best river knife

10 Best River Knives of 2022

Kayaking is a fascinating and engaging activity that is enhanced if you have all of the necessary gear and equipment, particularly safety equipment. While we’re on the subject, every kayaker’s kit should include the best river knife.

However, you might wonder why a kayaker would need something as sharp as a knife when so many things can go wrong. The truth is that a river knife, also known as a rafting or paddling knife, is capable of much more than just cutting the shock cord. You can use the multipurpose tool for a variety of tasks, including making emergency bandages or clothing, scouring freshly caught fish, and even constructing a rudimentary shelter. You may also use it to chop wood, cut ropes, and do other things with it.

Best River Knives for PDF Comparison Table

CRKT Minimalist Tanto Neck Knife Amazon Price
  NRS Co-Pilot Knife Yellow One Size Amazon Price
  Gerber River Shorty Knife  
  Columbia River Knife & Tool Bear Claw Amazon Price
  Stohlquist Squeeze Lock Knife Amazon Price

10 Best River Knife Guide

CRKT Minimalist Tanto Neck Knife

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Do you like a river knife that isn’t too bulky? Then the CRKT Minimalist Tanto Neck Knife is ideal for you because it is so easy to use. The best river knife in the world is useless if you can’t get to it in time. The well-designed knife is just what you need for your water adventures, aside from being easy to reach.

The knife is made of stainless steel and has a bead-blasted finish for extra durability. It also has three deep finger choils that make it incredibly easy to grip and use. Furthermore, the unconventional blade design is inspired by the Japanese tanto knife. It adds just enough thickness to the knife to allow it to accomplish various jobs without adding to its weight or size.

It even has a glass-reinforced nylon sheath and a clip mount for carrying in numerous ways because it’s designed to be slung around the neck. Furthermore, the lightweight knife is backed by a lifetime guarantee.


  • The construction is made of stainless steel.
  • Lifetime warranty.
  • There are several ways to carry it.
  • Light and easy to carry.


  • There are no serrations.
  • The blade is quite short.

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NRS Co-Pilot Knife Yellow One Size

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This NRS knife has been the preferred river knife for many kayakers and rescuers. This small tool is a good mid-range option with a lot of useful functions. Even though the handle and blade are both short, the performance is strong. It’s easy to pack because of its small size.

This knife’s dual-edge design allows it to be used in a variety of situations. You can cut practically anything with this knife because it has both a serrated and a smooth edge. Surprisingly, the tip is flat, which serves two purposes. To begin with, it protects you from accidentally stabbing your inflatable watercraft or personal flotation device. Second, it can be used to conduct some repairs as a flat-head screwdriver.

The unique design includes a little bottle opener that does not damage the blade when used. This means you can utilize it in scenarios other than crucial ones.
The blade is 3-inches long and features a blunt tip made of 400-series stainless steel. This means it’s rust-proof and razor-sharp. The texturized handle is composed of glass-reinforced polypropylene with a rubber coating, making it a lightweight, non-slippery, and long-lasting knife. This handle is effortless to hold in water.

The sheath may be simply attached to practically any part of your PFD. A rope-cutting hook and an oxygen valve wrench are also included.


  • Lightweight and small
  • The tip is flat and blunt.
  • a firm grasp
  • The plastic clip attachment point
  • a smooth edge


  • It might not be suitable for people with large hands.

Gerber River Shorty Knife

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Another best river knife that is quite popular among paddlers all around the world is the Gerber River Shorty Knife. It’s one of the few knives made specifically for watersports, so if you enjoy paddling, you’ll want to get your hands on this Gerber River Shorty Knife right away. And the best part is that you wouldn’t have to spend a fortune to acquire it. It is reasonably priced.

Because the Gerber River Shorty Knife is made in the United States, you don’t have to worry about its quality. The sheath is made of hard plastic and is strong and long-lasting. You can clip it to your kayak or your belt for easy access in an emergency. This Gerber River Shorty Knife has a blunt tip, ensuring it won’t puncture your inflatable kayak. The body is composed of 420HC steel, which is extremely corrosion-resistant.


  • The edge is really sharp.
  • Made of stainless steel.The grip is great because of the molded nylon ABS handle.

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Columbia River Knife & Tool Bear Claw

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The Columbia River Knife & Tool Bear Claw is a curved river knife with a Triple Point serrated blade that is great for cutting nylon, rope, and nets. Friction grooves run the length of the blade’s spine for added safety and control.

The molded glass-reinforced nylon handle on this lightweight knife is designed to give you a more controlled grip in river rescue situations. The finger hole in the knife’s center can also help you cut with greater precision.

On the sheath, there are up to seven lanyard holes and belt slots for attaching to your PFD or other items of clothing.


