What is the right throw bag for you?
A throw bag is arguably the most important piece of safety equipment in your arsenal of river gear. It’s in the top five at least.
But which throw bag is right for you, your paddling style, and your needs?
Standard throw bags, waist belt throw bags, throw bags that attach to your PFD, 75 foot, 50 foot, 30 foot. In this article, Paddling Life will walk you through the variety of throw bags and their different applications and features. We even have a throw bag product guide to help you buy the right one.
The Standard Rescue Throw Bag
They call it the standard because every commercial raft has at least one on board. This is also every river guides best friend. Toss this throw bag and you are sure to increase this river trips tips. With 75 feet of rope, your throwing arm will be the limit of your range and not the throw bag itself.
The standard rescue throw bag often doubles as a bow line and a convenient way to tie off your raft to shore.
Waist Belt Throw Bags
The waist belt throw bag’s primary advantage is that it is easily accessible. Worn like a belt around your, wait for it, “waist”, it’s never far from reach. If you are a kayaker they can be worn below your PFD and above your skirt. This can save precious seconds when trying to get that needed rope into your swimmers hands. Another benefit for kayakers is they often double as a tow tether.
While the waist belt throw bag’s advantages are clear they do have some disadvantages. Waist belts can have a tendency to get in the way. Especially if you are guiding an oar boat with a high back seat. They also will typically have a thinner shorter rope of around 50 feet.
For this author, whether kayaking or rafting, if the need for a throw bag is likely, I’ll have my waist belt throw bag on.
Throw Bags That Attach To Your PFD
This is the little brother in the throw bag family. Typically very slim and compact, this option attaches to the back of your PDF and provides all of the advantages of the waist belt over the standard throw bag. It also exacerbates the negatives of the waist belt options: an even thinner, and shorter, rope. So while not ideal for every situation, there is no denying the advantages of always having your throw bag with you.
So which throw bag do you need?
Ultimately it depends on your situation and how likely you are to have to depend on getting a rope into a swimmers hand. The standard throw bag should be in everyone’s safety gear. Canoe, kayak, SUP, or raft, flat water, whitewater, class II, or class V a trusty throw bag is essential. With any luck, maybe it will only be needed to hold up your sun shade or tie off your boat.
Top Picks for Throw Bags
NRS Standard Rescue Throw Bag (Orange, 3/8IN x 75 FT)
- 75-FOOT ROPE FOR PLENTY OF RANGE: Rugged Cordura throw bag contains a 75-foot throw rope for emergency situations on the water
- QUICK-DRYING DESIGN: 2-inch mesh panel for better drainage and reduced dry time if the rope or bag gets wet
- HIGH VISIBILITY IN LOW LIGHT: 3/8 polypropylene rope is yellow for high visibility in dark or turbulent waters
- 1,900-POUND STRENGTH: The rope has a 1,900-pound tensile strength and floats so you never lose it under the water
- EASY THROWING AND RELOADING: A barrel-lock drawstring is in a flared nylon top for smoother throws, plus easy reloading and closure.
NRS Compact Rescue Throw Bag
- 2″ mesh panel for better drainage and reduced dry time
- The 70 of 1/4″ polypropylene rope is yellow for high visibility
- The rope has a 950 pound tensile strength and it floats for good visibility on the water.
- A barrel-lock drawstring is incorporated in a flared nylon top for smoother throws, plus easy reloading and closure.
- Internal foam flotation keeps the bag on the top of the water where you need it for rescue.
Goglobe Throw Rope – Throw Bag (60 Feet)
- Rescue throw bag with rope 60′ x 10/32″ 550 lb test/18m x 8mm 250 kg test
- Throw rope made by polypropylene in bright yellow color for high visibility can floats on water surface
- High visibility soft bucket with reflective strip safety band and foam floatation Insert designed to float
- Drawstring and cord lock top closure self-draining bag keep rope tangle free
- Heavy-duty, twisted core with jacketed lining for extra strength and durability
Salamander Retriever Kayak Rescue Throw Rope Bag & Tow Tether
- 500-denier Cordura bag
- 60 feet of 5/16 in line
- 1000 lb. polypropylene
- 8 foot tow line with carabineer
- Quick release cam lock buckle with 1.5 in webbing belt
NRS Guardian Wedge Waist Throw Bag-Red/Black
- Removable inner throw bag with 55 feet of 1/4-inch polypropylene rope, 950 lbs.
- (4.22 kN) maximum load
- Mesh side drainage, foam flotation, reflective taping
- Outer bag with wide hook-&-loop flap and zipper, drain holes
- Adjustable waist belt w/ quick-release buckle, webbing carabiner loops
- Lifetime manufacturer warranty
Astral Dyneema Water Rescue Throw Rope with Bag, Life Jacket PFD Accessory
- MADE FOR RESCUE: Versatile rescue tool that can be used to retrieve people or tow gear
- DURABLE: Strong Dyneema core with a working load of 1800 lbs
- COMPATIBLE: Integrates into the Astral GreenJacket’s rope ready pocket
- ACCESSIBLE: Storing rope on your body means it’s accessible at all times, even when your boat happens to be downstream
- DETAILS: Diameter of 7mm; Length of 45 ft