The little pocket-knife multi-tools sometimes come with tiny saws on them. Those saws are somewhat useful but extremely limited in the size wood they can be used for.

Are there any multi-tools available which include bigger tools, including a saw big enough to be very useful compared to their tiny cousins, which are still small enough to be pocket size or possibly just a little larger?

Some of these pocket-knife-saws are only 2 or 3 inches long. The sticks they are useful for are barely out of hand-breaking range. If we had a multi-tool that doubled that size, say 5 or 6 inches at least, that would be immensely more useful, opening up a much wider range of sticks/branches it was appropriate for, and it could still fit in many peoples pockets or on a belt.


Update...

I ended up buying a pocket chainsaw in response to Charlie's answer. The pros and cons are large, so I'm sharing the results with you.

Pro: The pocket chainsaw packs down very small and is not heavy. I decided to keep this as the saw of choice for the kit in question. Con: I bought a decent one, yet the pocket chainsaw does not seem to be nearly as good as a normal saw.

I shopped around, read product descriptions and customer reviews and watched videos of various pocket chainsaws being used. I bought what looked like one of the better ones which multiple people were swearing by, and it even comes with a lifetime guarantee.

I tested this saw on some 4-6 inch trees and branches. I was able to cut them up, which I couldn't have without a saw, but it took way longer and was more tiring than the same work with a normal saw. And it was very jarring; the cutting teeth stick out more and rattled my body with every stroke, leaving me sore. And the cutting motion and handles were awkward and left me with nasty long-lasting blisters on my fingers.

So I would not recommend this pocket chainsaw as being better than a conventional pruning saw, bow saw, or other hand saw by any means, but it is a great addition for the purpose intended in this question. The pocket saw has drastically increased the range of wood I can cut with my tiny outdoor kit.

  • When I need a bigger saw than what a Swiss Army Knife has, I take a folding saw. It's not a multi-tool, but folded up it fits nicely into a rucksack (or on a belt, if it has a holster) and isn't too heavy. – Bristol Aug 7 at 20:30
  • @Bristol Yes, I have a couple of those. I was hoping that there was something still in or near pocket-knife size range, preferably as a multi-tool. – Aaron Aug 7 at 20:56
  • @AAron, You stated "The sticks they are useful for are barely out of hand-breaking range." Have you tried breaking a bone that size? You can use that saw on other materials besides wood. – B540Glenn Aug 7 at 21:06
  • @B540Glenn True; I have used them on other materials, but rarely. For the record, I do not think they are useless... in fact, I answered the other question that came up on here recently ("Why do Victorinox Swiss knives bother to have a tiny saw?") arguing that they are useful. I was just hoping to find an optimized size that is even more useful, as I think the tiny 2-3 inch ones could be greatly improved on while still keeping it pocket size. – Aaron Aug 7 at 21:11
  • @B540Glenn I was about to edit my answer to that question and add your excellent point, but you should probably create your own answer for it and get the credit. That other question is here: outdoors.stackexchange.com/questions/19130/… – Aaron Aug 7 at 21:13
up vote 4 down vote accepted

You for large saws that also fit in a pocket, it looks like the best solution is a "pocket chainsaw" which is basically a chainsaw blade that you pull back and forth with your hands.

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There are dedicated folding saws,

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and also large folding saws, some that are the same mechanism as say a folding knife, and some that are like are regular saws, but the frame folds.

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  • I have a couple of the small folding saws, but they are way too big for what I'm describing. I suppose I could do a search for small folding saws and see how small they go. Though a multi-tool would be preferable for something like this, I would be willing to compromise by carrying multiple tools if needed. But I am looking for small pocket/belt tools for when I do not have my pack with me. – Aaron Aug 7 at 20:59
  • @Aaron does it need to work reliably once so you can survive to go buy another one or are you looking for a standard addition to an ultralight kit that you can sharpen etc? Is this emergency gear or camping gear? – mmcc Aug 8 at 0:05
  • I have one of those pocket chainsaws. They are heavier than a folding saw and don't work nearly as well. – Sherwood Botsford Aug 8 at 3:12
  • @mmcc Closer to the latter. I keep an ultra-light setup on me practically at all times: whether I'm on a trail, at home, at Wal-Mart, or even in the office working at my desk job, I have a small set of items that I always have with me. It varies, but the basic core of this set is a knife, tinder box, and an emergency poncho. It started off as an emergency kit, but that has evolved and I have found it useful to have these things available all the time and have used them many times. So I would say reliability is important. – Aaron Aug 8 at 17:19
  • Really rather small versions of the knife-style folding saw are available as pruning saws. The smallest I've seen isn't much bigger than my locking victorinox knife. I think I've seen one with a knife blade as well (used in pruning small branches). – Chris H Aug 10 at 6:56

Another ultracompact possibility is one or more good quality blades from a coping saw, either with small pegs/rings that allow you to hold and tension the blade and cut using two hands, with a folding frame the parts of which you make and bundle with the blades, or with the intent to use found materials (tree branches etc) to improvise frame.enter image description here (Image from rockler.com) Note: just the blades — frame pictured for reference. For inspiration I recommend an image search for “bushcraft buck saw”.

A less compact but easier project might be a handle for a reciprocating saw blade (which ideally would cover the blade when stowed). It could pivot but it could also just be repositioned and held in the assembled position by tightly wrapped cord and used gently. Blades are available in a range of sizes.

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Also found this (to buy or copy):

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  • Great idea. That is quite the trade-off. I don't think it would be great for the specific kit I am targeting, but I can imagine kits where it would, including another one I've been thinking about for a while. I have read that some people put "super ultra-ultra light" kits in all of their shoes under the shoe insert. Obviously only works with a few small, flat items, but I think the intended use is like what you commented on Charlie's answer: emergency single use to get you back home alive when you have lost everything. This would work great for that, or just to have ultra-light spare tools. – Aaron Aug 9 at 14:38
  • What's with all the giant text and symbols? – Martin F Oct 16 at 3:23

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