Saw-vivor: Bahco Laplander Folding Saw

A saw is a great tool to limb trees in a clean and sympathetic manner towards the tree itself. Although a small forest axe can accomplish most of your lumberjack duties quite readily, a saw can often be a better choice. In many instances, using a saw is a safer and better use of energy than wielding an axe.

If you aren’t able to pack a “Swede” type saw due to its size, a small folding saw is a great alternative.

Small and lightweight, this trusty little companion folds and locks into place quite securely. Because the saw blade folds into the handle, it can be packed safely and easily. The locking saw blade also adds a level of security which is always welcome.

When used properly (and not for jobs best reserved for a larger and/or different tool), the performance of the Bahco Laplander folding saw is excellent. This little saw allows you to precisely cut timber according to your needs in a way that would be very difficult with an axe.

In a survival situation, a bright orange handle really helps to keep it instantly visible which helps to prevent loss, stepping on it (leading to damage and/or injury) etc…

The handle and overall length of this saw makes for great ergonomics and control.

Although the saw blades are replaceable, I’ve been quite pleased with how well the saw’s teeth have held their edge (haven’t had to replace the blade yet).

  • Simple
  • Functional
  • Robust
  • Lightweight
  • Safe
  • Portable
  • Well Priced
Great Value.
Made in Sweden
Cost: Around CDN $20
Interesting fact: A small folding saw like the Bahco Laplander can actually be used to split wood.
Search “Ray Mears splitting wood with a saw” on YouTube to find out how.

How To Stay Alive in the Woods

Geared towards survival in the Boreal Forest, this survival reference is quite disappointing. Although it contains lots of good information, I found it quite difficult to read. To make matters worse – pictures, diagrams, and other visuals are virtually non-existant.

Cost: Around CDN $20

ISBN – 13: 978-1-57912-221-8


Tick Key

I’ve been carrying the Tick Key around on my key chain for roughly 6 months now. I haven’t had the chance to use it yet, but I like knowing it’s on me. The Tick Key is ultra light, super thin and not much larger than a house key – you won’t even notice it.

Removing wood ticks properly is important when you’re trekking through the wilderness. Thus far, the Tick Key seems like a very handy piece of kit. I bought a second one for my dog which hangs on her dog collar like a dog tag.

Fact: The Tick Key is endorsed by the American Canine Association.

I have a pair of “scissor-like” tick removers, but this little device is quite a bit more robust, portable, and likely easier to use. Honestly, I hope I never get a chance to test it.


The TICK KEY®  is the only tick removal device on the planet that uses
natural forward leverage to remove the entire tick, head and all, quickly
and safely without touching or squishing even the toughest engorged ticks.
Tick key is 99.9% effective on the safe removal of all sizes and types of
ticks from people and pets.

– Tick Key

Cost: Around CDN $7


Sorel Winter Boots: “Bear” Model

I’ve always been a fan of classic Sorel winter boots ever since I was a kid. I’ve had this specific pair of Sorel “Bear” boots for around 7 years now and they’re still going strong. Never have they given me any problems and never have I been left wanting… From shovelling the driveway to building igloos on the frozen Lake Manitoba with a wind chill factor dropping the mercury down to -47 degrees Celsius…I’ve never had a problem.
Sure – there are a multitude of winter boots on the market and some of them are really quite nice… But in my experience, these classic boots remain popular with serious winter warriors for a reason – they work.
These boots are very simple yet highly functional. When you buy winter boots, keep in mind that the temperature rating of the boot usually factors in a certain level of human activity. Even at a standstill, these boots keep your feet quite warm. The liners are very easy to remove and wash. Sized appropriately to allow for thick socks (or layering) and your feet will never fear the cold again.
Another reason why I favour this style of winter boot is because it has minimal lacing which keeps the boot simple and makes them easy to pull on or slip off with virtually no effort – a great feature for winter boots. If you hands are freezing cold the last thing you want to deal with are laces. Nobody likes fumbling around with clunky winter boots.
Assuming a proper fit, these boots are quite comfortable. Although they aren’t light per se – they aren’t overly heavy either. These Sorels strike a nice comfort-to-weight ratio. On slippery surfaces the treads on these boots are better than those of any other winter boot I’ve tried. The entire boot is very rugged and will give you many years of winter
warmth. Consider them a long-term investment.
  • Long lasting and Rugged
  • Classic Design
  • Very warm even in harsh winter conditions
  • Tall enough to cope with deep snow
  • Great outsoles
  • Above average comfort for this type of boot
  • Simple – No unnecessary additions. These boots are pure function
Sorel’s line of footwear is vast, but in terms of functional winter boots, these are by far my favourite and have been for a long time. Great value.
From the Sorel website:
Perfect for digging out after a big dump or pressing on through deep drifts, the Bear’s extra high shaft locks out deep powder and blowing spindrift. Like the Glacier™, it’s -100° rated cold-weather sibling, the Bear™ offers the ultimate in utility boot performance, but in a slightly lighter construction that’s still rated to a respectable -60° below zero. That’s not exactly summery weather, but thanks to a 9mm ThermoPlus felt InnerBoot and 6mm ThermoPlus® felt midsole, your feet will be warm enough to feel that way.
  • Durable water and wind resistant PU coated synthetic textile upper
  • Drawstring with barrel lock closure
  • Removable 9mm ThermoPlus® felt InnerBoot
  • 2.5mm bonded felt frost plug
  • Sealed 6mm ThermoPlus® felt midsole for added warmth
  • Handcrafted waterproof vulcanized rubber shell
  • Sorel AeroTrac™ non-loading outsole
  • Imported
     – Sorel
Cost: Around CDN $120

The North Face Hoser – Men’s Winter Bomber Hat

I’ve had this winter hat for roughly a year now, and overall, I’ve been very pleased.

