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The Russian
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Discussion Starter #1
I broke off my knife climbing into my boat a few years back and never bothered to fix the strap on my pfd to carry the knife again. With all the recent drownings we've had, I wonder what part of them were strangling or due to something a knife could help. Or in the last few years how many incidents have you been in where you had to deploy your pfd knife for the actual rope cutting?

The time I carried my pfd knife, I've used it mostly to put peanut butter on my sandwich at lunch, I've never really used it for it's real purpose.

So I wanted to hear from the others on your PFD knife uses AND also placements on PFD. I carried my knife on left front side, right over heart area on the 4 way strap buckle thingie, which broke off when I climbed into the boat. It was always in the way for me and kept snagging on everything.

And what is your knife preference? (links if possible)

Thanks guys!
 

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It was always in the way for me and kept snagging on everything.
Thanks guys!
I've had the same problems with it being in the way, snagging on everything and have lost at least 3 knifes.
Have gone to a knife I can open with one hand that is in my right PFD pocket. My knife is also most often used for lunch.
 

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I have a Bear Claw and a River Shorty. I bought the river shorty first. I liked it ok. The handle was a little uncomfortable. The Shorty fit in the lash tab of my NRS Ninja Just fine, but when I got 2 new PFDs I couldn't get the clip in the lash tab of either one. I thought maybe maybe they changed the size of the lash tab, but I couldn't get it in my dads old Extrasport either.

I just got the Bear Claw and so far like it a lot more. The clip is thin and will easily fit in any lash tab. You can also flip the clip around depending on how you want to hang the knife.

I, like you, don't have any experience with them cutting rope in a real situation. Though I bought the Bear Claw after getting many recommendations from people who have.
 

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+1 on peanut butter and cutting bread. I think a pfd knife is like that burried item in your group 1st aid kit (epi pen, broad spectrum antibiotic, blood clot, etc). Very rarely used, but when needed, could save a life (maybe even your own).
 

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If the only downsides are an occasional $40 replacement cost and it snagging every now and again, I don't see enough reason to not have one for the 0.000001% of times that you NEED one.

I mostly raft and IK, and I haven't had to use my river shorty for an emergency, but I'll be damned if I don't have one around when I need it. I actually carry 2, and have an extra in my patch kit.

Of course, I come from a background in martial arts studying Kali, Escrima, & Silat, so I always have a knife on me anyway.
 

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I was a commercial guide for 12 years and used my knife once to cut a bowline that had come undone and caught in some rocks in a rapid on the White Salmon River. The only way to release the boat was to cut the rope.
I used my knife a second time during a Z-drag operation to prevent injury and release the unpinned boat.
Have also mostly used my knife for lunch duty and other odds and ends, but I would never be on the water without one.
I currently have 2 different knives. A river shorty that I got with some other used gear purchase and a no name double edge knife in a nylon sheath.
The lash tab on all the life jackets are very difficult to attach any of the standard knife clips. Not sure why except to ensure you don't lose it. There has got to be a better way to do this!
My favorite position for a river knife is high on my shoulder strap secured by 2 Velcro straps.
Just installed the River Shorty on my new Astral Green jacket but have not had a chance to use it on the river yet. ( I will in 2 weeks)
Not sure this helps, but you should always have a knife handy when boating IMHO.
 

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I am always climbing back onto my board and have yet to lose my NRS Co-Pilot attached to my lash tab. Its flat and I hardly notice it there, nor does it get in my way. I have the Green Jacket and with pocket full the knife is pretty far out in front, but never gets in way. Paddle boarders are in the river more then most other craft and I was really concerned with losing mine, but its still there. Back up knife in pocket too and I never use either. I want them to be sharp as hell the first time I need to use it. I have heard great things about bearclaw and co-pilot (tons of threads about them) and would recommend either for rafting.
 

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+ 1 on the Bearclaw. I've got the attachment reinforced with zip-ties.

I never use it for food or anything else - if I need it, I want it as sharp as possible. There's the question about whether it would cut a raft and while it may not, I've usually got a Swiss army knife in my PFD pocket I could use if I had to, and consider rope the main culprit. Yes, people die from being trapped under rafts but I think it's more likely that a rope will kill you. Here's Roy's story that sold me and a lot of other folks on the Bearclaw.

Be safe,

-AH
 

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The Russian
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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks guys, that's exactly the discussion I was hoping to spark. Great feedback, I may give a Bear Claw a try.

