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Pin Kit/Rescue Gear

A pin kit is the collection of equipment that you carry to aid in a whitewater rescue that may or may not involve a pinned kayak or canoe. Within my paddling group there will be several variations of this kit, it is important that the group is not reliant on one persons kit as it may be that person or that persons boat that is in need of assistance.

The areas in which you paddle may also dictate the type and amount of kit you carry.

Pin Kit/Rescue Gear
Pin Kit/Rescue Gear

My current pin/rescue kit is as follows and includes the throw bags that I would normally carry in my boat or on my person.

HF Weasel Throwbag – 18m throw bag (on waist belt)
HF Alpin 20m throw bag (in boat)
2 x 5mm prusik loops (in PFD)
4 x DMM Boa screwgate carabiners (in/on PFD/Throwlines)
1 x 2.4m sewn dyneema sling (in PFD)
1 x Palm Snake Sling (in PFD)
Spyderco Pacific Salt knife with a partially serrated blade (in PFD)

I often have a couple of standard snap gate carabiners clipped into my boat that can be called into action if required.

What do you carry? Post a comment to let us know.


  1. simonwestgarth

    It’s not a bad list, yet 2 throw bags, 4 slings, 4 crabs and 2 prusik loops is a little too much, especially when it’s being all stored in your PFD. Also what specifically are your mechanical advantage systems are you trying to make?

    To make a 4:1 external system, also known as the PigRig you need:
    1 throw bag with a crab clip to the boat, and the other end no-knotted around an anchor, which can if the pinned boat only needs to be moved 20-30cm, can have a double figure of 8 knot with a crab as an anchor point.
    1 tied sling, tied as a Klemheist prusik, with a crab.
    1 untied sling with a sewn loop or waterman’s knot and crab attached to make the pigrig rigging.

    So that’s:
    1 20 Palm Alpin Throw Bag in the boat
    1 tied Palm 5m Safety Tape with a waterman knot, stored under the outer spray deck tunnel to be used as a boat tow
    1 untied Palm 5m Safety Tape, coiled up for reach rescues stored in my PFD pocket
    4 Crabs, 1 on the throw bag, 1 on the tied sling, 1 on the untied sling and one spare in the PFD pocket.

    If I wish to move the pinned boat more than 20-20cm, and as such will need to re-set the prusik knot, I’ll go without the no-knot option, and used an additional sling as an anchor point, tying off the rope with an italian hitch. So that is an additional sling & crab, these I’d store in my boat.

    In using the slings for the rigging device, there is no need for pulleys and additional prusik loops, anyway a 3:1 internal system, that is the Z drag is less efficient and thus effective than the Pigrig. Plus the equipment is also used for other rescue functions, so in essence, I do not have a pin kit, but a range of gear that is used for a range of rescue solutions, including pinnings. The need therefore of a specific pin kit for white water kayaking are questionable.

  2. admin

    Where on throw bag do you keep the biner?

    Rescue gear probably is a better description of my kit rather than just for pins.

    • simonwestgarth

      I keep the crab on the attachment loop of the throwbag ever ready.

  3. Steve Finch

    I also carry two throw bags. Actually the same ones as listed in the post. The weasel is on my belt so is with me all of the time, the other is in the boat.

    I carry 4 biners, 1 tape and two prusiks.

    I can see the use of the additional slings, if they are dyneema they will take up little room and weight very little.

  4. MD

    What about using pulleys in the system?

  5. admin

    From JFO9 on BT –

    From my experience as a raft guide (they get stuck a lot more than our hard boats haha) i think that the fewer things you have cluttering up your rescue kit the better. I think that everyone should have a pin kit that can successfully set up a Z drag, i dont think that having a lot more than that helps much and in fact it just adds clutter making it harder to set the Z. When a boat gets stuck and you have to spring into action it is important to have the right stuff. I always have my throw bag handy and easy to get and keep the necessary prussics and biners in the same pocket of my pfd. I also think that it is important for all components of the z to match. For example all my Biners are the same as well as my prussics. This makes setting up a z super fast and easy. All of our guides carry a kit so if we need more we have it.

    In a separate pocket of my pfd i have 2 dynema slings and 2 snap gate biners. They never get mixed with my z kit so that i know that i can grab any components in that pocket and have it work.

    Having a ton of stuff doesn’t make up for knowing how to use a few things correctly so i try and know my gear, how it works, and keep it minimal to avoid confusion.

  6. Ian

    I gave this some thought recently, at the end of the rafting season. I carry enough to rig a Z drag on my own, knowing that when I pool my gear with other guides, we can build pretty much anything. When I’m kayaking, it’s much the same (less the pulley), but I may carry enough to pig-rig on my own if I’m coaching/leading and know that those I’m with aren’t carrying much in the way of pin kit.

    Here’s my thoughts:

    Love unsponsored, as always. Plenty of food for thought 🙂

  7. lizzieharrington

    Pretty much the same as you, but with the addition of a laplander saw (or Silky Gomboy etc) Syntec throw lines as it is canoes that I am potentially unpinning and the forces involved are greater. Fixed cheek pullys because they are stronger (climbing ones are not designed to be loaded in the same way that we use them in pin scenarios, so the weak point in your system will be the pull pin if you use a shit one) Canoes are great, you can put loads of kit in them, so you don’t have the same constraints as kayaking ❤

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