  • Lightweight
  • Curved blade
  • Fingerhole for better control
  • Serrated blade

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Stohlquist Squeeze Lock Knife

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The Stohlquist Squeeze Lock Knife is widely regarded as the best river rescue knife of all time. The knife’s security within the sheath, as well as the sheath’s attachment to a PDF, account for a large part of its praise as the best kayaking knife.

The knife has all of the other characteristics of a good river knife: a serrated stainless steel blade with a blunt tip and a grippy plastic handle.

However, one common criticism of this knife is that it lacks a sharp blade. The blade is made of 304 stainless steel, which isn’t as tough as 400 stainless steel (which the NRS knives are made with).


  • 3′′ Blade Length
  • Blade Edge – Serrated Blunt Tip
  • Full tang.

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Elk Ridge Gut Hook Pocket Knife

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The Elk Ridge Gut Hook Pocket Knife is another great rafting and paddling pocket knife. This knife is ideal for kayak anglers searching for a folding knife that can be used for a variety of activities, including cleaning and gutting fish.

The knife has a stainless steel blade that is 3 mm thick and 3.5 inches long, and it folds down to just 5 inches when closed. As a result, it is not only tiny and easy to store, but it can also be slid into a pocket for rapid access. Not only that, but it also comes with a firestarter that fits nicely into the handle.

However, the gutting hook at the back of the blade is a notable feature. It also has a deep finger choil with a 3 mm thickness that allows for precise control. The free engraving that comes with the knife, on the other hand, is the frosting on the cake. As a result, it’s a terrific gift as well as a personalized statement. Overall, this handy knife is ideal for a variety of kayaking and survival situations.


  • A firestarter is included.
  • Attachment hook made of steel.
  • Blade is made of stainless steel.
  • Blade hook for cutting fish.


  • Not serrated.

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Mossy Oak Knife

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With a longer, razor-sharp blade that is corrosion-resistant and sturdy, the Mossy Oak knife is ideal for any kayaker. This river knife is a fan favorite for precision cutting, but it’s also great for tactical, industrial, hunting, and fishing. The knife also has an ergonomic grip that is comfortable to hold and prevents slippage.

It’s powerful enough to cut through rope if necessary, and a safety guard keeps things safe. The smooth grip is the sole potential flaw; while the ergonomics are good, maintaining your hold isn’t made any easier by a rubberized grip or textured surface. This multi-purpose knife is available at an affordable price and provides exceptional value for your money.

Apart from that, the knife comes with a nylon sheath that makes it safe and secure to carry. The Mossy knife is a fantastic overall pick if you’re searching for a full-tang, fixed-blade, medium-length knife for serious survival use.

· A nylon sheath is included.
· Handle is made of leather.
· Grip ridges that are wide.
· Blade with a full tang.
· Stainless steel is a tough material.

· There are no serrations.

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Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Knife

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Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Knife is more than just a knife. You should treat it with respect since, in an emergency, this Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Knife can save your life. Because the blade is made of high-quality stainless steel, you can take it on a salt-water kayaking trip without fear of it rusting.

The ergonomic form of the handle allows for a more comfortable grip. The sheath is composed of military-grade nylon, which means it won’t shatter into a million pieces if you drop it.

A pommel, a whistle, a fire starter, and a blade sharpener are included in the kit. What else would you need in a survival kit if you were stranded in the middle of nowhere? Because of the serrated blade, cutting rope is simple. Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Knife is mildew-resistant and designed to withstand the elements. A textured rubber grip prevents slipping and provides a secure grip. The sheath is extremely light and can easily resist collisions.

· It has a complete survival pack.
· Lightweight and cutting-edge.
· It’s easy to grasp and grip.


· None!

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NRS Neko Blunt Knife

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The NRS Neko Blunt Knife has a 2 14-inch blade and is a low-profile utility knife. The stainless-steel blade has both serrated and smooth edges, allowing you to cut a variety of materials with ease.

A fiberglass reinforced nylon sheath with a clip for attaching to your PFD is included with the knife. The sheath has a friction-release feature that allows for a quick and easy release while it’s clipped to your PFD. Using both hands to hold the handle and the sheath can result in injury.

The handle of this lightweight knife also has a bottle opener and a valve wrench for oxygen tanks.

· Low profile
· Lightweight
· Sheath with one-handed friction release
· Valve wrench
· Bottle opener

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Morakniv Companion Serrated Knife

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Hikers, campers, divers, and bushcrafters love Mora knives because they are razor-sharp, hold their edge for a long time, have a tough Swedish steel blade, and are simple to sharpen. The Companion knife only adds to this fan base through its most-loved features.

It has a serrated fixed blade that is 4.1 inches long and can cut a variety of materials including fibers, ropes, nets, cords, and lines. This means that it can be used by any rescue professional, including coast guards, to save lives. The blade is made of high-quality Sandvik steel, which is ideal for marine and construction applications requiring water and dirt resistance.

