best kayaking knives pfd [Answered]

Importance of Carrying a Knife While Kayaking

When it comes to water sports, kayaking is one of the most popular and exciting activities to enjoy. However, kayaking also has its own set of unique safety challenges. One such safety consideration is the need to carry a knife while kayaking.

Carrying a knife while kayaking provides a sense of security and safety in case of emergency situations. In situations like entanglement, capsizing, or rescue operations, a reliable knife can make a significant difference in preventing danger, injury or even death.

This article will guide you through the best kayaking knives PFD available on the market and the factors to consider while buying one. It also highlights a few PFDs with built-in kayaking knives and lists some alternatives to carrying a knife while kayaking.

Types of Kayaking Knives

There are typically three types of kayaking knives that are available.

Folding Knives

Folding knives are compact and easy to carry. They can be easily stored in a sheath or pocket while kayaking. These knives are more versatile and can be used for various purposes such as cutting ropes, slicing foods, or opening cans.

Fixed Blade Knives

Fixed blade knives are more robust than folding knives and offer better durability and strength. They are relatively bigger in size and are ideal for tasks that require more force or strength, such as batoning, chopping or splitting wood.

Blunt Tip Knives

Blunt tip knives are perfect for rescuing kayakers, as they have a blunt tip that prevents punctures and injuries. They are ideal for ripping through the toughest of materials easily without harming anyone.

Factors to Consider When Buying a Kayaking Knife

When shopping for a kayaking knife, here are some factors to consider:


The material of the blade and handle is significant. Stainless steel is preferable, as it is rust-resistant and lasts longer. The knife handle should also have excellent grip and slip-resistance qualities to prevent falls.

Blade Length and Shape

The blade length and shape are essential factors to consider based on the kayaker’s preference and the intended use of the knife. Shorter blades with a rounded tip are suitable for everyday use, while longer blades and pointed tips are ideal for more significant tasks such as cutting ropes or items that require greater force.

Handle and grip

The handle and grip of the knife should be ergonomically designed and offer a secure grip, even when wet. A comfier and slip-resistant handle reduces hand fatigue and decreases the likelihood of dropping the knife.

Sheath and Mounting Options

Kayaking knives should come with a secure sheath that can be easily and safely mounted on the person or kayak. The sheath should have a sturdy locking mechanism to prevent the knife from being lost or falling out during an emergency situation.

Cutting Edge and Serrations

Consider the knife’s cutting edge and serrations. A plain edge is suitable for slicing and cutting through thin materials, while serrations are ideal for cutting through thicker or tougher materials such as ropes and nylon cloth.

Top Kayaking Knives Available

Here are some of the best kayaking knives available on the market:

Gerber River Shorty

The Gerber River Shorty has a 3-inch blade made of rust-resistant stainless steel. It features a blunt tip that prevents piercing while having a full tang for added strength. It comes with a secure and adjustable sheath that can be worn on a PFD or other locations.

Benchmade 940 EDC

The Benchmade 940 EDC is a reliable knife for kayaking purposes, featuring a 3.4-inch blade made of premium stainless steel, a textured and sturdy handle, and a reversible pocket clip. The knife can also be customized with various blade finishes and handle colors.

SOG Flash II

The SOG Flash II is a reliable and versatile knife for kayakers. It has a partially serrated 3.5-inch blade made of AUS-8 stainless steel and a reversible pocket clip. The blade can be deployed quickly with SOG’s patented S.A.T. technology and offers a secure grip with its textured handle.

NRS Pilot Knife

The NRS Pilot Knife is perfect for rescue situations due to its blunt tip, yet it still packs enough power to cut through thick ropes thanks to its partially serrated 3-inch stainless steel blade. The handle offers a slip-free grip, and the knife comes with a secure sheath that can be attached anywhere on your kayak or PFD.

Spyderco Salt 2

The Spyderco Salt 2 has a rust-resistant blade made of H-1 steel and a comfortable fiberglass-reinforced-nylon handle. This knife is perfect for marine environments and has a back lock mechanism that offers secure locking and can be easily released with one hand.

Best PFDs with Built-In Kayaking Knives

Here are some of the best PFDs with built-in kayaking knives:

Stohlquist Fisherman Personal Floatation Device

The Stohlquist Fisherman Personal Floatation Device has a built-in sheath with a 420 stainless steel serrated knife that can be easily used with gloves. The PFD also has a range of pockets for storage and mesh backing for ventilation.

Kokatat Leviathan PFD

The Kokatat Leviathan PFD has an integrated quick-release buckle system that includes a built-in rescue harness, a folding knife with a blunt tip made of 420 stainless steel, and an electronics pocket. The PFD is made of durable Cordura fabric that prevents abrasions and tears.

Astral BlueJacket PFD

The Astral BlueJacket PFD features a pocket that securely stores a removable, fully-rustproof NRS knife featuring a 420 HC stainless steel blade that can be easily accessed with one hand. The PFD also has sculpted and breathable airflow mesh on the back and sides for added comfort.

