Chainsaw Field Service Kit

A chainsaw field service kit should keep the important equipment running and get you home at the end of the day. The luxury of being able to make a quick trip to the store for parts or call for immediate medical attention is often impossible for foresters and landowners working in rural and remote areas. More often than not, preparation is the key to a productive day in the woods or just making it out alive.

A good chainsaw field service kit is comprised of spare parts, tools, and emergency items that are in addition to your standard PPE and chainsawing gear (gas, bar oil, chain sharpener/file).  When assembling your own field kit, separate items into two groups, one for keeping in a bag or pack and the other for always having on your body.

Basic Chainsaw Field Kit
Chainsaw field service kit

Spare & Replacement Parts

Most parts on a chainsaw will eventually wear out, break, or get lost. When they do, they can cut a productive day in the woods short. Check your saw before hitting the road or trail. If something looks worn or damaged replace it. That said, having the following spare parts can save the day when you are miles away from town and short on time. These items can fail even under the best conditions.

  • Bar nuts: I always seem to lose them and you can’t run your saw without them.
  • Spark plug: Honestly you may never need to replace it, but they’re small.
  • Air filter: If your filter gets damaged or wet, a spare one will save the day.
  • Backup chain: A bent chain link will make a chain unusable and is impossible to fix in the field.
  • Rim sprocket: Throwing a chain can trash your rim sprocket. There small and field serviceable.
Basic spare parts kit for common chainsaw issues. Spare chain, sprocket, spark plug, bar nut, and air filter.

Tools

Having the right tools for the job is just as important as having the right parts. There is a fine line between having the right tools and having too many. Don’t weigh yourself down with single-use tools. Look for tools that are multi-purposed and compact, especially if you need to pack them in on foot.

  • Scrench: Wrench and screwdriver in one a goto maintenance tool.
  • Nylon brush: Good for cleaning off the gas and oil caps before opening.
  • Carburetor tool: If you work in the mountains this is a must (if your saw is old school).
  • Pocket Knife: When you need a knife there really isn’t an alternative tool.
  • Needle Nose Pliers: Great for getting things out of tight places.

Medical & PPE

It is always a good idea to have a first aid Kit available when using a chainsaw or when you are away from immediate medical attention. Great for minor cuts, scrapes, and burns, a good first aid kit is always worth the extra weight.

Due to the destructive nature of chainsaw injuries, I carry, in addition to a well-stocked first aid kit, a tourniquet on my person, and an Israeli bandage in my pack. Both are essential items that can save your life. Round out your kit with a space blanket. They are super versatile and don’t take up much space.

  • Basic first aid kit: Just the basics for cuts and scrapes
  • Tourniquet – One-Handed: Cutting your femoral artery or limb is no joke
  • Israeli bandage: Compression bandage that can be applied with one hand
  • Space blanket: So many uses, medical and practical
First aid kit and one-handed tourniquet

Communications

I like to carry two methods of communication with me when I am working alone or in remote areas. Depending on the situation, I will carry two of the following devices to ensure that I can communicate with my family and friends as well as get help in an emergency. Most commonly I will have my cell phone and an InReach satellite SMS messenger. 

  • CB Radio: Great when working with others.
  • Cell phone: If you can get service, it’s a good option.
  • InReach (global SMS with SOS): My go-to. Push the button and help is notified that I am in trouble and where I am anywhere on the globe.
Garmin InReach Global SMS

Other Items

Some items are just inherently useful and are multipurpose. Other items are just good to have on hand as a backup and don’t take up much space. These are optional items I find very useful.

  • Batteries: A spare power supply is necessary if you only have a cellphone.
  • Shoelaces: Maintaining footwear is important. Can be used as cordage.
  • Handkerchief / Rag: Another versatile multi-purpose item.
  • Earplugs: Foamies are excellent if your primary hearing protection fails.
  • Safety glasses: Sometimes people show up on-site unprepared.

Items to Carry on your person

Some items won’t do you any good unless you have them within reach at all times. While most all of the items in your kit can be placed at the bottom of your pack or the back of your truck, these items should always be on your person and in reach of both your hands. Bleeding out can happen really fast. You need to be able to apply a tourniquet and call for help before you go into shock or pass out. You won’t have time to get to the truck or go through a pack.

  • Pocket knife
  • Tourniquet
  • Communications

Conclusion

A good chainsaw field kit does not have to be super complicated. With a little forethought and preparation, the most basic of kits can get you out of a jam or keep your chainsaw running for a few more hours. My kit fits my needs well, but yours might be different due to the chainsaw you use and the environment you use it in. Customize your kit to meet your needs. The most important thing is that you bring it with you, so keep it simple.

Timber Therapy

Patrick enjoys managing 36 acres of alpine forest in north-central Colorado.

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