It’s easy to see why this little folding saw is both popular with weekend bushcrafters and professional arborists alike. It’s compact and lightweight yet has impressive cutting power for its size, cutting quickly thanks to a blade that is designed to bite in both directions.
- • Cuts in both directions
- • Locks open and closed
- • Supplied with leather lanyard
- • Locking button occasionally jams
- • No pouch or carry case supplied
Bahco Laplander: first impressions
The Bahco Laplander comes from a long-established and highly regarded manufacturer of hand tools, so you’d expect it to feel like a well-built, high-quality saw. It doesn’t disappoint, despite its very affordable price point.
It has a straight-edged Swedish Sandvik steel blade, finished with a black low-friction coating that helps the blade to glide through even knotty or sappy wood. This finish also protects the steel from corrosion and staining.
The handle is a two-part design with a nylon frame and integrated liners, overlaid with a rubberized plastic grip, ergonomically shaped for comfort in use. The grip has molded grooves to help minimize slippage, even when working in humid or damp conditions (see also: How to camp in the rain: 10 tips for expeditions in wet conditions).
The end of the handle also has a lanyard hole, and the Laplander is supplied with a long leather thong. This ensures the Laplander is easy to pull out of the pocket of your best hiking shorts or best daypack, and also means you can hang it from a branch or hook in camp, minimizing the chances of losing it in the undergrowth. That’s perhaps just as well, since the muted black and forest green colorway doesn’t make for great visibility – though bushcrafters might appreciate the subdued, natural look of this understated tool.
The blade folds away fully into the handle, leaving no sharp protruding teeth or point. It pivots on an adjustable bolt with a dual Phillips flat-head fitting. This ensures the blade can easily be disassembled for replacement, cleaning or oiling. A simple press button locks the blade in both open and closed positions. The fact that the blade locks closed is a plus for safety but does mean it’s slower to deploy compared to some rival saws.
But how did it fare under test conditions for our best camping saw buying guide? Read on…
• RRP: $30 (US) / £25 (UK)
• Weight: 193g / 6.8oz
• Blade length: 19cm / 7.5in
• Overall length: 40cm / 16in
• Closed length: 23cm / 9in
• Teeth per inch: 7
• Blade: Coated Swedish Sandvik steel
• Lanyard: Leather
Bahco Laplander: in the field
On camp, we found the Laplander’s blade to be well adapted for cutting small logs and branches of up to about four inches in diameter. It also cuts remarkably quickly, since it utilizes Bahco’s XT hardpoint toothing, with seven teeth per inch (TPI). This tooth profile cuts in both directions – on the push stroke as well as the pull stroke – which makes this a fast-cutting saw whether you’re dealing with freshly felled greenwood, seasoned timber or deadwood (do you know the best trees for firewood?).
The curved grip is comfortable to hold too, giving plenty of space and clearance for the hand. And the extended handle is slightly longer than many comparable saws, which allows for greater leverage, especially if cutting branches at shoulder height or even above the head.
In fact, there’s very little not to like about this well-designed tool. The only thing we would say is that the button lock is not the easiest to depress, being particularly stiff when new. When it came down to convenience and speed of deployment, we generally preferred the lever-style lock used by most other saws of this type. On the other hand, Bahco’s design is arguably a bit safer, particularly since the button locks the saw blade closed in the folded position as well as when the blade is fully opened.
All in all, it’s a versatile saw, and using the Laplander soon made it apparent just why it’s such a popular choice amongst campers and bushcrafters, as well as professional arborists. However, we reckon it would work almost as well for hunting and game preparation, as well as for general pruning work in your yard or garden. At this price, you can hardly go wrong however and wherever you put it to task.
An outdoors writer and editor, Matt Jones has been testing kit in the field for nearly a decade. Having worked for both the Ramblers and the Scouts, he knows one or two things about walking and camping, and loves all things adventure, particularly long-distance backpacking, wild camping and climbing mountains – especially in Wales. He’s based in Snowdonia and last year thru-hiked the Cambrian Way, which runs for 298 miles from Cardiff to Conwy, with a total ascent of 73,700 feet – that’s nearly 2½ times the height of Everest. Follow Matt on Instagram and Twitter.
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