tow belts

Somehow, I managed to lose my Northwater tow belt. Painful, as it was pretty well customized, and now the prices seem to have gone way up. So, I’m looking for an alternative, though I was happy with this belt. Their new belts are going to be over $100 and you can’t find the old ones for less than $75.

Anyone know of a (good) alternative? Making my own is not an option.


i have a couple of extra northwater towbelts - email me and perhaps we can find some mutually beneficial ground… er, water

Two is better than one
One person towing one person is hard labor.

Two persons towing one person is quite easy.

One person towing two persons is near impossible.

I’ve tried the combinations and learned that if towing in any way is to me expected, make sure the group brings at least two towing rigs.

My towing system fits in a hand and still allows two paddlers to tow one kayak. The system consists of a long 4mm elastic cord, a pulley, a harness clip and some quick release buckles for the towing ends.

When two persons are towing using the system, the cord runs through the pulley which itself is attached to the towed kayak with the clip.

The point is that two paddlers with different amount of strength can tow a kayak without the strongest paddler is doing all the work.

There’s a bit more to the system, as there are some carefully placed knots on the cord, which stops the stronger towing paddler from pulling the weaker towing paddler down to the towed kayak.

Not sure this description makes sense. I should really make some photos. The system was demonstrated to me by some German kayakers last spring after I had towed one of “their” paddlers for a 10km stretch:

BTW, a low gear GP really shines for this kind of work.


I just sent an email.


love my northwater seatec
but if i had to replace it i would thinl about:

the EE tow belt available from

same price but i do not mind paying for that item…need a good one if you need one…


northwater towbelts
if you are looking for the waist tow system Campmor is selling them for $62

Tow rigs
Dale Williams / Expedition Essentials has a really good tow rig design that I’ve used several times as a guide and instructor. It’s well thought-out with good features:

I’ve used other systems and found this very effective in “need to tow NOW” situations – hooking up and crossing a boat channel at night and quickly recovering, for example.

Full disclosure note - I have a bias/relationship for/with Sea Kayaking USA and encourage anyone reading this to consider how a product will work for their needs and consider a variety of manufacturers.

salamander throw bag
I have a kokatat guide life vest and use a salamander throw bag with the vest quick release run through the handle to attach to the vest, and then have several butterlfy noose’s tied in the line to lengthen or shorten it, I have a caribiner at the opening of the bag to attach to those loops for length adjustment. Works well, compact, out of the way, large mouth makes it easy to pack.

have a cam clete and fairleed on all my boats…so carry a couple of differant rigs depending on where I’m going.

I sometimes carry a throwbag (old stolquist piggy back) rigged as a tow sys for the deck. that way if I,m going near caves or other hazzards I might not to go near to initiate a rescue, I also have a throwbag which can be deployed (practice throwing, it takes practice from in a boat)

The other set-up I sometimes carry is a salamander belt tow with the loop by the bag untied and a stopper knot in it, so I can use it as a deck tow or hand it to someone whos boat isn’t deck tow equipt, and they can use the belt system

Best Wishes


re: try Ocean River Sports in Canada

– Last Updated: Jan-05-07 1:59 PM EST –

I purchased my Northwater tow mailorder from Ocean River Sports in Canada. Nice folks.

Cost is about $62 (USD) + shipping, which is a bit less than the nearly $90 Campmor wants for the Northwater's Sea-Tec Tow.

Direct link is as follows:

Expedition Essentials
You may want to check out the new Expedition Essentials Towbelt designed by Dale Williams, the former owner of Sea Kayak Georgia. I owned the Northwater Sea-TEc and am switching over to theirs. You can check them out at! A lot of other good kit, too!

I haven’t seen anything better than the Northwater SeaTec although that USK website one looks ok, too.

A few practice sessions with various tow belts has convinced me that this is not the place to scrimp on the money. Get the best one you can find.

I do wish the Northwater came with a good system for clipping it off shorter and was 50 ft long so it would be legal for the Canadian heaving line requirements (althought I bet no kayaker would get busted if they had only the 30 ft line).

even Canadians call it gear:

the sea tec confuses me…
They claim that it was developed with the help of several high level BCU folks. However, why then is it only 30 feet long? 30 feet long would only make it appropriate for calm to moderate conditions. I always thought that the rule of thumb is that for serious sea conditions, you want a tow rope that is equal to 3 sea kayak lengths to prevent (~50 ft) accidents when towing in swells.

Although I like the sea tec idea, I wanted more length so I bought a salamander waist mounted short tow/throw rope which I’m going to add a carabiner, some knots to modify length, and some shock cord to the throw rope to make it a versatile long tow.

Lesson learned!!
I decided to go with the EE. It already comes with all the features I customized on the Northwater.

From now on my cell phone # is going in all my gear so if I manage to leave it somewhere I have some hope of getting it back. Expensive lesson.


EE gear
For those interested, you can also pick up the EE gear online if you’re not near one of the retailers: