“Be prepared” isn’t just a mantra for Boy Scouts; it applies to everyone out enjoying nature. Among your key camping supplies, you should always be sure to have a quality camping saw.
Read on to learn about our top picks for the best camping saw!
Our Top Picks
Silky Professional BIGBOY 2000 Folding Saw
Bahco Laplander Folding Saw
Corona RazorTOOTH Folding Pruning Saw
Gerber Freescape Camp Saw
Best for Heavy Brush
Fiskars 18-Inch Machete Saw
Silky camping saws are among the most well-loved in the industry. This Outback version, with its large tooth configuration and a comfortable, composite handle, affords users exceptional cutting performance and durability.
- 14-inch blade
- Comfortable ergonomic design
- Lightweight carbon-steel blade
- Impulse-hardened teeth mean the blade’s teeth are harder than your run-of-the-mill camp saw and stay sharper longer
- The pivot bolt and nut tend to come loose and need frequent retightening
- No locking mechanism on the blade
- High price point
The Bahco Laplander is a compact folding saw with a reputation for its reliability and versatility. It features a Swedish-made blade with 7 teeth per inch and a comfortable, two-component handle.
- Safety lock for blade-in and blade-out positions
- Cuts on both forward and draw strokes, unlike some competitors
- Lightweight and easy to carry
- Folds down to 9 inches
- Comes with a leather strap that makes it easy to attach to backpack or other gear straps
- Not as sharp as some others on the market
- Higher price point
Corona RazorTOOTH features three-sided, sharp teeth for efficient cutting. This camping saw’s ergonomic handle and curved blade design allow users to comfortably and quickly cut through wood up to 6 inches in diameter. When folded down, the RazorTOOTH measures a slim 12 inches, making it easy to pack and carry.
Be aware that some teeth remain exposed when the saw is folded, presenting a safety issue if you grab it the wrong way. If you throw it in a pack with other items, those items may get tangled on the exposed teeth and might even end up cut.
What’s even better is this camping saw’s price tag!
- Chrome-plated 10-inch blade
- Impulse-hardened teeth stay sharper, longer
- Great for pruning and clearing brush as well as for cutting firewood
- Smooth cutting
- Not very efficient for more than medium-sized branches
- Less durable than other options on the market
- Cuts on pull action only
- Could damage other items in pack
The Gerber Freescape Camp Saw is a lightweight, collapsible camping saw that folds flat for convenient storing and transporting. Unlike some other camping saws, the Gerber Freescape can cut through even large-diameter wood.
- Folds down flat for safe portability
- Unfolds to a fairly large saw capable of cutting thicker branches
- Comes with a spare blade
- The hook that locks the blade in the closed position is flimsy and unreliable
- Pin connecting the blade and handle is prone to breaking or falling out
- Blade flexes when in use
- Lacks a hand guard
Best for Heavy Brush
Some outdoor situations require a more aggressive tool, like clearing brush to make way for a tent. The Fiskars Machete Saw combines a machete’s cutting power with a camping saw’s sawing ability, so you get the best of both worlds in one piece of equipment.
- 18-inch blade is enough even to fell small trees
- Cuts on the push and pull stroke
- Nice weight
- Good price point
- Blade needs to be sharpened before first use
- Does not come with a sheath (and it needs one if you plan to use it as a camping saw)
Camping Saw Buyer’s Guide
There are several factors to consider when choosing a camping saw. How you plan to use it, how often, and in what conditions are some key things to consider as you shop for a camping saw.
If you are shopping for a camping saw, you are most definitely looking for something lightweight and easy to carry. However, you may tend toward a heavier, more robust camping saw if you plan to use it for campground stays, where you’ll most likely be using it to split wood. If you’re more of a backcountry camper or backpacker, opt for a lighter weight in a camping saw, unless you anticipate having to fell some serious brush.
A camping saw should be more durable than, say, a saw you use to tame errant weeds and vines in your home garden. Camping saws need to be able to withstand rugged outdoor conditions. Look for a camping saw that real-world users report to be durable and sturdy to ensure you get the most life out of the tool.