I do carry a foldable knife in my pfd pocket and have all kind of knives in my ammo cans on the boat.

So Bear Claw straight edge or serrated ?
 

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Thanks guys, that's exactly the discussion I was hoping to spark. Great feedback, I may give a Bear Claw a try.

I do carry a foldable knife in my pfd pocket and have all kind of knives in my ammo cans on the boat.

So Bear Claw straight edge or serrated ?
Serrated. Most serrated knifes have a straight edge near tip.
 

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Alex,

The Bearclaw has one serrated edge that's curved inward to cradle the rope you're trying to cut. It has a blunt tip and is dull on the side that would be toward your skin when using. This brings up another point (pun intended) - if you've got a blunt tip knife, make sure to file down any potentially sharp edges that may be against your skin in a rescue situation. The "blunt" portions of the some other popular river knives have metal edges that, while not knife-sharp, could do some damage to your skin if you're not really careful.

EDIT - Oh yeah, I've never had trouble climbing back into a boat due to the knife on my chest.

-AH
 

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+ 1 on the Bearclaw. I've got the attachment reinforced with zip-ties.

I never use it for food or anything else - if I need it, I want it as sharp as possible. There's the question about whether it would cut a raft and while it may not, I've usually got a Swiss army knife in my PFD pocket I could use if I had to, and consider rope the main culprit. Yes, people die from being trapped under rafts but I think it's more likely that a rope will kill you. Here's Roy's story that sold me and a lot of other folks on the Bearclaw.

Be safe,

-AH
+1 all that Andy said.

I also carry a separate knife in my PFD pocket, can't remember which type.
 

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I keep a Bearclaw on my left shoulder strap, I never liked having a knife on my chest, seems easier to find and grab quickly on my shoulder.
 

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I do the same, bearclaw on upper left and keep another knife in a pocket for backup and other stuff. Zip ties. Plus a bearclaw isn’t really good for doing anything else so that helps on not using it for other stuff. I’ve found it’s really tight in the sheath when you get it, but if you start playing with it all the time eventually it falls out. So I just leave it and let it be, I’ve lost a couple cliff diving and stuff like that in the past. Like everyone else, never had to use it but wouldn’t be without it just in case. I’ve bought mine off ebay and they are pretty cheap ($25), a lot of different configurations.

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CRKT Bear Claw blunt tip / serrated (on sale at Wally World: LINK HERE)
I have my Bear Claw attached to the Green Jacket lash tab with the clip and 2 zip ties. I also drilled a hole in the flat end of the sheath and through the green jacket pocket and used a pop rivet backed by a washer to attach. The knife is then strung with a small piece of shock cord / hair tie that attached to the button snap of the Green Jacket. I can break the shock cord if I pull hard enough or just unsnap the tab. This keeps the knife from falling off when clambering into the boat. I also try not to pull it out of the sheath to keep the sheath tight. I keep a small folding Gerber in my jacket pocket for random duty and a folding Buck in the ammo can. The folders do the lunch work and the Bear Claw is only for emergencies.
 

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I do the same, bearclaw on upper left and keep another knife in a pocket for backup and other stuff. Zip ties. Plus a bearclaw isn’t really good for doing anything else so that helps on not using it for other stuff. I’ve found it’s really tight in the sheath when you get it, but if you start playing with it all the time eventually it falls out. So I just leave it and let it be, I’ve lost a couple cliff diving and stuff like that in the past. Like everyone else, never had to use it but wouldn’t be without it just in case. I’ve bought mine off ebay and they are pretty cheap ($25), a lot of different configurations.

Sent from my Nexus 5 using Mountain Buzz mobile app
I could be wrong, but I think that screw is for sheath tension. If your knife gets loose, back out that screw a bit and it should make it tighter in the sheath.
 

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I had to use my knife last year on the Chama, class 2+. Had to cut my throw rope when the bag end snagged on rocks in the river and the loose end rapped around oar tower pinning the raft mid river. the swimmer had the rope around one arm. if I had to open a pocket and open the knife it may have resulted in more serious problems. As it was the swimmers arm was bruised and rope burned.
I carry my blunt tip serrated knife on left chest. light weight breakable string tether so if dose come off I wont loose it. I never use it for anything but safety/rescue.
 

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What screw? Unless they changed it the only screws are the ones to hold the clip on.

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You're right! I had tunnel vision and thought you meant a screw on the sheath. I never have backed that out.

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