Anybody care to share their opinion of Cold Steel's Trail Master Bowie? Hype or fact? I'm gonna plunk down some cash for a serious Bowie, and I want the best. I'm a Texan and I got traditions to uphold. Opinions appreciated!
Venator, I kinda like it. I have a CS Recon Tanto which is nearly but not quite as large but uses the same steel. That's the sharpest knife I've ever seen from the maker. Tough to resharpen but it sure holds an edge. Don't think you'll find a better choice from a factory.
Really you will not go wrong with Cold Steel. The trail master I have is a real performer. I did the chop test on a poplar tree and all that, it kept its edge and has never failed me. You could go along way for a better self defense knife too. The rubber grip rides up under clothing, if you're going to carry this knife, you may want to consider a stag handle. This company specialzes in concealing big knives for daily carry. Keep it legal, though.
I've got a Trail Master I bought years ago. I thought they discontinued them. I like mine alot but would be happier if I could think of a legitimate use for it :lol:. Nothing like a $ 125.00 machete! I had a friend of mine make a leather sheath for it because mine came with a fairly cheesy nylon one. What do they sell for these days?
Before I trash the TRAILMASTER, I must report I own four TwistMasters, three CarbonV Master Hunters, and two reground SRKs. I appreciate the Kraton grips (they aren't on TwistMasters), edge holding of CarbonV, and its surprising corrosion resistance. These are wonderful knives.
As an object of beauty, the TRAILMASTER is comparable with the better commercial knives. As a knife, it is useless -- I owned one for about three weeks.
Blade thickness is such that using the knife to do any job traditionally done by knives is essentially impossible. The blade is a very sharp chisel, but so what?
It may be a useful chopping device, but machetes and axes do a better job.
If this is intended to be a "Hey, guys, come see this bitchin' knife," the TRAILMASTER will serve you well.
If you want to field dress an elk, or slice a tomato . . .
If you are willing to invest the time to regind the SRK from a chisel/pry bar to something closer in edge profile to a Kabar, it becomes a superior heavy-duty knife. It may not pound through car doors, but it does "knife stuff" well.
I have carried the Trailmaster for about twelve years. Besides using the knife for every correct and incorrect use possible for a knife, like chopping through ice, chopping kindling, pry bar, digging etc., I have used it to gut, skin, and butcher elk and deer. The knife is great. It is well balanced and keeps it's edge. There is a reason for the 1/4" "chisel" edged blade. In camp I have Hatchets, axes and machetes. I don't lug them on the trail. I have owned and used many large knives over the years. I have found the Trailmaster to be the best overall for backpacking expeditions. :grin:
I work solo as a prospector in extremely remote wilderness areas here in British Columbia/Alberta, Canada and just purchased a VG-1 Trail Master San Mai last week.
I haven't had a chance to get out in the bush with it yet so can't comment on its performance yet.
The reason I picked this knife is because I need a tool that does several jobs example clearing trail. prying rocks apart, defense, survival as well as I wanted one that was of a material that was almost impervious to the weather that I am exposed too...
Are there better knives out there possibly but for the money I couldn't find one locally.
While in camp I have the tools needed for camping but needed a tool that would be my jack of all trades for when I was out in the bush.
While it looks like a knife, I don't think it's much of one. A friend who I hike/backpack with carried that beast for a while(he got rid of it); he was one of those one-knife-does-it-all types also. Trouble was, it didn't do too much very well, or perhaps the more accurate term is efficiently. I normally carry a light 4" knife with either a 3/32" or 1/8" diameter blade and either a Gerber folding saw or a light hatchet. The knife cuts, slices, whittles much, much better than his Cold Steel did. The saw would cut through a thick branch or a small tree while he was still whaling away at some such. The saw and the knife weighed probably about as much as the bowie, never thought to weigh them, and between the two made his 1/4" prybar look pretty useless overall. I could probably skin out a deer with a machete if I needed to, and that's all I had, but large clumsy blades make an easy job just that...clumsy. There's a set of pictures at another site of one of my friends using a 3 3/4" blade that's 3/32" thick to skin/butcher out half a moose. His buddy did the other half with his repro of an old Alaskan design that has a forged 3" blade. Knives are for cutting...period.For one to cut well, it needs to be able to hold a thin, sharp edge for a good while; something 1/4" prybars don't do. I know 'cause I've tried them. I've a Ontario SP-5 that's about like that that I bought off a friend who needed money badly, and after trying it for a while, it now sits in my drawer. No matter how I tried to convex the edge, plus I got rid of that ludicrous "bowie" point and turned it into a straight clip, it was just too durned big and clumsy to do knife things efficiently(and comfortably)....and it wan't as good as a saw or axe. The thought of wearing that monstrosity while hiking more than a mile or so left me feeling a trifle faint....ain't no way. Any time you try to compromise that ability you end up with something that just doesn't do it's designed job well. The old mountain men mostly carried thin bladed knives such as the Green Rivers ,as did the Indians, because they were light and sharp and made quick work of any knife chores that needed to be done; such as skinning out God knows how many Buffalo......they used other tools, such as axes, tomahawks etc, to do what THEY did best.The spent their whole lives outdoors and knew what worked for what job, and what didn't. They may have owned a large fighting knife, but that's what it was used for...fighting for the most part. I've no desire to fight with a stick, or branch or tomato, squirrel, deer etc. If for some reason I need a digging tool, I make one using my knife or axe or saw. Works a heck of a lot better than my knife, plus I don't have to re-sharpen the thing. Same with pounding...a chunk of wood or rock makes a better hammer than any knife. I just, after a lot of years of messing with, and making, knives don't see much use for something like the Trail Master....except maybe fantasizing.
I love my Cold Steel Trailmaster, however for my purposes it serves the function of an all around bush tool. It will chop forever before needing to be sharpened. It can clean a large animal, but very diffucult to use on small game. Most of the time I use a Master Hunter for cleaning. The Trailmaster does excell in one area though, it will go from behind a pigs shoulder through his lungs and into the heart very easily. I carry mine when I am hunting wiht my bow.
I think if you want the best, a knife made in China might not make the grade. I have one, but it was free. My friend constantly buys knives and after a week or 2 decides he doesn't like them and gives them to me. It's not a bad knife.
I've seen those knives and they do look cool, but I think they fall more into the machette, hatchet, defensive knife. I like using a small knife when field dressing a deer, but you mentioned needing to move rocks and pry on things so it'd probably be a great knife for you. It's like any tool, only you know the job you're going to use it for so it's your $$ and your call. I'm interested in hearing how it works out for you.
The only Cold Steel knife that I've owned (so far) was a large Voyager clip point, and I loved that knife. It was so sharp out of the box, it was scary. I carried it religiously when outdoors, and I lost the darn thing last year and just don't know what happened to it. I actually think that someone stole it out of my pack while in camp. It was in an inner pocket, so there's no way it could have fallen out. I'd love to have a Trailmaster, but I can't talk myself into paying that $$ for a knife.
If you have the money, I don't think you can beat a Trailmaster for a strong, sharp, knife that you an use and abuse.
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