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When I was setting up a very basic camping kit, one of the things I purchased was this Chainmate Survival Saw. One of the suggestions that John "Lofty" Wiseman made in his SAS Survival Handbook was to purchase a flexible saw to put in a survival kit. He also recommended adding certain items to an old tobacco tin (or something along those lines). I agreed with Wiseman's suggestions and decided to add a few things to this basic survival/camping packet in an old tobacco tin and seal it with masking tape. Some of the things that will fit in a tin are Tinder Quik Fire Tabs, an Emergency Fire Starter and some UCO Stormproof Matches. Together they can figuratively (and perhaps literally) be a lifesaver when you need to start a fire in inclement weather.

This flexible Chainmate Survival Saw is much more compact that many others that come with large rings. Wiseman says that when you get your saw, in order to protect it "from rust and breakage cover it in a film of grease" and that these saws "can be used to cut even quite large trees." I haven't attempted any large trees, but I have no doubt that if need be I wouldn't have a problem. This 24-inch saw is in a convenient pouch that can be tucked inside a backpack or, if you prefer, can be worn on a belt. This Chainmate Survival Saw is a fantastic bargain that you might want to add to your list of "needs" and "must haves" to your camping/survival pack.

After this video was shot we cut through a hardwood tree 8" in diameter. It took a few minutes, but it was amazingly easy.
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on July 17, 2010
This is the real deal w/ the modified carbon steel chainsaw blades - not the crappy model w/ the thin folding-saw type blade.
This thing EATS wood and weighs nothing!! It takes a little bit of effort but you can chew through a hardwood tree half a foot thick in literally a couple minutes; half that if you use two people (one on each end).
My only advice would be to spray it down with some wd-40 before you head out to smooth out the action and reduce kinks.

Would def. recommend if you're into winter/fall camping and overnight hunting.
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on January 13, 2013
I have always wanted to have a portable saw, but the folding ones were simply too short. When I discovered this line of products, I wondered which one to pick. I finally got the longest one and it turned out to be the best. In fact, they should offer a longer version than 48" still.
The saw works as expected, it doesn't jam much at all. One only needs the wood to stay put which may be a challenge when trying to buck.
Cutting with it is quite a workout, a machete is often the better option because while slower, it won't drain you as much. It also depends on the wood, I did cut mostly cherry which is tough already. At least you don't strain your fingers - you put your hands through the webbing loops from inside out and it will stay bound to your wrists securely.
The chain is not the same as on power chainsaws. It is thinner, smaller and the knife bits lack the key that would otherwise fit into a chainsaw's stationary blade.
It arrived very sharp and I hope it will stay that way or I'll have to try diamond needle files.
After more experience with this, I have to add two more things: First of all, it's started to develop tiny specks of rust, so I picked out the debris in the links and oiled it. A stainless version, or zinc-plated at least, would be nice because you don't expect having to baby a tool like this. Granted, it's snow everywhere now and it won't get as wet in the summer.
And the other thing is the binding. If you are cutting anything thinner than 3 inches, as the trunk leans away from you, it will grab the chain in a nasty way. You should plan for this by first cutting the underside (or the inaccessible side) of the trunk with this saw, then finishing the job with a machete from the accessible side, avoiding the binding.
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on December 18, 2015
Works well, much easier than sawing/chopping with a knife, a fair amount tougher than a hand saw, but for how lightweight and small it is you can't beat it. Bought it for my 72 hour kit in case I needed to cut some firewood quickly.

Update July 5th 2016:

