7 Best Folding Saws for Bushcraft, Backpacking, Camping, and More
Last updated: Apr 19, 2020
57Hours of Research
Whether you’re going camping or trekking or just being a good prepper and survivalist, the best folding saw should be a part of your arsenal to ensure that you can saw, chop and whittle your way through a number of tasks. These saws need to be portable rather than big and cumbersome. Many folding saws are low quality. The cheapest options don’t tend to cut it (pun intended) and we’ve got the best mix between value and quality in this article.
We’ve looked at a number of features and functionality including the blade length and thickness, how small it folds down and the cutting capacity, which can be impacted by things like the volume and quality of teeth on the saw. Overall, we found the Agawa Canyon BOREAL21 to be the best saw across the board, which is why we nominated it as our Editor’s Choice.
Top 7 Folding Saws Review 2020
Our team spent weeks researching the top options on the market, using video reviews, first-hand experience and other consumer reviews and information to put together our guide and provide you with the most detailed reviews and the most useful information in our buying guide. This guide is designed to help you to work out which features are most important and how to choose a saw which you know you will be able to rely on when you need it most. Dependable is the very least you should be able to expect from your saw, even if it is small and compact!
As well as being the one of the best folding bow saws out there, this is our editor’s choice and top rated overall folding saw. The BOREAL21 is a versatile saw which is good for all sorts of uses including backpacking, hunting or clearing trails when trekking.
The convenience of this saw is aided by how fast it is to put together. Once you take it out, it will unfold and then snap into place, becoming extremely sturdy in just a few seconds and ready to use even in a hurry.
The blades tense themselves and you do not have to touch them to construct this saw or when closing it up to store away in your bag again.
All of this functionality comes at just 480g of weight! It is made with a nylon handle and aluminum frame, and steel hardware rounds off the offering overall.
It is immensely difficult to find any sort of fault with this model, which is why it has been named our top overall saw. Being very harsh, one could maybe say that the saw is a little uncomfortable after prolonged use. It is on the larger side of all of the saws listed in spite of being lightweight, so if tiny is what you need, look elsewhere for the most suited option.
Safely and simply snaps into position in just seconds
No need to tense the blades manually
Extremely lightweight yet still durable and reliable in use
Not the most comfortable handle out of all of the saws
If you are looking for the best folding saw for bushcraft then we recommend the Silky New Professional Series KatanaBoy Folding Saw. This is one of the longest folding saws on the market once it has been unfolded. This makes it a great candidate for all kinds of bushcraft from clearing paths, to hunting to building.
The durability is really impressive. It has a lifetime warranty offered by the manufacturer so you can rest assured this isn’t the type of saw which will break as soon as you need to get some serious use out of it. The Katana name comes from the fact that it can be used two-handed, this gives extra power for when path clearing or doing any other activity that may need a little more to get the job done.
This has a 19.7″ blade and also comes with 10″ of capacity to cut, meaning that it can work well on larger tree trunks and chop quickly through big bushes.
The size may be a concern for some people, as this is definitely not on the smaller end of the market for folding saws, but it does come with a convenient carrying case which can be slung over your shoulder when trekking through any environment.
For a quality and durable larger blade which can be operated with two hands, this is worth your consideration.
This brilliant folding hand saw is our top-rated option for camping. It is not only very durable and unlikely to ever let you down, but the Bahco 396-LAP Laplander Folding Saw is also an excellent all-rounder. It isn’t too big, and while it may struggle with some of the more heavy-duty needs that hunters and survivalists encounter, it is perfect for the average camper, and doesn’t take up too much space.
This is described as being ‘general purpose’ by the manufacturer and it really is versatile. It can be suitable for cutting wood, plastic, or bone if needed, so it has plenty of cutting power. It has seven teeth per inch and has been coated to protect it against rust and excessive friction.
It is fine to have around a campsite and poses a low risk as it has a safety lock to lock-in or lock-out. This is one of the reasons it is the best folding camp saw.
The plastic handle makes it feel a little bit more like a kitchen knife, and it doesn’t have quite the durable feel to the touch, but the blade itself is extremely hard-wearing. You can also buy spare blades from the manufacturer if needed, perfect to keep somewhere safe just in case anything happens while you’re on your trip that results in needing to replace it.
Comes with a leather strap
Small and easily portable, doesn’t need its own bag or case
Coated to protect against rust
Not suitable for larger cutting needs such as path clearing
Plastic handle isn’t as pleasant as some competing models
The Sven Folding Saw is an excellent option for backpacking, in environments where you might need to cut away wood or even create some kindling for a campfire, but you’re unlikely to have to get the saw out quickly. It isn’t really a pocket design, more something you’ll need to actually store within your backpack.
