Last Updated on 24/08/2023
Made in Norway, the Helle Mandra Knife was designed and developed with the help of the legendary ‘Survivorman’, Les Stroud. It is a compact knife you can wear around your neck, on your belt, in your pocket, or even in your boot if you’re going full Rambo. In this review, we share our honest feedback about a knife we waited a very long time to get our hands on.
Helle Mandra Knife Review
In this Helle Mandra Knife Review, we share some history about this knife in particular, as well as our initial thoughts and results from testing. One of these pocket sharpeners would be perfect for this blade.
Helle Mandra Knife Specifications
- Total Weight: 110 g / 3.88 oz (including the sheath)
- Blade Material: Triple Laminated Stainless Steel
- Blade Thickness: 2.6 mm / 0.1 in
- Blade Length: 69 mm / 2.72 in
- Handle Material: Curly Birch and Vulcan Fibre
- Handle Length: 80 mm / 3.15 in
About the Helle Mandra Les Stroud Knife Collaboration
This knife project first started when the Helle team traveled to Romania to meet Les before the filming of his Romanian episode. An early prototype of the Mandra was used in the episode so that Les could give some honest feedback on the performance and handling. Once Les returned from his solo mission into the woods, some slight adjustments were made to the shape of the knife on location – which were then refined and integrated into the finished design.
Anders Haglund, Helle’s head of international marketing, notes, “We are extremely proud to present a brand new Les Stroud knife. In fact; the word Mândra literally means proud, and the new knife is named for the hilly peak where Les was found by the Salvamont rescue party during filming Survivorman in Romania”.
Les Stroud also commented, “Put to the test during my intense filming of Survivorman and inspired by the raw and breathtaking nature of Romania, I now have the pleasure of unveiling my latest knife collaboration with Anders Haglund and Helle knives, The Mândra.”
My first thoughts are that the knife and sheath are visually stunning, The curly birch handle has deep patterns that only improve with age and wear. The blade is highly finished to be super sharp as soon as it arrives, and I am just so glad that I got it.
There is something special about the Helle Mandra. It is so compact and comfortable in your hand that you don’t want to put it down. It is lightweight and well-balanced with a nice wide blade that drops sharply down to a drop point tip.
Weight and Size
The light weight and compact size are one of this knife’s main appeals. The handle is 80 mm (3.15 inches) which is small but just big enough to get a full four-finger grip. The blade length is just 69 mm which does limit its uses, but for 80% of bushcraft tasks, it will be much better and easier than getting a larger knife out.
I have quite large hands, and the handle is a little tight. I can wrap all four fingers around it with my thumb safely out of the way but my pinkie is kind of sitting on the butt of the knife. The hand groove fits three fingers very comfortably so that you can hold it in a way that gives you the most control and precision. Perfect for small tasks which make up most of your daily duties in the wilderness.
The reason I like the Helle Mandra knife so much is that it is the ideal complementary knife to a larger knife like a machete or a less durable knife like a multitool. It is the ideal companion to a larger knife and one that can be hung around your neck for easy access and storage. You would be surprised how much more you use a knife when it is hung around your neck.
Sure it can’t be used to split wood because the blade just isn’t long enough and the handle is so small it only just fits all four fingers. But it comes in handy so often and is so easy to use that it often becomes your go-to knife for general camp jobs. I especially like using it for cooking and preparing food outdoors.
The knife costs around $200 and comes with a leather sheath that is designed to be worn around your neck – but can also be worn on your belt, in your boot, or in your pocket. The full tang blade is made from triple laminated steel and has a birch wood handle held in place by two hollow pins. Overall, this is a must-have for me and helps me reta
Small blades like this are great for everyday carry, bushcraft tasks, and fast access. In situations where you are already carrying an axe, you don’t necessarily need a large knife and can often get by just fine with a neck knife like this. When compared to the knives Bear Grylls has created in partnership with Gerber, I know which one I would choose.