The bucksaw may be the perfect light travel saw for carrying into the backcountry.
Traveling light in the backcountry doesn’t mean you can’t bring a saw with you. All you really need to haul with you is a sawbuck blade, which is light and very compact. You can easily build the rest of the saw when you’re ready to set up camp.
Bushcraft and outdoor survival expert Dave Canterbury demonstrates how to fashion a bucksaw from sticks or tree limbs available in the woods, rather than carrying an already complete saw with you when traveling.
A bucksaw is an extremely useful tool to have in camp. Called variously a bucksaw, when the frame is H-shaped, or a bow saw when C-shaped, it is most often used to cut felled trees into logs and firewood. This is a process known as “bucking.”
Larger diameter logs are often placed on sawbucks – X-shaped platforms that hold the log securely in the notch of the X – for convenient cutting with the bucksaw. Smaller diameter limbs can be held securely in a leg vice, as Canterbury demonstrates here (he refers to it as a plumber’s vice).
A bucksaw is a crosscut saw, meant for sawing across the grain. You could conceivably build a small cabin using a bucksaw, but it is a tool not really designed for that kind of truly heavy work. Those jobs generally require a larger, sturdier fixed blade with one or two-man crosscut saws.
But a bucksaw can save you a lot of time and energy when cutting smaller diameter logs, limbs for firewood or other camp projects such as sleeping platforms and the like.
The blade is light and can be easily carried by rolling and placing in a small container such as an old metal film canister. It may also be carried unrolled by protecting the sharp edge in a sheath and packing in a backpack or on your person (Canterbury suggests attached to the inside of your belt).
Of course you should practice building a bucksaw before adding to your kit, but considering the light and compact nature of the saw blade, along with its usefulness, a bucksaw is well worth including in your pack.