Opinel Folding Saw is a Speedy Trail Worker [Review]

The Opinel No. 18 folding saw looks good, feels good, and makes quick work of downed trees and branches on the trail.

In 2017 Singletracks gave away custom Opinel knives to Brutal Loop participants, and the swag was a hit. So when I recently learned that Opinel also makes folding saws I had to give one a try. The Opinel No. 18 folding saw is a quality piece of trail maintenance equipment that’s a joy to carry, and a joy to use.

Opinel No. 18 folding saw key specs

  reader rating (1 votes)
  • About 9.5″ long folded, about 16″ long unfolded
  • Blade: 8″ long, XC 90 carbon steel
  • Wooden handle
  • Weight: 185.1g
  • Price: $59.99
  • Buy from Amazon

I threw the Opinel No. 18 saw into my hip pack before a regular Tuesday night ride just in case, and almost immediately put it into action. A freshly downed tree, about five inches in diameter, was blocking the trail at the bottom of a steep drop, and needed to be cut out of the way.

“You guys go ahead and take a lap, I’ll work on this tree,” I called out. I figured it would take me at least a few minutes to make the cuts and move everything out of the way. I whipped out the saw, locked the blade in place, and after just three — maybe four — pulls of the saw, the cut was done. This sucker is sharp!

The Opinel No. 18 folding saw cuts through dry wood almost as easily as green branches thanks to the sharp, serrated blade. The 8-inch-long blade isn’t overly bendy or flexy when cutting like some cheaper folding saws I’ve used. And it’s thin enough that you don’t have to waste a lot of energy making a ton of sawdust. As you can see in the photo below the cutting edge is straight without any sort of curve to it.

The wooden handle feels good in the hand for a solid grip and has a simple safety locking mechanism that ensures the blade doesn’t fold in on you while in use.

Opinel uses XC 90 carbon steel which is said to withstand prying and bending better than some other blade materials. Over time the carbon steel will patina, and if not cared for properly, it’ll rust. Rubbing a drop or two of cooking oil on the blade every now and then should help the blade resist damage. I’ve used a little chain lube on mine and that seems to work just as well as cooking oil. Replacement blades (about $20) are available once the teeth get dull or wear out.

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There’s a pre-drilled hole in the handle for hanging the saw on your tool board or tying a loop of leather cord. I’ve gotten a lot of use out of the saw this spring, though my one complaint is that I’ve nearly lost it half a dozen times because the wood handle blends into the woods whenever I set it down. The thing is, I already own a few folding saws with orange plastic handles that are much harder to lose. But the Opinel No. 18 folding saw is the one I actually want to use.

Pros and cons of Opinel No. 18 folding saw


  • Sharp, fast cutting blade with good stiffness
  • Folds to fit in a medium-size hip pack
  • Comfortable handle and classic look


  • Easy to lose; the wooden blade handle blends into nature

Bottom line

The Opinel No. 18 folding saw is a classic and quality trail tool that I’ll keep for years. It’s an investment compared to cheaper options but is almost certainly more satisfying to use.

  • Price: $59.99
  • Buy from Amazon

The Opinel No. 12 folding saw is similar to the No. 18 but with a shorter, 4.75″ blade.