Now we all have that 'beater' friend that we go paddling with, that's why it's important to have the right safety gear for when things go wrong. Most essential in my view is a throwline, but there are so many to choose from, and surely they all do the same thing?
Well I've been fortunate enough to get my hands on the hugely anticipated Palm Lightning Throwbag, and here's why I'm choosing this line to pull my beater friends out of sticky situations...
Firstly the Lightning has a fresh look with some new bright colours that will stand out on the river, and in low light/poor visibility conditions you're not going to miss this flying at your face! Considering the bag holds 18m of 8.5mm floating line, it is seriously light and compact making it perfect for storing in your boat and not adding too much weight. This is essential on long hike ins or actually paddling on the river. This is without a doubt the most compact line on the market.
The most exciting addition to the Lightning is the Fidlock closure, which is essentially a plastic clip that locks in place easily with a magnet. Opening the bag and getting line out quickly is essential, and with this system you can pop it open with a thumb and then snap close just as quick and easy.
The closure is not reliant on the magnet, so once closed it is secure. This is a massive step up to competitors popper closure which I find fiddly and hard to close.
The biggest complaint I hear about throwlines is that the neck and opening are too narrow and that packing the bag is a pain. Palm have responded with a super wide opening that has been modelled on climbing chalk bags. The neck has been stiffened so it stays open by itself which makes repacking a breeze.
The line inside has also got a fresh new look to match the bag which again is highly visible. Although the bag is crazy small, the line inside is a nice hefty 8.5mm which has a real nice feel and will feel comfortable for both the thrower and receiver to hold onto during rescues compared to other compact lines which can be a little "cheese wirey" on the hands. The line is attached with a figure 8 knot to a heavily stitched tape, the line can be removed and used by itself or put back in with a knot of your choosing. Finally the line has a breaking strength of 8kn which is more than enough for your paddling needs.
The bag has two loops on the back so it can be carried on a waist belt which is ideal as a lot of compact bags only have one loop so the bag hangs awkwardly, not with the lightning!
And finally the tape pops out of the bottom and makes a small loop so the bag can be attached to karabiners and rescue rigs. The loop is only big enough for a karabiner so there is no chance of someone's fingers or hands getting trapped, this is a snag free bag.
In my opinion the Palm Lightning Throwline is going to lead the way in the water sports rescue market, everything has been thought out and there are plenty of minor details that put it apart from the competition. This is my bag of choice and I look forward to carrying it with me through the year, you never know when you'll need it!
The Palm Lightning Throwbag is currently due to be in stock May 2016.