Top 3 Best Backpacking Saws For The Money

Want to know more about the best backpacking saws?

You’ve come to the right place.

I’ve already done all the legwork for you and handpicked the backpacking saws you’re looking for.

Plus, I’ve gathered on some info on topics you need to know such as:

  • Why backpacking saws are better than hatchets and axes
  • How big should your backpacking saw be?
  • How much do backpacking saws cost?

So, stick around, it’ll be worth your time.

If you’re short on time, check out this table I made below of the best backpacking saws.

Best Overall
Agawa Canyon - BOREAL21 Folding Bow Saw - Black Frame, Green Handle, All-Purpose Blade
Gerber Freescape Camp Saw [31-002820]
Best Budget
Bahco 396-LAP Laplander Folding Saw, 7-1/2 -Inch Blade, 7 TPI
Blade Length
21 inches (53.3 cm)
12 inches (30.5 cm)
7 inches (17.8 cm)
Weight
1 lb (0.45 kg)
1.1 lbs (0.5 kg)
0.9 lbs (0.4 kg)
Rating
Price
$68.95
Currently out of stock
$23.88
Best Overall
Agawa Canyon - BOREAL21 Folding Bow Saw - Black Frame, Green Handle, All-Purpose Blade
Blade Length
21 inches (53.3 cm)
Weight
1 lb (0.45 kg)
Rating
Price
$68.95
Gerber Freescape Camp Saw [31-002820]
Blade Length
12 inches (30.5 cm)
Weight
1.1 lbs (0.5 kg)
Rating
Price
Currently out of stock
Best Budget
Bahco 396-LAP Laplander Folding Saw, 7-1/2 -Inch Blade, 7 TPI
Blade Length
7 inches (17.8 cm)
Weight
0.9 lbs (0.4 kg)
Rating
Price
$23.88

Why Choose a Backpacking Saw?

There are many reasons to choose a backpacking saw over a more conventional tool such as a backpacking hatchet/axe.

The primary reason is that they weigh less but can get a whole lot more work done. Take Agawa’s BOREAL21 backpacking saw for example. This monster of a saw can clear cut through trees, logs, and branches up to 6-inches thick with relative ease.

You simply can’t cut wood with an axe as fast as with a good backpacking saw. Plus, carrying around an axe powerful enough to compete with a folding saw will mean carrying around a significantly heavier tool.

One indirect benefit of a backpacking saw is the calories saved from work too. You’ll use much less effort sawing through a branch than chopping through it with an axe, saving you precious calories and energy that you need when backpacking.

This comes in handy when you’re already burning calories like crazy when backpacking, especially if you’re using your saw in the winter.

How Big Should My Backpacking Saw Be?

When choosing a backpacking saw, aim for a tool that is no heavier than 2 lbs. This shouldn’t be too hard of a task, as most folding saws weigh around 1lb or less.

Folding saws also take up very little in terms of volume too. Most saws will take up no more than 24 cubic inches of space. Compare that to even small hatchets which take up many times that size and you’ll see that folding saw really take up a minute amount of pack space.

folded boreal21 sawWhen choosing blade size for your needs, you’ll have to use your own best judgement. I’d recommend a 7-inch blade at the minimum, like what the Bahco Laplander has. Any smaller of a blade and you’re really missing out on power while gaining little in terms of saving pack space and weight.

If you’re expecting lots of heavy work and want to be prepared without sacrificing pack space, you can choose a saw like the Gerber Freescape with a 12-inch bow saw blade or the BOREAL21 with a 21-inch bow saw blade.

How Much Do Backpacking Saws Cost?

You can pick up a good backpacking saw for a relatively inexpensive price. For budget backpackers, you’ll want to choose the time-tested and proven Bahco Laplander folding saw. It can hold its own against many tough jobs without breaking the bank.

Replacement blades cost nearly as much as the saw itself, but the hardened steel blades last a super long time. Depending on the price you find them at, it may just be worth your while to buy a new saw once the old one wears out.

