The Cold Steel Trail Boss Axe Review

Buying an axe is easy; but are you finding it difficult choosing the perfect one within your budget and fitting your needs?

Well, it’s most probably because you don’t know where to look at, and why you need it. You need to choose an axe that fits all your camping and travelling needs and something that won’t weigh you down while trekking or take too much space.

Reading this Cold Steel Trail Boss review will tell you that there’s an axe which may just fit your needs and budget.

This survival hatchet is a good attempt from the Cold Steel Company at producing a best quality axe at an affordable price. The Trail Boss is marketed under the company’s American Tomahawk line.

It’s cheap when compared to other survival axes from the more famous and reputable brands like Gransfors Bruks and Wetterlings. Its quality isn’t that bad, and it's from China, as imprinted on its head. There is no compromise in quality as the axe is built keeping Cold Steel specifications and standards in mind.

  • Has a genuine American hickory handle
  • Weighs 2.70 pounds with an overall length of 26 inches
  • Axe head made of drop forged 1055 carbon steel
  • Primary edge measures 4 ½ inches
  • Made in China by Cold Steel and marketed under its American Tomahawk line

things to consider before buying Cold Steel Trail Boss axe

Durable construction

The Cold Steel tomahawk is built strong with a metal cylinder attaching its head to the handle. The axe head weighs about 2 ½ pounds and measures 6 ½” long with a 4 ½” long cutting edge, which means it takes a considerably big bite with each swing.

Though it may not be the perfect axe for a light backpacker, it’s not cumbersome to carry too as it easily straps to a pack frame. Carrying it is not a problem as its compact enough to mount onto an ATV, to just drop into a car trunk or to even slide behind a pickup truck’s seat.

The perfect bush axe

In this cold steel trail boss axe review, at first glance, its head looks like its cutting edge isn’t well aligned, but looks can get deceiving! In fact, its head is even painted black so that it matches the axe head. Fit to a straight-grained hickory handle, the Trail Boss has an overall length of 23 inches.

This is the perfect length for a ‘Bush Axe’ as defined by Mors Kochanski in his classic book, Bushcraft. According to him, a bush axe is a short and light axe that may not be portable but is indeed functional. He states that as long as the axe fits snugly into your armpit when you hold its head in your hand, then it’s perfect for general bush work.

The Cold Steel axe’s grind is like most other axes, but its edge is a bit on the thicker side. This may be the reason for its comparatively poor chopping performance. But it’s the best axe for splitting wood as the part of its axe head below the cutting edge is more concave in structure. Its hang, which is measured by resting the axe bit and knob on a flat surface, is about ½”, just perfect for an axe.

Built using best quality materials

The survival hatchet has a genuine American Hickory handle, and its grain is nothing to complain. While you usually opt for an axe with a straight grain throughout the handle length, the Trail Boss has a rather wavy or angled grain. So though it’s not ‘perfect,' it’s not bad too and will work quite okay as it’s usually the higher end axes that have the best grains.

The axe head is of good quality drop forged 1055 carbon steel that keeps the edge quite well. It’s also easily sharpened and isn’t prone to chipping like the steel in some other axes.

However, if you plan to use the Trail Boss as a chopper, it’s better if you first file and thin its edge before attempting to do anything. While the hickory steel Inc axe cheeks are perfect for chopping, its cutting edge needs some thinning.


  • No tendency of chipping
  • Optimal head profile
  • Measurements befitting a bush axe
  • Can be tucked in your car trunk or back seat
  • Light, compact and tough
  • Efficient customer support


  • Not as sharp as expected
  • Poor balance

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Where is it made?

The Cold Steel Trail Boss axe is made in China.

Are replacement handles available?

Yes, they are available from Cold Steel.

Does the axe have a Cold Steel Trail Boss sheath?

Yes, it does, but it’s a poor quality one. It’s just a silicone bit cover for the blade that may fall off while carrying. So make sure it’s secure before starting off.

Is the axe well balanced?

No, the Trail Boss doesn’t boast of the best of balance. While it may seem balanced if held by the handle towards the head, the head is comparatively heavy towards the bit. This can make it difficult to control the axe while swinging, which can be an issue to amateurs.

Final Note

The features mentioned in this Cold Steel Trail Boss review shows that this is an axe that can be recommended to anyone. Though the hatchet may reach you a bit dull, it’s nothing to worry about as it can be sharpened.

The other features mentioned in the Cold Steel Trail Boss axe review like its sizeable cutting edge, genuine American hickory handle and its excellent quality drop forged 1055 carbon steel axe head compensates for this drawback. Besides, the Trail Boss is also very reasonably priced when compared to other axes with similar features.

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