Opinion on no axe or saw?

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gear, Survival Equipment & More' started by Dr Rez, Dec 12, 2017.

  1. Brad "the butcher"

    Brad "the butcher"

    Dec 15, 2008
    Every day hike or excursion I always have a little 4 inch Coghlan Sierra saw perfect. Weighs less than an ounce and will out cut any swiss army saw.
    For small fires or feeding my emberlite it's a perfect backup....cheap too like 7 bucks and sk-5 blade that's replaceable
  2. fishiker


    Nov 5, 2006
    I've been hiking, backpacking, and camping for over 40 years. I cook over a fire most of the time and love a good campfire. I normally have a saw and or hatchet with me but can't remember ever having the need to chop down a live tree. I think the issue is a lack of respect and education which also applies to many other issues in our world today
    jmh33 likes this.
  3. Gaston444


    Oct 1, 2014
    Hatchet or saw can't clear a path when I am going off trail, so I never bring them in the woods.

    Not driving to where I go means I can't conceal a machete, so I have no use for a machete either. A big 10-11" knife is all I want. Why carry anything more? Building a debris shelter or a fire is an expedient in case of an abrupt weather change, a breakdown, or getting lost, not something planned for in advance.

  4. Brommeland


    Jul 28, 2003
    That would depend upon your AO. Where I live it is often not possible to walk ten feet ( let alone set up a campsite) without getting tied up in a briar patch. In the summer, a machete is mandatory.

    BTW, a question for you, Gaston: You mention "not driving to where you go". How to you get "there" without driving? And what form of transport will allow a 12" knife but not a 16" machete?
    ShannonSteelLabs likes this.
  5. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 20, 2005
    Gaston likes his chopper knives. Never really talks about machetes but in my experience they do just about everything a large chopper can do better and usually a lot cheaper. Guess it's just personal preference. I find my 14" machete as easy to carry as a 12" knife. Both have rather long sheaths that can get in the way. But in the theme of this thread, you need to be selective as to what you do with the blade. Honestly, one of the biggest things I use a chopper knife for in the woods is clearing around plants that I'm trying to take a picture of. Take off small limbs too that are in the way at times.
  6. Gaston444


    Oct 1, 2014
    I bike. Sometimes I just walk. There is a big Provincial park near where I live, but I still have to walk/bike through several urban areas to get there. I almost never bring a backpack, as I am usually not camping. Everything for an unplanned night has to be on the knife itself, carried IWB (including a thermal blanket wrapped around the sheath). Extra items are especially necessary if it is a bike breakdown, because it could mean I am way further out.

    This happened once, and all the items I had then were in the "Spec Ops" sheath pocket of a 7.5" Randall Model 14, a knife so small as to be almost completely useless, with almost no reach or chopping ability. That is why now I only want hollow handles with blades over 10" (and a flashlight stuck somewhere). Hollow handles that big are really thin on the ground, especially over 10". I only ever found three, a 10.5" RJ Martin, disqualified by the poor performance of S30V, a 440C Colin Cox at 10.3", and a Voorhis at 11.25". The Voorhis is quite practical, but in 5160 Carbon, so it had to be Cerakoated: Otherwise rain spotted it badly in less than two hours...

  7. Brommeland


    Jul 28, 2003
    I got nuthin'....
    ShannonSteelLabs and mewolf1 like this.
  8. leghog


    Aug 10, 2013
    Gaston, you're doing it wrong. Seriously.
    ShannonSteelLabs likes this.
  9. Cobalt


    Dec 23, 1998
    While on the surface this article seems well meaning, it is obvious that there is an agenda there. I have been on thousands, literally, trails and hundreds of campsites. I doubt that I have seen more than just a few instances where someone had chopped down a tree. Every forest has tons of dead fall that I use and I reduce with my hatchet. There is plenty of dead fall that needs to be reduced for a fire, much of it you can break by hand or levering, but much of it is thick and is easier to split or chop with a device. This maroon thinks it is better to go into the woods with no tool than a tool. But I love this part:

    "You may be glad you left those tools at home. After all, hatchets and saws are the first thing to go in a pack shakeout. They’re non-essential. They’re heavy. Their sharp blades can damage the rest of your gear. And they increase the potential for injuries, which quickly can become quite serious in remote places."

