Throw bags

I am looking to get a throw bag. I’ve been looking at the Northwater offerings and noticed they have several different sizes and shapes (wedge, barrell, teardrop). Can someone give me some advice as to which one is easiest to deploy, restuff, and has the best throwing accuracy. This will be used on my sea kayak and most likely be deployed from the boat on the water.

Hmmmm… From a sea kayak
I think you will not want, say, a 70 foot Spectra rope. You would not be able to throw it that far from a seated position. As for restuffing, a bag which is a loose fit, and allows you to get your hand inside to pull the rope back in, would be preferable. I had a throw rope without such room, so I sewed a skirt on the top of the bag, leaving room to easily pull and pack the rope back in. Then I could push the skirt over the rope and get the whole mess neatly into the original bag.

You might look at some of the rope belts which use a relatively short rope.

Salamander Little Big Mouth

– Last Updated: Oct-31-05 10:18 PM EST –

I threw a lot of different bags in a swiftwater rescue course and liked the Little Big Mouth the best for overhand throws. It really flys. Not bad to re-stuff either.

why would you use a throw rope…

– Last Updated: Oct-31-05 10:34 PM EST –

on a sea kayak? A throw rope is designed to have a swimmer grab onto while you brace against solid ground to swing the swimmer into a safer spot (eddy). In a sea kayak, you would not have that mechanical advantage and a throw rope would be virtually useless. A better bet would be to get a decent sea kayaking tow rope which is either PFD mounted with quick release or attached to a cleat on the boat. That way you can effectively help other boaters/swimmers with both hands paddling for stability.

RE: why would you use a throw rope…
I already have and use a towbelt. The scenario I have in mind is that someone gets caught inside of breaking waves up against the rocks. In an effort to minimize the risks to other paddlers trying to go into the break zone to perform a rescue, my thoughts were if you could throw a line in, you could at least get the swimmer out to safety. Also, if the swimmer attached his tow belt to the boat, it may be possible to tow the boat out once the swimmer is safe.

I carry a throw bag , rigged to my boat as a tow bag. Just needed to leave a small tail to go thru the fairleed to the jam clete. I added some bungie inside the bag, as in the commercial tow systems and a small float by the beaner. with this system always rideing on the back of my boat, I can tow, or if someone needs (in or by a cave in bad situation, or a panic situation where I would rather deploy a rope instead of getting near them, I can unhook my tow bag and it becomes a throw bag. I have used it for towing several times, to date, I have never needed to throw it, I do however practice throwing it now and then. never know when things will hit the fan and I might need to. After all tow bags and throw bags are to help others. and there are plenty of people out there doing weird unsafe things. We have many caves in my area and they present their own special problems in wind and wawe conditions and can demand different sort of rescues than normal

Best Wishes


Whenever I do an expedition type…

– Last Updated: Nov-01-05 6:12 AM EST –

paddle trip and on many day trips I take my throw bag with me.
I always keep it on the front deck. I keep the hold end attached to the cross bungees by means of a caribiner (spelling!), and the bag tucked under the bungees.
In this way it can be pulled out and tossed and I can still hold my paddle in my other hand.
I have used it once for it's required use in the past twelve years, and that once makes it worth bringing every time.
I consider my paddle float and bilge pump number one in importance, and that number two as far as my safety stuff goes.

As far as accuracy goes; it is worth taking the time to do some practice with it every so often.
We were at a race one time, and included in some of the post race activities was a throw bag (for accuracy) contest, sponsored by the local rescue squad. They anchored a blow up life ring out in the water, and the object was to toss the bag into it. It was amazing to see how many people couldn't even get the bag close to it.

I also use the rope for a bunch of other things.
When we were up in AK the tides are so high and low that even if you pulled your yak twenty or thirty feet up on the beach, if you left it for twenty minutes and the tide was coming in you were liable to lose it if you went for an extended stroll, so we always would use it as a security tie rather than going into one of the compartments for a length of rope.

Same thing down in those off shore Fl. Keys. You never know when Grayhawk or Scupper Frank might show up and try to sneak off with your yak!


70’ rope and nice big opening. It helps to practice throwing/targetting while sitting in the kayak. The distance is much less than when standing.


that makes sense…
If you use a throw rope in conjuction with a cleat (or a quick release belt), it could be useful. However to expect an accurate throw while sitting in a kayak and pull someone to safety with one hand while still keeping the boat away from danger seems like a lot to expect. I have a hard enough time throwing my 70 feet of 3/8" polypro across the river when standing up and I am skeptical if I’d be able to do it effectively from a sitting and dynamic position.

Seems really hard to me to.
Assuming you are in challenging conditions, getting an accurate throw and throwing far enough would seem to be extremely difficult. You would have to point your boat in the direction of the throw. A sideways throw could easily tip you over and a backwards throw is not possible. Now which way do you orient the cleat (since they are directional)? Are you going to tow the person out by paddling backwards? Or are you going to turn the boat around while holding the rope, put the rope in the cleat, and paddle forward without being able to easily see the victim. Boggles the mind.

