Saws vs Axes

There is no tool that can equally perform all tasks.  But the more versatile the tools that you carry are, the fewer tools you’ll need to carry and the lighter you pack can get.  One tool that is compact, light, and versatile is a folding saw.  Without suggesting that it can replace the time-tested ax, here is a comparison for you to consider when putting together your gear for “bugging out” or wilderness survival.


  • A folding saw, even a large one, will take up much less space than an ax.
  • Folding saws can be carried inside of your pack so that you don’t have to carry it in hand or attach it to the outside of your pack, both of which can make movement through dense vegetation even more difficult than it needs to be.
  • Folding saws can easily cut wood to precise lengths, which may be important for shelter building.
  • With a little technique, folding saws can be effectively used to split small diameter wood.
  • Sawing makes much less noise than chopping. Which might be an important factor if you are not wanting to give away your location.
  • The ax can be used to split even large logs.
  • Unlike a folding saw, an ax can be used for self-defense.
  • An ax can be used as a hammer to drive stakes, nails, or even crack nuts.
  • An ax can be used to manufacture its own replacement handle.
  • An axe head is easier to sharpen and care for over time than a saw blade with material that is available in the wilderness.

Which of these tools you chose to carry will ultimately depend on individual factors.  Not everyone has the same resources, skill set, and plan of action.  But before you make your decision keep these things in mind.

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