutting|
|Extends to a maximum length of 29”|
|360-degree rotational band on each end to make the process more comfortable and easier overall|
This particular wire saw is slightly different to the ring ended saws we have just reviewed, as this one has a harness for the user to hold onto.
This makes using this particular saw much more comfortable, and puts less pressure on the hands and fingers in particular.
In total, the product is 39″ in length, but that includes the harness; the actual blade is 19” in length, which is ideal for cutting larger materials.
The saw is lightweight and very easy to carry.
The blade is strong enough to cut through thicker wood, and can also be used around the home and garden too, making it a very cheap purchase for multipurpose use.
The handle is foldable, as well as anti-slip.
The handle also rotates 360 degrees for extra comfort and ease of use.
Overall, this is a quality product for cutting larger items with ease, although there is a certain amount of manual effort required, as with any wire hand saw.
|Very good value for money||Manual effort required|
|Padded harness for comfortable use|
|19” blade length|
|360-degree rotation on the saw for ease of use|
|Effectively cuts thicker wood types|
Best Chain Hand Saws Review
Sportsman is known for being a very high-quality outdoor equipment brand, and its hand saws, no matter what type, are some of the best on the market.
This particular pocket chainsaw is very highly rated by users, and the chain length is a huge 36”, without taking into account the handles.
This means that you can easily cut through very thick and strong items with ease.
The chain is bi-directional for extra ease and is also self-cleaning.
The blade is also made of carbon heat treated steel and is extremely tough and strong.
You can cut thick wood in seconds with this particular chain saw.
The product comes with a storage pouch and there is also a belt loop if you want to keep the chain saw close to you for easy accessibility.
This is certainly one of the best and strongest pocket chain saw products on the market, and for anyone who is serious about their outdoor endeavors, this is a great purchase to make.
|Great value for money||This is a very high quality but very strong product, so is best saved for experienced and tough requirements|
|Very strong and durable blade|
|36” blade length|
|Product comes with a storage pouch and belt loop|
This particular pocket chain saw comes in a 24″ blade size.
The 24” blade is sufficient for most outdoor uses, including cutting thick wood for firewood or creating a shelter, etc.
The blade is made of carbon steel teeth, and overall the product is very lightweight and easily portable; it folds up into a very small size, for ease of transportation.
The saw also comes with a pouch and a belt clip, so you can store it safely and easily, and find it when you really need to, without fuss or hassle.
Whilst some users may be a little concerned about using this type of saw because it isn’t a traditional blade saw, this product is very effective at cutting even thicker pieces of wood, and is a great price too.
This makes it a good addition to any outdoor equipment kit, even for novice users.
|Great value for money||The blade does only cut on one side, so you need to be sure you arrange the saw correctly before you begin, to save time|
|Very strong and durable blade|
|24” blade length|
|Strong carbon steel teeth for cutting through thick wood or other materials fast and easily|
|Product comes with a storage pouch and belt loop|
|Available in different colors for easy finding in lower light|
This pocket chain saw is ideal for those who want to travel light, as it is easily folds up into almost no size at all.
The chain blade is 29” inches in length, and that is certainly long enough to cut larger pieces of wood or other materials you will come into contact with without out camping or hiking.
The chain blade is also made of very high-quality steel material, and it has teeth in a shark shape, to give a more precise cutting experience.
The saw folds down small and is stored in the accompanying pouch, to keep your saw safe, and to avoid you catching your hand on the teeth whilst it is stored away.
There is also a belt loop, if you want to keep the saw close by for quick use.
The handle is made of plastic and is ergonomically designed, so you won’t slip whilst holding it, and you’ll be comfortable at the same time.
There are two grip handles, to give you an easier cutting experience too.
The chain cuts on both sides, and turns in 360 degrees for greater effectiveness.
|Great value for money||Some users state that the blade can be difficult to maneuver at first, and requires some practice|
|Very strong and durable blade|
|29” blade length, long enough to cut through larger items|
|Shark-shape teeth for precision cutting|
|Product comes with a storage pouch and belt loop|
This particular pocket chain saw is a great choice for beginners, because it’s very easy to use, but it’s also very high quality overall.
