kayak knife

Can anyone recommend a good blunt ended non-folding knife to go on my pfd? Also should it be sharp on one edge or both?

Opinions appreciated.

Benchmade Rescue Hook
I just got one for my Lotus Mildwater vest. I could use some advice on how to thether it so that I can use it if needed and it won’t be gone if I drop it. Don’t mean to hijack your thread just looking for a few ideas. I went with it because the concept of having a knife get out of my hand and being thethered and bouncing back at me was not something I was looking forward to.

Round first aid sissors may be better
For NON white water kayaking, the benefits of a knife and the dangers of one, i.e., cuting oneself severely and others may swing towards the use of high quality round edge professional first aid sissors. I find they can be very very effective in cutting anything one needs and little or no danger of cutting oneself or the victim. That said there are those who reasonably feel that special circumstances affort faster response of a knife, so this is not for everyone or every condition. I just thought if would be good for folks to consider this alternative.

what’s a knife for ?
i think an awful lot of sea kayakers keep a knife on their pfd because they saw it done in a picture or saw someone else with one and thought it looked “kewl”.

knives have a place on white water pfd’s where they function during rope rescues in case of a pinning or etc., when one needs to quickly cut the rope.

tell me a use for a knife on a sea kayak pfd besides opening clams?

I use the McNett Saturna. It seems to be the knife you are describing. Normal price between $20 and $30 means you are out less if you happen to loose it.

I bought mine form Outdoor play, but they no longer list it, so here is another source:


Knives at sea
Plenty of uses. Mostly dealing with line/nets/etc. I have used mine several times to cut fishing line on ropes fouled on things. Wayward construction area floats blocking my canal, floats, tow ropes, heavy test mono filament, I have also freed entangled wildlife.

For safety - one handed, quick pull, blind operation is key. Rescue hook will do that too - but only does one thing: Parts line and strap. Knife can hack and saw through more, can chip, dig, pry, etc.

As on land, a very handy tool for countless tasks. Sea kayakers spend time on land out of their kayaks too.

Right now I have an Aeris Silverjack mini dive/bcd knife. Not perfect, but meets my primary requirements. Got it as a temporary - still on PFD a year later. Serrations on one side (a must). Really don’t need the straight edge at all - but someday I will be glad it’s there. Line hook nice for mono. Blunt tip for safety and to pry/chip/turn. I also like the small size (makes serrations even more important though). I forget it’s there unless needed, which is nice. Rolling, rescues, whatever - it’s not in my way - and I don’t look like a Special Forces wannabe:


Pretty inexpensive. Got it because it was available in a local shop. Another I would have tried (that might be better blind because the handle is indexed):


Ideal for me? Something like that in Titanium.

Same reasons divers carry a knife,
for safety, I would much rather carry one and never need it than not have it and tip and get caught up in discarded fishing line or old netting or lobster pot line. Just like a dry suit in 30 degree water why do you need it? SAFTEY in case something happens. Why carry flares, why carry a compass, why carry nat charts? All for saftey.

carry what you need –
charts and compass are often useful tools. i’ve been paddling for 40 years and have never needed a knife for an ‘emergency’ tool. if i need one, it’s to be found stowed in my day hatch. do you carry a ‘toilet kit’, extra rope, duct tape, nail clippers, sun screen, bug dope, water proof matches, glass repair kit and head lamp on your PFD as well? you might need those one day and your logic would say that one should carry these and not need them rather than need them and not carry them?

non-emergency items may have a place in your boat but loading up your PFD with bells and tweedles doesn’t ring true to me.

i think it’s the ‘kewl’ factor. :wink:


– Last Updated: Apr-18-05 8:19 PM EST –

"do you carry a 'toilet kit', extra rope, duct tape, nail clippers, sun screen, bug dope, water proof matches, glass repair kit and head lamp on your PFD as well?"

There is a big difference between a knife and those extras. You carry a knife on your PFD because if you need it, you need immediate and easy access. Toiletries and glass repair kits, etc, don't need to be accessed instantly in a life or death situation. If I can't wipe my ass, no big deal. If I can't free myself from an entanglement... potentially the biggest and most final deal.

P.S. I generally agree with the KISS principle, and don't agree with mounting everything possible on a PFD. But a sharp edge is, IMHO, a good thing to have easy, quick access to.

