Shopping around for a small knife to mount to a pfd.
I was originally considering an NRS co-pilot in titanium but iits not so great reviews (apparently the spring in its sheath rusts easily) and price are keeping me away.
The CRKT Neckolas and Bear Claw seem to fit the bill - they aren’t titanium (really looking for something that would be lesser/no maintenance - but as long as they don’t rust after a quick rinse I am ok) - any comments on which would be the better knife to mount on pfd - almost all paddling done on Saltwater?
Thanks in advance!,
Others, higher quality
Spyderco Salt 1
Spyderco Saver Salt
Spyderco Atlantic Salt
Spyderco Pacific Salt
Spyderco Tasman Salt
Spyderco Ladybug Hawkbill Salt
Benchmade H20 Griptilian
All the Spyderco’s open with the Spydie Hole, but the holes on the Salt 1 and Saver Salt (and maybe the Atl and Pac) are extra large to work with gloves.
The Benchmade has the patented axis lock, which can be thumb-stud-flicked or gravity-flicked open.
Myself, I don’t use rescue knives for paddling with corrosion resistant H1 (Spyderco) or N680 (Benchmade) steels, because I like other steels better for general use. I have never had a rusting problem, but I don’t paddle regularly or live near salt water. If you do, all the models I’ve listed above are made with those salt water resistant steels.
The other decision you must make with any of these knives is whether to get them in their serrated or plain edge models. That’s a much debated issue with all knives. I don’t think it much matters for an occasionally used rescue knife. I find a very sharp straight edge can cut rope slightly better than a serrated, but you can saw through things like woody stalks easier with a serrated. Plain edges are much easier to sharpen for most amateurs.
Really want a fixed blade vs a folder…
Was looking at the spyderco salt series - but really wanted a fixed blade…too bad they discontinued the caspian series…
minimalist survival knife
My son gave me this for Christmas and I love it.
If you don’t like the tanto style blade, there are other styles.
Comes with attachable belt loop, and a length of parachute cord so it can be worn around the neck.
Deep See Wenoka
Knife handle has the clip arrangement not the sheath. Comes in 3 blade styles. About $45.
Deep See (see Stohlquist.com)
Other suggestions will abound, I’m sure.
See you on the water,
The River Connection, Inc.
Hyde Park, NY
A lot depends on your usage
If you just want a gimmicky looking knife to decorate your PFD, that's one thing. A lot of us have done that.
I've had knives with me as a serious paddler for 35 years, often on my PFD, and I don't recall one instance where I ever needed it for an emergency or rescue. Rescues and emergencies that need quick, life-saving action are most likely to arise in WW paddling. I have participated in scores of WW rescues, but none required any sort of instantaneous action with a knife. A few did involve eventual action with a knife, to cut Z-drag lines for example, but in all those cases any sharp pocket or belt knife would have served the purpose. In those days I mostly carried a fixed blade diving knife on my PFD, which finally rusted from complete disuse.
Recognizing that my PFD knives were mainly ornaments, I changed my philosophy. I decided to carry knives while paddling--on my PFD or belt or wherever--that would be the kind of knife that was more useful and functional for on-land and camping chores, where I often did use knives. So, I started carrying knives that could function both as a so-called rescue knife and a general purpose camping and EDC knife. Actually, I usually carry two such multi-use knives when paddling.
What kind of rescue or emergency situations do you think you will be in as a kayaker in Florida? What advantage does a fixed blade give you? How useful is a 2" or 2.25" blade, such as the ones you are contemplating in your OP? If it's the emergency cutting of ropes or straps, which is what a lot of people have in mind, I wouldn't want to work with a 2" blade. I want one quick, long stroke.
If you want a fixed blade, there is a whole raft of diving knives that have good blade sizes and quality steels that could be more useful out of the boat than many of the gimmicky and so-called rescue knives.
The advantages of the folder, to me, are that it is much more multifunctional in city, home and urban life than a fixed blade, and that you can get a much longer working blade in a shorter space. Space is important in a very restricted area such as a PFD. And with practice you can open a quality folder instantaneously--especially the Benchmade axis locks, which require virtually no practice--if you ever do encounter the very, very unlikely emergency situation in a kayak where you need a blade available in two seconds.
I agree with Marshall, I picked up the Wenoka titanium last spring, has been on my vest ever since. Carried on ocean and whitewater. Stays put , no rust and a good value. Got mine via amazon.
Titanium as a blade steel
This interests me. I had never heard of pure titanium as a blade metal.
Research on knife sites indicates that titanium is stronger than steel by weight but weaker by volume. It does not take a sharp edge and does not hold any edge very long compared to steel.
