Whether you are seeking the physical and mental benefits or just enjoy open water swimming, it is important to pick the right tow float for you. Bringing a tow float with you on your swim greatly reduces the risks of open water swimming. The main purpose of a tow float is to make you more visible in the water. This not only helps other swimmers and people on shore keep an eye on you, but it also means watercraft are more likely to see and avoid you, and rescue teams will be able to find you more easily and quickly.
But with the large range of tow floats available, how do you decide which one is best for you? Read on to find out about Zone3’s tow float and an alternative tow float by Swim Secure.
Founded by a world champion triathlete, Zone3 was created with the aim of producing sport clothing and accessories that enables athletes to achieve their best. Focusing on triathlon, running, cycling, and watersports (including open water swimming), Zone3 developed their range of products from wetsuits and shoe laces to hand paddles and tow floats.
The Zone3 Tow Float
The Zone3 tow float is made from nylon coated in heavy duty PVC giving it the strength, durability, and waterproofing that all tow floats need to work properly and have a long life. This tow float has an adjustable waist belt to fit a range of body sizes and is available in pink, orange or lime green to keep you visible in the water. On the back of the float there is a carry handle which, along with being lightweight, makes it easy to transport on land and in and out of the water. Being lightweight also means this tow float has minimal drag in the water, making it ideal for races and competitions when you don’t want the float to affect your swim speed.
Zone3 is a triathlete focused brand so if you are a triathlete or are wanting to become a competitive open water swimmer, this tow float might be for you. However, if you’re a recreational swimmer or new to open water swimming then there might be a better option out there for you.
Another thing to consider with this tow float is that it only has a single layer of material and only one air chamber. Although this might make it quicker to inflate, it does mean that if your tow float happens to get a puncture while on your swim, it will fully deflate. Not only will this defeat the purpose of the float and make you less visible in the water, but it will also be a nuisance to carry with you while swimming back to land.
A final issue with this tow float is that the leash is adjustable. Although at face value this may seem like a positive as you can adjust the leash so the float is in the right place for you, the process of adjusting and finding the right place can take a while. When you go for your swim, you don’t want to have to spend the first 5 minutes stopping every couple of strokes to adjust the length of your leash because once again it got in the way of your legs or arms. And this wouldn’t just be an issue for your first swim with the float. With use, as well as in transport, the adjustment buckle can loosen meaning you will regularly need to retighten the leash and find the perfect length again.
Best Alternative to Zone3
Swim Secure is an open water swimming specialist brand that produces tow floats, dry bags, and open water swimming accessories. The philosophy behind the brand is to help competent swimmers of all ages and abilities to enjoy open water swimming safely, whether you’re new to open water swimming, a regular recreational swimmer, or a competitive athlete.
The Swim Secure Tow Float
Like the Zone3 tow float, the Swim Secure tow float has all the basic features every float needs, including an adjustable belt and high quality PVC material to make it strong, durable, and waterproof. This tow float is also lightweight meaning it has little to no drag so it can be used recreationally or competitively.
However, the Swim Secure tow float has some extra features that the Zone3 tow float is missing. The Swim Secure float has two inflation chambers so you stay visible and have some protection, even if your float suffers a puncture. It also means the tow float will stay buoyant, meaning you can focus on finishing your swim safely rather than having to carry your deflated float while trying to swim.
Although having two air chambers might take slightly longer to inflate then a single chamber, the safety benefits are worth the extra couple of seconds. And the addition of the one way inflation valves make inflating and deflating the chambers really easy.
Another benefit of the Swim Secure tow float is that the leash is designed so that it floats in the perfect place above your knees, keeping it out of the way of your arms and legs. As the leash isn’t adjustable, you don’t need to faff around with finding the right length or worry about needing to constantly adjust it back to the right length. Instead, it will always be at the right length so you can just enjoy your swim.
So Which Should You Choose?
Both tow floats will meet your basic needs on a swim. However, it’s clear that the Swim Secure tow float is sturdier, more durable and more practical. Although both tow floats are a similar price (Zone3: £22.50 - Swim Secure: £22), you may as well save the extra 50p and get the extra security and safety of the double air chambers, as well as the ease of the perfect leash length. It’s a no brainer.
Be safe and visible on your next open water swim. Buy your Swim Secure tow float today!