I've been using my Bahco Laplander folding saw for several weeks now and I have to say I am totally impressed. Not only is it amazingly efficient at cutting through wood, thanks to the quality Sandvik 7-inch blade, it's relatively lightweight weighing just 6.4oz. Considering what an effective and versatile cutting tool it has proven to be, I don't think that's too much of a weight to benefit trade off - at least not for me.
The Bahco Laplander is probably one of the most well known folding saws on the market. Popularized by Ray Mears, it has earned a reputation for being extremely rugged and reliable. Bushcrafters all over the world have adopted it as the their "standard" backpacking saw. From what I can tell, it's earned that reputation for good reason.
The Laplander saw utilizes a black coated Swedish steel blade made by Sandvik. The blade cuts through the toughest of wood with very little effort thanks largely to the coarse hardpoint XT7 toothing and the fact that, unlike a tradition hand saw, this blade cuts on both the push and the pull strokes. The blade length is just a touch over 7 inches according to my measurement with an overall saw length of 16 inches (9 inches closed). The blade length is referred to as a 7-inch blade and replacement blades are readily available online.
A particularly nice feature of the Bahco folding saw is the locking button mechanism. Many makes of folding saws have a way to lock the blade in the open position so that it doesn't accidentally close on you (and your fingers) during use. The Bahco Laplander's goes one step further with a locking button that also keeps the blade locked shut so that it can't accidentally pop open or catch on something in your pack.
To open the saw you hold down the green button and fold open the blade. Once the blade reaches the fully open position it will automatically lock into place. After use, hold down the green button so that the blade can be closed for safety. It will automatically lock into place when the blade is fully closed.
There is a very positive and definite "click" when the blade locks into position and there is no up and down or side to side movement in the blade once it is locked into place. It's a very firm lock up.
The handle is made from a strong plastic that has an army green colored rubberized coating called Santoprene. It provides a very positive non-slip grip surface along the entire length of the handle even when wet or wearing gloves.
My Laplander came with a length of leather cord looped through the lanyard hole and tied with a simple overhand knot. I've since replaced it with a length of Kelty Triptease which is much stronger and provides some reflective visibility in the dark if I happen to drop the saw or put it down somewhere and can't see it.
I'm going to keep using the saw to cut up my firewood and put it through its paces on a more long term field test. I'm curious to see how long the blade stays sharp with continued "average" use. I'll update my blog with my findings.
Overall, this is without a doubt the most efficient wood cutting tool I have. It weighs much less than my Gränsfors Bruks small forest axe (which is over 2lbs) and takes considerably less effort to cut with. I'd definitely recommend it to anyone who is looking for a light weight backpacking saw.
There are dozens of really good videos on YouTube showing the Bahco Laplander saw in use, but I'd highly recommend watching the one of Ray Mears splitting wood with a folding saw. It's a technique I wasn't familiar with but one that I am definitely itching to try out.
Do you carry a saw of any kind with you when you hike? If so, what type of saw do you carry and why?
Disclosure: The author owns this product and paid for it using their own funds.
Brian is a Charlotte based backpacker, gear junkie, runner, and CrossFit(er). Originally from Southampton, England, Brian has lived in the US for over 20 years, finally settling in North Carolina. He spends as much time backpacking as his busy work schedule and family life will allow.