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Old 03-23-2012, 07:10   #1
Lindenwood
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Backpacking / Bikepacking / Kayakpacking... Saw or chop or baton?

As the title states, I am wondering your take on how I should go about chopping wood while out bikepacking and such.

I currently juat baton with my knives (both are a bit under 4") with reasonable results. I was just wondering if I should bother carrying some sort of camp saw or small fixed shovel to chop with, or if batoning will give me the best results for the hassle of packing the extra tool?

Keep in mind space is limited and weight is a concern.

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Old 03-23-2012, 07:15   #2
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Most of the small folding saws on the market are a waist of time for firewood. Best bet is to get a small general purpose hatchet if you are cutting a fair amount. If we are talking just a little bit a good 5inch or bigger fixed blade knife does the job well to.

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Old 03-23-2012, 11:19   #3
Lindenwood
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Hmm okay. I will try batoning again for a while and if that doesnt work I will start thinking about packing my camp axe along! I only recently got into this primitive camping so I have never had to fully rely on just a knife for cutting down wood! It worked okay for what we had to do.
Would a Machete be worth considering?

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Old 04-01-2012, 01:25   #4
duncan
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For backpacking, only this:

Hunting, Fishing & Camping

I add a folding saw if I can carry more weight.

If car camping, the hatchet.
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Old 04-01-2012, 11:49   #5
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Originally Posted by bikerdog View Post
Most of the small folding saws on the market are a waist of time for firewood. Best bet is to get a small general purpose hatchet if you are cutting a fair amount. If we are talking just a little bit a good 5inch or bigger fixed blade knife does the job well to.

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I respectfully disagree

I have done a fair amount of back woods hiking and I would say a hatchet is most often a liability.

First they are fairly heavy.

Second the potential to seriously hurt yourself is very real with any chopping tool. It is much harder to have a saw glance off of a piece of wood and get cutting into the hand/foot/leg of the user.

I am a little unclear why you would need a saw or a hatchet to cut wood while backpacking anyway. What are you making or what kind of fire are you planning?

In my experience a good fixed blade knife and good stick is more then enough. Stick to to sticks that are about thumb thick and you will be fine.

However I am still unclear why you are making a bunch of fires anyway. When I go into the back woods I do all my cooking with this type of stove...

Hunting, Fishing & Camping

It works like a Blacksmith forge. It blows hot air through the coals from the beneath them. It is incredible hot. There is a fan so you can control how fast the fan blows the air this gives pretty good heat control. I have modified mine to be lighter and stronger then the one pictured above. I mostly burn stick and pine cones. It is super hot and when you consider the weight saving of a stove and fuel it is pretty amazing.
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Old 04-01-2012, 12:09   #6
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Originally Posted by Gokyo View Post
I respectfully disagree

I have done a fair amount of back woods hiking and I would say a hatchet is most often a liability.

First they are fairly heavy.

Second the potential to seriously hurt yourself is very real with any chopping tool. It is much harder to have a saw glance off of a piece of wood and get cutting into the hand/foot/leg of the user.

I am a little unclear why you would need a saw or a hatchet to cut wood while backpacking anyway. What are you making or what kind of fire are you planning?

In my experience a good fixed blade knife and good stick is more then enough. Stick to to sticks that are about thumb thick and you will be fine.

However I am still unclear why you are making a bunch of fires anyway. When I go into the back woods I do all my cooking with this type of stove...

Hunting, Fishing & Camping

It works like a Blacksmith forge. It blows hot air through the coals from the beneath them. It is incredible hot. There is a fan so you can control how fast the fan blows the air this gives pretty good heat control. I have modified mine to be lighter and stronger then the one pictured above. I mostly burn stick and pine cones. It is super hot and when you consider the weight saving of a stove and fuel it is pretty amazing.
Wouldn't a Dakota firehole with invection heating be easier for packing a lot of stuff? An e-tool and some kindling a firewood, and you can acheive the same thing.
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Old 04-01-2012, 14:12   #7
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Originally Posted by Kingarthurhk View Post
Wouldn't a Dakota firehole with invection heating be easier for packing a lot of stuff? An e-tool and some kindling a firewood, and you can acheive the same thing.
My mess kit plus the stove weighs less then 1 e-tool.

My cook kit uses far less wood then you would need for any fire pit. I can boil a quart of water with about 8-10 small fir cones. Or about the 2 hand fulls of twigs and sticks depending on the type of wood.

Many of the place I hike open fires are restricted. The Sierra stove is not considered an open fire. Pretty sure a fire pit would be considered an open fire.

Also forest fires can be started by burning roots that smolder.
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Old 04-01-2012, 14:25   #8
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I just burn it to length.
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Old 04-02-2012, 04:50   #9
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Depends on what you are cutting. But since you mention weight and size, have you looked at a pullsaw or a gatorswa ? I carry one of these around to cut trees limb for camp fire upto 6" in dia. I guess I could cut bigger limbs but they are typically higher up and requires some extra height. For my area, the small oak or tree limbs that have fell from previous years, either a gatorsaw or japan style pullsaw is all that you need.

I can carry either one of these in a pack with no real extra weight.


fwiw: Things that swing are heavy by design inorder to do the work required out of it. Japaneese pullsaw are the opposite, cuts on a pull, slim and lite in nature and design.

