Field Tested: Helle Eggen

In an age of 3D printing and automated production, it’s easy to forget the halcyon days of manufacturing when quality goods came to life only through the dedicated efforts of master craftsmen. Helle knives is one of the last remaining holdouts determined to not let the legacy of tradecraft slip through their skilled hands. Founded by brothers Steiner and Sigmund Helle in 1932, their knives are still produced in a small facility in Holmedal, Norway, much as they have been for more than seven decades.

A Helle knife is first and foremost a thing of utility designed for rigorous use in unforgiving environments. Revered by hunters, fisherman, and outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds, these are not ornamental knifes but rather practical tools carefully balanced and shaped to behave like an extension of one’s own hand. The Eggen is one of their more all-purpose knives with a drop-point blade and generously sized handle for maximum control. The curly birch handle has a small finger guard and the grain of the wood is beautiful in a way only nature can be. The blade is constructed of Helle’s unique triple laminated steel for optimal sharpness; the alloy steel core flanked by corrosion resistant stainless steel polished to a high sheen. No knife is complete without a way to carry it, and the handmade leather sheath is a work of art in itself. Uncomplicated and made with precision, it is a perfect compliment to the Eggen.

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The Helle manufacturing process is steeped in tradition with each knife undergoing 45 different manual operations before completion. The result is a knife of heirloom quality, destined to be passed down from one generation to the next. $119

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Christophe Noel is a journalist from Prescott, Arizona. Born into a family of backcountry enthusiasts, Christophe grew up backpacking the mountains and deserts of the American West. An avid cyclist and bikepacker, he also has a passion for motorcycles, travel, food and overlanding.