Hiking is hard work. And so is collecting firewood. Wouldn’t it be nice if cutting firewood was easy? Well, it is, if you get yourself one of TrailBlazer’s awesome Sawvivor backpacking saws.
The Sawvivor is, hands down, the lightest and most compact usable backpacking saw available. Yes, I know that flexible wire saws are lighter and easier to store, but they’re mostly useless except in an emergency.
Not only is the Sawvivor usable, but as far as I’m concerned, it outperforms its closest competitor (the Sven saw). While the Sven Saw is a great item, it’s heavier, a bit more expensive, and it doesn’t allow you to cut larger pieces of wood as quickly as TrailBlazer’s Sawvivor does.
Quality without a high price
The Sawvivor isn’t expensive. I may be wrong, but I think Trailblazer made a conscious decision to sell their backpacking saws for just a bit less than the number one competitor, the Sven Saw. Competition is good; it’s how we get improved designs at a price that won’t make you hesitate to pick one up for your next trip into the wilderness.
Not only is the design superior, but the price can’t be beat. What more could you ask for? Read on and I’ll tell you…
Earlier, I described the Sawvivor as ‘usable’. Here’s what I mean…
Since the frame holds the blade a constant distance away (5 inches), you can cut through a branch using the entire length of the saw blade. This is in contrast to lots of competing designs which shorten the usable length of the blade just to save on material.
The Sven saw works well; it’s been around forever. But who says you can’t invent a better mousetrap? Because of its trapezoidal shape, Sawvivor chews through thick branches faster than the Sven simply because you can use a full-length stroke. Its competitor’s design only lets you use a full stroke for branches with a small enough diameter not to bump into the low part of the triangular frame.
Better yet, Sawvivor makes it easy to do two-handed sawing jobs. You can really bear down and get your weight into play with this sort of design. Instead of “letting the saw do the work”, you’re able to lean on it and help Sawvivor’s aggressive teeth go through dead wood like a lightsaber.
If you’re only familiar with older backpacking saw designs, you’re in for a treat. The length of stroke and ultra-aggressive tooth shape means sawdust will pile up faster than you’d have thought possible.
Small and featherweight when stored in your pack
- Light weight – Only 9.5 ounces. Are you kidding me? Other than flexible saws, there’s nothing lighter.
- Compact storage configuration – Folds up to only 3 inches wide. Length depends on saw blade length, either 15 inches or 18 inches depending on which size saw you have.
- No sharp edges – This won’t poke holes in your pack or tear up your gear. Store the saw blade(s) in the aluminum frame.
- No corrosion – Anodized aluminum frame and stainless steel rivets mean you don’t worry about getting rust spots on the gear in your pack. Of course, you have to keep the saw blade coated with wax or oil if you travel in wet conditions, but since it stores in the frame it remains protected.
- Super-fast assembly – It flips open and closed. It’s a snap to attach the blade. The blade tension is set automatically. Best of all, it is easy to do while wearing gloves. Unlike some competing collapsible saws, there are no loose parts to fumble around with during assembly or disassembly.
Different blades for different uses
TrailBlazer makes three blades to fit your Sawvivor collapsible saw. It ships with the wood-cutting blade that’s perfect for cross-cutting branches and small logs. Other blades for cutting metal or dressing game are sold separately.
If you plan to use the saw throughout the day, they also sell an inexpensive plastic blade guard that protects the saw teeth (and whatever the teeth happen to come into contact with). This means you don’t have to repeatedly assemble then fold up the saw just to keep it safe.
Wood cutting blade
Sawvivor’s wood cutting blade is fantastic. I can’t say enough about how easy it makes it to cut through branches that I previously would have passed by.
The teeth have a fairly aggressive kerf which means you won’t have to deal with the blade binding in wet wood. Large rounded gaps in the pattern do a great job of clearing sawdust out of the cut. This is called a ‘raker tooth’ blade, and it’s the best tooth configuration for cutting green wood, wet wood, or wood that’s full of sticky sap. Of course, it also works well on seasoned, dry wood. Some competing saws use a ‘peg tooth’ design which is fine for sawing dry, dead wood, but inefficient for other types of wood.
Since the Sawvivor automatically keeps the blade at the correct tension, you can bear down hard during the cut. The speed you get is unmatched in other designs.
Metal cutting blade and Bone-cutting blade
I don’t have personal experience with these blades, as they’re sold separately. But because Sawvivor has room to store more than one blade within the frame, you have the option of turning this excellent backpacking saw into a multi-purpose tool that cuts metal and can even be used to field-dress a deer. The versatile design gives you the sense that TrailBlazer’s engineers thought of everything.
Get it before your next camping trip (or just to have in the car)
If you go backpacking, you need one of these. And if you don’t, get one anyway so you’re prepared for emergencies.