Now just don't try to fall a California Red Oak tree with one of these saw
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Old 04-02-2012, 09:14   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lindenwood View Post
As the title states, I am wondering your take on how I should go about chopping wood while out bikepacking and such.
What size fire are you talking about and what are you doing with that fire?
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Old 04-02-2012, 14:04   #11
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I've camped for years without ever needing a hatchet or saw. Three methods for making wood the length you need:
1. Put one end of log on a rock, log or other and jump on it.
2. Put one end of log on a rock, log or other and pick up the biggest boulder you can heft and drop it on the log you want to sever.
3. Put the whole long dead log on the fire and burn it through.
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Old 04-02-2012, 20:25   #12
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That's only good if you have wood on the ground. How about cutting some tree limbs down or cutting off some dead tree that's fell over? I wish I could find a rock or boulder in SEFLA
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Old 04-04-2012, 17:31   #13
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You can easily break off wood up to the size of your forearm--ok bicep if you are a girly man--by taking the branch and putting it in a forked tree about chest high and just apply pressure. If its seasoned wood it will break right where you want it to with only a little leverage and very safely with very little energy on your part.

I taught wilderness survival for three summmers straight and in no case did we ever need a saw or hatchet to make a fire or keep it going. If you have logs too big around to break just feed them into the fire as they burn.

People make way too big a deal out of chopping wood, batoning wood (REALLY dumb idea) etc.
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Old 04-04-2012, 18:22   #14
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People make way too big a deal out of chopping wood, batoning wood (REALLY dumb idea) etc.
So true. When people talk about knives and the outdoors they go to batoning etc.

I cook my food on a canister stove - Soto od1 handles the cold well.

Bantoning, chopping not worth the danger out in the woods.
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Old 04-04-2012, 20:38   #15
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for backpacking, a small hatchet goes a long ways. for kayaking, I usually take both a larger ax and a camp saw since weight is less important. as far as bike trips, heck if I know.
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Old 04-04-2012, 22:20   #16
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Originally Posted by duncan View Post
For backpacking, only this:

Hunting, Fishing & Camping

I add a folding saw if I can carry more weight.

If car camping, the hatchet.
Personally, I find those wire saws pretty lacking when you actually need to cut something.

An actual camp chain saw brings the camp saw it a whole new level.
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Old 04-06-2012, 12:47   #17
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I have been wanting one of those hand chainsaws. I watched a Youtube video and you can work pretty fast with them. You could easily have a downed 6"-8" tree into logs pretty quick.
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Old 04-08-2012, 09:06   #18
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traveling light, you find the need to build a big fire? crazy! i backpack in for deer hunts. my load is much to heavy already with the bow hunting gear. there is no way, i am bringing a hatchet. i have never needed a fire bigger than anything i can build with what i can gather.

car camping, i'll have a chainsaw
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Old 04-20-2012, 13:55   #19
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Please don't go crazy with batoning and saws. I see so many guys who go the Nutnfancy route, and think they need a 18 inch bow saw and a 14" 2lb survival knife.

How long is the trip and where are you going?

Personally I'm handy with a hatchet. I have a few but the best for backpacking for me so far is the Kershaw camping hatchet. Its less than a pound (14oz), yet unlike fiskar/gerber crap its full metal. They can be had for $30. I like hatchets because I can use the other end as a hammer, for driving tent stakes.

Hunting, Fishing & Camping

If your not comfortable with a hatchet just get a good full tang knife. The becker knives are nice. Glock knives are a cheap, lightweight option.

Then I just bring a folding saw. They are not the best for cutting down a 30 foot standing deadwood tree, but seriously you don't need to. Seriously I shake my head sometimes. Gather firewood, it good for the woods. Don't go around chopping down standing trees that may, or may not be dead.

That is the other thing. I need a saw, and a 14" knife for camping. I need an EDC knife to open packages.

Be a man. You can open a package with your freakin' hands. Guess what, you will be suprised what you can do with your bare hands with wood processing. Break stick and small limbs with your hands, bigger one with a good stomp of your foot. You can use a "Y" of two large limbs and with leverage you can break down even bigger limbs. You want to split a log, Drop it on a large jagged boulder a few times.
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Old 04-20-2012, 14:33   #20
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Man, some of you sound like your fixin to build a log cabin on these outings ! haha.

Leverage amigo's, as some have mentioned. Leverage and muscle is all ya need. There's plenty of bigger stuff layin around if ya need it throw one end of it on the 'exsisting fire'.

Ya don't need a bon fire to cook a sage grouse !





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Old 04-20-2012, 18:12   #21
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I hate to tell you, but most wilderness areas in the Southwest have long banned open fires. No responsible backpacker (and by that I mean someone who goes deep into the back-country regularly, bot a car camper) would build a camp fire if his/her life depended on it. It is just not ethical in this day and age.

There are plenty of high-tech stoves to be bought everywhere.
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Old 04-20-2012, 18:34   #22
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A single stick of dynamite will create fire and splinter wood, two will feed you all the fish you can eat in a month.
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Old 04-30-2012, 20:00   #23
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I donít start a fire unless I am wet and cold hiking. Some people along the AT fire some donít if you do you need to be careful with it. Have a ring, a way to put it out, and so on. I donít want a fire going that freaking long so I donít really worry about the big stuff.

My rule of thumb is if you canít break it it probably isnít going to burn well. So I donít saw or cut I break. Get enough to burn no more than an hour or two at the most. Smaller is better.
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