Because of the chromium content in the steel, the blade is less susceptible to corrosion and oxidation, and thus has a longer sharp lifespan than carbon-steel blades. The ultra-fine carbides promote excellent edge sharpness for cutting performance that is second to none.

The patterned handle is famed for its high-friction grip, which allows it to be used safely even in wet conditions. It appears to be a non-slip rubbery grip. The bright accents on the handle let the knife stand out. Even the easy-release sheath is made of hard plastic and is fluorescent. The clips on the sheath allow you to attach it to a belt.

· Light
· Sharp
· Ergonomic grip
· Because of the colored handle, it is very visible underwater.
· Edge retention is excellent.
· Affordable

· If exposed to seawater too regularly, it may rust.

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Benchmade H2O Dive Knife

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Dive knives are knives that are designed to be used underwater. Divers usually don’t use knives to fight krakens, but rather to get themselves out of dangerous situations. That’s why they usually have blunted tips and a secure holster – both of which are ideal for kayakers.

The H20 Dive Knife is no exception to Benchmade’s reputation for high-quality steel. The blades are made of N680 steel, which is extremely corrosion-resistant, and have a smooth and serrated edge. A line cutter on the backside of the blade cuts through tangled lines quickly, and the lanyard hole adds an extra layer of security. The holster has a tight fit and two side slots that allow it to be worn around the thigh or calf.  Anglers that want to get out of the boat and wrestle their fish will love this best river knife.

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Choosing a River Knife – A Buyer’s Guide

There are a few things to consider before purchasing a knife. Because you’ll be using it outside, it should be made from high-quality materials (both the blade and the handle). The blade must be robust and sharp for an extended period of time. Furthermore, the knife should be easy to use. This means you should pay close attention to the specific features that each product offers so you can choose the one that best suits your needs. Only then will your knife become a dependable part of your survival gear, capable of performing all of the usual tasks.

Fixed or folding blades

A folding blade and a fixed blade are the two most common river knife designs. The term “folding blade” refers to a blade that folds into the handle of a pocket knife. Because it is more compact than a fixed blade, it is easier to carry. It may also include useful features such as one-handed opening or a locking mechanism to prevent it from closing on your fingers. It isn’t as strong as a fixed blade knife, and cleaning it properly can be difficult.

On the other hand, a fixed blade knife has more strength, especially if it’s a full tang knife (steel runs through the handle). Because of the larger handle, it’s more versatile and often more comfortable to use. It’s also easier to clean. It must, however, be carried in a sheath to avoid accidentally cutting or piercing yourself. Multi-tools are a third option that is useful in the outdoors. These knives have pliers, scissors, wire cutters, and screwdrivers in addition to the blade. The blade, on the other hand, isn’t as powerful, and the handle might be awkward to hold.

Attachment Point for PFD

One of the most crucial aspects of a PFD knife is the ability to secure it to your PFD lash tab. Because the knife may be fastened to the front of your life jacket, you can readily access it when needed while wearing your PFD.

The sheath is usually constructed to stay attached to the life jacket when you release the knife.

Knife Handle

Another critical aspect is the sort of handle you desire for your river knife. Many individuals advise choosing handles made of wood or leather. These, however, are not viable options. When exposed to saltwater water regularly, leather rots and becomes soft, whilst wood swells. As a result, steer clear of handles made of leather or wood.

Rather, consider synthetic handles, which are readily available and ideal for a variety of applications. You can choose from a variety of materials for synthetic handles, including Zytel, Micarta, Rubber, Synthetic Cork, Nylon, G10, and Plastic.

When wet, the synthetic-based grips will not soften or become slippery. As a result, most kayak, boating, and diving knives have handles made of these materials.

Blade Material

The blade’s material is another most important thing to inspect. While steel blades are found on the majority of kayaking knives, two types of steel are commonly used. The first is made of regular stainless steel, while the second is made of high-carbon steel. You don’t have to worry about rusting or corrosion with stainless steel knives, so you can use them safely for camping and saltwater kayaking.

They do, however, become dull more quickly and are more difficult to sharpen. Knives made of high carbon steel, on the other hand, keep their edge for longer, sharpen more easily, and are extremely strong. The material, however, is prone to rust and becomes brittle when subjected to high pressure. However, regardless of the material you choose, make sure the knives are sharp enough to cut wood, ropes, and lines without difficulty.


A sheath shields you from the blade while also protecting the knife and securing it to the PFD. The best River knives come in a variety of sheath designs (depending on whether they’re used as a kayak rescue knife, a rafting knife, or something else), and some are more secure than others.

Because kayakers move in and out of moving water much more than whitewater canoeists, a kayak knife, for example, requires a particularly strong sheath. (This is because they typically paddle larger, more technical rapids and can flip over and right themselves regularly.)