Throw bag
I guess that I didn’t really answer the original question…There are several shapes and sizes of throw bags on the market, the flat ones work best to carry on a kayak (less to catch as the water floes accross you boat. They also throw the best form a boat (for me) the 50 foot length is about all I am able to deploy from the boat and you (I) have got to throw it in the same way you would a harpoon. Lay back and aim over the boats bow, otherwise you (I) will be practicing a roll. the force needed to throw 50 feet of rope is quite sudden and it takes alot. The 65/70 foot ropes work better on rivers as do the bucket handles. You can use a bucket handle from a boat but I prefer to hold a corner of the bag and sling it sort of like a boomarang type throw. The parrot bags can be tossed like baseballs or flung. (Parrot bag is a 50 foot bag with the strap running around the bag, it was ment to ride attached to the PFD’s shoulder strap. they always seemed to get in the way there, but were handy (sort uv)I adapted my old Stolquist bag that was ment to ride in a pouch on the back of my old Stolquist Max PFD. My wife carries a tow belt rigged to work with a Jam clete and a fair-lead. so that if she wants to let someone else do the towing and their boat is not set up for it, the belt works (It’s a Salamander tow belt (about 30 feet)

The spetra line is very nice to work with, but poly line works too. If you can afford the spectra, it’s always nice to have and it will be hard to justify buying it after you already have something that works. It will last alot longer too. I have 5 or 6 throw bags and my first choice to use is always spectra.

If you run rivers, and do any stuff where you will be set up on the bank (say at a favorite swimming spot) then you need a 70 foot rope. and can always use the extra (and more) for the z drag. If you are deploying from a boat 50 feet isn’t much distance but it’s about all that you (read Me) are able to succesfully deploy and the extra footage just gets in the way. A 50 foot rope actually only has about 45 usable length, but even that is better than getting too close sometimes

Hope that I wasn’t too wordy and you can gleen some of what you wanted to know from this rambling post



Someplaces require them
Ontario requires them on everything.

You are kidding, right?
"""“I am looking to get a throw bag. I’ve been looking at the Northwater offerings and noticed they have several different sizes and shapes (wedge, barrell, teardrop). Can someone give me some advice as to which one is easiest to deploy, restuff, and has the best throwing accuracy. This will be used on my sea kayak and most likely be deployed from the boat on the water.”""""

Augustus Dogmatycus


accurate throw
The reason I posted as to what I do is because tow systems, throw bags T-rescues, Hand of God rescues, and even just rafting up are all things that can be considered “Helping Hands in times of need” I carry a tow system , made from a throw system, because I expect to tow I don’t expect to throw… The fact that it can be a hand to reach out in times of need in other ways doesn’t necessarially mean that it has to reach 100 yards or it’s no good. In life saving (swimming rescue) sometimes you just need a towel to keep from skin to skin contact with a crazzed indivual, sort of like a quick release to keep the rescuer a little out of danger. a rope even thrown and only reaching 30 feet from your boat gives the rescuer this buffer. Not all the people out there getting in trouble are paddling with you and not all situations of rescue fit a clean scenario (we all wish they would) I carry one piece of equiptment than can do more than one kind of rescue if needed. it only takes up the same amount of room to carry as a regular tow system, but can also be thrown. a regular tow line has no floatation in the bag so doesn’t really work as a throwable. In a pinch it might have to do. I just mentioned that this is the set-up that I carry always. If anyone is worried about the accuracy of their throw , then practice but I would not sugest that you just rule out a piece of gear because you might not be totally accurate. Its only another option

Best Wishes


Salamander 50
I’ve got one of these.

It’s small and should be easy to throw like a football.

Downsides are it’s only 50’. If I could throw 70’ of rope from my yak that’s what I’d be looking for. And you really need two hands to restuff it. But I think that’s true of any throw bag.

Dunno why anyone would think Bill was kidding?


Don’t want to belabor the point, but
The following throwbag seems a little under gunned for what the adverisment claims.

“Salamander’s Safety 50 bag is just right for smaller creekin’ where 50’ of line is enough. Larger 3/8” line makes it easier to grab and use. Great as either an entry level bag or a second. Urethane coated 600 denier polycloth bag (tapered for easy repacking). Bucket-style handle. 50 foot, 5/16" Kernmantle line with 1000-pound MFP polypropylene core."

No Quarter said he’d like to use it if necessary in the scenario where a paddler up against rocks and breaking waves could minimize the necessity of someone going in to get them. A 50’ line can be tossed accurately how far? 35’? More you say? Really, in the kind of bouncy water that precludes going in that last 50’? Why don’t they just swim out? Oh, the incapacitated shoulder situation, of course! Time the lull, back in do a rear deck rescue. A person who cannot swim out in that situation won’t be able to swim to a bad throw either, by the way.

I have friends that use throw bags for boat mounted tows and they are pretty good at that, once you switch out the aluminum karabiner for a good SS one. It’s not a bad idea to borrow one and see if you can stuff it easily in bouncy water. Even better to see how well you actually throw one in bouncy water accurately. I like No Quarter’s consideration of safety issues and the possible remedies, I just think this one needs to be thought through a little more.

If I’m ever in Ontario I’ll be sure to bring my boat mounted tow system.

Augustus Dogmatycus


safety issues and the possible remedies
I don’t know how feasible this whole idea is, but it seems that having an additional tool in the kit is a good thing. My plan is to get a throw bag, and learn how to throw, handle, restuff, rethrow etc. in conditions while in the boat. Once I get used to handling it, I plan on having a “scenarios” day with my mates to see if it has any real merit in real situations.

Borrow Mine
next time will meet up. You can play with it and get a sense of what you like/don’t, do/can’t do.


Be careful.
Any time you are dealing with a rope you run the risk of entanglement. Learning to throw a rope in a sea kayak could easily flip you over. Carry a knife that is easily accessible and be sure someone is near who can do a hand of god rescue from their boat.

These Folks Can Hold
their own. Otherwise, I wouldn’t offer to lend equipment.