Review: Bahco Laplander – The Ultimate Folding Saw for Backpacking?

You can’t miss the Bahco Laplander reviews. They’re spread all over the bushcraft forums. That’s what I found a couple of years ago when I decided it was time to get a folding saw. So I dove into the reviews, read nothing but the highest praise imaginable for the Laplander, saw little to no mention about any other saw, and came to the logical conclusion that the Bahco would be the perfect saw for my upcoming hike. I grabbed one off of Amazon, and two days later put it to a 2×4. Here’s what I found …

Bahco Laplander - The Ultimate Folding Saw for Backpacking?

Bahco Laplander Folding Saw Specs

I’m not going to waste any time with the specs about the Bahco Laplander. They’re easy enough to come by. The saw’s around eight inches long, weighs in at 6.6 oz, has a semi-grippy rubberized handle, a coated blade, and a good locking mechanism (both open and closed). It feels good in the hand and, while the frame is plastic, it’s thick and rigid. No flimsiness here.

How Well Does the Bahco Laplander Cut?

Getting back to our narrative, I couldn’t wait to put this saw to the test and experience for myself what everyone else was raving about. So I grabbed a 2×4 and started at it.

My first impression of the Laplander’s cutting efficiency: meh. The bite didn’t seem very aggressive, and when the end of the board finally dropped, I felt like it had taken more strokes than it needed to. Still, on the whole I liked the weight and feel of the Bahco folding saw, so I put a fluorescent orange lanyard on it (because it was begging to get lost in the brush) and threw it in my pack.

I Stumble across an Alternative to the Bahco Laplander

As my hike grew closer, I didn’t feel satisfied with my pack weight. To the point that I set a goal to drop two pounds. That meant analyzing each item to see if I really needed it, or if there was a way to strip a couple of ounces off it.

When I got to the Laplander folding saw, I held the thing and tried to decide if it was worth nearly 7 ounces. I hadn’t been impressed enough to feel a resounding yes. Then, as I stood there holding it, a vague memory flashed: a couple of years ago, my wife had bought a Corona pruning lopper, and I vaguely remembered it coming bundled with a little folding saw. So I dug through her garden supplies and sure enough, there was a little 6 1/2″ Corona folding saw.

Bahco Laplander and Corona Folding Saw Comparison

I pulled out the Corona saw and found it to be essentially the same size as the Bahco Laplander. It had a more curved design — curved handle and gently-concaved blade — whereas the Laplander had a much straighter profile.

I immediately noticed that the Corona folding saw had much more aggressive teeth than the Laplander. And with the angle of the teeth, it seemed to be a “pull” saw — cuts only on the pull — whereas the Bahco is a push-pull. I assumed that would give the Laplander a little better cutting efficency.

Both saws had simlar locking mechanisms. The Corona had a slighly looser blade, but only in the up-down plane; no side-to-side play. I didn’t love that, but I also realized that once the Corona’s blade engaged the wood, the play would disappear.

The Corona’s blade was listed as 6 1/2″ and the Bahco Laplander’s blade length was advertized at 8″. I find that a little bit deceptive on Bahco’s part. Their blade is 8″ end to end. But the cutting length is just a hair over 7″. Factor in that the Corona folding saw’s blade is somewhat curved, and you probably end up with an almost identical cutting length on the two saws.

Bahco Laplander and Corona RS4040 6.5" Folding Saw Compared

The key difference for me: weight. I could feel the weight difference immediately. The scale proved me right:

Weight Difference between the Bahco Laplander and the Corona Lightweight Saws

The Corona saw might buy me almost 1.5 oz. But was it substantial enough? Would it perform? It was time for some comparison testing between the popular Bahco Laplander and the little Corona RS4040 6.5″ folding saw.

Cutting Times of Lightweight Backpacking Folding Saws

I needed a fair test, one that eliminated every variable but the saws. So I got a landscaping log that’s around 4″ in diameter. That way, both saws would cut the same wood density and same diameter. I also ensured that I was never going through knots. Each saw would get two shots. Also, I didn’t want to just focus on time. Energy outlay isn’t just about time. It’s about effort over time. So I decided to both time the cuts and count the strokes. Here are the results:

Test Results: Bahco Laplander vs. Corona RS4040 6 1/2" Saw

Going into the tests, I wouldn’t have predicted those results. I even tested the Bahco Laplander first, so I was fresh. But as soon as I began cutting with the Corona folding saw, I felt the difference. Even though the Corona lightweight saw was a “pull-only” design, the cut was extremely aggressive, and the curved blade kept more metal on the wood. Every pull of this lightweight saw bit deeply. If anything, I felt like I was holding the saw back.

By comparison, I felt like I was fighting the Bahco Laplander to get it to cut like I wanted. I found myself putting extra muscle into each stroke trying to force deeper cuts. Instead of the saw doing the work, I felt like I was doing the work. With the result that, at the end of each test, I came out feeling more winded with the Bahco Laplander than with the Corona RS4040.

And comparing the numbers, that makes sense. The Laplander consistently required at least 50% more effort than the Corona to cut the same log. In a survival situation, more effort = greater energy consumption, and that’s no good. But let’s forget survival situations … in everyday reality, I don’t want to work 50-70% harder. If anything, my inner lazy man wants to trim off effort everywhere I can.

So the Corona RS4040 6.5″ folding saw won in every way. This Bahco Laplander alternative didn’t just beat the Laplander in weight, it also beat the Laplander backpacking saw in both cutting speed and cutting efficiency.

STRONG DISCLAIMER: The Corona came out on top for the conditions where I need a saw. I spend my time in the Rockies, which means high-altitude trees: mostly aspen, pine, and fir. The Bahco may be a better choice for hardwoods or, if you’re a hunter, for cutting bone. Test some different blades on your own matching the conditions where you’ll use a saw.

My Favorite Folding Saw for Backpacking: Corona 6 1/2″

Needless to say, the Corona folding saw went into my pack, and the Laplander got relegated to my backyard fire kit, where it has languished ever since.

My Favorite Folding Saw for Backpacking: The Corona RS4040 6 1/2" Lightweight Folding Saw

In writing this review, I stumbled across a new Corona saw which is starting to get some attention: the Corona Razor Tooth 7″ Folding Saw. I’m not sure if I’ll buy one because the Corona RS4040 6 1/2″ Folding Saw works beautifully for me, and I love the weight. Still, you may want to include the Corona Razor Tooth in your tests.