    Because we are all so stupid that we don't know how to safeguard equipment. This is the prevalent idiot mentality today. I will tell you how to do things because you are too stupid to know yourself. I will make laws so you can't drink sodas larger than 16 ounces because you are to stupid to realize that 32 ounce sodas are dangerous to you.

    This article is worthless.
    ShannonSteelLabs and Brommeland like this.
  10. stabman

    stabman Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 17, 2007
    Just read the article...don't much agree with it (surprise! ;)).

    I like this part:
    "Sure, the PCT itself is technically an artificial ”built” facility. That’s true. But for the most part, the trail is rustic and understated."

    So, leave the tools at home, to enjoy the artificial natural setting which was set up by the use of tools...

    Of course, I don't much like established trails anyway (find them dull), so you won't have to put up with me while hiking your artificial "wilderness experience", for the most part.

    Now yes, I have made use of the established trails just outside of town from time to time because they are easy to get to (I can get to them with the city bus), but camping is not allowed there, I get bored after a couple of hours, and obviously I'm not going to be making use of saws and axes while walking along. The most use of edged tools I have had on those trails is to clip an overhanging branch out of the way that would have jabbed someone in the eye...and which would have been trimmed eventually by the folks who maintain the trail, when they got around to it.

    The article was obviously written with an agenda, and naturally they picked pictures showing the ugliest damage left behind by the biggest idiots, like the large tree that was partway hacked through, but not even finished all the way to falling over. I mean, who does that?
  11. Woodrow F Call

    Woodrow F Call

    Jan 3, 2013
    I agree with Finan47, it should be an ethics article and not a "what tool not to bring article."

    I'm all for not abusing the resources and it's probably true that people need to leave the live trees alone in an area like the PCT. I do think the author is being silly or hypocritical. Take this:

    "Only chopping dead wood, you say? Well, even that isn’t such a great idea. By leaving sharp tools at home, you’re leaving the largest deadfall in its natural setting where it belongs, to decompose and benefit the ecosystem."

    and end with this?

    "If you really like the idea of using sharp tools in the woods, such as axes and saws, sign up to volunteer! You’ll meet some of the finest backcountry woodsman around and you’ll have the chance to use really big saws and other sharp tools to clear brush and blown-down trees from the trail."

    Is she advocating doing what she said not to do?

    Good ethics are what's important, not what tools you use to enjoy the great outdoors.
    Pomsbz and Finan47 like this.
  12. gazz98

    gazz98 Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 3, 2008
    Just read the article. I'm selling my hatchet and folding saw and buying a stove. I just walked outside and hugged the first tree I saw (as in vision, not tool) and apologized for my fellow hikers and campers.

    I also burned my underwear. Not sure why, but I did.
  13. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 20, 2005
    I find trails that you just have to crank out the miles in the woods sort of boring as one spot looks mostly like the next. Add some scenery and I'm game... waterfalls, cliffs, vistas, and so forth.

    The article certainly has an agenda.
  14. Sidehill Gouger

    Sidehill Gouger

    Dec 29, 2007
    Show me a heavily used campsite on a main hiking trail that doesn't look like a herd of drunk beavers hasn't worked it over. Every small tree within 75 foot with hatchet marks all over it. I really haven't seen much in the way of saw damage though. A little common sense would go a long way but that is probably too much to ask of many people in the woods.
  15. stabman

    stabman Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 17, 2007
    Maybe it was drunk beavers...

  16. Shotgun


    Feb 3, 2006
    Not sure where you live but I find even the heavily used trails to be pretty in there own right and filled with stuff to see. One thing I have noticed, other hikers generally don’t see the trail. It’s just a means to a vista while they distract themselves by staring down at their feet and practically yelling their conversation to each other. I never understood not being present for the journey. Different strokes I guess.

