Zippo is one of the world’s most iconic brands, famous for making…you were finishing that sentence with “handheld or pocket lighters,” right? If so, you are correct and that’s what most people would say. But Zippo makes more than just lighters. The company also makes writing instruments, watches, lanterns, and other outdoor gear. One of the company’s newest products–and maybe one you wouldn’t expect–is the 4-in-1 Woodsman. The Woodsman is a hatchet, a saw, a mallet, and a tent stake puller. Even if you don’t have a Zippo lighter in the pocket of your camping pants, you will want the Woodsman to be a part of your camping gear.
- 5″ blade
- 15″ steel saw blade
- 20″ fiberglass reinforced nylon handle with snap down cam
- Price: $79.95
When a company makes what is arguably the gold standard in handheld lighters, one would rightly expect other products to have the same high standards of quality. Conversely, one would also wonder what a lighter company is doing making something like the Woodsman as it seems only slightly related to its most iconic product.
The Woodsman, however, reflected excellent overall quality: both the metal parts and the plastic parts were durable, functional, and even inspiring. The overall design proved not only to be thoughtfully executed, but also demonstrated seamless harmony in how they worked together. The only drawback, if it can be called that, is the one that plagues many multi- or all-in-one tools: when a device tries to do more than one function, it usually accomplishes the functions well, but not excellently. Such is the price of versatility.
The Woodsman’s five-inch blade, a steel hatchet head, came with a very sharp edge that swiftly and easily cut through the wood to which I applied it. The key to the blade’s functionality, however, really lied in the fiberglass-reinforced nylon handle which made swinging the blade quick and easy. When the blade was not in use, I affixed the orange blade cover, which doubled as a handle for…
The Woodsman’s saw, which featured a removable 15-inch steel saw blade that made quick work of branches and other wood that was four inches in diameter or less. The Woodsman comes with two blades, both of which store in the long handle when not in use. A snap down cam works in conjunction with a screw-in bolt in the blade cover/sheath to hold the blade in place for sawing operations. The snap-down cam put just the right amount of tension on the blade and also sported…
The Woodsman’s tent stake puller, which resided at the end of the main handle and folded down and out of the way when not needed. It very handily helped with pulling stakes that had been put in place by…
The Woodsman’s mallet, which sits opposite of its blade, counterbalanced by it and providing a good amount of weight to firmly and effectively drive those tent stakes into the ground.
I’ve used tree saws, hatchets, and mallets that individually may have done a better job than the Woodsman but I’ve never used a tool that combines all of those (and a tent stake puller) in one and that does so with as much thoughtful design.
With a retail price of $79.95, the 4-in-1 Woodsman combines four useful tools or functions into one convenient tool with excellent functionality and very good safety. And with camping and backpacking, where the idea is generally to be light in weight and mobile, convenience and utility is key. In addition to the Woodsman, Zippo offers replacement saw blades, available in a two-pack for $12.95.
Although functionally a simple product with very few moving parts, the Woodsman has the look of a high-tech hatchet and its blaze orange sheath/saw handle complements the black handle and hatchet blade. As such, it scores high on the “Wow!” factor but then proves its mettle when actually put to use. Once all of its features are realized, the convenience and utility–just like the Zippo lighter–make the Woodsman difficult to put down.
Images by Mark Kakkuri