It is mid-price range, but the quality makes up for that.
The chain blade is 24” long, so it is long enough to cut through most items you will come into contact with whilst out and about, and it is also a good option to have as part of your backpacking kit.
The chain is multi-directional and each tooth cuts to a high standard.
There is also a set of nylon hand straps for the pulling action, which makes it more comfortable on your hands and arms overall.
The product also comes with a carry case and a front clip, as well as a belt loop, so you can keep your chain saw close by, when you need it the most.
This is a very lightweight option, making it ultra-portable.
As a side use, this product can also be used at home, for pruning or cutting tree branches in the garden.
|A good all-rounder product, and easy to use for beginners||For very heavy duty tasks, this particular product might just fall short of the mark|
|Very strong and durable blade|
|24” blade length, long enough to cut through most items|
|Product comes with a storage pouch and belt loop, as well as a clip, for keeping it close by|
This 26” chain saw is a great addition to your outdoor gear and although the brand name may suggest it is a plaything, it certainly isn’t!
This is a very heavy duty and strong pocket chain saw, and one which will be able to cut through most items that need cutting in the wilderness, including thicker wood types.
The chain saw is made of very strong, heat treated steel and it has a high resistance to abrasion and erosion.
This basically means that your purchase is going to stand the test of time, and will be able to stand up to the rigours of the outdoor world also.
Each tooth cuts to a high standard, and will easy cut plastic, bone, soft metals, and wood, amongst other items.
The saw folds down in segments, so you can store it away in the included nylon pouch, and it won’t take up any space or weight in your backpack or bag.
There are also two handles on either side of the chain, made of soft and strong nylon, for a comfortable cutting experience.
|A good all-rounder product||The blade only cuts on one side|
|Very strong and durable blade|
|26” blade length, long enough to cut through most items|
|Soft and strong nylon handles on each side, to give a comfortable experience|
|Product comes with a storage pouch and belt loop|
What is a Hand Saw?
A hand saw is literally what it says on the tin – a saw which will allow you to cut string, heavy rope, wood, and all manner of other things you may come into contact with in the wilderness. This will allow you to cut anything which is in your way, create a shelter, and basically get by without any major problems causing issues. Of course, a hand saw is much smaller than the regular type of saw that you would see in a DIY store or shed, and it closes up to stop the blade from being exposed, and cutting its way into your backpack whilst you’re moving around.
There are many different types of hand saw, including chain, bow, wire, and folding, and we’ll explore their differences a little later in this article.
Why Might You Need This Equipment in The Outdoors?
We’ve just touched upon this issue already, but basically if you want to cut anything, you need a blade. A small pocket knife is not going to be able to cut wood in half, or large branches from fallen trees, so you need a saw that is going to be strong enough and durable enough to be able to do the job.
There are many situations in which you may need this type of equipment, but the idea is that you purchase the right type for your trip, be it hiking, camping, backpacking, or whatever else you might be doing in the Great Outdoors.
What Are the Differences Between The Different Types?
In this article we’re going to concentrate on the main types of hand saw on the market for survival and wilderness use. These are:
- Folding hand saws
- Bow hand saws
- Wire hand saws
- Chain hand saws
Let’s explore each one briefly, to give you an idea of which might be best for you to purchase.
- Folding Hand Saws
These are basically almost full sized saws which fold down into much smaller packages. This is ideal for those who are intending to head out into the wilderness and have the intention to forage or survive on the land, but also for anyone who is short on space because, as the name would suggest, they are so compact. Some also look a little like a pocket knife, but with much sharper blades.
- Bow Hand Saws
This is probably the closest you’re going to get to a traditional saw, as it has that top frame that allows extra durability when in use. They usually come apart completely for transportation, and then put back together very easily, or they are stored in a carry case. The downside of this type of saw for outdoor use is the transportation issue, as the extra bulk could be an issue when you don’t have a lot of space in the first place.