    As far as the article? Meh. I’d appreciate it if people who know nothing would follow that advice. I’ve seen “survival shelters” built a few feet off the trail. I’m using quotes because of how horrendous they were. They would literally be better off sitting under a tree. :rolleyes:
    docnasty likes this.
  17. Mannlicher


    Nov 19, 2008
    sounds nutty to me. Agenda driven left wing screed that promotes woods silliness. That some folks are idjits in the woods does not mean that responsible folks can't make sensible decisions regarding their outdoor gear and practices.
    Hard Knocks likes this.
  18. Phoynix

    Phoynix Basic Member Basic Member

    Dec 21, 2013
    That article is a pile of trash.
    Its another article by another person who wants to make themselves feel good while ignoring the reality of the situation, the articles real purpose is self gratification upon the pillar of "good". Its less about the actual problem and more she wants to think of herself a specific way. If you don't get what I mean consider that Hitler created death camps, Jews funded the Bolshevik Jews rebellion and extermination of millions of Caucasians in Russia, neither the Jews or Nazis considered themselves evil for what they did, quite the reverse infact.

    Serious rot exits in western society where being "good" is more important that actually doing good and reality be dammed. This kinda crap has become the norm and is accepted, if you think I am reacting rather strongly its the fact that I don't consider the article even worth a discussion.
    Murder is illegal, people still do it, telling people not to take axes/saws will have no effect on the problem of damaged trees/trails. Those that would listen likely never cut down trees to begin with except with good cause and the type that wont give a shit are the ones likely responsible for the majority of damage and wont follow such a law anyways.

    Trees are known to fall on campers/cars, hundreds of situations exist where a axe/saw could save someone's life(its not just for fire/clearing trails), I would be willing to bet money that if you made saws/axes illegal on trails that more lives would be lost over X time period due to lack of such things then full grown trees saved over the same period.
    Brommeland likes this.
  19. supertac916


    Sep 6, 2014
    I live in California and spend most of my outdoor adventures backpacking and camping trips in the Sierra's, Desolation Wilderness, Tahoe, etc. I go all seasons and actually enjoy winter trips more than anything to avoid any of the crowds. I only carry an axe if it's during the winter and spring months, where there is snow or we are expecting cold weather. That way if I have a hard time finding dry smaller pieces of wood I can process portions of downed trees and deadwood. I never take all of the dead wood from any particular location as to leave the least amount of impact for natural decomposition. Unfortunately, this mentality can lead to issues in the backcountry, especially during winter trips in the Sierra's. Two of my buddies and I did a winter trip last year and snowshoed into one of them many lakes in the Tahoe National forest. We came across two guys who didn't bring any tools to process firewood and temps were dropping into the teens. We saw them walking around the lake trying to find burnable wood. Fortunately for them we brought our axes and saws, so we had plenty of wood processed for a nice campfire that lasted 9 hours.

    We also generally have very strict fire restrictions during the summer months, so campfires in the backcountry are generally restricted. That doesn't mean there is a shortage of idiots having raging fires and leaving burning dead wood in pine needles. However, once you get several miles into the backcountry there tends to be much more fallen deadwood, pine needles, and dry debri laying around. I believe that in some cases we are helping by burning some of the debri to reduce the intensity of potential forest fires. California has had some nasty forest fires and even fires that burn through cities and neighborhoods recently. I believe that our firefighting and the technology we use to fight fires has disturbed the natural eco systems because you can find areas with 1-3 feet of dried deadfall, pine needles, etc. It's disaster waiting to happen because the controlled burns and many of the fire prevention by gathering and burning or taking this debri out is cumbersome deeper into the forests. Desolation Wilderness doesn't allow campfires and you can see the evidence everywhere. Piles of dead wood and trees stacked up one story high all over the place. Some areas even allow us to take some of the sectioned logs to take home for firewood.

    It's an interesting article but a little too "LNT" we shouldn't mess with mother nature for me. The fact of the matter is we mess with mother nature by not allowing her to clean the forest through occasional natural fires, which causes many of our forest fires to burn out of control when they do ignite.
    Hard Knocks and Finan47 like this.

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