When Paul Bunyan set off across the country, his ax was so large it supposedly carved the Grand Canyon when he drug it behind him. Now, in a modern age of innovation and wonder, such a large tool seems unnecessary, especially on the trail. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t carve your own Grand Canyon, or at least make some kindling.
Folding saws are affordable, effective and lightweight. They are perfect for slicing through smaller pieces of wood where larger saws are unnecessary. Look for saws that have a decent locking blade, like the Bahco Laplander whose blade locks in both the open and closed positions, so it doesn’t accidentally pop open and slice through your bag and into your blue ox.
Collapsible saws are typically heavier than folding saws, but have two distinct advantages. First, collapsible saws often use standard hacksaw blades which means you can replace the blade or interchange blades to suit cutting styles. Secondly, a collapsible saw allows you to grip with two hands for double the sawing power.
Don’t be confused by the name, a pocket chainsaw is not a tiny version of a normal chainsaw. Instead, manufacturers like Ultimate Survival Technologies remove the unnecessary and bulky engine, handle, safety features, gas reservoir and oil filter to leave only the blade. Two nylon handles are attached so you can heave and ho your way through thick limbs using an arm motion not unlike that achieved with an elliptical machine, or Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em robot.
You might expect to see a lightweight hatchet, or similarly responsible chopping device here. But, it’s hard to imagine anyone who would rather have a lightweight hatchet than a lightweight Vietnam Tomahawk. Weighing just over 19 ounces, the VT isn’t exactly light, but it is suitable for hacking up some kindling or dispatching assassins.
Knife and Stick
If you’re stuck without the proper tools of the trade, you can use your regular knife and a heavy stick to hammer your way through thick limbs and branches. Simple set the blade at the place you want to cut and pound the back with a heavy stick until the blade forces its way through the wood.