Do You Use a Knife Lanyard?

Benchmade Mini Griptillian 556 EDC

I’ve never felt the need to attach a lanyard or short length of cord to any of the pocket knives that I carry. I’ve been carrying a small EDC (every day carry) blade on my person for well over 15 years now and don’t plan to change that habit any time soon. But one thing I can’t seem to understand, or at least see a huge benefit of, is attaching a lanyard or length of cordage to a pocket knife.

Benchmade Mini Grip & Spyderco Delica 4 FFG

I can see why people may want to attach a lanyard, but in my experience I have never had cause or felt the need to do that myself. I have a couple of friends that attach a short length of Kelty Triptease to some of their more expensive knives so that if they accidentally lose them they can spot them more easily with a flashlight – trying to find a lost (expensive) knife on the trail floor can be close to impossible.

Spyderco Delica 4 Pocket Carry

There are others that reference a knife lanyard as helping to remove the knife from their pocket, but I have found the complete opposite. When I’ve attached a length of cord to try doing that it has always hindered my ability to smoothly draw the knife and open it – maybe that’s just me. There’s obviously very little significance in the amount of weight added by a short length of cord, so that aspect doesn’t bother me.

I’m just trying to understand what the benefit of having a lanyard on a small knife is and whether or not I need to reconsider this for my own EDC purposes. Do you have an opinion or specific example of using a knife lanyard that you’d like to share?

(Visited 3,675 times, 1 visits today)
Be Sociable, Share!
  • I don’t have lanyards on any of my pocket knives at present.  However, in the past I have and it has been useful.  It’s has mainly been as a handle extension.  When you grip a handle and your little finger is off the end of the handle a lanyard helps.  This especially true for tasks where the work moves towards the tip of the blade.

    Another way a lanyard could have benefited me several times is when I was working on something where I’d cut and manipulate the object with the same hand that is holding a knife.  Think cutting pieces off an apple and eating it.  The the blade edge towards you and when you pass your thumbs from one side to the other there is potential for a cut.  My silly behind has done that a few times.

    A lanyard allows you to hook your little finger through.  You cut and then just drop the knife and let it hang.  Then it’s there at the ready for the next cut.

    Really, it’s more about what you do with a knife and the circumstances in which you do it that would determine whether a lanyard is useful.  Me, I don’t need a lanyard on my EDC.  I’ve learned to do without.   I’ve never lost a knife nor sit it down and walked off from it.  I use it and put it right back.  I’ve learned it’s best to put it down or away if I’m not actually cutting with it.  Like cut the apple, put the knife away, and then eat it as an example.

  • JJ_Mathes

    I keep a short section of blaze orange cord attached to my SpyderCo Ladybug in the event I drop it it’s easier to spot…no other reason.

  • Peter

    I use a lanyard just long enough to surround my four fingers while wearing light gloves. The lanyard addresses two significant problems: dropping the knife and having the knife pushed back into the hand when thrusting against an unexpectedly hard surface. To some extent it also reduces the chances of the knife slipping out of my pocket while I’m sitting down. The lanyard does impair the draw, but not enough to bother me.

  • I also use a Spyderco Ladybug. This is the only knife I have ever considered attaching anything to. It is very small and light. Hard to find in a ditty bag, and I worry about losing it in the looser shorts I hike in. But, I’ve been too lazy so far to actually do anything about it. My other knives all have clips on them so I wear them just like in your picture above. I could however see myself with a shoulder strap mounted sheath knife. Then I would look super cool on the trail(in my own mind at least).

  • Anonomous

    It’s tough to use a knife lanyard when a knife is largely unnecessary for backpackers.  Leave it at home or carry something smaller.  Sheesh.

    • Anonymous, I disagree that a knife is largely unnecessary. I’ll admit that huge stonking bowie knife is probably overkill for most lightweight backpacking, but I would never want to be without a knife of some sort – even if it’s just a tiny Victorinox Classic.

      • ShipWreck

        I’d have to disagree as well. I won’t go to the woods without a knife and a means to start a fire. And as Brian said, you don’t need the Rambo style, Bear Grylls survival knife. I carry the smallest, lightest lock-blade knife I can find and have never had an issue with that being more than sufficient.

