How to pack a compact Arborist Throw Line Storage Bag

Since last year, I’ve become a bit of an arborist throw line evangelist.  Arborist throw lines have made my wire antenna deployments so quick and easy compared with using monofilament fishing line or more complicated systems.

Since purchasing this arborist throw line last year, I’ve never looked back. The throw line never gets caught in tree branches, it’s reusable hundreds of times, and with it I can easily snag branches 50’+ above the ground to hang my wire antennas.

When I purchased my first arborist throw line, I also purchased this folding throw line packing cube:

It has a huge opening, is stable on the ground, and makes for an incredibly quick deployment and pack-up.

While the cube folds into a compact triangle, it’s a little too bulky for backpacks I use during SOTA and other trailside activations.

A smaller throw line storage bag

A few months ago, I purchased a second throw line for backpacking and this compact Weaver Leather throw line storage bag (note: Amazon affiliate link).

If I’m being honest, I was very skeptical about how easily this bag would work in the field. One of the reasons my throw line storage cube works so well is the opening is large allowing the line to deploy without tangling. Packing up is so fast because the line can be flaked back into the cube in a matter of seconds.

Before purchasing, I was afraid the compact throw line bag might get tangled when being stored in such a small stuff sack. I was really concerned packing the line in the storage bag might take too much time.

I purchased the the throw line bag and a new throw line from Weaver.

At home, I did a full break-in of the new throw line (attaching it to a tree, stretching it to full length, then pulling it for enough tension that some of the bend “memory” is removed). Then I attempted to simply stuff the line in my throw bag–it took ages, because the whole idea of a throw line is that it doesn’t easily tangle. The line wanted to “spring” from the bag as I tried stuffing it in.

A much better way: The “Figure 8” stuffing method

After a field activation this spring, I received a game-changing tip from one of my subscribers and I hope they step up to take credit! (Update: it was NW3S!–thank you!).

When stuffing the line back in the bag, wind it on your hand using the figure 8 method. I wind almost all of my lighter-weight cables and antenna wires in a figure 8 so that they deploy without getting tangled. I’ve been doing this for years and it works brilliantly.

I’d never thought about using this method on the arborist throw line. I was amazed with how effectively it worked.

Video demo

I made a short video (thank you for requesting this, Scott!) to better demonstrate how I pack my throw line storage bag now:

This method works amazingly well and I can usually pack the entire line within one or two minutes.

Again, I’m incredibly grateful to the subscriber who first suggested this method!

15 thoughts on “How to pack a compact Arborist Throw Line Storage Bag”

  1. I recently purchased the same smaller bag, and was wondering about the “figure 8” pattern myself. As of right now, though, the video is tagged as private.

  2. Guess I jumped the gun – video is available now. Quick & to the point – I like it.

  3. Thanks for the post, Thomas. Couldn’t have come at a better time. I had been using the cube which normally works great. As you mentioned, it’s a bit large to pack for hike-in SOTAs. I thought I was smart by folding it a few times. The result? Tangles like you wouldn’t believe. Your solution promises to be much more packable.

    I also found that storing the weight attached to the line inside the cube also causes tangles even if stored in the cube pocket. Instead of staying put, the weight weave it’s way through the mass of line producing a Gordian knot of sorts. My solution is to store the weight disconnected from the line and attach the tag end of the line onto another part of the bag for quick retrieval. I have to assume I’d do the same with this smaller bag.

    1. Hi, Jack,

      Good approach to your problem with tangling! I must say, I’ve yet to have the weight tangle the line in either the cube or storage bag. In the cube, I open the Velcro patch, run the end of the throw line with the weight attached, then close the Velcro on the line. Then, I fold up the cube. I’ve never had an issue with it travelling in the pack after that. In the throw line bag/pouch, I simply place the weight on the top of the bundle and close the drawstrings. In that small pouch, there really is no place for the weight to go, so it doesn’t travel.


    1. I use the full line. Well, because I toss the line in the tree with the idea that I then detach the weight and attach the end of the antenna, I rarely use the full length of the line.

      There have been situations where I needed to feed the full throw line through a tree to get a clear opening to hang the antenna and there has been at least one situation where I used nearly the full length to suspend the antenna at the angle I wanted to.


  4. I’m such a fan of the Arborist line. I use the cube and have not had any tangling issues with folding/unfolding it.
    I don’t have a bag, but do you have a comparison photo of the size differences?
    Great info! Keep it up!

  5. Thanks for posting this. It’s got me moving on this project and hopefully I should be a competent line-thrower by the time the cooler weather returns in NFL.

  6. I watched the video because you said it was short. I was sceptical at first thinking how ” short” could a Thomas video be? So I went an brewed a fresh cup of coffee, sat in my favorite chair and got ready for the “short” video believing it would be about 45 minutes. Imagine my surprise when I saw it was less then 3 minutes! I grabbed my glasses thinking I was missing some zeros or something! This is quite an accomplishment, Thomas! As I grow old and tell stories to my grandkids, I can say that I actually witnessed this historical event!
    Kidding aside, I do really appreciate the tip from your viewer. It was hard to imagine that method inside my tiny brain. And don’t you dare ever start editing your videos for time!!
    Thanks again my friend,

    1. You almost made me spit my coffee laughing! 🙂 Hi hi! Thanks so much and–no worries–I’ll continue doing my “slow-TV” ham radio videos! 🙂
      Cheers OM!

  7. Thomas, I had a final shake-out SOTA yesterday–last one before a week in the Adirondack’s first week of August. I really wanted to test out the smaller throw line bag. Worked great. I now have a super low profile setup. The entire kit is prob around 7-8 lb with radio, water, etc.

    Thanks again for the suggestion.

    Video here:

    1. Absolutely brilliant, Jack! I’ve been using the small throw bag almost exclusively lately. Knowing the best technique for packing it has made all the difference. I’ll check out your video!


  8. Great article and video, very helpful! I resisted spending money on this kind of stuff but finally became a believer. A proper polyethylene throw line works where ordinary line snags and tangles, and a bag or box (or even a five gallon bucket) produces much better results than faking down the line on the ground and then throwing. I think Weaver makes good stuff. I went with their medium (blue) bag as it’s much easier to load with line and is wide enough that the line really pays out freely, and I’m not doing any long hikes with it.
    (Just a note: both “fake” and “flake” seem to be used. Sailors know a lot about handling line, and they say “fake”. Check the Bluejacket’s Manual. )

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