Although it might be nice to have a large-blade camping saw, consider how often you might actually need such power. Larger saws are usually heavier than their smaller counterparts, which can get the job done just as well. Do you really need a camping saw that can slice through large-diameter tree branches or trunks? If so, go for the bigger blade! But if you’ll mainly be using your camping saw to cut back small brush around a campground site, the bigger blade isn’t worth the extra weight or space.
Ease of Use
We’ve come a long way in understanding ergonomics and the importance of the tools we use repeatedly having a shape that maximizes efficiency and minimizes fatigue. Ergonomic considerations have made their way into the world of camping saws, too. Most modern camping saws feature a grip with at least some consideration of ergonomics (all of the ones on our list do!).
Although a user-friendly grip is nice to have on a camping saw, it’s less important if you only use the saw on an ad-hoc basis a few times per year while camping. Those who intend to use their camping saw around the yard or who do significant brush clearing should put some thought into the ergonomics of their chosen tool.
Similarly, if you have any impediments to sawing, like arthritis in your hands or wrists, the ergonomics of your camping saw are extremely important.
Where and how do you store and carry your portable camping saw? Maybe all your camping tools are tossed in a bin until the next adventure and then toted to your campsite from the car. Or maybe you store and carry your camping saw in a backpack with other gear.
Either way, it’s important to make sure your camping saw has a sturdy, functioning lock to keep the blade closed when you’re not using it. An open camping saw is not something you want to discover when reaching into your gear bin or backpack.
Locking mechanisms and blade covers are also paramount to protecting any young ones who might come in contact with your camping saw. Sharp teeth are a great selling point for a camping saw–they make shorter work of pesky branches and brush–but they are also better at causing injury if you’re not careful.
Make sure your camping saw has a locking mechanism that functions properly to keep it closed when you want it closed. Using a blade cover and sheath can also help protect you and your camping party from injury.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it better to have a saw or an ax for camping?
Although you’re likely to find a “hatchet” or “ax” on any camping must-have list, a camping saw is a better piece of equipment to add to your gear. Camping saws are usually lighter and more efficient than hatchets or axes when it comes to clearing brush or splitting wood.
Additionally, camping saws with locking mechanisms are safer than axes, even if the ax blade has a cover.
How do I use a camping saw?
The most common use for a camping saw is sawing firewood. To do this, brace the piece of wood against a solid support, like a nearby tree or boulder, and cut with long, smooth strokes, letting the weight of the saw pull the blade into the wood.
How do I maintain my camping saw?
Be sure to clean your camping saw as soon as practicable after each use. Remove any large debris, then rinse the saw under running water or let it soak in a bucket of clean water. Using a cloth and wire or bristle brush, remove any remaining soil. Turpentine or oven cleaner can be used to remove sap. To remove rust, apply baking soda and scrub the rusted spot with a nylon brush, then rinse and dry.
Once the blade is clean, dry with a towel, then apply a thin layer of WD-40 or other oil to prevent rust. Store your camping saw back in its case or sheath, if you have one.
Can I make a blade cover or sheath?
In a pinch, you can use a piece of rubber hose as a blade cover for your camping saw. Cut the length of hose you need, and split it down the middle. You can also use foam insulation (think: pool noodle or packing foam) as a blade cover.
If all else fails, wrap an old towel around the camping saw blade.
Finding the Best Camping Saw
The best camping saw for you will depend on your budget, priorities, and needs. Regardless of those factors, camping saws are a good tool to have around when you’re enjoying the outdoors, whether you use one for firewood, clearing brush, or sawing off branches to help your kids build a fort!
Learn more about all the best camping tools and gear at our Camping Gear hub!
- About the Author
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Ronda Lindsay is a professional writer and editor who has worked in government communications for nearly two decades.
Growing up in Portland, Oregon, she fostered her love of nature and the outdoors by exploring the Pacific Northwest’s many natural playgrounds before moving to the Washington, DC, area to see what the eastern side of the country had to offer. She’s also spent plenty of time camping, hiking, and floating around central Texas, where she now lives.
With a bachelor’s in English and a master’s in professional writing, Ronda loves to learn and write about the latest trends in outdoor adventuring and share that information with Beyond the Tent readers.