I let my dad borrow it for a 50 mile backpacking trip. He said it worked great for all their firewood cutting. No one else with him had anything like it, so it was a real lifesaver. He said it was easier to use with one person on each end since it was exhausting. He also said it would be better if it was longer so they wouldn't have to bend their backs down so much. I bought the 36inch version. I'd probably get the 48 inch in the future for more ease of use.
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on April 19, 2015
I was pretty excited to get one of these due to all the hype and good reviews. These little pocket saws are ok, but they aren't all that great. I have used it for sawing lots of dead, green, dry, and wet wood of all kinds and after using it a while it's kind of a pain. This saw does ok when you first get started on a log, but as you get deeper it starts to pinch and catch. I have found it to be best operated in a straight line by 2 people rather than wrapped around a log and operated by one person. With 2 people, it's pretty good and can saw some serious logs. But with one person, you get pinched quite a lot and usually end up fighting to finish your cut, especially when cutting green live wood. Also, you better be ready for a workout when you use this saw. In the winter you will work up a sweat real quick if you are really sawing away so just be aware and dress accordingly. I am 19 years old and am in peak physical shape and this saw will get my heart rate going real good after 5 or so minutes of sawing away. If you are looking to conserve calories in a survival situation, this saw is not for you lol. It works ok and it's pretty cheap. Pick one up and try it for yourself if you want a good workout sawing through some big thick logs, but don't expect some amazing tool that zaps through wood like a real chain saw. If you want a good saw, the Bacco Laplander is what you are looking for. Easy to use and conserves much more calories than this pocket chain.
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on August 9, 2016
If your backpacking you will usually not be cutting a bunch of wood for a large fire to cook on or to keep warm but when you do need that large amount of wood to keep from freezing your butt of this thing is perfect. It stores in an extremely small pouch that it comes with and is easy to deploy.

This saw is basically a bike chain with some blades on it and a couple of straps on the end. It will eat through a pretty thick branch in no time but I wouldn't expect to use it to cut down a tree.

I'll be using this to cut up downed limbs and small logs for cooking with or a small fire if needed. It will end up going into my bug out bag so I will always have a way of making a fire to stay warm
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on March 20, 2014
This saw is surprisingly strong for its size and weight. I use it primarily as an ultralight backup saw when cleaning wood out of creeks and rivers and trail maintenance. It fits in the smallest pockets of my backpack and the nylon pouch it comes with is durable and protects fingers and pockets from the delightfully sharp teeth. The teeth arrived SHARP and after owning it for a year, the teeth are still sufficiently sharp to cut without undue strain. Speaking of strain, this saw will give you a workout! Depending on the size and amount of wood you cut through in a day, you can expect to feel it the next day. This saw makes you feel like a man after cutting.

My only criticism is that you have to pay a bit more attention to the angles of your cut and may have to hold your arms out awkwardly to keep the saw from binding up. Just pay attention to the way your log is laying and you'll be fine.

It also works VERY well when used with a partner in a cross cut fashion. Less tiring too!
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on May 5, 2015
Functional, useful, but also meh. Gets caught in wood pretty often; I've tried greasing things up a bit with WD-40 and beeswax, to little avail. I've tried several techniques/methods but still get bound up. Seems to be that these limbs I'm sawing are lying on the ground, as the saw cuts the wood flexes downward to bind it. Can get about halfway before the wood grips the chain, have to flip the wood over.

I've used similar wire-style saws along with some ropes to get down dead limbs from trees, has worked well (though takes a long time), though I wouldn't try with this one. I don't expect I'd ever get it back down! Build quality is acceptable, not fantastic but I don't think it will fall apart. The pouch is also acceptable, which surprised me. From past experience, I would suggest coating the chain w/ WD-40 when you get it and then after any outing during which its used. Sap & etc. from wood can gum things up or rust the metal, won't happen if you've coated it properly.
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on March 8, 2017
Bought this to go camping and was shocked at how well it worked. We cut down a tree around 16" in diameter to make a bench in about 2 minutes. The only downside is it had a hard time cutting dead wood since the blade would skip around and I couldn't burn live wood so it didn't get a ton of use but I'm still glad I brought it. This would be perfect for biking, offroading, hiking or just clearing trees. I used to take my jeep in the woods and would always have my trip cut short because a tree was knocked over, I wish I knew about this back then.
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on August 8, 2016
This product was quite a surprise when it arrived. The surprise was that the cutting blade is actually a chainsaw blade. I wasn't sure how well that would work in the absence of a gas (or electric) motor to supply the necessary rotating motion. Turns out the strong, comfortable, nylon straps plus just a little bit of back-and-forth arm motion, was enough to easily slice through most small to medium trees and limbs. If the chain was driven by a two-person team, I'm pretty sure even a bigger tree would have succumbed to the cutting motion of this product. Candidly, I've used this product as more of a remote (and safer) chainsaw for higher cutting challenges. I toss a rope over a higher branch and then pull the Chainmate up over the limb, until I can attach a rope to the other strap. Then I just use the two attached ropes to lever the blade back-and-forth. It seems to work just the same as how it would work at ground level.
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