(This site is reader-supported and we earn commissions if you purchase products from retailers after clicking on a link from our site.)
Rigging knives are designed for one purpose – to cut through the rope in no time. Such a knife may seem a bit unusual at first – after all, how often do you cut the rope? However, there are situations when having a rigging knife could save your life and most of them have something to do with harnesses or safety belts. Whether you sail or you do plenty of extreme sports that involve harnesses, having a rigging knife could make the difference.
With so many options on the market, choosing the best rigging knife could be a bit tricky. Most rigging knives seem identical, with slight differences. Making a good decision involves learning more about these knives, but also assessing your personal needs. Other than that, it pays off going with one of the top-rated options out there. So, what do you need to know upfront, and what kind of products stand out in the crowd?
About Rigging Knives
Rigging knives can be useful in various applications. Imagine being involved in a car crash and having to release yourself quickly – if the seat belt is stuck, a rigging knife will make the difference. Imagine the same situation on a boat. How about your camping trips or survival adventures that may require cutting rope?
The primary role of a rigging knife is to cut through the heavy rope. At the end of the day, you could cut the rope with any sharp knife – even a slightly dull knife will do the job. However, you may not always have a large survival knife next to you. Plus, there are situations when time is not by your side, so you need to do it as quickly as possible.
Rigging knives are small, compact, and easy to keep on you all the time. Most of them are designed like folding tools, so they can be stored in your pocket without risking to hurt yourself. However, this is not a general rule – you can also find a fixed blade rigging knife. Given the high portability requirements and necessity to have the knife on you, straight blades are not very popular.
On the other hand, a rope is not easy to cut in simple movements, so you will most likely require a bit of work. This is the main reason wherefore most rigging knives are serrated. But then again, there are a few exceptions too.
Given their size, portability, and efficiency, rigging knives are quite versatile and make excellent survival tools too. You can use them in a plethora of situations – simply pull one out of your pocket and get the job done.
Now that you have a few clues about these knives, what is the best rigging knife out there? More importantly, what kind of features should you expect and what are the top-rated options out there?
2020’s 7 Best Rigging Knives
Camillus Folding Rigging Knife with Marlin Spike
Solid materials – This rigging knife with marlinspike is less likely to disappoint in terms of durability. G10 is one of the most durable materials on the market when it comes to handles, while the VG10 steel is likely to last for a lifetime. Simply put, you can use this Camillus knife in a plethora of situations without having to worry about its efficiency.
Superior blade – The VG10 steel blade measures 2.5 inches – more than enough for most of your applications. It features a straight edge – no serrations. It is razor sharp out of the box, so be careful when handling it. It is bonded with carbonitride titanium that will have corrosion and rust, not to mention the extreme hardness and edge retention. The coating has a nonstick profile.
Sizing standards and design – Overall, the whole knife measures 6.5 inches. It is suitable for both small and large hands. At the same time, you have a safe folding profile. The G10 handle features a few layers of fiberglass and resin – durable under harsh conditions and less likely to slip out of your hands. It is also textured and only available in black.
Extras – The blade locks easily with a quality liner lock. You can open it without any issues, whether you are left or right-handed – it comes with a thumb stud. Moreover, the handle includes a marlinspike too, which is robust and rigid. You can easily untangle knots or pierce materials, whatever you need it for.
- High-quality materials
- Solid marlinspike
- Easy to use
- Ambidextrous uses
- Nonslip handle
- Does not have lots of resistance to prevent accidentally opening it
Myerchin Generation 2 Pro Wood Fixed Blade Rigging Knife
Versatile – This is the ultimate rigging knife for the seaman who wants a versatile tool for all kinds of applications. The package includes the actual rigging knife, a spike, and a durable leather sheath for storage and transportation.
Quality blade – The knife features German marine stainless steel. It has superior hardness and the capability to hold the edge for ages. Furthermore, it features anti-oxidation elements. The blade is 3.8 inches long and serrated and nonserrated versions are available. As for the spike, it measures 6.65 inches.
Handle and sheath – The handle is triple-riveted and comes with a lanyard hole. It is ergonomic and comfortable to hold and use. It comes in a beautiful natural brown design. As for the sheath, the leather style will make it last for ages.
