By R. Maxine Lundquist
Pocket chainsaws are just about the handiest idea to come along for campers and hikers since the invention of the backpack. They are light, easy to pack away and come in handy for emergencies or if you just want to leave the gas-powered chainsaw at home.
The Chainmate Survival Pocket Chainsaw is a very popular one. Priced very reasonably at about ten dollars for a 24″ chain and about twenty-three dollars for a 48″ chain, it has carbon-steel teeth and a handy pouch for packing it away in. Looping the handles around your wrists enable you to use your arms rather than your hands.
Another one worth looking at is Supreme Products Pocket Chainsaw. It’s made of heat-treated, high strength steel, is coated for rust resistance, and comes in a really, really handy tin can. It weighs about 5 oz. and is 28″ long, with bi-directional teeth to increase cutting ease. Also right in the middle of the pack price-wise, running anywhere from twenty to twenty-five dollars, depending on where you go. A word of warning–it has wood-saw teeth as opposed to actual bi-directional chainsaw teeth, so rough use will shorten it’s life-span. Breakage can occur if you’re not careful or if you over-estimate its capabilities.
Number three on the list is also by Supreme, a much more rugged product called the Unbelievable Chainsaw. It also has wood-saw teeth but cuts smoothly with little binding at the end and also weighs in at around 5 oz. and also comes in a can. A word about storage–the can enables you to keep the chain oiled and moisture free. If your pack falls in the water and you have to fish it out, your chain will be fine, protected as it is from the water by an actual container as opposed to a pouch. Sure, you can use a Ziploc bag, but why should you? Price is comparable. It also comes with the option of handles, which improves cutting control.
Last and probably the general favorite is The SaberCut Saw. It is manufactured by Ultimate Survival Technologies, and has those great bi-directional teeth–in other words, it looks like a real chainsaw chain. It runs about twenty dollars and unlike most other pocket chainsaws, can be sharpened with a standard chain sharpening kit. The webbing handles are large enough loops that you can cut wood with gloves on, a big plus when winter camping or on any cold day year-round. The cut is wider and deeper, too.
Hope this info helps in your decision-making process!
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