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.
Palm had a lightning bag shipped to Unsponsored HQ as soon as the production models were available. Retail customers will be able to get hold of a bag from good kayak/canoe retailers over the next few weeks.
Since the bag arrived we have had a good look over it and have tested but the feel, throwing and repacking ease with a number of different paddlers. Since the Lightning bag has already been compared to the HF Weasel by many it also makes sense to make some further comparisons during this initial look at the Lightning.
I have had the chance to have a close look at the Lightning bag a few times but this is the first time that I have been able to have not only a look but actually use the bag.
The HF stand at Paddle Expo had a range of really cool gear on display from both HF and Astral.
The cowtail shown here stood out as the tape/bungee used did not have a flat profile when stretched but was actually cylindrical as a bungee cord has been used. Simple idea but looks really well executed.
The Turtleback Kayak carry system has been designed to make the carrying of creek boats or river runners that little bit easier. There have been other systems released in the past but they have either been expensive, bulky or both.
The HF Weasel is HF’s smallest and most compact throw bag. If space within your boat is at a premium then this bag may be the one for you. The Weasel fits even in the smallest kayak or can be fixed and carried on a waist belt (HF Swifty Belt).
If a throw bag is needed in a emergency you probably won’t have any time for a second go! Therefore the most important factors when using a throwbag is how well it throws, and how easy it is to get the bag to land on target. In both cases the HF Weasel fits the bill. I found the bag easy to throw both under and over arm. The rope pays out nicely during a throw and is also easy to repack if you do need (or have time) to have a second go.
The HF Swifty Belt is designed so that you are able to carry your throw line with you at all times. It is designed around the same belt system that you see on all rescue PFDs. The buckle is exactly the same and ensures that the system is quick release.
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.
I had a bit of time today so had a go at modifying my two throw lines. I much prefer the “clean” rope principle where the end of the throw line that you keep hold of is a clean piece of rope i.e. has no knots or tubing.
The second modification I carried out was the removal of the tubing from the bag end of the line and the reduction in the size of the loop. The idea is that the loop is big enough to clip a karabiner into but is far too small to get a hand stuck.