  • ShipWreck

    If you’re talking about having a knife for a street fight where the speed at which you deploy the blade is critical, I agree with you; however, if you’re talking about having a lanyard on the knife you’re backpacking with, I think you lack experience. If you can’t see the benefits in attaching a lanyard to your pocket knife, one of the primary tools you need to have on you when backpacking, especially if it’s a small knife, then God help you when you go to use it around water or are backpacking in deep snow and drop your knife. To be fair, I’m not talking about just a piece of cord tied through the eyelet; I agree that’s useless. But running a cord through the eyelet with a figure 8 to hold it secure to the knife and then tying a taught line hitch on the opposite bitter end so it can be put around the wrist and has enough slack to dangle, I would call that critical. But hey, opinions are like… just don’t ever put yourself in situations where you might drop your knife into a place where it’s irretrievable and you’ll be fine. Good luck to you!

    • ShipWreck – maybe you took me a little too literally. I see the obvious benefits of having a secure loop of cord on a knife to ensure that it doesn’t get dropped or lost in a crevice or water, I’ve just never felt the need to have to do that in over 30 years of backpacking. Have I just been lucky all that time or am I more careful than others or you? Who knows.

      Your description of a properly knotted and looped lanyard does make a lot of sense, definitely better than a small loop or straight length.

      Thanks for your feedback.

      • ShipWreck

        LOL. Most definitely more lucky than me, but I’ll be the first to admit that it doesn’t take much to accomplish that.

  • That benchmade knife is a beauty! What did it cost?

    • It’s a Benchmade Mini Griptillian model 556 with a plain edge. It is without a doubt one of the best knives that I have ever owned. I carry it in my left pocket at all times, with a Delica 4 FFG in my right pocket. The Mini-grip costs about $90 retail but no one pays that anymore :-)

  • I have some spectra cord attached to my Swiss Classic but it gets worn around my neck with my whistle at all times. 

  • Jeff Ervin

    Never even thought about putting a lanyard on my knife…..no doubt after reading this, I’m sure I’ll get into a situation where I’ll say “I wish I had a lanyard on that”!  

  • I haven’t seen the need to use a lanyard either.  I have the same Delica 4 you have in the picture and it’s easy enough to grab right out of your pocket.  Can’t really see the purpose of the lanyard. 

  • Altstar101

    As an active kayaker, hitting the water without a lanyard on your knife is asking to get stuck up Shit Creek without it. I have some form of attachment on every piece of gear I use.

  • Altstar101

    As an active kayaker, hitting the water without a lanyard on your knife is asking to get stuck up Shit Creek without it. I have some form of attachment on every piece of gear I use.

  • Dan

    Brian for my small EDC knives with pocket clips I generally don’t use a lanyard. If the knife doesn’t have a clip or is really small, I might throw a lanyard on there for ease of retrieval from my pocket and for extra grip.

  • Anonymous

    I started putting lanyards on SOME of my knives because I saw some pretty cool knotted cords on sailor’s knives.  If I plan on using it on the sailboat, or when diving, i attach a short piece of cord to loop around my hand.  I also do longer cords, with decorative knotwork, but those hang on my wall….  They can really get in the way if they are not needed.

    • They sound very cool. Do you have any photos of the lanyards you’ve made? I’d love to see them.

  • Anonymous

    I started putting lanyards on SOME of my knives because I saw some pretty cool knotted cords on sailor’s knives.  If I plan on using it on the sailboat, or when diving, i attach a short piece of cord to loop around my hand.  I also do longer cords, with decorative knotwork, but those hang on my wall….  They can really get in the way if they are not needed.

  • They sound very cool. Do you have any photos of the lanyards you’ve made? I’d love to see them.

  • Pratorian

    I keep a small few inches of cordage at that tail end of my Vic Cybertool 29, only because when its at the bottom of a full pocket its easier to grab for that way! No other knives though.

  • Pratorian

    I keep a small few inches of cordage at that tail end of my Vic Cybertool 29, only because when its at the bottom of a full pocket its easier to grab for that way! No other knives though.

  • Anonymous, I disagree that a knife is largely unnecessary. I’ll admit that huge stonking bowie knife is probably overkill for most lightweight backpacking, but I would never want to be without a knife of some sort – even if it’s just a tiny Victorinox Classic.

  • ShipWreck

    I’d have to disagree as well. I won’t go to the woods without a knife and a means to start a fire. And as Brian said, you don’t need the Rambo style, Bear Grylls survival knife. I carry the smallest, lightest lock-blade knife I can find and have never had an issue with that being more than sufficient.

