PFD - What's the square thing for?


A question will reveal that I am still a beginner :slight_smile: I keep forgetting to ask when I am at the local kayak dealer.

What is the plastic square quizmo sewn/glued/welded into the fabric on the chest of the pfd’s for?

(It has slits on all four sides.)

Thanks for the info


Topeka, KS

to attache a knife sheath to it.

or anything with a spring clip…

As kanaka said…
The square thingy normally captures the spring clip or nylon strap of a fixed blade knife.

The knife can be real life saver for cutting off a spare oar(as in the middle of a class IV drop on the Bruneau)… cutting an entangled line in the middle of a rapid (mostly rafting maneuvers) or even cutting through a kayak’s Tupperware hull to clear an entrapment… truly a real life saver when it’s needed… having it strapped to your PFD makes it a one handed draw.

Be careful however… after you cut loose the oar trying to place it back in the sheath so close to your neck in the middle of a rapid, can be a bit dicey.

They’re also good for rapidly deflating an inflatable as well as cutting cheese and sausage for lunch :slight_smile:

It’s called a “lash point”…

– Last Updated: Jul-17-06 8:26 PM EST –

... or "lash tab", and you can use it to mount most anything... knife, line cutter, sea snips, vhf radio, watch, barometer, portable margarita maker, etc.


It’s a bottle opener
You can use it to attatch a knife or something, but then it will be harder to open your beer.

portable margarita maker
Where do I get one of thoes :slight_smile:

Gas Powered or Crank?

You just need to mount an auto battery in your front hatch…

The attached object can also get
in the way if you are crawling onto your back deck doing a paddle float reentry.

Many rescue knives don’t have points - only blades.

Or a light
My small yellow steady light lives on a back tab of my PFD, the front one at times carries a strobe.

But as above, anything in that front one will get caught on things when you are climbing back over the boat deck. Best used for bulky things only when a roll is available or you’ll end up losing whatever is there, or hitting yourself with it.

Not a bad place to tie off nose plugs either, though I refer over the shoulder.

wow, who knew?
(well, apparently you all)

i can’t wait to get home and look at my PFD. :slight_smile:

for your jet ski repellent, aka wristrocket slingshot



A big word of caution here!
As a former Marine I was used to carrying a knife mounted upside down in just that position so it seemed very natural to mount a short bladed semi-saw tooth model that was perfect for all the reasons stated above. (except that margare… um, salt rimmed glass drink thingee maker.)

As a new Sea Kayaker I also decided to follow the advice of those in the know and the videos I bought to “learn the ropes” and practice my self rescue. With the wife and a couple friends watching from the sit on tops, I rolled my new P&H Quest “wrong side up”, (You know…the non-breathing side…), cleared the cockpit and swam free. I proceeded to mount my paddle float, inflate it and using the techniques on the videos, scramble back aboard as if I had been doing this all along. There were a lot of disappointed friends in the group. They had been taking bets under the table (so to speak) on how long it would take before I would get tired of trying and have to use a SOT as a step to finally climb back in. (Geez, with friends like these…???)

After settling in and sponging and pumping out my cockpit, off we went for the rest of our outing. It was after having paddled for about an hour, I noticed my knife was missing. Damn, I thought, there’s about $40 bucks on the bottom of the Reservoir. No matter, I survived the roll and the recovery and feel much better about my chances should I trade places with the boat and come out on the bottom.

At the end of the day as we turned the kayak sideways to load them atop the forester in the yakima hull raiser j-cradles, the knife fell from the crack between the seat pan and the seat back. THAT could have been a VERY dangerous thing. I paddled all afernoon with that unsheathed knife rattling in this location. The blade mere inches away from my spine. Needless to say I no longer have the knife sheath mounted in that location, in fact I no longer us THAT knife. I have a folder clipped in the PFD pocket with a landyard attached. I sometimes mount a strobe at the lash point if we will be out in low light, or clip my watch or a compass there if I am fishing from the SOT. I get chills thinking of what COULD have happened.

Something to think about. Plus the sheath put a small scratch in my gel coat of the new boat. The scratch buffed out though, no worries. Hah.

Good luck, and welcome aboard. Best advice? Paddle as much as possible, and always paddle with someone who loves to paddle, you will learn a little something new each time.


Carrying a knife is mostly a WW thing.
Throw ropes and setting safety for dangerous drops require that you be able to cut a rope if things go south. I actually don’t carry a knife. I have a device that is made to cut seat belts in event of a crash. It sits in a pocket of my PFD. I can’t imagine why a sea kayaker would need to have a knife attached to the outside of their vest. Well, I could imagine if I had time to think of very improbable circumstances. But you do have to make choices and this seems like one that is easy to make. Skip the knife (or put it in your food bag to speread peanut butter). The square thingees are not very useful. Instead, get a PFD with lots of pockets that can hold things like flares that are actually useful for a sea kayaker.

Excellent post

Good Call Dr_Disco
When I replied to this thread I was thinking in terms of my use… as I continued to read through the post… it became obvious that like most other accessories (and even boats) applications change based on what/how and where you’re paddling… In Idaho WW we tend to not think in terms of flares or beacons… but certainly there are many applications that would be more appropriate than a knife for non-ww venues. I’m still thinking about that margarita maker… but I think I’ll try subbing solar panels for the car battery… hmmmm… I wonder if an impellor running off the water current would work ???

Impeller(sp?) would only work
if you were stationary in the current or moving in a relative direction to the flow that would actually cause it to spin. It would, in theory at least, be stationary as you ran down river as you are with the current. Solar panels are the way to go. I would even mount them on the hull as I spend a decent amount of time snorkeling while attached to kayaks.