If you want more power out of your tool for sawing larger trees, the BOREAL21 is a tool I’d recommend to you. It costs a bit more than the Laplander but offers significantly more power while only weighing a few ounces more.

One benefit of the BOREAL21 is the potential long-term savings it offers. Instead of needing to buy special replacement blades, you can choose to replace its blade with any standard 21-inch bow saw blade.

This means no worrying about expensive blades or needing to track down special replacement blades online. Choose any dry-wood bow saw blade that fits your fancy and your saw will be ready to take on your next backpacking trip.

Overall Best Backpacking Saw: Agawa BOREAL21

boreal21 backpacking saw

Agawa’s BOREAL21 backpacking saw is super sharp, lightweight and folds up in seconds to increase portability. You can expect to take on logs up to 6-inches+ clear through using this excellent backpacking saw.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Aggressive saw blade chews through large logs
  • Automatically maintains perfect tension
  • Quickly and safely deploys in seconds
  • Durable frame withstands tough jobs
  • Lightweight at 1lb
Cons
  • More expensive than other saws, but pays off in the long run with blade replacement costs
  • Frame somewhat limits what size logs you can cut

Features

Ultralight Durable Frame

Starting with the frame, it’s incredibly lightweight at only 1lb. The entire saw measures 21.5-inches when its closed being about 2-inches thick at the largest part.

folded boreal21 saw

Anodized aluminum is used for the frame, giving it great durability, rust-resistance, and strength that doesn’t bend or twist making it hold solid while sawing.

At the grip you’ll find a glass reinforced nylon handle that is weather proof and grippy for easier sawing. One great feature about the handle is that its at the perfect angle for comfort and power when sawing.

Unique Folding Design

If you’ve never seen a folding saw like this before, you’re in for a treat. The BOREAL21 deploys in second without needing to touch the blade. When you deploy it, the blade automatically tensions to the perfect amount every time for easier sawing.

boreal21 folding

When you’re done sawing, the blade folds up in seconds without needing to be touched. Once it’s folded, the saw blade is contained within the saw’s frame, keeping both the blade and your gear safe from damage.

Handles Thick Logs

You may have noticed the high clearance inside the blade and frame. This geometry allows the saw to clear cut through logs up to 6-inches in diameter. If you rotate the saw around a log while cutting it, you can potentially cut logs up to 12-inches in diameter.

While the hardened steel blade this saw comes with will last a long time, all blades will dull with time and use. When it comes time to replace the blade, you won’t have to worry about chasing down any expensive specialty blades.

Easy to Replace Blades

The BOREAL21 uses any standard 21-inch bow saw blade, meaning you have a lot of choice and variety as far as price and performance goes. Instead of tracking down blades for a specific model online, you can drive to the hardware store and take your pick of bow saw blades to use with your saw.

Replacing the blade is easy too, taking only a flathead screwdriver and 30 seconds of your time. Here’s a great video showing how easy it is to replace the BOREAL21’s saw blade.

Limited Lifetime Warranty

Agawa offers a very fair warranty on these backpacking saws. They warrant each tool with a limited lifetime warranty that covers defects in materials or workmanship for the frame but not the saw blade. I’ve also heard a few people say that their customer service is excellent to work with, a very refreshing phrase to hear.

My Opinion

Overall, I think Agawa’s BOREAL21 is one of the best backpacking saws on the market. The powerful blade, compact size, strong frame, and ability to fold and unfold in seconds without needing to touch the blade is promising.

Being able to replace the saw blade in seconds without needing any special tools is convenient. Having the option to choose any standard bow saw blade is a plus too, giving you lots of choice and freedom as to how this saw will perform.

I’ve heard their customer service is excellent and very accommodating, showing signs that this company truly believes in their product. There’s many, many companies that can’t say the same without lying through their teeth.

Agawa Canyon - BOREAL21 Folding Bow Saw - Black Frame, Green Handle, All-Purpose Blade
65 Reviews
Agawa Canyon - BOREAL21 Folding Bow Saw - Black Frame, Green Handle, All-Purpose Blade
  • Take the BOREAL21 wherever you go - camping, backpacking, canoeing, off-trail, hunting, trail clearing or around the home.
  • Opens in seconds - just unfold, snap into position & start sawing
  • Automatic blade tensioning with no loose parts - No need to touch the blade while opening & closing
  • Compact (21"/53") & Lightweight (17oz/480g)
  • High clearance aluminum frame, glass filled nylon handle, stainless steel hardware

Gerber Freescape Camp Saw Review

gerber freescape backpacking saw

Gerber’s Freescape camp saw is a more lightweight and portable version of the BOREAL21 but sacrifices a little bit of power. If you only need a 12-inch saw blade and want to save the most space and weight possible, I’d recommend you check it out.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Sharp and aggressive saw blade chews through logs
  • Quickly and safely folds and unfolds without needing to touch the blade
  • Lightweight at 1.1lbs
  • Uses standard 12-inch bow saw blades
  • Hi-visibility non-slip rubber handle
  • Adjustable tension
  • Limited lifetime warranty on frame
Cons
  • Can’t clear cut logs larger than 5-inches

Features

Gerber’s Freescape backpacking saw is a more portable and compact alternative to the BOREAL21 I wrote about above. It sacrifices a bit of power but remains a great saw that will serve you well.

Speedy Deployment

Like the BOREAL21, the Freescape saw quickly folds and unfolds in seconds without needing to touch the blade. The blade is contained within the handle when folded, protecting your gear and the saw blade from damage.

freescape camp saw folded

When the saw is folded, it’s about 12-inches in length and 1 inch around at the thickest point, making it 9-inches shorter and an inch slimmer than the BOREAL21.

Razor-Sharp Tough Blade

You’ll find a super sharp and aggressive hardened steel blade that chews threw logs up to 4-inches with ease. The blade is manually tensioned with a hook near the handle. You can potentially cut logs up to 5-inches with small strokes, or up to 10-inches around if you rotate the saw while cutting.

Uses Standard Bow Saw Blades

The Freescape uses any standard 12-inch bow saw blade, giving you good flexibility and freedom to choose how your saw performs. When it comes time to replace the blade, there’s no hassle chasing down model-specific blades. Simply choose any kind of 12-inch bow saw blade that suits your needs and it’ll fit this saw without a hitch.

freescape camping saw feature highlights

Great Handle

One feature I like about this saw is the hi-visibility rubber handle. Non-slip rubber helps for comfort and sawing during poor weather conditions. The hi-visibility green plastic color ensures that if you drop your saw you can spot it on the forest floor.

Limited Lifetime Warranty

This saw comes with a limited lifetime warranty that covers the frame. Gerber is a large and reputable company, so if you have any issues they’re likely to take care of you and not leave you stranded.

My Opinion

Overall, I think the Gerber Freescape backpacking saw is a great choice for people who want a little more portability than the BOREAL21 and don’t mind having a smaller saw.

Being able to use any standard bow saw blade is a big plus that keeps replacing blades hassle free. I also like the design that allows you to quickly deploy the saw in seconds and adjust the tension as you need it.

It comes ready to go with you on any backing trip and can handle tough logs in your way with its sharp and aggressive blade.

Gerber Freescape Camp Saw [31-002820]
61 Reviews
Gerber Freescape Camp Saw [31-002820]
  • Folds down flat without removal of parts
  • Accepts standard 12" saw blade
  • Rubber overmold grip
  • Innovative design
  • Four pivot points to maximize usable cutting area

Best Ultralight & Budget Backpacking Saw: Bahco Laplander

bahco laplander ultralight backpacking saw

Bacho’s Laplander folding saw is a classic saw and a crowd favorite among backpackers. The Laplander is prized for its low cost, low weight, power and ability to handle tough jobs.

