A Slice of Americana

The Cold Steel Trailmaster Bowie
Has Withstood The Test Of Time

By Pat Covert

Knife styles change frequently with the ebb and flow of what’s hot and what’s not. Very few models stand the test of time, but those that do are the real champions of the cutlery world. The Cold Steel Trailmaster Bowie is such a knife.

Introduced by Cold Steel in 1989, the Trailmaster is a blend of old and new. The classic, swooping 9-1/2-inch clip-point, swedge-ground blade is crafted of time proven O1 high-carbon steel. The satin-finished blade, incidentally, is an incredible 5/16-inch thick. The Trailmaster Bowie features a 5-inch “hidden tang” handle of grippy Kray-Ex (similar to Kraton). An ovate, polished brass guard adds finger protection, not to mention adding a nice accent to the overall look of the knife.

At 14-1/2 inches in overall length and 17-1/2 ounces in weight, the Trailmaster is a titan among fixed-blades, capable of felling small trees or butchering humongous game animals. A rugged synthetic Secur-Ex belt loop sheath with handle snap and riveted securing points completes the package.

There’s something about handling a large Bowie that warms the cockles. The Trailmaster does just that, imparting that invincible feel only a big ’un like this ’un can. The supple grip is both comfortable and secure in the hand and, despite checking in at over a pound, the Trailmaster has a surprisingly agile feel for its size and weight.

With a suggested retail of $249.99, it’s a lot of knife for the money. Should you choose to forego the bit of added maintenance required of high-carbon steel, there’s an upscale version of the Trailmaster in San Mai III steel available. Very few knives stay in a manufacturer’s line for over 25 years, and it’s generally because they’re well designed and get the job done. The Cold Steel Trailmaster Bowie is—and does—just that.

Trailmaster Bowie

Maker: Cold Steel, Inc.
6060 Nicolle St.
Ventura, CA 93003
(800) 255-4716

Steel type: O1 high carbon, satin finish
Blade length: 9-1/2 inches
Overall length: 14-1/2 inches
Weight: 17-1/2 ounces
Handle: Black Kray-Ex
Carry: Secure-Ex Sheath
Price: $249.99

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