Kayak PFD Knife Suggestions

Rust in Salt Water
Been lurking around for a while, decided to post due to some first hand experience with the topic. Issue in salt water opposite to the fresh one is just that, salt, highly corrosive agent. Don’t underestimate it. There lots of great steel out there, unfortunately even stainless still that holds a good edge is not completely stainless. I have a number of Benchmade, Columbia River, Spyderco, Leatherman. Taking to the ocean I found AUS 8 steel, stainless, has pitted in one 5 hours outing. Salt and warm temperature did it. Benchmade has number of knives with ether BK or BT black coating that suppose to be very rust resistant, but having exposed edge and high price on them, not sure that I want them to be rusted on my PFD. For that exact reason I got Spyderco Salt 1 in plain edge. It is small – 3 in, light- FRN handle, yellow – great for visibility and what is most important rust proof. Steel used is H1 and there is no Carbon there instead they replaced carbon for a Nitrogen. As I understand Carbon in steel makes it more susceptible to rust. My first idea was to get partial serrated knife, but Spyderco ether produces plain of fully serrated, so I got plain and with micro serrated sharpening (just sharpen it on coarse stone, not polish) it cuts rope just fine. Having a big hole for opening, lanyard hole on the back and a simple design makes it very convenient as a PFD knife. Blade shape is great for water as it doesn’t have a very sharp tip and have a gentle curve. Took it to the ocean, didn’t rinse it and found NO rust spots of pitting. It is a folder, but I also don’t clip it to the outside of the PFD, instead I put it in the pocket in my Locean. While some may argue that it would be slower to deploy, I see no reason (for now) for fast deployment, in future that may change, but for now pocket is where it will live. If you want a slim profile, just remove the clip.

Salt knive
I have the older one - Atlantic I think.

Either way, put it on a tether and you won’t lose it from your pocket while rifling for your chapstick.

Practice getting it out and cutting something. I haven’t done this in awhile so maybe I will add that to a pool session this winter.


not on your leg
If you were to put the knife on a band on your leg, you possibly couldn’t get to it if you were in your boat and with skirt on. Best to have on your pfd. I won’t wear a sheath knife on my pfd as I have seen a few deployed inadvertently during rescue practice.

I don’t like the medical shears as they are great when knew but rust like crazy immediately and then won’t work when you need them.


I bought the Short Nighthawk as a gift to one of my son’s to use on his tour of Iraq. I ended up getting 6-7 total for his friends as they were quite fond of them. I think they come with a molded sheath. A very nice knife but yes, they are on the heavy side and would be way too much to hang on a pfd. They do seem to be heavier than my Buck 119 Special.

Did you check out that Kershaw I talked about?


"even stainless steel…isn’t"
Yep! All is relative.

No experience with H1, but glad to see testimonial above.

Why not skip the steel altogether and go with Boye dendritic cobalt? No rust, period. Cuts great and hold it’s edge. Easy to sharpen. And they are beautiful.

P.S. I have no financial interest in David Boye Knives. Just a happy customer.

That’s a good looking knife. Think I’m gonna hafta get me one of those.

lots of good info here
I looked at all the choices listed and they all (except the macho knives!!) appear to be very good quality knives although some are more appropriate for me than others. I have decided that I will probably have both a folding knife as well as a sheated one piece knife with me. I really am not an high seas adventurer but I do believe in safety and if there is one thing i have learned - its to expect the unexpected. For this reason, I am increasing my odds for safety!

Here is what I am thinking: For a folding knife in my pfd, I am leaning towards the spyderco H1 Salt probably serrated. No rust, light, small, lanyard option, bright yellow and great ratings. I have found it on sale also!

For the fixed knife, it isn’t as easy: Titanium sounds like a preferable choice overall so I will most likely choose this material (it is true that I wont be using it alot so my concerns regarding dullness are probably a mute point)

I am not sure yet but the short list is Wenoka Squeeze Titanium Knife- tanto tip, or the diving knife by i think OMS Titanium Sing mentioned and an unknown by Kershaw called the sea hunter (another style was suggested but this one looks more appropriate for me)I just need to double check if it is titanium.

It is interesting to see the variety that folks here use and good to see many are safety conscious. Thanks for taking the time to help me out!


ps any more suggestions are welcome still !

Forgive me if this has been asked
already, but there’s just too many replies to read all of them.

Is anyone familiar with a knife that has a sheath with a small opening in it so you can cut fishing line (or whatever) without having to remove the knife from the sheath and without risking a cut to your finger?

I was told about it some time ago but haven’t had any luck finding one.


Titanium knife is silly
Kind of like titanium in golf balls. More gimmick than substance. A good quality stainless knife will be much better in the long haul. Take a look at this one…


Great knife at a very very reasonable price. All function, no flash.