  • Alex

    I am both an avid backpacker and a professional martial artist. Since I do a lot of knife-fighting in my training, I like to attach a pre-knotted lanyard to my folders as an emergency measure in the event that the knife slips out of my hands while drawing quickly under stress (it gives you more to hold on to). I find that it does not slow down the draw at all as long as there are no knots to get stuck in your pocket. Additionally, I like to use lanyards that are reflective to aid in finding the knife in the dark. I use these but made with reflective paracord: http://bit.ly/s7ca7n

  • Alex

    I am both an avid backpacker and a professional martial artist. Since I do a lot of knife-fighting in my training, I like to attach a pre-knotted lanyard to my folders as an emergency measure in the event that the knife slips out of my hands while drawing quickly under stress (it gives you more to hold on to). I find that it does not slow down the draw at all as long as there are no knots to get stuck in your pocket. Additionally, I like to use lanyards that are reflective to aid in finding the knife in the dark. I use these but made with reflective paracord: http://bit.ly/s7ca7n

  • Terry B

    I use small and short chain (2 links, a “lanyard” of a sort) and a hook to keep my swiss army knife hung just inside my front pocket. Otherwise it tends to situate itself at pocket bottom across my thigh and wears a hole in my trousers.

    • I like that idea. Just enough to keep it inside your pocket and not flapping around, but short enough to stop it sitting at the bottom of your pocket. Simple! Thanks for sharing.

    • LNTCamper

      Like you, Terry, I like to have my Swiss Army knife, micro flashlight and pocket ‘driver (http://www.leevalley.com/us/wood/page.aspx?cat=1,43411,43417&p=32215 – awesome tool BTW) at hand. Since I ride my motorcycle almost year ’round I like to have my stuff attached. I use an old Scout belt loop & snap (http://www.scoutshop.ca/eSolution_config/partimg/large/629055464751.jpg) add a split-ring to the loop part, attach my gear to the ring with mini ‘biner and hook the snap to the belt loop of my jeans by my front pocket. Keeps everything safe and off the bottom of the pocket.

  • heterodox

    I have several Spyderco knifes that I carry (one at a time!). In part because the clips are hella strong and also because my pants’ pocket is thick (with leather reinforcement built in to protect the pants from clips), I find it rrrrrrrreally difficult to remove the knives from the pocket. As it is, I have to bring my left hand down to hold the pocket in place, or else all I’m doing is lifting my pant leg up when I try pulling the knife out. And then, it’s still difficult to grab the knife well enough to extract it. Recently I tried adding a lanyard, and so far it seems to help. Just having a few inches of paracord in my fingers/palm helps me grip the knife well enough to extract it.

    • Great feedback. I’ve never had any issues with removing any of my Spyderco folders from any of my pant pockets, some of which, like my tactical pants, have pretty thick seams.

      I can see a short, strong lanyard giving you the extra purchase necessary to yank on the knife and withdraw it. I had only thought of a lanyard for securing it, but this is a perfect use for it. Thanks for sharing.

  • heterodox

    I have several Spyderco knifes that I carry (one at a time!). In part because the clips are hella strong and also because my pants’ pocket is thick (with leather reinforcement built in to protect the pants from clips), I find it rrrrrrrreally difficult to remove the knives from the pocket. As it is, I have to bring my left hand down to hold the pocket in place, or else all I’m doing is lifting my pant leg up when I try pulling the knife out. Recently I tried adding a lanyard, and so far it seems to help. Just having a few inches of paracord in my fingers/palm helps me grip the knife well enough to extract it.

  • Great feedback. I’ve never had any issues with removing any of my Spyderco folders from any of my pant pockets, some of which, like my tactical pants, have pretty thick seams.

    I can see a short, strong lanyard giving you the extra purchase necessary to yank on the knife and withdraw it. I had only thought of a lanyard for securing it, but this is a perfect use for it. Thanks for sharing.

  • LNTCamper

    Like you, Terry, I like to have my Swiss Army knife, micro flashlight and pocket ‘driver (http://www.leevalley.com/us/wood/page.aspx?cat=1,43411,43417&p=32215 – awesome tool BTW) at hand. Since I ride my motorcycle almost year ’round I like to have my stuff attached. I use an old Scout belt loop & snap (http://www.scoutshop.ca/eSolution_config/partimg/large/629055464751.jpg) add a split-ring to the loop part, attach my gear to the ring with mini ‘biner and hook the snap to the belt loop of my jeans by my front pocket. Keeps everything safe and off the bottom of the pocket.

