TOPS El Chete: A huge heavy duty & extremely functional survival knife and tool
TOPS Knives is one of the five best made fixed blade knife companies in the world. The products are the finest made. Their staff and manage are nothing less than superb in customer service. Their blades are carried by people who are warriors and sheepdogs. Carried by Warriors who go in harm’s way. Carried by those who seek adventure in the corners of this planet where people are few and dangers are many. Carried by those who will defend themselves and others.
TOPS products are designed, and in some cases, made by people who have experience in the field. People who has experienced hardship, life and death decisions and pushing back Mother Nature or bipedal adversaries. Many TOPS products are field tested prior to being offered for sale. TOPS strives to have the knife you need. They have many designs to choose from.
The TOPS El Chete is not a blade you would be using to clean your trophy chipmunk. You could clean a chipmunk with this XL fixed blade knife, but this is not what it was designed for. The El Chete was designed by Leo Espinoza for the purpose of having a knife which is a superb survival tool which does double duty as a hatchet. The El Chete works as a normal machete does but can handle much larger jobs quickly. El Chete is not a normal large fixed blade knife. At 29.5 ounces this is one stout knife. If I was required to hack my way through a jungle all day, the El Chete would not be my choice. Swinging this XL knife would wear one out in a short time. This is why machetes are longer and much lighter to reduce fatigue of the user.
Speaking of hacking my way through jungle, I found in my T&E of the El Chete beast, I could hack off limbs which are 3 inches thick. In time and with some effort, I could chop down a tree with an eight inch base. In other words, to me, the El Chete bridges the gap between a large survival knife and a hatchet.
The TOPS El Chete comes with a very well made swinging Kydex sheath. The design facilitates the extraction of the El Chete out-the-front of the sheath. This sheath has all of the bells and whistles. To unsheathe this beast, all you do is pull up slightly then out the front to bring it into action. A strap when snapped into place, holds the blade in the sheath. I love this functional sheath as it will swing at my side but ready for action. While hiking through the woods El Chete dangles at my side. I do not notice the Beast while walking. If I squeeze through tight spot between trees or rocks, the sheath-knife combo just goes with the flow. If I sit down this knife/sheath configuration just relaxes with me. I think TOPS has hit on one of the best large knife sheath designs. I normally spend money to have a Kydex sheath made in this way.
In conclusion I believe TOPS has a winner in the El Chete. If you are one who goes into the eye of the storm. If you are the one who runs to the sound of gunfire. If you are the type of warrior when on a trail and confronted by a large bag of fur, teeth, claws and a bad attitude, will not back down. If you are this type of warrior then the El Chete is your type of knife. I highly recommend this XL fixed blade knife.
Have you ever gone into a rage when your NSSD (Not So Smart Device) crashes, fails to work and loses three days of work? Well I have had my moments. So when I had the chance to give some payback to a NSSD, of course I took it. I chopped the NSSD many times causing a warm wave of personal satisfaction. The El Chete suffered no damage. What a knife. My 94 year old Father just told me he has a NSSD he needs to get rid of. Life is good.
TOPS El Chete Specs
- Blade Length: 12.00 inches
- Overall Length: 17.50 inches
- Cutting Edge: 11.38 inches
- Blade Thickness: 0.250 inches
- Blade Steel: 1095 RC 56-58 (My favorite steel)
- Blade Finish: Acid Rain
- Handle Material: Green Canvas/Black Canvas Micarta
- Knife Weight: 29.5 ounces
- Weight w/ Sheath: 37.5 ounces
- Sheath Included: Yes
- Sheath Material: Black Kydex
- Designer: Leo Espinoza