The steel blade is impressively good quality and very durable, and it works very well for dry wood especially. It is easy to unfold and in spite of being less than an inch thick in your backpack it has the capacity to fold out to give you a 24-inch blade which can cut items around 6 inches in diameter. The handle also acts to protect the blade itself when you aren’t using it.
This is sturdy and durable and while it might not be the best choice for hunting, for instance, it might be perfect for you if you’ll be clearing through a lot of wood.
Great for chopping wood and clearing paths
Folds to a tiny size and is good for keeping in your backpack
Not as fast to construct as some of the other models of folding saw
Wingnut may come loose over time (a spare is included in the packaging in case you need to replace it)
This is our top recommended folding pruning saw. Though it has some other uses on trails, it is a wonderful choice for trail maintenance and pruning away tees and other bushes. It has a lot of very smart features and not least of all the fact that it is incredibly small and can fit in your pocket makes this a very good option.
The 2.6 inch cutting capacity may not be that much, but it is okay for a lot of campers who don’t need to take on huge trees with their folding saw, and to have something you can keep in your belt or pocket is a big plus point.
This is one of the most ergonomic and easy-to-use saws on the market, too. It comes with a simple non-slip rubberized handle which is suitable no matter what conditions you are going to be using your saw in, whether it is scorching hot or wet and icy.
The rust-resistant blade is another big positive, and spare blades for the saw can be purchased in case you have any breakages.
The Silky Professional Series PocketBoy Folding Landscaping Hand Saw is really reliable, super portable and the fact it fits in your pocket may be the main selling point.
Durable blade with a rust-resistant coating
Blades can be replaced if needed
Extremely ergonomic and easy-to-use with a brilliant grip even in sweaty or otherwise wet conditions
Not suitable for cutting larger branches or tree trunks, for instance
Our budget pick, the Primos Folding Saw, is a good option for those who don’t want to spend a huge amount of money on their saw. For instance, a more casual camper or backpacker who needs something to be used occasionally. This is where a balance is struck between a saw with plenty of quality and durability, and also an affordable price.
It isn’t just on the list because it is cheap, though. There are plenty of features to back up this being an excellent choice. It is fast and easy to fold out, and when it has been folded it easily locks into position. The push-button lock is situated within the handle and is really easy to use. The handle has a rubber coating which helps people to get a good grip on it.
On top of all this, the blade is pretty good, too. A simple offset design makes it good for use on different types of wood as well as for pruning uses.
This folding saw does have its limits. It isn’t the best folding saw for hunting and struggles with some sawing needs, for instance, if you need to saw through bone, it may struggle with the thicker animal bones.
Generally, for the price, if you just need a smaller blade with some basic features, which can chop wood and is handy for other simple sawing tasks, this could be a good choice.
The Coghlan’s Folding Saw is recommended on our list as one of the best 21-inch blades. These are a popular design of folding saw which replicates what you might have in your shed at home, suitable for trees and overgrown patches in your yard. Instead, this is a very good, affordable choice for clearing paths, chopping wood for a campfire and more.
Coghlans is a brand which manufactures a lot of different tools which are similar, and suitable for those who are on a budget. That’s not to say they are poor in quality, though, and this 21-inch folding saw is pretty durable.
It features a quality, serrated blade which has been placed within an anodized aluminum body. It can also hold other blades if you need it to. When it folds down into its smallest size it is just one-inch-thick, so it is great for packing up in your camping gear or keeping in a backpack. Speaking of folding, it has been upgraded to feature a better folding mechanism, which means you can have it ready to use and folded within a matter of seconds. This is also a lightweight saw, but it can saw through quite large wood areas due to its clever triangular design.
Can be purchased as part of Coghlans sets
Folds down to one inch wide and also very lightweight
Not quite as durable as some other options on the list
You have to adjust the tension yourself manually
As you can see from our list, there are many variations in size and features when it comes to folding saws. Designs can vary from having different handles, to different shapes altogether. Some saws are more portable than others, some have the facility to chop larger and denser items. Ultimately, doing some research to work out which features will be most important to you can help you to ensure you make the right decision.
Why choose a folding saw?
There are many reasons to get a folding saw. Having a saw is extremely useful for any kind of outdoor pursuit, from hunting and DIY butchering to clearing paths in the forest. A saw can come in incredibly handy in a number of different scenarios whether you are a casual camper or a road-hardened outdoor fanatic. However, taking a saw out and about with you is not logical, well, not a regular-sized saw anyway! Having a saw on your travels can be made possible by the items on this list which are compact and fold out to a normal size. Some are even small enough to go in your pocket.
