|Guest - Not logged in|
Reviews > Knives > Saws > Nordic Pocket Saw > Test Report by Andrea Murland
I began hiking frequently in 2006 and have since hiked in Western Canada, Australia, and spent 2 months backpacking in the Alps. I spend most weekends either day-hiking or on 2-3 day backpacking trips, with some longer trips when I can manage them. I also snowshoe and ski in the winter, but don’t have a lot of experience with winter in the backcountry yet. Elevation is typically 500-3,000 m (1,600-10,000 ft), in the Canadian Rockies and the Selkirk, Purcell, and Monashee ranges. I try for a light pack, but I don’t consider myself a lightweight backpacker.
Description & Initial Impressions
The saw came with a Cordura nylon carrying case as well. The front and back of the case are very stiff and the sides are a more flexible and slightly stretchy material. The front of the case has the manufacturer’s logo while the back has a loop that I could pass a belt or something through.
Although the pocket saw didn’t come with any instructions, a quick flick through the website and I found a video demonstrating its use. It’s quite self-explanatory…just saw back and forth. What the saw did arrive with was some safety information, which can be summed up as “it’s sharp, it’s a tool not a toy, only use on wood, wear proper equipment”. Basically, treat it like a saw.
Trying It OutI took the saw outside and found a dead branch on a tree in some nearby woods. The branch was about 5 cm (2 in) thick. I had to saw down and at an angle due to the position of the branch. The chain rapidly bit into the branch and started to make a groove. About halfway through the branch the chain started to bind a bit if I didn’t keep a consistent angle, but it was easy to get it unstuck and keep going by changing the angle slightly. It took me a couple of minutes to saw through the branch, but the saw certainly worked!
SummarySo far this saw looks like the perfect lightweight solution to carrying a wood cutting tool. I am looking forward to it being a part of my Search & Rescue pack for the next few months and helping me make fires while camping.
Field ConditionsI have had the opportunity to use the saw a number of times during the past two months. The first place I took it was on a two-night hut-based snowshoeing trip. Temperatures hovered right around freezing, and we hiked distances between 13.5 and 17 km (8.4 to 10.6 mi). I carried the saw in an outside pocket on my pack and used it for trail clearing. The remainder of my use of the saw was on various Search & Rescue (SAR) training exercises. There were two evening practices where I (or one of my teammates) used the saw for a few minutes to clear a few branches that were in our way. Additionally, there was an overnight training event that included shelter and fire building, and I used the saw extensively that night to gather wood for our fire. The hike that night was about 5 km (3.1 mi) and temperatures were just above freezing.
ObservationsThe Nordic Pocket Saw has worked well for me. I have found that it is a bit easier to use with wood that’s already on the ground than with attached branches, but it has worked fine for both. When sawing wood on the ground, I can pull upwards on the handles, but when sawing branches I end up pulling downwards or at an angle. I don’t seem to be able to put as much pressure on the saw in these positions, so it takes a bit longer to saw through. Some other folks who have tried the saw (it gets passed around a bit at SAR training) have been faster with it, so I blame my weak arms for that! The handles are fairly comfortable, though if I’m exerting a lot of force, they can dig into my hands a bit, especially if I’m not wearing gloves.
I have noted that about 3/4 of the way through a cut from the bottom of a log, the saw gets pinched. So far I haven’t had any trouble getting it free, and I have been able to carry on and finish sawing to the point where the log will break. However, it is a bit inconvenient to have to wrestle the chain out of the groove. The pinching was less pronounced when sawing from the top.
The saw is easy to store and carry. After use, I can easily fold it in half and then let it coil into the case. The saw is easy to pull out of the storage case. A few times the chain has been coiled in a ring when I’ve gone to use it, but a quick and careful adjustment of the chain has unlooped it. I have carried the saw in one of the water bottle pockets of my SAR pack and it fits perfectly there. It’s easily accessible and doesn’t take up any space devoted to any other gear.
So far, the durability looks fine. The case is pristine, and the chain is just a bit dusty.
SummaryThe Nordic Pocket Saw is working well for me and has been an excellent addition to my Search & Rescue pack. I look forward to putting it to more use in the coming months as weather warms up, and experimenting with methods to keep the chain from pinching, as this is the only challenge I’ve encountered so far.
Field ConditionsSince my Field Report, I have carried the Nordic Pocket Saw on an additional five day hikes, a three-day backpacking trip, and an overnight hike. On all of the hikes, conditions were dry and warm. I carried the saw in the side pocket of my pack on the multi-day trips, and on day hikes it was in the lid pocket of my pack. All of my use of the saw during the past two months has been to clear deadfall from the trail. Due to a fire ban, campfires haven’t been permitted, so I haven’t had a need to do any gathering of wood.
While not using it for hiking, I stored the saw my in Search & Rescue pack in my vehicle.
ObservationsAll of the deadfall that I tried to use the saw on during the past two months was angled across the trail. That meant an initial cut at waist to shoulder height, requiring me to pull the saw downwards and at an angle. In all cases, the saw started to get stuck when around halfway through the cut. I’m not sure if it was due to the bend radius of the saw decreasing as the cut progressed, as even if I tried to keep that radius large to continue the cut, it would still stick. Sometimes it was difficult to get the saw back out of the cut, requiring quite a lot of wiggling of the chain. On one occasion I actually had to pry the saw out of the cut one link at a time with my fingers, which didn’t seem like it met the guidelines for safe use! I never actually finished any of the cuts I started, eventually giving up on clearing the deadfall and carrying on with my hike.
Storage of the saw continues to be easy. I got better at uncoiling the saw during the past two months, and I haven’t had to do much unlooping of the chain manually.
Durability continues to be good. The chain has a bit of wood on it, but otherwise is as good as new. I did give it a quick wipe with a rag once to clean it.
SummaryTesting the Nordic Pocket Saw has been very interesting for me! I found that it was easiest to use on deadfall that way fully lying on the ground where I could pull up on the handles. This makes the saw most useful to me for gathering firewood. While trying to clear deadfall sitting at an angle across trails, I usually failed to complete the cut due to the saw getting stuck. I will continue to carry the Nordic Pocket Saw in my Search & Rescue pack, but probably will rarely carry it for recreational hiking.
Compact & Lightweight
Cuts well when able to pull upwards
Pinches in cut
Thanks to Del Torri AB and BackpackGearTest.org for the chance to test this compact saw.
Read more reviews of Nordic Pocket Saw gear
Read more gear reviews by Andrea Murland
Reviews > Knives > Saws > Nordic Pocket Saw > Test Report by Andrea Murland
If you are an avid backpacker, we are always looking for enthusiastic, quality reviewers. Apply here to be a gear tester.