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How to not lose your river knife…

Because there’s nothing worse than replacing lost gear…

This season, I’ve swapped from using an NRS Pilot Knife, to a CKRT Bear Claw carried on the outside of my FXr vest. The knife itself is impressive – easy to use with cold hands and incredibly sharp. The sheath however is… somewhat lacking. For kayakers, I’m sure it is fine. The problem is that when I’m rafting, the knife often falls out when climbing back in to a boat, or getting on top of a flipped raft. Not exactly ideal.

I tried tying the handle to the sheath, with the piece of string included with the knife, presumably for that purpose:


It worked well for all of about ten minutes.

Not only did the knife still fall out, but now it was left dangling from my vest. During one flip drill, I pulled myself up on top of the boat and felt something stabbing me in the ribs. Thankfully, I have the blunt-tipped version of the Bear Claw…

 I took the string off again and tried wearing it on its own. The first time I climbed back in to a raft, it fell out straight away and I only just managed to catch it before it sank to a watery grave.


When I arrived in Australia, my boss gave me the solution, which has worked well all season:


A short piece of bungee cord, tied to the knife…




…and hooked over the top of the sheath. 

So there you have it: A 50p fix that should hopefully stop me dropping my knife, or hilariously stabbing myself. 

The bungee can easily be unhooked with one hand, to get at the knife as normal.  So far, every time I have caught the knife on the side of a boat, the bungee has kept it in place, pulling it back in to the sheath. Marvellous.



1 Comment

  1. Matt
    March 12, 2017 - Reply


    I have the same knife and use it for whitewater kayaking (never actually used in anger but worn on my PDF for dozens of days on the water). I have to say mine has stayed firmly in its sheath through many capsizes, I’ve never had the problem you describe. If you sheath might be defective then I suggest contacting CRKT and they will probably send you a new sheath free of charge – the have a good reputation for customer service.

    It is probably worth mentioning that I mount my bear claw to my vest differently to you. I have a loop of my belt-harness threaded from the buckle through the sheath loops on the front-left side of my PFD, the grip pointing upwards for a right handed draw. It took a good amount of faffing to arrive at this configuration but it works perfectly and minimizes the chance of the knife snagging on anything (clean line principle). I’m pretty sure the bear claw could be attached to the Palm FXR in exactly the same way.

    As an aside I would never advocate having a knife attached to you by a length of string in a whitewater environment – as in your original setup, but the detachable bungee lanyard seems like a good fix nonetheless.

    Happy paddling,

    Matt (Devon, UK)

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