Best Rescue Throw Bags

Updated October 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

21 Models Considered
7 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
119 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

Buying guide for best rescue throw bags

Last Updated October 2019

The last thing any kayaker or rafter wants is to capsize while on the river. Accidents can happen at any time, though, and when they do, a dependable rescue throw bag can save a life. With a long rope of (usually) at least 50 feet, these bags are easily tossed to someone who has fallen into the water. They are designed to be thrown from shore to offer someone a means to get to safety. First responders should always have a rescue throw bag on hand.

Although the main component of any rescue throw bag is the rope, these valuable tools are much more than that. Many contain other first aid items and accessories that can be used in a rescue situation. If you’ve fallen overboard or capsized on the river, the first thing you’ll want to see is one of these rescue throw bags headed your way.

If you’re in the market for a rescue throw bag and want to know more about what to look for, we’ve got you covered. Read on for our tips and recommendations.

Just as important as getting a throw bag to a victim is getting them back to safety. Consider your complete plan when using a rescue throw bag.

Key considerations

A rescue throw bag is a highly specialized purchase. It’s not something that everyone buys. Nevertheless, anyone involved in river rescues knows that you should never attempt a rescue without modern and up-to-code safety equipment. A functional rescue throw bag should definitely be part of that equation.

Of all of the factors that you should consider when choosing a rescue throw bag, functionality is the most important. Furthermore, the functionality of the bag will be determined by most of the other consideration factors. To be sure that you choose the best possible rescue throw bag for your requirements, consider the following.

Bag size

The size of your rescue throw bag will determine where you can store it in your kayak or raft. Many times, the size and shape of a rescue throw bag will be determined by its contents. If you have a greater need for more extras, then you may have to sacrifice some storage space for your throw bag. It’s important to find the right balance between safety and convenience.

Rope length

Most ropes in a standard rescue throw bag are approximately 50 feet long. However, some models have started to include extra-long ropes of up to 70 feet. Either is good, but you may want the extra length to offer you a little extra insurance.

Visibility

Most rescue throw bags are made of a brightly colored outer bag. Some are orange, some are yellow, and others are red.  Before buying a rescue throw, consider how easy it is for kayakers and rafters to see it.

Sanctioning organization(s)

You will want to see if your rescue throw bag has been tested and sanctioned by SAVER, which is a group that specializes in testing items for first responders. They also make the results of their testing available to the public.

Local laws and regulations

Every jurisdiction has their own rules about what types of vehicles should carry rescue throw bags (ambulances, etc.), Before buying a rescue throw bag, determine if your municipality requires one, and if so, what the minimum standards are. You wouldn’t want to purchase a rescue throw bag only to find out later that local law enforcement does not accept it within the legal standards.

EXPERT TIP

The best way to be safe with your rescue throw bag is to become adept at using it through practice.


Staff  | BestReviews

Features

Extra-long rope

Although many rescue throw bags have ropes of 50 feet, some now offer extended-length ropes of up to 70 feet. Because rescue throw bags are used for rescues on riverbanks, you will want to consider where you think you may use it. If it’s a wider river or stream, opt for a longer rope.

Reflective patches

Reflective patches on a rescue throw bag can make them easier to see in the water. Even though rescue throw bags are used more often in the daytime, having reflective patches on your bag can make it more visible on those rare occasions where someone needs to be rescued in low light.

Flashing lights

Lights on your rescue throw bag can make it easier to find in the darkness of night, when you need it most. As mentioned above, most river rescues occur in the daytime. Nevertheless, it’s best to be prepared for any situation.

DID YOU KNOW?

Rescue throw bags are usually made of day-glo colors to make them more visible to someone struggling in the water.

Rescue throw bag prices

Inexpensive: In the $15 to $25 range, you can find a very good basic rescue throw bag for your needs. Rescue equipment is for saving lives, but that doesn’t mean it can’t also be economical.

Mid-range: Between $25 and $45, rescue throw bags have longer ropes, and the bags are made of more durable materials.

Expensive: If you spend between $45 and $95, you will be purchasing a professional-level rescue throw bag. These are highly durable, and both the ropes and the bags will likely last longer than the less-expensive options.

EXPERT TIP

Never use a rescue throw bag for recreational purposes or games. They are designed for saving lives and that is the only reason they should be used.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • Never go kayaking without letting at least one person know where you will be going and when you plan to do so.
  • Review proper usage of your rescue throw bag before you need to use it in an emergency situation.
  • Stow your rescue throw bag in a place where it is easily accessible. If you need it, you will need it in a hurry.
  • Practice using your rescue throw bag in a structured training environment so that you are ready if and when the time comes.

Other products we considered

An inexpensive option that might be worth your while is the Atwood Rescue Throw Bag. The lightweight rope makes it easier to throw than some of its more expensive counterparts. In the mid-range category, consider the Best Throwable Rescue Flotation Device. This rescue bag's extra 20 feet of rescue rope just might be the thing that saves your life. A pricier alternative is the NRS NFPA Rescue Throw Bag. The specially designed yellow floating rope is easy for anyone to see on the water.

Keep your rescue throw bag in a protected area out of the elements. Weather exposure over time can damage the bag and its contents.

FAQ

Q. Is a rescue throw bag required by law for first responders?
A
. That depends on where you are. In any area where river boating is common, most first responders will have access to rescue throw bags.

Q. Does it matter how long of a rope I have?
A
. As a general rule, the longer the rope, the better. You don’t plan to have a kayaking or rafting incident, but if you do, it’s best to be as safe as possible.

The team that worked on this review
  • Adam
    Adam
    Writer
  • Austin
    Austin
    Writer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Enid
    Enid
    Editor
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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