When was the last time you practiced setting up a Z-Drag?


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So you’ve got your Z-Drag kit prepped with rescue rope, webbing, pulleys, carabiners, and cordage. But when was the last time you actually took it out, inspected it, and practiced setting up a Z-Drag?

z-drag kit essentials
Z Drag kit essentials

It had been embarrassingly to long for this rafter too. So when I saw that Good Vibes River Gear of Crag, CO. was putting on a Z-Drag workshop, I figured it was as good a time as any for a refresher. Plus it was a good excuse to checkout the hand crafted mesh river gear Good Vibes has been making.

Cute girl in Pyranha kayak at Good Vibes Raft Shop in Craig, CO
Good Vibes Raft Shop in Craig, CO


Josh and crew at Good Vibes River Gear did not disappoint.  They broke it down to it’s basics and taught a master class in Z-Drag.

How do you make a Break Prusik for a Z-Drag again?

Classroom knot instruction for z-drag workshop at Good Vibes Raft Shop in Crag, CO
Classroom knot instruction for z-drag workshop at Good Vibes Raft Shop in Crag, CO

Starting out inside we received a classroom session on knot tying.  These are the same knots that we use regularly on the river but if you haven’t tied them recently they can be a challenge.  Besides, you don’t want to have to remember how a Double Fisherman’s Knot or a Water Knot tie while your raft is tacoed in the middle of the river.  Don’t be that guy.

Double Fisherman's Knot for Prusik Loop
Double Fisherman’s Knot for Prusik Loop

Water Knot with webbing for anchors
Water Knot with webbing for anchors

After everyone re-acquainted themselves with webbing, cordage, rescue rope, and some basic knot tying.  It was time to head outside and put the classroom skill to practice.

Josh of Good Vibes instructing the proper use and setup of a Z-Drag

Good Vibes Raft Gear z-drag workshop
Josh from Good Vibes Raft Gear instructing a z-drag workshop

Good Vibes Raft Gear instructing a z-drag workshop - dragging Pyranha kayak across parking lot
Good Vibes Raft Gear instructing a z-drag workshop – dragging Pyranha kayak across parking lot


For more info on how to set up a Z-Drag here is a good web resource: https://www.netknots.com/rope_knots/z-drag-system

Or better yet take a guide training course like this one from Tahoe Whitewater Tours. They will cover the Z-Drag and so much more. But be warned, you may end up living in a van down by the river as happy as can be.

Local Z-Drag Workshops

Ask your local outfitter or retailer if they would put on a workshop. Who knows, you might learn a skill that saves your raft one day and meet some new river friends along the way.

If you know of any upcoming events please let us know and we’ll add them to our events page.

And special thanks to Good Vibes River Gear for putting on a great Z-Drag clinic.  Check out their custom soft goods if you are in the market for gear bags, camp kitchen essentials, or drop bags. Everything is manufactured right there in their Craig, CO facility and looks like it would last you a lifetime.

Stay safe out there.


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