I am looking for a solution that will allow me to fasten something to my whitewater kayak but allow me to free it simply by yanking hard on it. My knife's quick release sheath does this perfectly; surely other devices exist for this problem?

Specifically, I want to keep a throw bag (nylon bag containing 50'-70' of rope) tucked behind me in the kayak. It needs to be fastened so that it doesn't end up loose in the river if I take a swim (e.g., fail to roll and part ways with my kayak in the middle of a rapid). But if it's needed, it's needed now, and having to fumble with a carabiner with neoprene gloves on could be too slow.

As an example of what I'm talking about, I keep a Gerber River Shorty clipped to my PFD. The hilt of the knife and the sheath are shaped so that the knife clicks into place when inserted, and when pulled with a small amount of pressure the knife pops free, yet at the same time it's never popped free unintentionally or from being bashed around in the gear box.

Gerber River Shorty Sheath Gerber River Shorty Knife

Do devices exist which, like the knife sheath, allow me to yank the connection loose without requiring any dexterity? But will stay happily connected through normal operations?

I'm explicitly avoiding the use of knots or hitches because a solution which leaves a few feet of rope hanging loose during a whitewater emergency isn't helpful.

  • 1
    Googling for "breakaway clip" on Amazon reveals lots of potential options.
    – Jon Custer
    Feb 6 at 13:19
  • I personally use a rated strength twist auto-locking carabiner (Petzl Am'D) for securing my throwbag. My rational is that 1) I often need a carabiner in a rescue context anyway when using my throwbag 2) It's a serious safety liability if my throwbag were to come loose unintendedly 3) If I don't have the dexterity to open a twist lock carabiner with one hand quickly (<1 second) then I probably don't have the dexterity to safely lead or participate in a rescue.
    – noah
    Feb 6 at 19:03
  • Many throwbags have a buckle specifically for the purpose of attaching them to the kayak. If you don't have the dexterity to pinch a buckle open, there are bigger issues
    – noah
    Feb 6 at 19:06
  • You don't need "a few feet of rope hanging loose" after tying a Highwayman's Hitch. The fixed end tied to the bag is secure, and the free end can be cut quite short so as not to be a nuisance, and a single tug will release the bag from the cleat or wherever you tied the knot. Feb 6 at 20:05
  • @JonCuster, "breakaway" is a keyword I hadn't tried but which brought up some useful hits, mainly breakaway clips used for animal leashes. Could you post that as an answer?
    – gowenfawr
    Feb 7 at 18:38

2 Answers 2


One search term to use is "breakaway clip", in my experience coming more from lanyard/necklace clips that will come apart under some force (e.g. keep you from being pulled into rotating machine tools like lathes). Now, the clips for lanyards and necklaces are perhaps not as robust as you would want.

So, one would need to trawl through, say, Amazon listings looking for something that might be more robust for your needs.

  • Thanks, @JonCuster, that search term helped a lot. I'm going to try the 25mm clip shown here and see if that's robust enough for my purposes.
    – gowenfawr
    Feb 7 at 19:15
  • @gowenfawr - Report back if it works! The other interesting one to me was the strap for horse hitching in there somewhere...
    – Jon Custer
    Feb 7 at 19:18

Two obvious solutions spring to mind: Velcro and (neodymium) magnets.

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