NORDIC POCKET SAW
TEST SERIES BY NANCY GRIFFITH
July 14, 2017
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE LONG-TERM REPORT
Northern California, USA
5' 6" (1.68 m)
128 lb (58.10 kg)
My outdoor experience began in high school with a canoeing/camping group which made a 10-day voyage through the Quebec wilds. I've been backpacking since my college days in Pennsylvania. I have hiked all of the Appalachian Trail in Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina. My typical trip now is in the Sierra Nevada in California and is from a few days to a few weeks long. Over the past few years I have lowered my pack weight to a lightweight base weight of 15 lb (6.8 kg) while still using a tent, stove and quilt.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: Del Torri AB (of Sweden)
US Distributor: Sport Hansa LLC
Year of Manufacture: 2017
MSRP: $49 US
Listed Weight (saw only): 6.4 oz (131 g) - Note that this is an incorrect conversion but is quoted from the website.
Measured Weight (saw only): 4.7 oz (134 g)
Listed Weight (case only): 2.1 oz (60 g)
Measured Weight (case only): 2.0 oz (57 g)
Case Dimensions: 4.7 x 4.1 x 1.2 in (11.9 x 10.7 x 3.0 cm) - Verified as accurate
Color Tested: Orange
Other Colors Available: Green and Red
Made in China
The Nordic Pocket Saw is a manual chainsaw consisting of a 25.6 in (65 cm) length of 65Mn heat-treated high-carbon steel chain. The chain has 33 links with cutting teeth and one link on each end that is merely for attaching the handles.
Heavy-duty nylon handles are attached on each end of the chain with triangular steel brackets. The handles give a safe grip to operate the chain. The saw came in a plastic bag to cover the sharp chain. I plan to continue to use this for safe removal and insertion of the chain into the carrying case and to protect the case from chain lube.
A Cordura carrying case is included with the saw which has a loop for attaching to a belt and a hook-and-loop closure to secure the flap opening. The sides are elastic for easy expansion of the pocket.
INITIAL IMPRESSIONS & TRYING IT OUT
My initial impression was how small and lightweight this saw is. It comes in a very nice carrying/storage case which was small and light enough but when I opened the top flap and took out the saw itself, it was small enough to fit in the palm of my hand!
Based on the website, I expected something small and light, but I'm familiar with how heavy a replacement chain is for my power chain saw and was expecting something more along those lines. This saw is much lighter and smaller than that. Note that the website lists an incorrect conversion of the weight so the weight is even lighter than listed in English units. 131 grams is only 4.6 ounces.
Next I noticed how bright the orange handles are and am pleased with that. I chose the brightest color available so that I would be less likely to lose the saw in the woods if I leave it lying on the ground. Now that I see how small the saw is, I'm even happier that I chose orange and that the orange is a particularly bright hue.
Northern California had a wild and crazy winter this year with a lot of high winds and torrential rain. That combination caused many trees to uproot. Since our property contains hundreds of trees, we were lucky that the only ones now leaning or fallen are fairly small in diameter. So my first use of the saw was to see if I could easy fall one of the small pines that was leaning over.
I first found some safety glasses and gloves. I removed the saw from the carrying pouch and wrapped it around a 4 in (10 cm) diameter pine tree near the base. Gripping one strap handle in each hand, I began a slow sawing motion. The strap loop was large enough for me to fit my gloved hands inside the loop. I don't have big hands so I'm curious if much larger gloved hands than mine would fit in the loop handles.
It was amazingly ease to start sawing the tree and took about 50 strokes (back and forth being one stroke) before the chain was bound in the cut due to the weight of the leaning tree. This is typical of any chainsaw work though, and I was able to wedge the tree back upright to open the cut and free my chain. After another 10 strokes, the tree was cut through and carefully dropped. I then cut up the downed tree into multiple sections for removal to the burn pile. In total I'd estimate it only took about 15 minutes for the entire job.
READING THE INSTRUCTIONS
A small paper was included with the saw with safety warnings on one side and warranty information on the other side. The safety warnings include that that saw is sharp, is intended for two-handed use, should be used on wood only, the wood should be secured in place (or firmly rooted), proper eye and hand protection is needed, and the saw should not be used if damaged in any way. It is not for use by children.
Basically, it should be treated as a serious tool similar to a power chain saw and is not a toy.
There is a 5-year limited warranty covering defects in material or workmanship.
The website includes some care instructions such as to lubricate regularly with chain lube preceded by a thorough rinse with degreaser. The teeth can be sharpened when needed with a 4mm round file. Note that I am purposely not provided a conversion for the 4mm file since a 3/16 in file would be closest but would be too large.
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
I used the Nordic Pocket Saw on three backpacking trips, one car camping overnighter and on our property for thinning pines.
|Cutting dead limbs|
Marble/Cottonwood Canyons, Death Valley National Park, California: 4 days, 21 mi (34 km); 1,167 to 4,680 ft (356 to 1,426 m) elevation; 52 to 90 F (11 to 32 C). Partly cloudy with breezy conditions. This trip included a car camping overnight.