I use a
Gerber river knife, modified to a chisel point. Last thing I want is to be upsidedown ,tangled and stab myself. while i have not used it for an emergency, I was without it before and could have. nuff said.

Mine’s at the bottom of Biscayne Bay

– Last Updated: Apr-18-05 9:25 PM EST –

Same (McNett) knives are sold under numerous brands with some blade variation.

Sheath is the problem. Mine released doing re-entries. Front button is big and easy to depress unintentionally when in the water or on deck. Knife drops fast. Probably should have been tethered, but if it had been, I'd have likely been injured as I did not realize it was gone for a while. I'd have laid on, sat on, or gotten tangled up with it if it were connected.

Thanks for reminding me the problems with the old and making me get to something I still need to address with the new. I just added a small wrist lanyard to my current one. Should keep it handy if I lose grip using it - but tucks away when not used. This knife has only a rather simple friction retention system - but solid - and has yet to come lose - or even close - through many practice sessions.

I avoid

– Last Updated: Apr-18-05 8:50 PM EST –

titanium knives like the plague. Don't hold an edge, and are weak compared to steel. AFAIC, they're for EOD people, who need knives with no magnetic signature.

Have to agree
I’m just lazy and know rust will eventually take hold one day when PDF get’s thrown into car trunk a few hours.

For price of titanium I could by several replacement stainless though. Current knife was $20-30.

Do love the way my titamium watch slips through the detectors…

I love my Benchmade H2O Knife,
It’s blunt on one side and on the tip and very sharp on the other side. It comes with a sheath that locks it into place so it doesn’t get lost when it falls off your pfd in the car after a day paddle (I lost two Benchmade Rescue Hooks that way). I attach the sheath to the front of my pfd with cable ties. It comes in a bright yellow so if you drop it you can see it. It’s also made to be in salt water without getting corroded. The downsides are it’s pretty big and expensive.

A knife on a sea kayaker’s PFD
is a good thing to interfere with re-entries. Just one more thing to get tangled up in the deck lines.

I agree that a knife is a good thing to have and I carry one in my day hatch----not on my pfd.

They should make a mini!
It is a nice knife though.

If you are towing

– Last Updated: Apr-19-05 8:26 PM EST –

you should have a way to cut the rope. Yes on flat water you are not likely to need it but the above stated rule is pretty standard where I come from. An unexpected capsize, getting the towed caught by a wave, stuff happens.

I recommend Sea Snips diving shears coated with boeshield T9. If you must have a knife I recommend a lagriffe WWR also protected with boeshield T9. Supers sharp right out of the box, good in salt water environment just give it a quick rinse. the Tek loc accessory makes switching pfds quick. Blade is a mere 1.25 inches long whole knife is slightly under 4 inches, With a huge finger hole in the well designed handle it is very effective , the newer sheath design is super tight and the fingerhole accomodates thick gloves.

You will see recommendations for the CRKT bear claw (rusts, smaller finger hole in the unnecessary handle, cheap steel, not as sharp) gerber (their heavily chromed river knives are laughably dull out of the box). If I ever have to use my safety knife I do not want to be sawing with it, I want a fast cut. Shears are best, you can cut a metal leader or small cable without putting it under tension.

River Shorty & Spyderco.
For many years, I’ve had a Gerber River Shorty, in my dry bag. It’s almost never used, but could be on a pfd. Most of my paddling is in marathon type boats on flat water. I carry a Spyderco clipit folder (about 2/3 serrated edge) in my shorts. This has been used for cutting tons of fishing lines from trees & general use.

'Tis True About Titanium…
it doesn’t hold edge as well as stainless and far less than high carbon steel.

The trade-off of titanium is that you have to sharpen more frequently after some usage. However, if you don’t use the knive except for emergencies, than you don’t need to sharpen.

A SS or CS knife will hold an edge longer than titanium. However, if you not conscious to rinse off after every trip the salt, you won’t have much of edge left either. It rust and dull in the sheath.

I carry titanium because I don’t always remember to rinse my knife out. A rusted knife screams at me and reminds me of my lack attentiveness to equipment. I am more into low or easy maintenance equipment.


Look at Dive Knives
Not sure abotu the blunt-ended part, but they tend to be non-folding and are in cases that can clip to PFD etc.