adding bungee to tow rope

thanks for starting this thread peter_ca
you gave me an idea

why not fall back on good old knots, instead?

a sheet bend will connect two lines

why not tie one sheet bend, then coil your tow line around the bungee, then tie off the other end in a second sheet bend?

if anything comes undone, the tow line maintains its integrity :slight_smile:

I brought one for you.
“Tow ropes are something you are happy to see other people carry, and they are happy to see you carry.”

During a pre-trip discussion of medical conditions that the group should be aware of, I said, half kidding, “worst case scenario is you’ll have to raft me up and tow me in.” One of the people in the group exclaimed, “I don’t have a tow rope! ;-).” I pointed to the belt on my waist and said said, “That’s OK, I brought one for you! :-).”


Best way to shrink the shrink tube?
What’s a good way to heat shrink the tube and not cook your line?

Thanks on the hog rings. I came across those last night actually on west marine and was thinking that might be the item. Thanks for confirming. The ones on the North Water rig look like they might be a spiral rather than a ring that joins at the ends. I wonder if they’re hog rings?

I’m thinking of building a tow line from scratch to replace the line that’s on my North Water. Use a smaller diameter line for better packing. Maybe spyderline from West Marine. It comes in a number of diameters. I’m thinking of using a hog ring and shrink tube at the biner, actually, to eliminate the knot there that tends to get caught in deck lines, especially on an inline tow where the line is passed under a front deck line and back to the paddler on the first towing boat.

If I do go with a knot at the biner, I’m at least going to whip the lose end back to the main line so that doesn’t snag.

Thoughts on best way to connect the biner at the end to eliminate snags on deck lines?


That looks like a good simple knot.
Thanks for the suggestion.

Not as streamlined as the hog ring and shrink wrap, but I don’t think that matters too much at the bungee. Also, if it mattered, which it doesn’t in this case as the breaking strength of most tow lines are way overkill, the bend in the main line on the sheet bend would reduce the breaking strength over a knot like the rolling hitch.

Nice idea on the sheet bend. I might use it. It is simple, and streamlined as knots go.


when you make it are you going to
use floating line? or not???the thinner line might not be floatin’ line…

i like the idea of using the climbing runner that is on the Expedition Essentials tow line…that way you have some clean space between the biner and the know…you can get different lengths of them…they are pretty cheap too…it is VERY easy to hold onto to clip…and it does have some flotation inherent as well…


Climbing runner
I like that. Eliminates the need for an eye on the biner, too. I looked at the photo on Expedition Essentials, and was thinking the runner was made of plastic. Google gives me lots of cloth runners. Is it cloth?

Yes on floating line. I’ve wondered why the large diameter for tow lines. Maybe it’s needed for flotation. I paddled with a guy a while ago though who re-did his tow line with something thinner. I think it floated. I was thinking it might be spyderline, but not sure. I have an email out now to check.


My end result
Part of what I was doing was shortening the rope some, so the first step I did was to cut 12 feet off the tow rope. This section will stay in my boat and be used as a tie rope, but also be available to quickly make a stirrup if a stirrup rescue is ever needed.

Then I tied both the rope and the bungee to the bag (tied separately, using bowline knots to attach). Then used a rolling hitch (with an added loop on it for good measure) to connect the rope to the bungee. I yanked on this many times and it does not come loose. But even if it does, the rope is continuous, so it would still function as a tow rope (just without the shock absorption).

I considered using a cable tie to attach them, but was concerned that the crimping may reduce the strength of either the rope or the bungee.

Photos at:

It’s called a "quickdraw"
And is helpful in controlling the biner with one hand, without having to actually hold the biner itself, if that makes sense (my brain is turkey influenced tonight).

It’s one of the things that makes the EE rig so good – well-thought-out enhancements.


Virgina Sea Kayak Center

hog ring
It’s called a hog ring. Come in different sizes at any hardware store. Crimp it on with q plyers.

At the suggestion of a BCU Level 5 Coach
I used the cable tie approach. It’s been in use for almost a year now and has towed under some pretty extreme conditions. No problem at all.

No knot in the bungee?
Peter, thanks for following up, and for the pics.

I was thinking you would put the knot in the bungee, rather than in the main line. What was your reasoning? I’ve never done it, so just curious.


I used a length of bungie cord and whipped the ends to my tow rope. A portion of the tow rope ‘cork screws’ around the bungie cord. And is slack until the bungie stretches too far (or breaks)

I used a "clinging clara"
Looks like a bend. Technically a hitch. Haven’t been able to find it so far on-line.

The advantage is that it pulls well sideways. Tied the knot in the bungee–coiled the line around it–then another clinging clara at the far end.

Tubular webbing

– Last Updated: Nov-25-07 8:14 PM EST –

I made my tow kit using tubular webbing. I fed a several foot length of bungee cord into the far end and tied it. The result is very neat and effective.

Note: tubular webbing doesn't float so I added a line float just before the bungee section.

rope is more flexible
I wanted to put the knot in the bungee, and not the rope, but found the bungee to be a bit too stiff such that it didn’t seem like it would want to make the knot.

Was this the right route? I guess time will tell…

3/16" Spectra line, not Spyderline
I got a reply on my email. The line I was thinking of is 3/16" Spectra with a polypropylene sheath so that it floats. The tensile strength is 1950 lbs. Person had to by 600 ft (not sure where he bought it) and is happy to sell some for 0.50/ft. I think I’ll buy 70 ft. Plenty for a tow belt, and for a short tow on my deck.


Sounds good.
Thanks for sharing on the reasoning.


Thanks for sharing on the whipping
That’s a clean easy way to go, as long as it holds. I think I’ll try that myself.


West marine is nuts on their prices.

I don’t like loops, which can unintendedly get caught on things. Buy 50’ of 3/16" or 1/4" twisted nylon rope, which has more shock absorption than most rope. It will set you back about $10.