It’s not the lightest or most compact folding saw around, and nor is it the most versatile blade profile, but if you’re processing lots of dead, dry wood for your campfire, then this is a great choice.
Longer blade can handle larger branches
Locks in open and closed positions
Blade rarely clogs
Comes with nylon storage sheath
Slightly slower cutting speed than other saws
Coarser blade doesn’t cut as cleanly as some
Not as light or compact as other folding saws
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SOG folding saw: first impressions
The SOG folding saw comes from a brand with a reputation for producing specialist hunting, survival and military-tactical equipment, so you might not immediately think of SOG when looking for tools to add to your camping checklist. But actually, in our recent review of the best camping knives we were very impressed with the brand’s Terminus Slipjoint, so we were understandably keen to get our hands on their folding wood saw.
This is a well-priced tool that undercuts a lot of other folding saws on the market. It still feels like a quality product, though – you get an 8-inch powder-coated carbon steel blade and a two-part handle with a pressed steel hinge and a hard nylon grip, which features molded grooves and channels. The lever lock and blade pivot incorporate plastic parts but feel fairly robust. The pivot bolt’s plastic fastener also enables the blade to be disassembled for cleaning, oiling or replacement without the need for to go looking for the screwdriver attachment on your multitool, which is convenient.
The straight blade has coarse peg teeth primarily designed to rip through dry deadwood or seasoned timber. That black powder-coated finish will help it to resist corrosion too, though such a coating is unlikely to be as durable as metal-based treatments (like the nickel and tin compound used by Silky).
But how did it fare under test conditions for our best camping saw buying guide? Read on…
• RRP: $20 (US) / £23 (UK)
• Weight: 267g / 9.4oz
• Blade length: 20cm / 8in
• Overall length: 44cm / 17.5in
• Closed length: 24cm / 9.5in
• Teeth per inch: 5
• Blade: Powder-coated carbon steel
• Lanyard: Nylon
SOG folding saw: in the field
The long, thin blade and coarser teeth of this saw look like they’ll rip quickly through most branches and even small logs. But while it’s true that it can deal with bigger pieces of wood than smaller saws, in general we found it was slightly harder work.
We put that down to the saw’s peg-tooth blade, which didn’t bite as cleanly or efficiently as blades with triple-ground teeth. The thin blade stock can also wobble around sometimes. On the other hand, the larger teeth mean the blade rarely clogs, which is a plus.
In fairness this saw also works pretty well when ripping through seasoned timber or deadwood – which is the kind of stuff you’ll likely be dealing with on camp, rather than cutting freshly felled greenwood. It’s perhaps not the best saw to use if you’re doing a lot of pruning work or clearing choked or overgrown trails and footpaths though.
Otherwise, it held up well and feels decently made for the price, though the hard plastic handle is not as comfortable as those with rubberized grips. The handle is also straighter in design than the more pronounced curve of many other folding saws, which, together with the longer length, makes it slightly more awkward to work in tighter spaces.
The flipside is that if you’ve got plenty of space in camp, it does give more leverage when sawing. It’s also worth noting that the blade will also actually open beyond the vertical, and although it doesn’t lock in this position, this can occasionally be handy, particularly if you’re cutting branches that are low to the ground.
Lastly, we appreciated the fact that this saw comes with a nylon storage sheath, and that unlike with many folding saws, it locks in both open and closed positions too. The blade snaps crisply away into the handle, leaving no exposed points or teeth.
It is a little heavier and bulkier than many other folding saws, but the flipside is a longer blade length that will enable you to deal with larger diameter branches up to 4.5 or even 5 inches (12cm) at a push.
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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