Plush faux shearling and fleece on the inside, this winter warrior has flaps that cover a good portion of your face, snapping together under your chin.

This really comes in handy on windy winter days – not necessarily to keep the hat on your head, but to protect your face from frostbite and/or windburn. If you really need to hunker down, the forehead flap (held in place by two snaps) also folds down, essentially covering your whole face. The outer nylon/polyester shell is quite durable and readily repels snow.

This piece of winter kit is very simple yet highly functional. It does one thing…and does it well…It keeps your brain box from becoming an ice box. The Hoser from The North Face is ideal for very cold weather.

Aside from the small pocket on the side which is really too small to be practical, and a slight reduction in your hearing, the Hoser is a great investment in winter kit.

Well made, cozy, lightweight and not extravagantly priced.

Cost: Around CDN $60



Relief in your pocket

Although Badger Balm can be used for your lips, it’s not quite as user friendly as having a stick of lip balm in your pocket. Summer or winter, packing this little bit of civilization can help your lips win the fight against the elements. Being comfortable in harsh weather makes a huge difference to your sanity. Like a whistle (small and light), there is really no reason why you can’t carry one of these in your survival kit.

Here are two brands that I’ve found quite enjoyable to use in any season.

Cost: Around CDN $3.00



Protect your skin this winter

The extreme weather of winter can really take a toll on your skin, leaving it dry, chapped and cracked. To a certain extent, applying a layer of balm can help protect your skin against the elements.

I’ve been using Badger Balm for a while now and found it to be quite effective, especially during the winter months. Badger Balm (an organic product) is quite versatile as it can be used for hands, lips, face, and pretty much anywhere else you need moisturizing. Careful not to use too much – it will leave your skin feeling oily and potentially reduce the effectiveness of your clothing’s properties if you clog it up.

In a survival situation, the comfort of having a moisturizing product can lift your spirits and keep you sane. Once you’ve used it up, you can retain the tin to (among many things) house tabacco, char cloth, tinder, or make your own survival tin. The lid can also be used as an improvised signalling device.

Because the balm is in a tin, it’s robust, very easy to tuck away, you’re able to get every last bit of it, and you don’t have to worry about it leaking all over your gear.

Cost: Around CDN $9.00


The Perry whistle

In a survival situation, a simple whistle is an invaluable piece of kit. Small and lightweight, you can make more noise for a sustained amount of time with this trusty device than you can by shouting. A whistle will be louder than you and require less effort to attract audible attention.

Tip: Holding a whistle in your mouth frees up your hands to signal for help.

The Perry Whistle is cheap, durable, properly coloured for survival applications, floats, and can be found in several survival tins.

Cost: Around CDN $1.50


The Colour of Survival

With the growing popularity of “survival”, products catering to this market are increasing as well. A wide range of kit is now available to enhance one’s survival toy box and satisfy all possible needs and wants.

In terms of survival, many of these items fall short in the colour department. At the end of the day, OD green, camouflage, and black, are but a few very familiar and popular colours in the world of bushcraft and survival. While these colours are in keeping with the lifestyle of the survivalist and bushcraft enthusiast, they are quite counterproductive in an actual survival situation.

Military issue supplies usually make excellent survival kit, but has their colours chosen based on military applications. Even if some of it is meant for survival purposes, military survival tactics call for concealment to help with evasion. The civilian caught in a survival situation wants to be seen, and these colours serve to accomplish the exact opposite.

Orange – Yellow – Red – These colours are ideal to help a person be spotted. Not only that, but if you happen to drop a piece of olive drab coloured kit in the bush, good luck trying to find it. If on the other hand your item is bright orange, it stands out as a colour that is not ordinary to your surroundings, making it easier to spot. Having brightly coloured survival kit not only provides great contrast, it also makes everything very visible at first glance. It is quite easy to put something down for a moment, only to find yourself looking high and low for it because it blends in with your surrounding environment.

If you have kit that is poorly coloured for a survival situation, try orange or yellow spray paint to add highlights to areas of your gear – it can make a world of difference.


Protect against snow-blindness

Photokeratitis AKA Snow-blindness

Photokeratitis is particularly dangerous on bright, sunny days when light is reflected off the snow causing your corneas to get a “sunburn”. Snow-blindness can last for several days and be quite painful.

In a survival situation, improvise anything that reduces the amount of light reaching your eyes.