  • That’s such a great photo!

  • It’s a Benchmade Mini Griptillian model 556 with a plain edge. It is without a doubt one of the best knives that I have ever owned. I carry it in my left pocket at all times, with a Delica 4 FFG in my right pocket. The Mini-grip costs about $90 retail but no one pays that anymore :-)

  • Jeff Ervin

    Never even thought about putting a lanyard on my knife…..no doubt after reading this, I’m sure I’ll get into a situation where I’ll say “I wish I had a lanyard on that”!  

  • simplespirit

    I have some spectra cord attached to my Swiss Classic but it gets worn around my neck with my whistle at all times. 

  • That benchmade knife is a beauty! What did it cost?

  • ShipWreck

    LOL. Most definitely more lucky than me, but I’ll be the first to admit that it doesn’t take much to accomplish that.

  • ShipWreck – maybe you took me a little too literally. I see the obvious benefits of having a secure loop of cord on a knife to ensure that it doesn’t get dropped or lost in a crevice or water, I’ve just never felt the need to have to do that in over 30 years of backpacking. Have I just been lucky all that time or am I more careful than others or you? Who knows.

    Your description of a properly knotted and looped lanyard does make a lot of sense, definitely better than a small loop or straight length.

    Thanks for your feedback.

  • ShipWreck

    If you’re talking about having a knife for a street fight where the speed at which you deploy the blade is critical, I agree with you; however, if you’re talking about having a lanyard on the knife you’re backpacking with, I think you lack experience. If you can’t see the benefits in attaching a lanyard to your pocket knife, one of the primary tools you need to have on you when backpacking, especially if it’s a small knife, then God help you when you go to use it around water or are backpacking in deep snow and drop your knife. To be fair, I’m not talking about just a piece of cord tied through the eyelet; I agree that’s useless. But running a cord through the eyelet with a figure 8 to hold it secure to the knife and then tying a taught line hitch on the opposite bitter end so it can be put around the wrist and has enough slack to dangle, I would call that critical. But hey, opinions are like… just don’t ever put yourself in situations where you might drop your knife into a place where it’s irretrievable and you’ll be fine. Good luck to you!

  • Anonomous

    It’s tough to use a knife lanyard when a knife is largely unnecessary for backpackers.  Leave it at home or carry something smaller.  Sheesh.

  • I also use a Spyderco Ladybug. This is the only knife I have ever considered attaching anything to. It is very small and light. Hard to find in a ditty bag, and I worry about losing it in the looser shorts I hike in. But, I’ve been too lazy so far to actually do anything about it. My other knives all have clips on them so I wear them just like in your picture above. I could however see myself with a shoulder strap mounted sheath knife. Then I would look super cool on the trail(in my own mind at least).

  • Peter

    I use a lanyard just long enough to surround my four fingers while wearing light gloves. The lanyard addresses two significant problems: dropping the knife and having the knife pushed back into the hand when thrusting against an unexpectedly hard surface. To some extent it also reduces the chances of the knife slipping out of my pocket while I’m sitting down. The lanyard does impair the draw, but not enough to bother me.

  • JERMM

    I keep a short section of blaze orange cord attached to my SpyderCo Ladybug in the event I drop it it’s easier to spot…no other reason.

  • I don’t have lanyards on any of my pocket knives at present.  However, in the past I have and it has been useful.  It’s has mainly been as a handle extension.  When you grip a handle and your little finger is off the end of the handle a lanyard helps.  This especially true for tasks where the work moves towards the tip of the blade.

    Another way a lanyard could have benefited me several times is when I was working on something where I’d cut and manipulate the object with the same hand that is holding a knife.  Think cutting pieces off an apple and eating it.  The the blade edge towards you and when you pass your thumbs from one side to the other there is potential for a cut.  My silly behind has done that a few times.

    A lanyard allows you to hook your little finger through.  You cut and then just drop the knife and let it hang.  Then it’s there at the ready for the next cut.

    Really, it’s more about what you do with a knife and the circumstances in which you do it that would determine whether a lanyard is useful.  Me, I don’t need a lanyard on my EDC.  I’ve learned to do without.   I’ve never lost a knife nor sit it down and walked off from it.  I use it and put it right back.  I’ve learned it’s best to put it down or away if I’m not actually cutting with it.  Like cut the apple, put the knife away, and then eat it as an example.

