A good throw bag is quite expensive and even fairly difficult to find the materials to make. First you have to track down a fabric seller that has Nylon Cordura and Nylon web strapping and then you have to buy all of the other stuff to go with the project as well. Unless you are putting together a dozen or more you may as well buy one.
There is a middle of the road alternative though and that is to make one from a nylon camp chair bag, the fabric is often cordura anyway but is always a close substitute. You can put a good rope bag together this way for under $20.
The first and most important thing you need is fifty feet of 3/8 floating rescue rope. This will cost about $15. You will also need a sewing machine, a seam ripper, some scissors, a couple grommets and setter, and one of those camp chair bags that everyone has in the closet and does not use.
You begin with the seam ripper and take all of the patches and carry handles off of the camp chair bag. These can be used to put a carry strap on your throw bag later if you want. With all of the nylon webbing off of the bag cut it 16 inches from the bottom. Save the draw string and keeper from the top of the bag to be used later. Once you have done that you will see all of the hard work is already done for you.
The first thing to is roll a one inch hem on the top end of the newly cut bag and sew that. I used white thread so it would show up good in the photo but you don’t have to. Just be sure it is very strong nylon thread that you cannot break with your hands.
So with the first hem in you can check the factory stitching on the original bag. If it is good leave it alone but if you suspect it is weak touch it up with a few stitches. Put a small grommet on the new hem be sure to fold the hem to the outside of your bag and put the smooth face of the grommet to the outside as well.
Next take that old draw string from the camp chair bag, and the keeper in hand. Run the string around the inside of your hem and pull the two ends through the grommet hole and put on the keeper. Tie a knot to keep from loosing your keeper. Carefully sew down the hem to the bag. The hem is now an inch or so wide so the draw string does not bind up. Do this slow as it is about the only hard part. Once you have this test your draw string to make sure it works good and that you didn’t sew through it or something.
The next thing to do is to take a piece of closed cell foam and cut it the same diameter as your bag. This makes a float. You can use a swimming pool foam board that you can get at the dollar store like I did or camping mat foam, it doesn’t matter. You also need a 3/8 inside diameter washer. You can just make one from some strong plastic if you like. A detergent bottle makes a great washer.
Once you have those pieces made cut a small hole in the bottom and add another grommet. The best way to do this is to cut a tiny hole with scissors and melt the edges with a lighter so they don’t fray. Add the grommet next. You could reinforce the hole by sewing a bit of nylon web strapping both inside and out and heat up a big metal spike and melt the rope hole if you do not have grommets at hand and have no plan to buy some. This is messy and smelly but it works.
Feed your rope through the bottom bag hole and tie a bowline knot loop and pull the knot back snug to the bag.
Punch a hole through your foam and slide the foam and washer onto the rope and into the bottom of your bag. The washer is simply there to keep the foam from working its way up the rope. Seal everything off with a knot tied as close to the washer as you can get it.
OK; now you’re done. Stuff the rope in and cinch the draw string. You can add nylon carry handles, belts, and plastic clips if you want, but remember whatever you add is just a potential extra to get snagged on a tree or a rock. It is best to just carry it around by the loop. That and it is no good to you strapped to the front of your canoe, keep it close.
As an option if you want to go all out you can find high visibility and reflective strips at most fabric stores you may want to sew some on to your throw bag for the few extra dollars.
Original article from Canoe Canada East