- Comes with its own sheath
- Durable and solid steel
- Ergonomic and comfortable handle
- Lanyard hole
- The sheath could have been a bit more robust
Davis Instruments Deluxe Rigging Knife
Fancy design – This rigging knife from Davis Instruments will most likely impress you with its attractive design. It is compact and lightweight – it barely weighs 1.75 ounces. In terms of looks, it is shiny and attractive. It feels well put together and it does not wobble. It has a folding profile, so it is easy to store in a pocket without any risks at all.
Durability – The knife features a classic stainless steel design. Pretty much everything is based on stainless steel. You have a classic blade, as well as a blade, a marlin spike, a shackle key, and a screwdriver. Even the housing is based on stainless steel, not to mention the lanyard loop. The material is extremely durable, rust and corrosion resistant – plus, it looks good.
Perfect sizing – Overall, the knife measures 6×4.5×0.5 inches when opened. It is a classic folding knife – somewhere between survival knives and Swiss knives. You can pull tools out and come up with a sturdy knife or you can keep everything inside. The lanyard loop is suitable for belts or key rings if you want more convenience.
Uses and maintenance – Given the extra tools, this knife is more than just a classic rigging knife. It has a simple opening mechanism. It locks when fully closed, but it does not look when open – it stays open with a good spring-based mechanism though. As for the maintenance, it is highly recommended to clean it manually, rather than in a dishwasher.
- Durable stainless steel construction
- Multiple extra tools
- Lanyard hole
- Locks when closed
- Good looking design
- Tools might be difficult to pull out – you could do with a drop of gun oil on the hinge points
Perkin Knives Handcrafted Fixed Blade Rigging Knife
Versatile – A good hunting knife makes the difference between eating for the night and going to sleep hungry. This tool from Perkin Knives is an excellent survival tool that can be used for all kinds of applications – indoors or outdoors, around the home, camping, hunting, survival, adventure, and other outdoor activities.
Durable steel – The blade makes the difference in a hunting knife. This unit features 440C steel that will last for ages. The fixed blade measures 8.5 inches and has a wide profile and a super sharp design with a rounded tip. A spike is also included in the package.
Handle and extras – The handle is classic. It is based on wood and has a good looking design – not too slippery either. The fixed blade goes through the handle – full tang – for stability and durability. Other than that, the package includes a couple of leather sheaths for safe carrying.
- Feels stable and comfortable
- Hard steel blade
- Handguard protection
- Two sheaths
- Comes with a spike
- Heavier than other knives in this segment
Maxam Sailor’s Tool
Versatile applications – Since rigging knives are often used on boats, they are also referred to as boat or sailing knives. These days, they are more sophisticated than ever. Maxam’s best rigging knife comes with more than just a blade – you also get a marlin spike, a shackle key, and a bottle opener. It is practically a multi-tool knife with lots of different uses.
Sizing standards – Overall, this knife is 6.12 inches long when opened. When closed, the handle is only 3.75 inches in length. It is compact and easy to carry around in your pocket. It also comes with two rulers – one on each side of the handle. One of them measures two inches, while the other one counts five centimeters.
Durable blade – The blade is honed and likely to last for ages. It is not serrated, but perfectly straight. It is easy to pull out and has a very sharp tip. The edge is razor sharp out of the box, so be careful when you open it. Pretty much everything is based on stainless steel, which is rust and corrosion-resistant.
Uses and maintenance – Each tool in this knife has a specific use, with two of them being extremely versatile. The blade can be used for various applications, as well as the marlinspike. When it comes to looking after this knife, maintenance is fairly simple. Clean it manually – never in a dishwasher. Ideally, you should do it after each messy use.
- Multiple tools in one knife
- Durable stainless steel design
- Two rulers
- Compact and lightweight
- Good size
- No thumb studs
Meyerco Sailor’s Tool
Versatile design – Meyerco’s best rigging knife is suitable for a bunch of different applications. It is so versatile that it becomes more than just a sailor’s knife. It is also ideal for survival adventures, tactical uses, and camping trips. It is only available in one design – silver. It is designed like a Swiss knife, with tools coming out of a handle.
Multiple tools – The knife obviously comes with a solid blade, but it has much more than that. You also get a marlinspike for knots and other similar things, a bottle opener, and a shackle key. The handle features two rulers – one on each side. On one side, you can measure five centimeters and the other side allows measuring two inches.
