- Sports and Recreation»
- Hiking & Camping
Chopping Firewood While Camping Couldn't be Simpler
If you're anything like me, you never can have too much firewood while camping. A campfire adds warmth, light, a cooking source, and an enhanced feeling of safety while roughing it out in the wilderness, something ardent sportsmen, like myself, enjoy doing often. Some campers choose to transport firewood to their campsites. While I can't deny having hauled a few fire bundles in my trunk to various campsites in the past myself, if you like camping in the backcountry, in areas where motor vehicles aren't allowed, as I frequently do, trying to lug a few fire bundles two miles over rough terrain, along with the rest of your camping supplies, would seem an entirely ludicrous endeavor. Chainsaws can also obviously get the wood splitting completed in a hurry, but the lightest chainsaws available would be far too burdensome to carry two miles on foot. Furthermore, they're expensive, and in my opinion, entirely too noisy to be using for woodcutting when you're out trying to enjoy the serenity of nature.
I've found that carrying compact, lightweight wood splitting tools, such as saws and axes, are the most reasonable way to ensure an adequate woodpile for a long lasting and enjoyable campfire under the stars, as I'm sure most experienced backcountry campers have as well. For about the past decade I've relied on camping axes and outdoor edge pack saws for splitting firewood while enjoying the great outdoors. I've probably split enough wood with these two inexpensive and compact tools over the past ten years to heat a mansion for an entire Minnesota winter. I've also probably produced enough sweat using these tools to fill a small swimming pool. Point being, it's difficult and time-consuming work producing an adequate stack of burnable wood using these tools, the one and only downfall to being inexpensive, and convenient for campers. Nevertheless, until about a year ago, they seemed to be the most reasonable items to carry for such purpose.
I'm pleased to announce here, however, to the campers that haven't yet discovered this, that there is an item for cutting wood that's lightweight, compact, inexpensive, and won't make you wish campfires gave you the chills by the time you get your wood stack entirely split. It's a foldable pack saw you don't have to assemble, that looks like a large jackknife, suitable for woodcutting. The particular pack saw I purchased is called a Sierra Saw, but there are similar other brands available as well. I started using my Sierra Saw about a year ago, after my last edge pack saw busted to pieces. I didn't think it would work very well, given the price, (under ten dollars), but figured I'd give it a try nonetheless. This little, light weight pack saw, which you can actually carry in your pocket, cut through perfectly good firewood like it was butter. The first time I used it, I had a wood stack about 3' high and 5' wide, (enough wood for an eight hour roaring campfire), entirely split in less than half an hour, and I didn't produce a drop of sweat in the process. I was truly amazed with the results, but didn't think it would last very long, considering it was about a third the price of an edge pack saw, which required far more time and energy to get an adequate wood pile split. However, I've used it several times since then, only to discover that it's durable enough to produce the same results during subsequent camping adventures as the first time it was used. I'll never go back to using edge pack saws, or camping axes again. To campers who aren't familiar with this tool yet, they can be purchased for under ten dollars through the internet, at Amazon.com, eBay, as well as other online shopping sites, or at just about any popular sporting goods store out there. I don't believe you'll be disappointed if you give it a try, like I did, and for the price you pay, about the only thing you have to lose is a lot of unnecessary time and effort splitting logs on your next camping trip.
It's mid-January here in Minnesota right now, but it's never too early to start thinking about camping. I can assure you I won't be heading out there without my Sierra Saw this Spring.