Alternatives to a Kayaking Knife

While a kayaking knife is a necessary safety tool, there are some alternatives that kayakers can consider:


Scissors are a suitable alternative for cutting tasks while kayaking. They are compact, lightweight, and easily accessible. Scissors can be used to cut fishing line, duct tape, or bandages.


Multi-tools are versatile and compact tools that can be used for various purposes such as cutting, tightening screws, or opening bottles. They come in pocket-sized, lightweight packages, making them easy to carry when kayaking.

Rescue hooks

Rescue hooks are also a suitable alternative to kayaking knives as they can be used for rescue purposes. They are typically lightweight and compact with a blunt tip that enables practical use without causing harm. They can be used to catch or hold on to ropes or other rescue materials.

While these alternatives can be useful tools for kayaking, it is still recommended to carry a purpose-designed kayaking knife as it offers the best versatility and reliability for emergency situations.

Related: Lifetime vs Pelican Kayak: Which One Should You Choose?


Why do I need a knife while kayaking?

A knife is an essential safety tool while kayaking in case of emergencies, such as cutting clothing, rope, or fishing line.

What are the different types of kayaking knives?

Folding knives, fixed blade knives, and blunt-tip knives are the three main types of kayaking knives.

What should I consider when buying a kayaking knife?

Materials, blade length and shape, handle and grip, sheath and mounting options, cutting edge and serrations are important factors to consider when buying a kayaking knife.

What are the best kayaking knives available?

The Gerber River Shorty, Benchmade 940 EDC, SOG Flash II, NRS Pilot Knife, and Spyderco Salt 2 are some of the top kayaking knives available.

What are PFDs with built-in kayaking knives?

PFDs with built-in kayaking knives are life jackets that feature a blade pocket or slot, providing quick access to your knife in case of an emergency.

What are the best PFDs with built-in kayaking knives?

The Stohlquist Fisherman Personal Floatation Device, Kokatat Leviathan PFD, and Astral BlueJacket PFD are some of the best PFDs with built-in kayaking knives.

What are the alternative options for cutting tools?

Scissors, multi-tools, and rescue hooks are alternative options for cutting tools.

How should I care for my kayaking knife?

Keeping your knife dry and clean, and storing it in a dry place, are important steps in caring for your kayaking knife.

Is it legal to have a knife while kayaking?

Laws regarding carrying a knife while kayaking vary depending on the state or country you’re in, so make sure to check your local laws.

Can I bring a regular pocket knife while kayaking?

While a pocket knife may work in emergency situations, it is not recommended for kayaking since it may not be designed for water activities and may not have a blunt tip.

Real experience

John always loved kayaking. He loved how the water beneath him flowed effortlessly and the gentle breeze uplifted his spirits. However, as an experienced kayaker, John knew that kayaking involved risks, and he always took safety precautions seriously, including having a reliable knife with him.

One day, John and his friends planned to go kayaking in a nearby lake. As usual, John was careful in packing, and he made sure his gear was in order. He packed his knife carefully in his PFD, and off they went.

About halfway through their kayaking trip, one of John’s friends, Max, accidentally capsized his kayak while trying to navigate around some rocks. Max’s foot got trapped in the kayak, and he couldn’t free himself. John quickly paddled towards Max and grabbed his knife from his PFD.

John used the sharp blade to cut Max free from his kayak, and they both swam towards the overturned kayak. John, with the help of his friends, righted Max’s kayak, and Max crawled back in, shaken but unharmed.

As they paddled back to shore, John thought to himself how thankful he was to have brought his knife along with him. If he hadn’t had it, Max could have been seriously injured, and their kayaking trip would have turned into a disaster.

From that day on, John always stressed the importance of having a reliable kayaking knife with him at all times. And he knew that he would always trust his best kayaking knife and PFD to prepare him for anything that could happen on a kayaking adventure.

Based on:


Carrying a reliable knife while kayaking is crucial for safety and security, especially in emergency situations that require cutting or slicing through materials.

In this article, we discussed the various types of kayaking knives, factors to consider when buying one, and the best kayaking knives available. We also highlighted some PFDs with built-in knives and some alternatives to kayaking knives.

When choosing a kayaking knife, consider the material, blade length and shape, handle and grip, sheath and mounting options, and cutting edge and serrations.

Some of the recommended kayaking knives include the Gerber River Shorty, Benchmade 940 EDC, SOG Flash II, NRS Pilot Knife, and Spyderco Salt 2. The Stohlquist Fisherman Personal Floatation Device, Kokatat Leviathan PFD, and Astral BlueJacket PFD are some of the best PFDs with built-in kayaking knives. Scissors, multi-tools, and rescue hooks can be used as alternatives to kayaking knives.

Remember, the safety of the kayaker should always come first, so it is essential to have a reliable and quality knife whenever kayaking.

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