Sillier Still…

– Last Updated: Nov-18-08 9:21 PM EST –

to rust and pitted out two good stainless knives (ATS 34 and 440C) because I forgot to rinse them right after kayaking in the salt.

No problem with my titanium and it does fine for cutting the the occaisonal buoy or lobster trap rope and fishline I find floating dangerously around the homebreak after a storm.


PS. While I am sure Boye's cobalt alloy knife is fine as I have a custom Simonich talonite knife and a Carson stellite knife (cobalt alloys). But these suckers aren't cheap. Titanium is fairly inexpensive now (wasn't when Mission Knives seem to have the market back over ten years ago on titanium knives)and perfectly useable.

hold on to that Simonich
Not sure if you’re aware, but Rob passed away a few years ago.

In addition to making top quality knives, his gunner grips are, IMHO, the best 1911 grip available and adorn two of my own 1911’s.

Yeah… I Know…

– Last Updated: Nov-18-08 9:54 PM EST –

Met at him at the annual Blade show in Atlanta, GA about 15 years ago when he first started working with some new fangle metal that nobody knew anything about --- talonite.

Good ole cowboy, he was...


PS. Actually got quite a collection of custom and manufactured fixed and folding knives, bowies, khukuris, swords -- some by famous makers, some not some famous. Among some of my fond ones were less expensive knives by Blackjack Knives. I got several of their bowies which were Randall rip offs that then became collectors' items unto themselves. Go figure. My sons have already laid claim to the different blades when I am gone.

What the heck???
On the “knife steel” thread you linked to Bob Engnath’s page http://users.ameritech.net/knives/steels.htm

Quoth your expert: “TITANIUM is only a marginally acceptable metal for a knife blade. It cannot be hardened much past the mid 40’s of the Rockwell C scale, and that’s spring, or throwing knife territory. Aside from that, I’m sure that there will soon be collectable titanium knives on many custom makers tables, designed to catch collectors, and not for cutting.”

For my $60.95 I’ll take a Myerchin A500 made from 440C over any other fixed blade on the market, regardless of material or maker.

And back to the original post, this is an occasional use knife for mostly fresh water. Any reasonalble stainless knife with a minimum of care will suffice.

P.S. Myerchin steel is good enough for the US Coast Guard and it has been good enough for me in salt water.

Bob Passed Awhile Ago…

– Last Updated: Nov-18-08 10:02 PM EST –

the type and use of titanium has improved... to the extent, custom makers make titanium knifes and sell them for $500 plus. Granted these knives won't see heavy usage but they have to be tested to stand heavy usage, or they would not be collectable at that price...

Here's another link for you...



PS. It's true that OP talked about freshwater. In which case, I totally agree with most stainless as being fine. Some folks veered off into salt water usage. This I know from first hand experience, have really seriously damage two fixed blades and one folder. I should be much more conscientious about rinsing out after usage. But, the fact is that I am not. Just like I don't care much about scratches on my kayaks and paddles and such. I like no muss, no fuss, mission driven.

try Boye
Ultimate, no muss and no fuss and no flash. I have stuck a folding sheepsfoot to my pfd for 2.5 years now. I have not been very conscientious about rinsing it. Thankfully, I have not had to use it in an emergency, just PB&J and routine use. It looks like the day I got it and is just as sharp.

emerson la griffe

check other sites for significantly better pricing.

Love my Benchmade H20

– Last Updated: Nov-19-08 11:24 AM EST –


Secures very easily and securly to PFD. Never rusts in seawater, sharp, and easy to deploy and store with gloves on. Also cuts apples and spreads peanut butter (crunchy or smooth).

Deep See Squeeze Lock
is now the knife I use. I had a Benchmade H2O that was great except for the the fact that the bulk when on my PFD interfered with my canoe paddle stroke. As far as fixed blades go, the River Shorty is definitely at the bootom end of the size scale, so most of the other fixed blade knives mentioned in this thread do not meet your original requirement.

I like the Deep See Squeeze because it is a small, though only slightly less than the River Shorty, and the squeeze lock prevents inadvertant dislodging, say climbing over the boat gunwale or a log. I use and like the blunt tip. It has a partial serrated blade that works effortlessly for line cutting. You say you are in freshwater, as am I, and I have the stainless blade. It is also avaliable in titanium if saltwater corrosion is of concern (more money though). It is not as sharp as some other knives I own, and it would not be my mainstay utility blade on a camping/ pack trip. However, for the occasional rescue use and spreading peanut butter at a lunch stop, it is ideal. And at about 30 bucks you can’t beat it.

I want one made of kapok

Wouldn’t it get a little raunchy
after spreading peanut butter? I think the “holding an edge” aspect might be of concern, too.