How to Make a Kayak Tow Line

Written by lawrence adams
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How to Make a Kayak Tow Line
Share the work of paddling with a well-built kayak tow line. (kayak image by Greg Pickens from

Tow lines are key features in any kayak safety gear pack. They can be used to pull paddlers away from danger, but also in the regular practice of sharing paddling work between two paddlers in two single kayaks. A proper tow line should float on top of the water to avoid catching underwater plants. It should be strong, durable and hold up well when left in contact with water for long periods of time. Many methods exist to design and make tow lines. Below is one of the simplest ways to create your own kayak tow line.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 16 yards polypropylene cord (.25 inch thickness)
  • 2 stainless steel snap hooks
  • Electrical tape

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  1. 1

    Insert one end of the polypropylene cord through the eyelet of one of the stainless steel snap hooks. Be aware, polypropylene cord is the generic clothes line cord frequently sold in 16 yard lengths and 0.25 inch thicknesses. Water-sport cords of the same length can be substituted.

  2. 2

    Pull the end of the cord through the eye of the snap hoop until you have around 2 inches of cord to work with. This is your short length of cord. Compress the long length of cord so that its weave separates about 0.5 inches below the snap hook.

  3. 3

    Insert the short length of cord into the centre of the separated weave. Patiently push the short length of cord down the centre of the weave of the long length of cord. This may take several tries as cords vary in weave tightness.

  4. 4

    Pull the now woven short length of cord and the long length of cord at the same time to tighten the new weave. Wrap electrical tape around the cord 0.5 inches from the end of the woven short length. Complete at least three wraps of electrical tape making sure to cut the end of the tape with scissors to ensure proper application of the tape.

  5. 5

    Repeat steps 1 through 4 at the opposite end of the polypropylene cord using the second stainless steel snap hook.

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