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DIY Throw Line

Found myself with two things this past weekend: spare time and spare 550 Paracord.

So I took a plastic water bottle with the sport cap, popped the middle piece out and had a perfect container.

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I know I should use floating rope (Paracord will sink once it gets saturated) but I had 50' of hi-viz yellow cord so I figured why not use that.

  • drilled a hole in the bottom, and put a knot on both sides of the bottom of the bottle to prevent the rope from sliding all the way through
  • Tied an 8" loop from the end coming out the bottom of the bottle
  • Tied a carabiner to the end (in case I need to deploy while in my kayak, I can clip into one of the D rings if the situation warrants it). Plus it prevents the cord from falling into the bottle
  • Tied a piece of shock cord around the bottle just to keep the carabiner in place
  • Finally, poured about 1 inch of wax in the bottom of the bottle for two reasons: help the bottle float in case the Paracord gets saturated faster than expected and to add weight to the bottle, making it easier to throw further.

 

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“Between every two pine trees there is a door leading to a new way of life.” (John Muir)

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.
12 Replies

That is VERY cool!  I'm not a kayaker (literally never been, so anything beyond here that may sound like I know anything about kayaking is purely by accident / happenstance) but I can definitely see some benefit to this in backpacking to hang a bear bag.  Only thing that may be worth changing would a slightly smaller bottle and different cordage (I've had trouble with 550 cord getting stuck in trees, meaning I have to PROVE to everyone that I am not a skilled tree climber rather than just letting them assume that I'm not a skilled tree climber 🙂 ).

In case there's someone (else) that's not a kayaker and wondering, what kind of things do you use this for kayaking?

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.
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Neat!  Looks much easier to toss than the typical throw bag.  But one question - Isn't the wax likely to melt and ooze out of the bottle, no doubt creating a lovely mess?

But wait!  The melted wax will waterproof the line11

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

@hikermor - I can attest to the fact that the wax, while in liquid state, does ooze out the bottom and makes a bloody mess in a kitchen sink. Oh, and on a (cough)(cough) totally unrelated topic, did you know that trying to melt wax in your microwave will cause the wax to explode and then you're left scraping wax off pretty much the entire interior of the oven? Or so I am told...

Seriously, though, in the temps we get around here, the wax will get soft but won't convert back to liquid (even if I leave it in the car).

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“Between every two pine trees there is a door leading to a new way of life.” (John Muir)

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

One comment would pertain to strength of paracord - most throw bags come with 1500-2000# tensile strength rope, about same as lifelines used for sailing. Also: might be better to use a locking carabiner. 

Funny, I was thinking along the same lines for the carabiner. This was a "proof of concept" and a "what can I use that I already have" idea. I do have a locking carabiner but it's more of a novelty one that I would trust to hold about 25 pounds at max whereas the one I used is rated for 12 kN and my shoulder will separate long before that one breaks. 🙂  

And you're right about the rope - 550 - or even 770 - will hold up in most situations but not all. So now that I know the design is solid, I'll do another one with the proper rope

Thanks for the comments, @BAM1391 !

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“Between every two pine trees there is a door leading to a new way of life.” (John Muir)

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.
0 Likes

Actually, @Dad_Aint_Hip and @BAM1391 , you don't want to use a locking carabiner.  You don't want to use a carabiner that doesn't have a hook on the end (like climbing carabiners) either.  My understanding is the purpose of the carabiner is so you can attach the line to your boat or to your person.  In either case, if something goes wrong, the line gets hooked on something or what ever/who ever is holding the end you threw gets into a position to endanger you or your boat, you need to be in a position to be able to quickly and easily release that carabiner.  If it's locking, then you may not be able to release it under tension or reaching down your deck lines to where it's slid.  If it has a hook on the end, then the hook can grab your deck line or whatever it's attached to and require you to make a second attempt to detach.  Again, if the line is under tension, then the hook grabbing the deck line becomes more likely.

Just something to think about.  Whenever I make my short tows, I go to the marine shop to buy carabiners as they sell the kind without hooked ends.

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Found Myself Outside

That's good to know, thanks @Luv2Kayak 

DIY Throw Line v2 is going to be built by "group think"  🙂 

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“Between every two pine trees there is a door leading to a new way of life.” (John Muir)

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.
0 Likes

Don't know why, but I was thinking about this last night.  I think I will stick with a soft throw bag.  My concern with using a plastic bottle is that if the person to whom you are throwing it misses the catch or you make a bad throw, the bottle could hurt the person when it hits him/her or it could bounce off him/her, their kayak, surrounding rocks etc.  With a soft throw bag, the likelihood of a bounce is far less and its also easier to catch, harder to throw, but easier to catch.  I'm trying to think of some packaging that would normally be tossed that would be appropriate but am coming up empty.  Not much comes in burlap bags anymore.

But an interesting idea non the less.  Depending on your intended situation for use, it could still work.

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Found Myself Outside

I would go with the plastic bottle, increasing the  accuracy of the throw.  The plastic bottle doesn't weight very much, We are all wearing helmets, right??

It is worth mentioning that this system can be scaled up.  I keep my climbing ropes stuffed in bags, just a bit larger than the bottle for this rig, and they are ready for use in belaying a leader or establishing a rappel.  This works better than any other system i have tried.

I understand that at Yosemite, the rescue group has 3000 foot lengths (enough to stretch top to bottom of El Capitan) ready to go, stuffed in large duffel bags.

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.
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