Best survival hand saw

A folding saw is one of the most important bladed tools for survival.

[See the full post at: Best survival hand saw]

  • Comments (15)

    • 4

      Silky also makes Gomtaro, which is a non-folding saw designed to be carried in a belt sheath (but can just as easily be strapped to a backpack etc). So it’s still portable, but fixed blade will likely be more sturdy than folding saws.


      • 7

        IMO their fixed blade saw is more strictly a landscaping tool and not a prep, unless it’s bought as a bug-in prep. It doesn’t make sense to me to go with this over a folder or just about anything else, but maybe I’m missing something.

      • 5

        Same reason why you might prefer a fixed knife over a folding knife. In practice, I found the difference to not be as big as it seems (it has a shorter handle than a typical folding saw, although it’s still plenty big to hold even with large hands). And it’s still way lighter than e.g. a hatchet, which many people do use for bug out as well.

      • 6

        If it makes sense for you, sure! There’s no singular right answer. When we update this review in the next round, we’ll look at more fixed blades. But this was in context of the core four blade mix, so we assume people are also carrying a hatchet/kukri/etc in their bag in addition to the foldable saw.

    • 5

      Vaughan Bear Saw is the best saw I have found. Japanese blades will go cut for cut on a comparable sized silky, but can be found for $20 at farm and ranch stores. As a fixed blade saw it is far lighter then most folding saws, especially the heavy silkies. Compactness is generally overrated compared to weight, as long as you have an averaged sized day pack a fixed saw is easily transported. For trail maintenance I carry a small fiskars sliding saw, but when I’m winter camping and need wood processing for a stove a full sized pull saw is very welcome.

      • 5

        Thanks Luke, we’ll check it out. Is there any common bushcraft need that saw sucks at? What size/model do you carry?

      • 3

        Nothing common I’d say, it is physically larger of course so theoretically if you are clearance limited some how it could be a problem but I’d be hard pressed to come up with a real world example.

        I use the 13″ BS333C (course) for outdoor tasks and use the 10″ (medium) blade for woodworking around the house. I have had far less luck with the fine and double sided blades.

    • 5

      I’d like to know a little more about the trade offs that make a bow saw a second choice. I have and use the 21” EKA combi saw quite frequently. There is also a 17” model. These types of packsaws are becoming more popular with many offering a deeper bow, on the distal end, than the EKA. My EKA has withstood a significant amount of abuse. Because it has 3 blade types, I keep it in my car and it has been used hundreds of times. I’ve taken down a full size oak in the middle of a road, many shop tasks and a buddy used it to quarter out an elk.

      The 17” model has almost twice the cutting length of the 9” silky handsaw, has 3 saw blade types for different materials, uses a commonly available replacement blade that can be found at most hardware stores (a handy feature for bugging out), and weighs only 3 ounces more. The EKA takes up a little more pack space, but it is not awkward in shape and that makes it easily managed.

      I do find your only listed reasoning for discounting bow saws as disingenuous and almost ignorant. I would challenge you to justify that a handsaw is anymore capable of cutting down a large standing tree than a bow saw. My EKA has 7” of depth to the bow. This means that, theoretically, your hand saw only gets an two extra inches of depth. I’ve never found that to be true in practice. A hand saw is much less effective at cutting near the tip of the saw blade than a bow saw. Partly because a person can apply pressure to the end of the bow saw and partially because the handles location relative to the blade moves the fulcrum forward and allows for less energy expenditure to achieve the same results.

      I would love to see an actual scientific comparison and would be willing to honestly consider changing my load out based on the results. I realize I’m not the only one who will use my kit in an emergency.

      Thank you and I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

    • 7

      I went with a Silky Big Boy over the Gomboy. I like the larger blade for clearing larger diameter trees and debris post emergency or storm, and am not so concerned with the size/weight increase as it’s primarily for home preparation.  I may pick up a Laplander for the BOB though.

      • 7

        Makes sense for home. I carry my Silky in my BOB. If you end up with Laplander, we’d love to hear your thoughts after comparing the two!

    • 4

      There are new curved versions of Silky saws. All my gardening saws are curved, and I think the curve helps. However, for my BOB saw, the straight blade is probably better for fabricating things out of wood. Do you have any comment on curved vs. straight saw blade?

    • 2

      When doing research for this blog post on the gear that participants brought with them on the TV series ALONE, I noticed that the majority of them brought one of three saws:

      The participants are not needing a compact option since they get to their location and set up camp, and once there they tend to want the longer draw length saws for maximum calorie preservation.