Webbing: It’s More Than Just a Flip Line

“If you don’t have what you need, improvise and make do.” River guide ingenuity, (RGI)  is a beautiful thing, and has helped many a guide out of a tight spot or two by making do with whatever he or she can find. In the guiding and swiftwater world the  “flip line” is one of those utility tools with many uses. Under some circumstances the flip line is good for re-righting boats, (as long as it’s long enough) but beyond that it has numerous ways to assist river guides and the problems they face. Your utility piece of webbing is the the swiftwater multi-tool. Check out these 30 things you can do with your utility piece of webbing other than flip rafts. Can you think of more?IMG_5933

1. re-right a flipped raft

2. use it like a throw rope, help someone to shore

3. clip to a tension diagonal and ride across (upstream arm, opposite the direction of travel)

4. drag your kayak to put-in (wear out plastic not your back)

5. make a quick anchor (3-bight or girth hitch)

6. make a NFPA anchor (wrap 3 pull 2)

7. create an improvised harness (swiss seat or other)

8. build a multi-point anchor on a raft or kayak

9. quick girth hitch of a thwart for a bomber anchor

10. tie a klemheist to attach to another rope

11. extend your reach from shore: attach one end to something / someone and hold the other

end while out in current

12. aid in climbing back in a boat

13. pre rig a bow to stern flip line on the bottom of a raft

14. improvise a kayak tow tether in a pinch

15. extract someone’s entrapped foot

16. be the human sea anchor to move a pinned boat: clip to a D-ring and jump in

17. create internal MA  via the vector pull to taco a pinned boat (change shape so it comes free)

18. in-boat directional pull for pinned raft (clip to a D-ring and pull)IMG_5931

19. add a bow line to a boat

20. use the interlocking double clove hitch to secure someone or something

21. have fun around camp: jump rope, tug-o war, blazo, slack-line

22. hanging line for drying gear

23. hammock anchor

24. bear hoist

25. dish line

26. line for tarp / shelter

27. a belt

28. splinting material

29. improvised litter for patient carry-out

30. attach gear to a tension diagonal and zip it across

Just so we’re all on the same page, the swiftwater multi-tool mentioned above, formerly known as a “flip line” is nothing more than a length of webbing between 15 ft and 30 ft tied together with a water knot and connected with a locking or auto lock carabiner. The water knot can be IMG_5936untied to double your working length.

I typically wear my webbing loop around my waist tucked up and under my drysuit sprayskirt tunnel. Start with the webbing loop in front of you, wrap it in opposite directions around your waist until the two ends (bights) come to meet in the front. Clip your carabiner to attach the two ends.  Be sure to keep it tight so it doesn’t hang loose or become an entrapment hazard. Adjust the water knot so the ‘belt’ fits snug. And there you have it, river guide’s multi-tool. What else can you do with it?

Post by: Zach Byars, Instructor