There are two primary advantages over steel. First, titanium is completely impervious to rusting even with repeated exposure to salt water. This is why it is used in scuba diving knives. Query whether this is important to any given paddler. Second, titanium has no magnetic properties. Hence it won’t spark and is safer than steel to use around explosives by Navy SEALS. I don’t this should be of any importance to any paddler.
Since very few people who are serious about knives would sacrifice sharpness and edge retention for anti-corrosion, the primary market for titanium blades is for scuba divers and spear fishermen, who are constantly submerged in salt water. However, some believe that H1 and N680 steels are corrosion resistant enough for these activities.
Dull and inexpensive knives are often serrated because serrations can retain partial sharpness in the “valleys” even when dull on the “tips” and hence give the illusion of being sharper than they are. Most (or maybe all) of the inexpensive titanium diving knives I see are serrated. In order hold an actual sharp edge on its high-end titanium plain edge blades, Emerson bonds a layer of tantalum carbide micro-crystals onto the cutting edge, but these knives are in the $200 range.
I think the issue regarding a titanium blade is how you value or weigh the importance of sharpness and edge retention vs. perfect anti-corrosion. Of course, if you only use your PFD knife for the occasional spreading of peanut butter and cutting cheese, it doesn’t really matter. In that case, go for bling if that’s your thing.
Benchmade fixed blade steel dive knife
Not sure why I’m so interested in this topic since I’m not in the market for a knife, but I like knives.
If I wanted a fixed blade PFD dive knife with a click sheath, I’d think seriously about the Benchmade 110H20, a video review of which I’ve linked below.
It’s high quality corrosion resistant N680 stainless steel with a 3.43" blade and a grippy Santoprene handle. It is plain edge to hold the sharpest possible edge, or it also comes in a combo edge. It has a prying/digging tip and and a strap/rope cutting notch, and it only weighs 3.1 oz. Benchmade also has a lifetime sharpening service (only for plain edge knives) where you only pay for the shipping back and forth to them.
This knife should give multi-use service as a PFD “rescue” knife, a camp knife and a kitchen knife.
Shop around and you can probably find it heavily discounted. Or you can register on the Benchmade site as a serviceman, peace officer or law official and get it from the manufacturer for $73.50.
The combo edge is not shown on the video, but you can see it on the Benchmade site. BM probably won’t sharpen the serrated half under its Lifesharp service. Ask.
direct answer to OP
Forget the Neckolas. I have one, and seriously - I can’t think of a good use for it. The sheath is pretty pitiful, as a clip-on. There is no good way to attach it to a pfd, and I don’t care to use any kind of neck-knife while paddling. I have come to the conclusion that I don’t like serrated blades. While I can tolerate partial serrations, the fully serrated blade has limited use (and questionable at that). And to top it off, I am unimpressed with the way the knife clips into the sheath.
I haven’t tried the Bear Claw, so I can’t really comment on it in either form (serrated or not), but I view it as something of a gimmick. The curved blade has to be a bit tricky to sharpen.
Personally - I like to keep a rescue-hook type knife on my pfd, and I mostly use it to cut fishing line. It makes a nice safe way to either cut my own line or remove snags that I come across (often with usable tackle attached). I like the CRKT Extrik-8-R. It has a positive-locking sheath that attaches easily to most paddling pfd’s, is easy to handle with wet hands or gloves, isn’t difficult to sharpen (using a sandpaper-wrapped dowel), and doesn’t get in the way.
I carry a “normal” knife,less accessible, for camp chores.
Skip the knife, go with a rescue hook
I strongly agree with the previous post.
I have never found any advantage to having a knife on my PFD for sea kayaking, but I have seen first-hand how they can be a MAJOR liability when they come loose during a rescue or other close quarters activity. There are few things more dangerous than having a knife flopping around when you're trying to haul yourself into your boat or assist someone else in a reentry. I have yet to see a sheath that can be easily released when you need quick access, but won't fail in accidental close quarters contact or if someone grabs it inadvertently.
A rescue hook is a much better and SAFER choice for a tool to get you out of entanglements. If it does come out of its sheath, it's still relatively harmless. The worst situation I've seen with one is a snagged and cut deck line that was repaired easily with a knot.
My preference is for the Benchmade tools, but frankly the brand doesn't matter as long as the tool has a keen edge that will not rust in salt water and it can be used with bulky gloves on. Any quality rescue hook will do.
I do carry a Swiss Army knife in the boat for use on land and will add a camp hatchet/saw combo when necessary.
No, this gear is not flashy, sexy or macho, but it does the job without putting me at risk of injuring myself with my own "safety" equipment.