Mounting a river knife on a buoyancy aid

Externally mounted river knives are a little frowned upon in the UK, mostly because they look quite aggressive and our rivers are usually fairly close to urban areas. In the past, I have carried a folding knife in the pocket of my BA and to be honest, I’ve never had to use it. However, I’m not convinced that I could easily get to it (with one hand) if I ever did need to use it in the water. Hence why I purchased an NRS Pilot Knife.


New shiny things

The problem is UK BAs often don’t have the lash tabs for a river knife sheath, as they’re not very fashionable this side of the pond. So here’s my bodge for how to fit one.

In my opinion, the place where the knife gets in the way the least is on the shoulder strap, as you want your chest uncluttered – especially for the rafters amongst us. The only downside is that it makes you look a little like an extra out of Full Metal Jacket. I picked the opposite shoulder to the one I carry my boat on.


About to take the scissors to my new BA

My new Palm BA has a logo on the shoulder, that needed to be cut off to get the sheath to fit flush.


Cut a small hole for the plastic clip to mount on.

The next thing I did was push the mounting clip of the sheath under the material of the shoulder strap and cut a small hole to help keep it in place. To make it more secure, I then backed it up with some cable ties.


It’s important to check that the cable ties don’t get in the way of the sheath’s locking mechanism. Also, tying the sheath down from the top makes it stick out too far horizontally, making it get in the way.



And there we go. I mounted my knife on my previous BA in the same manner and it lasted a whole season of rafting, so I’m pretty optimistic that it will hold. I must admit, I’ll probably swap back to using a folding knife if I find myself coaching, or doing outdoor centre work. For personal paddling and raft guiding, I’m happy with this setup.

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