Sizing standards – All the tools are safely stored in a rugged and compact body. When opened, the knife is 6.12 inches in length. When closed, the handle measures 3.75 inches. The blade is straight – no serrations at all. It has a sharp tip, but it also features a super sharp blade. It is also easy to sharpen if it gets dull.
Materials and build – The knife is made of stainless steel. All tools carry the same high-quality standards. They are also rust and corrosion-resistant. You will have to use both hands to open the knife as there are no thumb studs. In other words, it stays closed without risking any injuries – there is no way it will accidentally open up in your pocket.
- Solid stainless steel design
- Multiple tools
- Safe to carry in a pocket
- Two rulers
- Ideal size
- Designed for a two-handed operation, which is relatively safe, but a bit inconvenient if you face an emergency
Myerchin Sailors Folding Rigging Knife
Simple and efficient – This Myerchin rigging knife is built with simplicity in mind. While other rigging knives might be more versatile due to having more tools, this one is basic and provides great value for money. It is a classic rigging knife that does an excellent job at all kinds of outdoor jobs. It is compact and looks like a Swiss knife.
Optimal tools – The knife is made after a classic design. It has a solid handle that hosts two tools. First, you have a solid blade that will cut through the rope with no issues at all – it can also be used for other applications. Second, you have a marlinspike, which is ideal to untangle knots or pierce various materials.
Superior handle – The handle has an ergonomic design and ensures a comfy and good grip. It is less likely to slip out of your hands. Other than that, it is based on G10 – one of the strongest materials for professional knives. The knife is available in blue, but you might be able to find slight variations in other colors.
Excellent blades – Both the knife blade and the marlinspike are based on German marine stainless steel. It is extremely hard and can hold an edge over time. It also has anti-oxidation elements for durability. It is rust and corrosion safe. The blade is serrated for more efficiency when cutting ropes.
- High-quality design
- Durable materials
- Great edge retention
- Nonslip handle
- The belt clip does not feel very stable
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I get a straight blade or a serrated one?
The serrated blade is classic. After all, these knives were initially designed to cut rope and serrations certainly help in the process. However, given the increasing versatility of these knives, more and more manufacturers bring in straight blades. Choosing the right blade is a matter of personal preferences and needs. For example, the serrated blade is efficient against ropes, but it is not as versatile as a straight blade. On the other hand, a straight blade can be used for more applications.
Can I sharpen a rigging knife?
Just like any other knives, rigging knives can also be sharpened. The procedure depends on the type of blade though. For example, straight blades are very easy to sharpen. On the other hand, serrated blades require more work, but sharpening is still doable.
As for the sharpening method, most experts rely on professional sharpeners, sharpening hones, or sharpening stones. Choosing the right tool is – again – a matter of personal preferences.
Should I get a multi-tool knife?
In an attempt to make their knives more versatile, more and more manufacturers enhance their rigging knives with various other tools. From this point of view, some rigging knives are better described as Swiss knives. They may come with bottle openers or shackle keys, among other tools.
The classic rigging knife has two tools only. It comes with a blade, as well as a marlinspike. Decide on what you need the knife for. If you spend lots of time camping or in the wild, you might need other tools too. If you only need an efficient rigging knife for your boating adventures, go for the classic design.
What is the marlinspike used for?
A marlinspike is a classic tool used in marine ropework and often found with folding rigging knives. It is designed like a sharp metallic cone. It is polished and may have a sharp, flattened, or rounded point. The sharp variety is quite rare though. It is used for various applications, such as unlaying rope or untying knots. This extra tool is one of the main reasons wherefore rigging knives are so popular in the sailing industry.
Should I get a pointed blade or a blunt one?
This decision depends on a few different factors, such as where you normally carry your knife and what you use it for. For example, if you carry your knife on the outside for easy accessibility, you could do with a blunt point to prevent potential injuries.
A drop point is more suitable for fine work. Plus, a slight belly is handy in every situation for overall utility uses. Pointed blades are quite popular, but they could cause some trouble. For example, they could stab underlying surfaces. They can ruin your inflatable life vest if you are not careful.
In the end, choosing the best rigging knife takes a bit of homework. You should not buy a knife for no reason though. Identify your personal needs and then you can make a more informed decision. At the end of the day, rigging knives can be very useful if used for the right purposes and relatively frustrating at times if bought for no actual reason.