Shadow Lake, Sierra Nevada, California: overnight trip of 10 mi (16 km); 6,327 to 7,264 ft (1,928 to 2,214 m); 28 to 52 F (-2 to 11 C); sunny and clear; 10 to 15 ft (3 to 4.6 m) snow depth
Pacific Crest Trail, Section F, Southern California: 6 days; 85.5 mi (138 km); 3,773 to 7,003 ft (1,150 to 2,135 m); 29 to 87 F (-2 to 31 C); clear sunny skies to dense 'raining' fog to snow to howling winds.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
|Lying on ground with cut tree|
I started my testing on our property where we have several sections of small pines that could use a thinning to allow the larger pines to thrive. I cut several small pines by looping the chain around the tree near the base. Then I slowly pulled back and forth on the straps until I started a groove and had a comfortable position. After that it was all a workout to cut completely through the tree. As I got to the end I needed to be careful to not allow the chain to pinch. Much of this rested on how well I estimated where to start the initial groove based on how the tree would lean and fall. Anyway I had varied success with my estimating and at times got the saw completely pinched. This required some acrobatics to lift the mostly cut tree to release the chain and to work the chain free.
|Hanging in Tree|
At times my husband and I tried to saw in tandem with each of us holding onto one strap. This also had mixed results. At first it didn't seem to work well as if the chain preferred to cut while looped rather than at a straighter angle. The efficiency of the cutting seemed to be lost with the straight-across cutting angle. But on the snow backpacking trip we tried it again on certain dead branches and it worked out much more easily than with one person. On this snow trip there was approximately 15 ft (5 m) of snow on the ground so the lower dead branches of the very large pines were hanging down to where we could easily reach them. This made firewood gathering a breeze!
On the Death Valley trip the terrain was mostly desert scrub and fires were prohibited so we were not able to cut firewood. However, while car camping in the nearby desert we were able to use the saw on our own firewood that we carried in to get some smaller pieces. This required getting a good hold on the piece and using feet to wedge it away from myself while cutting.
Lastly on the PCT section there was also a lot of desert area with no fires allowed, so we were only able to use the saw in one location that was a fire safe zone. There were larger trees and vegetation here so we were able to find a small amount of dead wood for a small fire. There were many blowdowns across the trail where some serious power equipment would have been in order, but I cut a few small sections just for practice and a chance to use the saw.
I found it most comfortable to insert my gloved hands into the straps and use that leverage to assist with my cutting. If I just tried to hold onto the strap (without wrapping the loop around) then the straps could be slippery in my hand or glove and hard to get a good grip on for cutting. While my gloved hand fit find inside the loop, I have fairly small hands and can see that any hands much larger than mine might have some trouble with this technique. I had my husband try to insert his gloved hands into the strap and he was only able to get his fingers in rather than his entire hand like I can. However, he still felt like he had a good grip on the strap.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
With the summer season upon us the fire restrictions went into place making wood fires illegal. I still used the saw for trail clearing on local trails and thinning trees on our own property. I also did one snowshoe hike early in the test period using the saw to cut firewood.
|Cutting dead limbs|
Rubicon Trail, Sierra Nevada, California: 5.3 mi (8.5 km); 6,200 to 7,000 ft (1,890 to 2,134 m); 75 to 80 F (24 to 27 C); clear sunny conditions
Auburn Recreation Area, Sierra Nevada Foothills, California: Multiple hikes from 2 mi to 4.5 mi (3 to 7 km); 500 to 1,500 ft (150 to 450 m) elevation; 55 to 75 F (13 to 24 C); mostly clear to partly cloudy conditions
Van Vleck Trail, Loon Lake, Sierra Nevada, California: 6.1 mi (10 km); 6,327 to 6,510 ft (1,928 to 1,984 m); 52 F (11 C); spring snow conditions
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
The saw continues to be a very handy tool where power tools are either prohibited or difficult to carry to the needed location. I really like the convenient carrying case for hanging on a belt if I'm using the saw quite often. This is nice when there are a lot of small blowdowns and when I'd rather not take off my pack to dig out the saw.
The power of the saw is tremendous for its small size...well, it would be more tremendous if I had the stamina to put behind it. It can be quite a workout to cut through small trees but is reasonably quick and easy for such a compact saw package. It works easily on tree limbs and branches for preparing camp fires.
The bright color of the straps has saved me (or should I say, saved the saw from being lost) on a few occasions. I'm very happy that I chose a bright color. I completely lost the saw one time when it was in its black pouch. It was in the garage and had gotten pushed off into a laundry basket. I searched the yard endlessly in case it was outside. Then I was convinced that it had been in the garage and gotten pushed into the trash can (and dumped). I was devastated but ready to buy another when I looked on the OTHER side and found it. Yay!
I stored the saw in the plastic bag inside the black pouch so that the chain lube wouldn't foul up the pouch or the saw handles. Everything stayed nice and clean in this arrangement. It seemed safer to pull the saw out of the pouch in the plastic rather than risk touching those sharp points directly. When I was at home I wore leather work gloves when using the saw but in the field, I didn't have gloves with me so I used the saw without gloves. With a limited amount of sawing just for firewood or to clear a small blowdown, I didn't develop any blisters. At home, I wore safety glasses and in the field, I wore sunglasses for eye protection.
Overall the Nordic Pocket Saw is quite a handy tool to use for clearing small trees, cutting trail blowdowns and preparing firewood.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2017. All rights reserved.
Easy to use
Tight fit with a large gloved hand in the handle straps
That concludes my Long-Term Report and this test series. Thanks to Sport Hansa LLC and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test out this product.
Read more reviews of Nordic Pocket Saw gear
Read more gear reviews by Nancy Griffith