Lashing and Tethering

I’m trying to figure out how to secure my gear. What’s the difference between lashing and tethering. How do I do either?

Most importantly, how do I secure my flotation bags, extra paddle and dry bag?

lashing and tethering

Tethering… is when your GF makes you wear a collar and a leash…

Lashing… is when she ties you to a tree.

Canoe?, kayak?, back of pick up…



I thought lashing was when she hit you with a whip or a riding crop?

Tethering is tying a lead or painter so the object being tethered doesn’t slip away.

Lashing is a way of joining two objects together in a more structural way – say lashing a branch to a tree to form a lean-to.

OK, I’ll be the serious one here
Assuming you are canoeing,

Tethering: Using a line to keep gear from floating off after a capsize. Does not prevent, but greatly reduced the acreage of a “yard sale”. Possibility of entrapment exists, so best used for flatwater canoeing.

Lashing: Tieing your packs, coolers, etc into the canoe via a lacing line. In theory, a capsize on a river will result in the waterproofed gear (you DID waterproof your packs, didn’t you?) staying inside the canoe and actually offering some flotation.


lashing is tying something down so it doesn’t move without being untied.

tethering is attaching a line to one end of something that allows it to still be moved/used (think of paddle, cameras, GPS), but will be easy to recover if dropped

Lots of fun with your post
My, bbowman, the forum had fun with your post. My guess is the forum is bored with this topic since it is fairly well covered in many books and other resources. For example, try:

Look under “lash kit” even though the above definitions of lashing seems counterindicated.

Spare paddle - I recommend wedging it along side or on top of the airbag so that you can grab it quick if you suddenly find yourself without a functional primary paddle.

Dry bags - treat them like airbags. Try to avoid tying them on to thwarts since sometimes that can result in having a thwart ripped out.

Try to secure all gear so that if the boat is upside down everything stays within the boat. This will make it easier for another canoer to assist you in deep water by emptying your boat in a boat-over-boat move, which is real difficult if you have stuff hanging down below the boat when it is bottoms-up.

Minimize use of tethers. You know how if you are pulling an electric cord arouned the shop it almost always finds something to hang up on? Tethers are the same way, and they may hang up on you at an inconvenient time, like when you are trying to escape from your boat.

Lastly, I will repeat something I read on this forum: if you are going to be around ropes and water, you NEED to have a knife. And I don’t think they meant for slicing cheese. Get a river knife and attach it to your PFD where you can grab it with either hand.

~~Chip Walsh, Gambrills, MD