Open water swimming is a fun hobby and has many physical and mental benefits. But it also has its risks. Swimming with a tow float greatly reduces these risks. Tow floats are great because they let you enjoy your open water swim with the peace of mind that you are more visible in the water. This is important so that any watercraft, other swimmers, or rescue teams can easily see you. Some open water swimming venues and competitions also require swimmers to use a tow float. So it is a useful swimming accessory to have.
But finding the perfect tow float for you out of the many available can be like finding a needle in a haystack. But don’t worry, in this blog we are going to look at two of the top tow floats available so you can make an informed decision.
Zone3 is a sportswear and accessories brand specialising in the triathlon. Founded by a world champion triathlete and made for triathletes, their products aim to break down barriers and increase race speeds in cycling, running, and swimming. From a large range of wetsuits and tri-suits to accessories like shoe laces, hand paddles, and tow floats, Zone3 is a triathlete's dream.
The Zone3 tow float is made from heavy duty PVC coated nylon, the ideal material to make a tow float waterproof and durable. Since visibility in the water is the main benefit of a tow float, the Zone3 colour options of bright pink, orange, and lime green are perfect as they make you stand out and help keep you safe. The Zone3 tow float also has an adjustable waist belt, useful carry handle, and is lightweight making it easy to transport and causing little to no drag when you’re swimming in the water. This is ideal for open water swimming races, competitions, and triathlons when you need as little drag as possible to achieve your best swim speed.
As Zone3 is a triathlon focused brand, the Zone3 tow float is built to give you the competitive edge. Therefore, if you are wanting to regularly participate in open water swimming competitions and triathlons, this tow float might suit you. However, if you’re new to open water swimming or enjoy recreational swimming, there are other tow floats available that might suit your needs better.
One of the issues with the Zone3 tow float is that it only has one air chamber and a single layer of material, making the tow float futile and possibly dangerous if it receives a puncture. This is because the float will fully deflate, you’ll lose your visibility in the water and you’ll be distracted by trying to carry your deflated tow float. This distraction when trying to carry your float while swimming can cause you not to properly pay attention to your surroundings which can be dangerous in open water.
Another issue is that the Zone3 tow float has an adjustable leash. At first you might think this is a positive, but it can actually be quite time consuming and annoying when all you want to do is just get on with your swim. The trouble with the adjustable leash is the amount of time it takes to find the right length. On your first swim, this will involve multiple stops to adjust it when the float gets in the way of your arms or feet. But this isn’t just an issue for your first swim, it will be a regular issue. The more you use and transport the float, the more the adjustment buckle on the leash will loosen meaning you’ll have to re-adjust it over and over again, taking up time you could spend enjoying your swim.
Best alternative to Zone3
With the goal of making open water swimming safer, Swim Secure have developed their range of tow floats, dry bags, and open water swimming accessories (including safety accessories, goggles, and swim caps). Whether you enjoy competitive swimming, recreational swimming or you’re new to open water swimming, as long as you’re a competent swimmer, Swim Secure makes your swims safer and more enjoyable.
The Swim Secure tow float has all the basic features that the Zone3 tow float has including an adjustable waist belt and little to no drag due to it being lightweight. This tow float is also made from high quality PVC materials so it is durable, strong, and waterproof, ideal for swimming in open water.
However, the Swim Secure tow float has features that go beyond those of Zone3. The best extra feature that the Swim Secure float has is the two air chambers rather than one air chamber. This means that if your tow float gets a puncture, the float will remain buoyant due to the send air chamber. Not only does this mean you will stay visible in the water but it also means you won’t need to struggle to swim back to land while holding a deflated float.
Although the addition of the second air chamber means you need to take the time to inflate both chambers, this will only take an extra couple of seconds and is well worth it for the extra safety benefits. Inflating and deflating the float is also really easy due to the one way valves.
The Swim Secure tow float also has a non-adjustable leash to save you the annoyance of needing to constantly readjust the leash and find the right leash length. Designed to float in the ideal location out of the way of your arms and legs, your float will stay above your knees (apart from maybe if there’s a big gust of wind).
Which One Should You Pick?
Although both the Zone3 and Swim Secure tow float fulfil their purpose and make you more visible in the water, the extra features of the Swim Secure float makes it the better choice. More durable, sturdier, and more practical, the Swim Secure tow float is 50p cheaper (£22) than the Zone3 tow float (£22.50) and you get a better float that will keep you safer on your swim.
Order your Swim Secure float today to enjoy your swim knowing you’re as safe as you can be in the water.