Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Survival Gear #EpicFail + Good Alternatives

By Tim Gamble

#EpicFail - The Wire Saw (sometimes called a Commando Saw) 

A small, lightweight wire saw sounds like a great idea to include in survival kits and bug-out bags. They seem especially popular for small survival kits, such as Altoids tins, because of their compact size and light weight. I had one myself, but hadn't yet had a reason to use it. (Actually a mistake on my part - Always test your gear before you need it.)

But I remember one of the survival show hosts (Les Stroud maybe?) using one in an episode of his show, and the wire ring on one side pulled off with the first tug or two. After seeing that show, I decide to test mine out.

Although the wire rings didn't pull off mine, after only cutting two small pine branches (about 1/3 inch diameter each), the wire became so bent, twisted, and kinked up that I could not cut completely through a third branch with it. And there is no way to "straighten out" the bent-up wire of the saw, It was completely useless after just two small branches. #EpicFail 

My wire saw went into the trash, and I didn't buy another one. Still, a light-weight, compact saw sounds like a useful thing. So, I began my search for a good alternative, and actually found two possibilities. 

First up is the Laplander Folding Saw. It is too big for an Altoids tin, of course, but small enough to easily include in my bug-out bag without adding much weight (slightly less than a half-pound). Although it lives in my bug-out bag, I get it out often for small chores around the homestead (I'm careful to always put it back in the BoB). 

My Laplander Folding Saw

I've used my Laplander to easily handle branches up to 3 inches in diameter, and am sure it could handle bigger with a little effort. It is designed to cut wood, plastic, and bone. The teeth are arranged so that the saw cuts both ways - on the push and the pull. I consider it one of the most useful tools I own, and recently ordered a second one as a back-up. 

The second alternative I found is the survival pocket chain saw. Its a chain saw blade with two nylon hand straps, and comes with a pouch that can be worn on your belt. Also too big for an Altoids tin, it is still small & light enough (less than a half-pound) to easily carry in a bug-out bag, tackle box, or keep it in the glove compartment of your vehicle, You could even wear it on your belt as part of your EDC if you wanted too. 

The pocket chain saw works. I have cut down trees with it (see the photos), but it is quite a work-out. You need to be in excellent shape to use it often (but use it often and you will get in excellent shape quickly). Oh, and wear gloves!

The Big Lesson:
Always field test your gear before you need it. You never know when a good idea just doesn't work. 

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1 comment:

  1. I had one of those wire saws way back (30 yrs+)! Got it to trim around my tree stands! It broke quick! I've had a little folding saw like yours since then. Still cuts good! In my b.o.b., I carry a breakdown type of saw with wood, metal & bone blades! It's a Wyoming Saw!


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