Whether you need the best folding table saw or an option for bushcraft and chopping wood on your travels, an axe alone may not be enough and the serrated option of a saw could be a lifesaver
Features to consider when choosing a folding saw
The following features are the main criteria we’ve used to evaluate the saws on this list. We’ve provided a description of why each of these is important. Some may not be your priority depending on what you plan to use your saw for, others will be considered absolutely vital for you.
Blade length and thickness
The length and thickness of the blade obviously affect the storage. Even though folding saws are designed to be small and portable, some are a lot smaller than others. A pocket-sized option is likely to be decent for pruning but not chopping down trees, as it will have a smaller, thinner blade.
Thicker blades may be more heavy-duty but they may also be heavier and harder to operate. Consider what you will be using your saw for to get the right option for you.
Most blades list their cutting capacity. This simply refers to the thickness of the item (a tree for example) that they can cut. If a blade’s cutting capacity is 10 inches, it means that anything with a diameter of 10 inches or smaller should be suitable for it to chop down, depending on the density of the item (it won’t be able to cut through granite!). An example of a saw with 10 inches of cutting capacity is the Silky New Professional Series KatanaBoy Folding Saw.
This is another element of design that you are likely to choose based on what you will be using your folding saw primarily for.
The serrated blade of a saw is what makes it a very different tool to an axe or a hunting knife. The teeth that are used are vital to this and they can be configured in different ways, some will be better at cutting certain types of materials, for instance, chopping wet wood vs chopping dry wood.
The tooth configuration will usually be measured in teeth per inch, and the higher the number of teeth per inch of the saw, the finer they will be.
Fine teeth may be good for stubborn materials like fabrics but they may break when trying to chop something harder.
Dimensions and weight
Naturally, when you’re taking something out hunting, camping or backpacking with you, you will need to consider the dimensions. Especially if you have bought it to be a portable option, there is no point in buying a huge saw that folds if you need something to fit in your pocket. Always check the size before making a purchase.
Type of saw
When talking about tools for the home and garden, there are dozens of different types of saws (no exaggeration). Only a few of these are likely to be seen in folding saws.
Bow saws are one type, these usually have a bowed metal design with a long, thin blade and are good for replacing blades if needed. They are primarily used on wood.
Pruning saws are more likely to be small and are designed so that you can easily chop away smaller branches or overgrowth that gets in the way.
Hand saws are those with a handle at one side and a blade at the other, and though the design of a folding hand saw is often very different to those you might find in a garage, the principle remains the same.
What will you be using it for – and where?
The type of saw you buy will be dictated by knowing where and how you wish to use it. If you are going hiking and think you might need to cut away different areas of overgrowth, a pruning or hand saw might be suitable. If you’re going to chop smaller branches and trees, a folding bow saw might be better. Campers may wish for a versatile pocket folding saw that can do a little bit of everything. All areas of bushcraft and landscaping have their own uses for folding saws, so it is worth considering the size, shape, and density of what you plan to chop!
You should think a little about what conditions are likely to be like in the places you’re going, too. Will you be using gloves? Will it be hot and humid and your hands get sweaty? All of this can play a part in which features you need to prioritize.
Materials used in the design
Not all saws are created equal in terms of materials. Stainless steel blades are usually the norm, and these are sometimes treated for durability. Consider what the frame is made out of, too. Aluminum can often be durable enough but also relatively lightweight and portable.
Handle and grip
The handle and grip need to be comfortable, especially if you plan to use the saw for long periods of time. However, it is not just comfort that you need to think about. You should be able to grip the saw even in challenging conditions. Products like the Silky Professional Series PocketBoy saw have enhanced grip to help if you have sweaty hands or if it is wet outside.
You can replace a lot of blades, and most of the products mention whether they come with spares or if spares can be purchased. Bow-style saws are usually the simplest to replace the blades. Sharpening is more difficult due to the serration, but it is possible.
Though there is no one specific answer to this question, some people prefer curved options for pruning or reaching difficult areas to cut things. Straight blades may be more effective for basic uses such as cutting through a wooden branch.
Yes, there is definitely a difference in purchasing high-end models. The cheaper options are often flimsy. Paying a little extra for better materials and design can mean you get a lot more out of your folding saw and that it lasts far, far longer.
Our highest rated folding saw is the Agawa Canyon BOREAL21 Folding Bow Saw. This has a large cutting capacity once it has been folded out and is great for cutting wood especially. It clips into place easily and has been treated to make it extremely durable. We’ve rated it 9.9.
The Bahco 396-LAP Laplander Folding Saw also gets a very high rating on our list of the best folding saw options. This is a small and portable design which could fit in some pockets and gets a rating of 9.6/10.