Field Tested: Helle Odel

Up until last year, I would have never considered myself––a knife guy. Then I was handed a Helle knife and that all started to change. There was something elegant about it that harkened to another time and place, something I couldn’t pinpoint. It felt old and new at the same time.

After learning about the Helle brand I became an instant fan, and before I could find the first thing to part in two with its razor sharp edge, I was already thinking of which model I’d procure next. I am now a genuine knife guy, if only a Helle knife guy.

Helle was founded by brothers Steiner and Sigmund Helle on their farm in Holmeland, Norway in 1932. Surrounded by fjords and mountains, life in this part of Norway was, and still is, all about the outdoors where a good knife is central to a day of hunting, fishing, or just enjoying the wild landscapes of the North. The Helle brothers having an appreciation for good knives started making their own and selling them at the local markets. The popularity of their knives swelled and before long they moved production to a larger facility where they could meet the growing demand for their product. They’ve been making their knives in that location ever since.

 

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The hallmark of a Helle knife is the triple laminated stainless steel blade. The core is comprised of a hard alloy steel that holds an edge better than most metals. The outer stainless layers protect the core steel from rusting or breaking. The result is a knife blade with a stunningly beautiful appearance, but with the utility of a proper field knife. As the Helle craftsmen say, these are heirloom quality knives, but intended to be used.

 

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The Odel knife from Helle is my new favorite, and speaks to the level of artistry that defines these knives. The handle is masterfully crafted from curly birch, antler and leather. It is a sight to behold when paired to the stainless blade and leather sheath. Unlike many sheath knives, the Odel has a smaller size with the blade just under 4-inches in length. The handle has a nice rounded feel with a pronounced thumb guard. The 45 different manual operations that bring each Helle knife to life are evidenced in the Odel. It is elegantly refined, speaks to the outdoor legacy of life in Norway, and if I know myself at all, will not be my last Helle knife.  $135.00

 

www.helle.no

 

 

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.