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H2Outfitters Towbelt Review

Posted by on December 11, 2012

Overview

From H2Outfitters: “The H2O towbelt has been designed over the years with function, comfort, and ease of use in mind. It is a valuable piece of safety equipment for any kayaker and because you wear it, you’ll have it available no matter what kayak you use.”

Towbelt by H2Outfitters

Review

I have been using the H2Outfitters towbelt for several years now for a variety of purposes. Its primary order of use was during my on-water instruction days where I often found myself towing three to five children at one given time. My secondary use was during sea kayaking trips where it was not always a tool of necessity, but in some circumstances, may turn into one. This H2O towbelt has a rugged, utilitarian design which is reliable and easy to access when needed.

The bag is constructed from a mesh pocket which drains water well to allow the rope to dry quickly after use. In addition, the 25’ of highly visible rope is connected to a three foot bungi cord which absorbs shock between towing lag. I personally found that the overall design of the H2Outfitter belt is dependable and made from highly durable materials capable of experiencing years of professional use.

The H2O belt secures 25′ of line in a compact pocket

While the manufacturer claims that the polypro rope is designed to float, my personal experience with this product proved opposite. Not only does the rope not float, but I have had to recover my towbelt more than once when it had accidentally fallen off the deck of my kayak.

The stainless steel carabiner is incredibly strong and stable – standing high above many of its flexible plastic competitors. While its stainless construction does add a little more weight, its solid construction gives more confidence on the water. I have used my towbelt in saltwater conditions for over four years now and it has never frozen up or rusted.

Stainless-steel carabiner

While removing the towbelt from the mesh pocket is a breeze, putting it back in after use is a methodical project. Unlike many other towbelts on the market which allow the paddler to simply stuff the remaining line into the pocket, the H2O belt forces the paddler to insert the line section-by-section in order to properly re-close the bag. H20 uses a very strong velco closure to keep the pocket sealed on the water. While this design is great at keeping the line inside the pocket, my experience has shown tha the velco tends to separate from the fabric liner from repeated opening/closing. I believe Boreal Alvik had a similar experience with his H2O belt in which he devised a clever repair to circumvent the separation problem.

The belt secures around the paddler’s waist or upper torso area with a thick seat-belt like strap and a plastic click buckle. While the plastic bucket quickly releases in the instance of an emergency, the overall quick-release design is not as functional as the “red knob” style quick-release found on similar products.

Quick-release waist buckle

Keep on paddling,

-Alex

2 Responses to H2Outfitters Towbelt Review

  1. h2outfitters

    Dear Alex,

    Thanks for the great review on our belt! I just came across your comments while searching for something else on the internet. Starting from the end of your article …..some comments:

    -Belt buckle: we actually tested the “seat belt ” style and found the Fastex buckle did not slip and was just as fast to release, despite what our British friends told us back then.

    -Velcro separation: Haven’t come across this yet but will look into it …I understand there is a velcro “hybrid” on the market which will not catch on the rope sheath which may change the situation you have encountered, essentially making it less”grabby” and not prone to pulling apart… I’ll see what we can do

    -lastly, the poly pro rope does float on the surface of the water…it is not intended to float the bag; it just doesn’t sink when towing….the heavy Wichard carabiner is another reason why the bag itself will not float…one thing would be to place small floats at the end of your line to keep things above water in the event it is released in an emergency, or even line the bag with foam sheets, ( which will bulk it up a bit!)

    Again thanks for the review and comments!

    Jeff Cooper
    H2Outfitters

    • Alex Russo

      Hey Jeff!

      Thanks for your insightful comments! It is always great to receive direct feedback from company representatives on our product reviews. If you have any new product releases or upcoming designs from H2Outfitters, we would love to do a review. Let’s keep in touch!

      Best,
      Alex

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