Paddling tips, tricks, news and gear reviews from an Unsponsored point of view

Pin/Rescue Kit Part II – Throwbags

Carrying and being able to use a rope effectively/safely are key skills that every paddler should have and practice. First things first, if you intend on carrying/using a throw bag or a rope then you should also be carrying a knife. That knife should be capable of cutting through your throw line with ease, therefore it must be super sharp and hold its edge. Lots of great information about all things sharp and keeping them sharp can be found over on British Blades.

Ideally everyone in your group (who is experienced in using a throw bag) should be carrying one with them at all times. When you leave your boat to scout a section of water or inspect a particular line the throw bag should be the one thing you grab as you exit/leave your boat.

Back in the day many throw bags were flat and would fit in the back of your PFD, this was great as you would always have a bag with you. However, to keep the pack size small the rope was often quite short/thin and when put under tension could act like a cheese wire. Having a flat almost envelope type bag also made repacking very time consuming. As thicker line is more widely used now most throw bags have almost exclusively taken on a barrel design. This often includes a wider opening to facilitate easy repacking.

I have owned a number of throw bags over the last 20+ years. They have ranged from small 10m lines that pack into flat pockets, 30m mesh bagged lines and almost everything in-between. As the years have gone on I have settled on the HF range as my preferred option. I am not sponsored by or get cheaper deals from HF, it’s simply through use and experience that has led me toward the HF brand. Those of you who have been on the site previously will know that I own a HF Weasel throw bag (The Weasel is so good that I now own two of these) but I also own/carry a HF Alpin Compact. The rope in the Alpin Compact is a little thicker so is better for some applications.

The Alpin Compact has 20m of rope which is long enough for most situations. HF also do a 30m Classic that utilises the same thinner rope that the HF Weasel uses. If the 30m line is too long and the Alpin Compact too expensive HF also do the Compact Classic Throwbag with 20m of rope

All of my ropes are clean, i.e. all external loops and knots are removed or minimised. The image below shows one of my bags with the plastic tubing removed. I have made the loop small enough to prevent a hand being trapped, but large enough so that a karabiner can be easily clipped in.

I have recently invested in a HF Swifty Throwline Quick Release Belt which allows my throw bags to be carried on my waist. This can be above or below my spraydeck. There will be more on the Swifty over the next week or so. Otherwise the throw bag is clipped or bungeed into my boat in front of the seat. I don’t want to be messing on trying to get the bag out from behind my backrest. If I need the throw bag the chances are I need it quickly.


  1. Connor Baxter

    Hi when it come to carrying a knife on the water I think it needs to things
    1) a super super sharp blade which can cut everything you need on the water lines and sling
    2) A rounded tip and this is the important thing.
    Say you in a stopper out of your boat, a rope rapped around your arm the only thing which can get you out is your knife a rounded blade is just going to reduce the risk of stabing your self

  2. Neville Lucas

    I’ll probably be ridiculed for this but I use a piece of hacksaw blade instead of a knife and find it just as good and a little bit more versatile

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