Review: WWTC Thwart Bag
What better way to test new gear than a 10 day expedition in Tasmania?
WWTC is a brand that is not widely known outside of the rafting community in mainland Europe. I first came in to contact with their gear whilst working for a rafting company in Iceland, when a Slovenian guide showed me one of their throwbag belts. Intrigued, I started searching the web for more information…
“WWTC” – short for The White Water Training Centre is a line of rafting-specific equipment designed by Gaspar Goncz, a leading Rescue 3 and IRF instructor from Hungary. The flagship product in the range is the 18m throwbag and carry system, which has received many positive reviews from those that have used it. More recently though, the brand has expanded to include a 15m waist bag, a 27m rescue line – which can be carried on the thwart of a raft – and also an expedition thwart bag, designed to carry a large Pelicase.
I was able to take a look at the products first hand whilst on a rafting course in India and that’s when my “Magpie Syndrome” set in. Not being able to fight against my desire for shiny new kit any longer, I placed an order for a thwart bag and also the carrying system for the 27m rescue line.
As I was already happy with my HF Compact Alpin throwbag, I used the WWTC carry system to attach my throwline into the raft.
I found it to be a good way of carrying a throwbag in rafts that don’t have ropes across the thwarts. The HF line fits well and is quick to get at, with none of the usual karabiner faff…
As for the thwart bag, I leant that to a rafting friend of mine, to put it through it’s paces. David Kirk picks up the story…
When I mentioned to IBOUTDOOR that I was going to head down to Tasmania to run the mighty Franklin river, they graciously lent me a WWTC thwart bag to trial on the 10 day expedition.
Telling the crew went something like this:
‘Hey guys, I’m bringing a thwart bag’
‘Why the hell are you bringing extra thwarts, we already have way too much gear!’
‘No, you peanut, it’s a bag that attaches to the thwart….’
So after the initial confusion, we decided to put our rescue rope inside, with a pin kit too. The bag has one main pocket with a small line of prussic rope at the back to attach hardware to, very handy. The side pockets are mesh and close with a fancy draw string. The main pocket isn’t waterproof so we had our rope inside a dry bag.
The bag attaches via two straps that run around the thwart and then come back through self locking buckles. The buckles were about 20 cms from the bag so it was a little fiddly to fit the bag initially, putting the buckles closer to the bag would have made it easier to attach. There were also 2 separate quick release straps that we used to hold paddles. The quick release buckles were a little bulky which meant that our 2 small paddles weren’t in completely tight, but they didn’t fall out.
The bag itself is made from heavy duty material that felt very study. The green colour was great; you could always tell which raft had the bag, and therefore which raft needed to run last down the rapid, in case we needed to get rescue gear out.
The side pockets are a great idea, we used them to carry sun cream, drink bottles, trash that we found on the river, basically anything small that we needed access to or needed to store quickly. We would’ve liked to see a zipper on one side though, because when we had a flip, the sun cream fell out of the pocket and needed rescuing.
The bag also doubles as a backpack to wear on portages, and although it was not built to be the world’s most comfortable backpack, it did the job and allowed two free hands to be used to prevent oneself from slipping and falling into a grade 6 death hole.
Overall, the bag ended up being a valued member of the expedition due to its perfect size, heavy duty materials and well thought-out features. Having your rescue gear obvious and accessible is a must on the river and this bag makes that possible.
Having spoken to Gaspar, the designer, I was impressed to hear that the gear mentioned here is already under re-development, to make improvements on the original. I look forward to watching the brand grow with more exciting products in future.