It’s a great choice for people who want a low-cost traditional folding saw that delivers quality and has a long-standing reputation among backpackers.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Super sharp 7-inch blade easily cuts wood
  • Safely locks in both the folded and unfolded positions
  • Rust-resistant blade coating helps prevent corrosion
  • No frame to limit hard large of logs you can cut
  • Lightweight at 0.9lbs
  • Durable handle with non-slip rubber grip
  • Field tested by many thousands of backpackers with great reviews
  • Budget friendly
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty
Cons
  • Replacement blades cost just as much as the saw
  • Might be hard to see on the forest floor if you drop it

Features

Tough & Sharp Blade

Starting with the blade, you’ll find a sharp and aggressive 7-inch blade that chews through wood with ease. You’ll also notice the Bahco Laplander doesn’t have a frame like the other backpacking saws on this list. This means you’re not limited by a frame to what size logs you can cut clear through.

A rust-resistant coating keeps the blade from rusting, preserving the hardened saw teeth’s edge. This coating also reduces friction when sawing, meaning less work and faster cuts.

Reliable Folding & Locking System

Unfolding the blade is relatively easy. The blade locks in both the open and closed positions, meaning you’ll need to release the lock inside the handle to open the blade and again to close it. I think this a great feature that prevents the blade from opening in your pack and slicing your gear, potentially ruining it.

laplander sawing through branch

Pointless Replacement Blades

While the hardened steel blade should last a long time, all blades will dull with time and use. Looking at replacement blades for the Laplander, they cost almost as much as the saw itself. Maybe you can find a deal on them somewhere if you look hard enough, but you might just be better off buying a new saw every time your old blade wears out.

Easy to Use Handle

The handle is solid, with an inner steel frame to keep it steady and secure when sawing. Non-slip rubber on the handle keeps your grip solid during all kinds of poor weather and muddy conditions. Even when during heavy sawing the grip stays relatively comfortable to use and holds up to a beating.

Be Careful With Losing Your Saw

One thing I see as troublesome is the color of the Laplander’s handle. Dark green would blend into the forest floor if you were to drop this saw or set it down somewhere and forget it. I’d recommend possibly putting a piece of hi-visibility tape on it, so you can quickly locate it if you drop it somewhere.

bahco laplander in hand

Limited Lifetime Warranty

The Laplander comes with a limited lifetime warranty that covers materials and workmanship of the tool. It should be noted that the warranty doesn’t cover the blade wearing from normal use.

My Opinion

If you’re after a field-tested and proven backpacking saw, the Bahco Laplander may end up being your best friend. The Laplander is a staple in many backpacker’s toolbox and for good reason.

A sharp and durable 7-inch blade cuts through logs with ease and can handle anything you have the patience to saw through. Whether it’s sawing wood for the campfire or clearing trees from a trail, the Laplander will be ready to help.

Unlike the framed folding saws, there’s little limiting what size logs you can saw with this tool.

At only 0.9lbs and roughly 7-inches long when closed, you’re getting an incredible amount of power in a small package.

I don’t like how expensive the replacement blades are, and for the price you may as well just buy another saw.

But if you want one of the best ultralight backpacking saws that is powerful, portable, and budget friendly, I recommend you check out the Bahco Laplander.

Sale
Bahco 396-LAP Laplander Folding Saw, 7-1/2 -Inch Blade, 7 TPI
2,274 Reviews
Bahco 396-LAP Laplander Folding Saw, 7-1/2 -Inch Blade, 7 TPI
  • General purpose folding saw with an 7-1/2 -inch blade, 7 teeth per inch, for cutting both green and dry wood, plastic, or bone.
  • XT Toothing, 7 TPI. Blade is specially coated for rust protection and low friction.
  • Two-component plastic handle for perfect grip, with leather strap.
  • Specially designed for wildlife enthusiasts, hunters, and campers
  • Equipped with safety lock for both lock-in and lock-out

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