- Wire Hand Saws
Rather than an actual blade, a wire hand saw uses a cable or a wire cut the material. This makes this type of saw ideal for carrying around safety-wise, whilst still being very effective at its job. If you’re trying to cut very heavy pieces of wood, this might not be the best option, but overall it is a good choice for regular cutting jobs. The major downside with this type of saw is the manual effort required, because it is a push and pull motion. Despite that, these types of saw are the easiest to carry as they are very lightweight and small.
- Chain Hand Saw
We’re not suggesting you lug around a full-blown chain saw here, because that would be downright impractical! Instead, this type of hand saw is based on the chain saw we all know, but it is works with hand power, rather than relying on a huge engine. They also fold down into very compact sizes, so they’re ideal for taking with you on hiking, camping, and backpacking trips.
If you are looking for a motorized chainsaw, I suggest that you check out my review of the best homeowner chainsaws or if you are on a budget, my review of the best chainsaws under $200 or if you can spend a little more my review of the best chainsaws under $300.
What to Look For When Buying a Hand Saw
Before we start talking about reviews and getting into the nitty gritty of which hand saw is best for your circumstances, we need to know the things you should look for when buying one in the first place. We’re talking about things such as price, brand name, durability etc. Let’s explore a little more.
- Price – Obviously, any piece of equipment you purchase needs to be within your budget
- Reputation/review – You also need to know that you’re getting quality for your money, and reviews are the best way to find that out.
- Type of blade – Peg tooth blade or raker tooth blade are the two main types. The first is ideal for cutting harder types of wood and the teeth are triangular in shape, with a gap after each three. The raker tooth blade also features triangle shaped teeth, but these are dual function; they first slice the wood, and then chip it out.
- Size of blade – There are a huge range of different sizes, so find out which is best for you. Blades usually range from 15”, up to 30” in size.
- Safety features – Vitally important. Does the saw lock into shape? Is there a firm handle? Is there a hand guard? Is there a sheath for the blade when stored?
- Tension – Some hand saws allow you to adjust the tension manually, whilst others are automatic.
- Colour – It’s important for your saw to be brightly colored, so you can find it quickly and easily in your backpack, or when you place it down on the ground in the wilderness.
So there we have it, the best of the various different types of hand saws available on the market, ideal for your outdoor adventures and endeavors.
There are certainly pros and cons to each type, so it’s important to weigh up your preferences before deciding which option to go for, and then whittling your choices down from there.
Foldable hand saws are much more available on the market, which is why we have reviewed more of them, however, the others aren’t difficult to find.
If you want to cut very strong pieces of wood or other materials, then it is always best to go for the foldable type of saw, or a chain saw.
For lighter materials, a bow saw is a good option, although do bear in mind that they take up more space in your bag, or you will have to take them apart and put them back together again when you want to use them.
You may not have the time or capacity to do that at the time, so you need to think carefully about this.
The other option is the wire saw, which is a very easy product to store in your bag, as it literally folds down into nothing.
These are a great addition to any backpacker’s equipment list, and even if you don’t intend to go out and cut down branches and create shelters, you never know when you may need to cut something which scissors simply don’t cut the mustard with.
From the list above, however, you will see that a hand saw is not a huge investment to make, but it is one you will be glad you made.
Here are my best picks:
The best saws for camping and survival, they provide more functionality & are suitable for heavy duty use:
Best choice for camping: Zippo Axe Saw Combo – check the latest price here on Amazon.
Best folding saw: Sportsman Folding Hand Saw – Check the latest price here on Amazon.
The best saws for hiking, backpacking and trekking. These are smaller lightweight options for light use:
Best folding bow saw: Gerber Freescape Camp Bow Saw – check the latest price here on Amazon.
Best ultralight backpacking saw: EverSaw Folding Hand Saw – Check the latest price here on Amazon.
Best hand chain saw: Sportsman Pocket Chain Saw – check the latest price here on Amazon.
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