  • Oracoke

    I use a lanyard with a ball knot or small monkey fist knot at the end to help keep a small knife from sliding out of my pocket. Without it, the chair or sofa eats it. Does make it easier to find, too.

    • That’s cool. Do you tie the ball knot or monkey fist knot yourself?

  • Oracoke

    I use a lanyard with a ball knot or small monkey fist knot at the end to help keep a small knife from sliding out of my pocket. Without it, the chair or sofa eats it. Does make it easier to find, too.

  • That’s cool. Do you tie the ball knot or monkey fist knot yourself?

  • Oracoke

    http://www.animatedknots.com/monkeysfist/index.php

    You can buy them, just search monkey fist. Size can vary from small key chain size to large, larger ones have a steel ball made into them to add weight, used for protection.

  • Oracoke

    http://www.animatedknots.com/monkeysfist/index.php

    You can buy them, just search monkey fist. Size can vary from small key chain size to large, larger ones have a steel ball made into them to add weight, used for protection.

  • Biednick

    I do use one sometimes. I have glowire on my edc, and a length of paracord on a sheath knife I made to make chopping easyer. Other than that, I dont.

  • Biednick

    I do use one sometimes. I have glowire on my edc, and a length of paracord on a sheath knife I made to make chopping easyer. Other than that, I dont.

  • Rick

    Old thread – but interesting read.

    I ALWAYS use a lanyard on my Camillus – mainly because it is usually used aboard, aloft or both (rehung our radar reflector recently). I would hate to hear it plop overboard, bang on the deck or (worst case) hit somebody else, so I secure it to my person with a paracord lanyard.

    Also – I carry a Riffe diver’s knife on my inner calf while spearfishing. The lanyard for it is a simple piece of shock cord that’s cut short enough to pull tight when stretched down over the tip of the sheath (secures the knife in its sheath quite firmly). When I slip my hand into the lanyard and pull it up, the knife’s pommel is pressed into my hand quickly and securely – nice when dispatching a struggling fish in low visibility, or caught in kelp or fishing line while below the surface.

    For backpacking, where I could conceivably lose a tool (not just a knife) at the beginning of the day and then travel many miles before realizing the loss, I can’t imagine why I would not have a lanyard attached. IMHO the pros far outweigh the cons.

  • Lane

    I have a small fob (about the length of your lanyard pictured) on the Leatherman Micra that I EDC, just so I can quickly differentiate from the keys (which has it’s own fob tied with a very different knot.)

    I encourage my Cub Scouts to a use a full lanyard (leash, if you will) to their knives. One end on the knife, the other around their belt or beltloop. Long enough that they can use it, but short enough that it won’t hit the ground if (or rather, when) they drop it. No lost knives yet.

  • Hi Brian,

    I’ve always found lanyards to be a pain in the you know what, but I still use them in the winter when working over deep snow. Nothing like watching your Leatherman go by-by into an 8 foot snow bank to appreciate a lanyard in those types of situations :)

    Great blog by the way.

    -Jason

  • If you get separated from your pack (it can happen) or hiking without technical gear and a bag, you’re finished if the temperature drops without a knife and a fire kit.

  • Alecks

    My daily working knife at Navy dive school was a CRKT M21 with veff serrations, it could eat an 8 strand hawser-laid berthing hawser in a couple of seconds. I had a short lanyard made of type I paracord and a QD clip for attaching to my belt loop above the pocket it normally sat in, this was only to stop it from going down to Davey Jones during our many, often daily, ‘run jumps’ (equivalent to getting wet and sandy at BUDS?). It was only a short lanyard but it still presented issues in drawing and using in a hurry unless you gripped the lanyard in your hand the free end would often get in the way of the job.
    The only other reason was as a handle extension on shorter knives, something stubby like a two inch double cobra stitch fob, to get your pinky around.

  • Tim McDonough

    A lanyard is useful if you are working where the the knife may not be retrievable if it is dropped or may present a safety hazard to others if dropped.

    For example, I used to work as a stagehand. If you are working above other people a small lanyard slipped around your wrist keeps the knife (or wrench, etc.) from hitting someone below if you drop it. Also keeps it from being lost in the lake or river if you drop it in a boat, while wading, etc.