They say “go big or go home”, and it doesn’t get a whole lot bigger than Cold Steel’s All Terrain Chopper. This is one big mother of a machete, and I knew as soon as I saw it that I would eventually have to get one and test it out.
So here we are. I’ll tell you right now, this isn’t a machete for the faint-of-heart or the weak-of-upper-back.
All Terrain Chopper: First Impressions
Sometimes I order things on Amazon and forget that I’ve ordered them. Or I order multiple things at once and get confused about what’s coming and when. Suffice it to say, when the giant box containing my Cold Steel All Terrain Chopper showed up at my doorstep, I didn’t know what the heck it was. Did somebody in my house buy a Louisville Slugger and forget to tell me about it?
Then I opened it up, and I remembered. Pictures of this thing on the internet don’t do it justice. It’s a monster.
It’s a heavy monster too, but one with a surprisingly comfortable two-handed grip. Although the weight takes some getting used to, it’s not an especially difficult machete to swing once you get the hang of it. I like the fit and finish too. There isn’t a lot of, shall we say, finesse to the design… but I don’t think finesse is what this machete is all about.
Measurements & Specs
The Cold Steel All Terrain Chopper has a 21.5-inch blade and a 9-inch handle, for a total length of 30.5 inches. Blade thickness is a consistent 2.8 mm along the full length of the blade. It weighs 36.2 ounces, or about 2.2 pounds. Again, not trying to beat a dead horse here, but it’s big.
It’s a full tang—look close and you can see the steel through the lanyard hole at the rear of the handle—and the blade is made of 1055 carbon steel with a baked-on anti-rust matte black finish. The handle is made of black polypropylene with some diamond checked grip. It comes with a sheath made of “Cor-Ex®” which is basically ballistic nylon.
Blade Shape & Steel
The shape of the All Terrain Chopper blade isn’t something you see every day. It’s very similar to Cold Steel’s 21-inch Slant Tip Machete, which the company describes as having a “European style slanted tip.” European or not, it’s not a design one commonly encounters on a machete, with angles that give it a trapezoid-esque shape.
It has a real “big-old-chunk-of-steel” look about it, and that’s essentially what it is, with no variation in blade thickness between the handle and the tip. The width (or height, if you prefer) of the blade flares out from to about 1.75 inches at its narrowest point near the handle to about 3.75 inches at its widest point, just short of the tip.
That makes it a very weight-forward machete. That, coupled with what to my eye is a slightly convex grind, gives the Cold Steel some serious, not-effing-around chopping power. Mine also came razor sharp.
A blade of this size and weight requires tough steel, and 1055 carbon steel was a good choice. 1055 contains approximately 0.55% carbon, along with manganese somewhere in the neighborhood of 0.75%. It’s not an expensive or high-end steel, but it’s known for toughness, hardness and wear resistance, as well as shock and impact resistance.
That makes it a good choice for heavy-duty tools like machetes, axes and swords. Its achilles heel, as is the case with pretty much all carbon steels, is moisture. The exposed steel on the cutting edge will rust if you let it, so take care to dry and oil your blade.
Handle & Grip
The handle of the Cold Steel All Terrain Chopper is comfortable and grippy, with great texture and durable Polypropylene construction. It’s contoured to fit into the user’s hands perfectly without slipping, and the diamond-pattern textured grip is also a big help when it comes to really locking into your palms.
And yes, it is “palms,” plural. The length of the All Terrain Chopper’s handle is designed for a two-handed grip. This is the main feature that differentiates the All Terrain Chopper from Cold Steel’s 21-inch Slant Tip Machete, which features a very similar blade on a one-handed handle.
As you might imagine, you can put some serious force into a two-handed swing, making what is already a formidable chopper into an even more powerful tool. The length of the handle, coupled with the weight-forward blade, makes this a heavy-duty machete for chopping through thick, tough materials.
Sheath & Carrying Comfort
It wouldn’t make much sense to try to carry a machete of this size on your belt. Fortunately, the makers of the All Terrain Chopper understood this, and chose instead to design the sheath for back or shoulder carry. The adjustable strap on the sheath allows the user to carry the All Terrain Chopper either across the back or slung over one shoulder.
In either case, the weight is well distributed, making this a surprisingly comfortable carry for such a massive machete. The ballistic nylon (or Cor-Ex®, if you prefer) sheath is rugged and durable, and the machete is held in place by three snaps; two along the spine of the blade and one around the handle.
Taking the All Terrain Chopper in and out of the sheath is a bit awkward and cumbersome. It’s not the type of blade that one can quickly whip out of its sheath and start swinging. But that feels kind of unavoidable for a large machete, and I’d rather have a secure sheath than fast deployment any day.
Final Thoughts on the Cold Steel All Terrain Chopper
I have no problems with the Cold Steel All Terrain Chopper. It’s a sturdy, heavy-duty machete with durable construction that came sharp enough to cut paper right out of the box. I can’t ask for more than that.
That being said, consider the importance of having the right tool for the right job before purchasing this. Machetes come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, and are intended for an equally wide range of tasks.
If you’re looking for a light, lithe machete that you can swing all day and use for thin plant matter like tall grasses and weeds, this ain’t it. It’s also not a good machete for bushcraft chores like feather sticking or batoning (though you could probably baton with it if you had to).
The Cold Steel All Terrain Chopper is a heavy-duty machete for heavy-duty jobs like chopping through thick woody vines, trimming branches off trees, and cutting down whole saplings and even small trees. If those are the types of jobs you need to do, you’ll find the All Terrain Chopper more than up to the task. It’s also a great buy at less than $40.
Blair Witkowski is an avid watch nut, loves pocket knives and flashlights and when he is not trying to be a good dad to his nine kids, you will find him running or posting pics on Instagram. Besides writing articles for Tech Writer EDC he is also the founder of Lowcountry Style & Living. In addition to writing, he is focused on improving his clients websites for his other passion, Search Engine Optimization. His wife Jennifer and he live in coastal South Carolina.