Palm had a lightning bag shipped to Unsponsored HQ as soon as the production models were available and since we have had a good look over it and have tested the feel, throwing and repacking ease with a number of different paddlers. Since the Lightning bag has already been compared to the HF Weasel by many, it also makes sense to make some further comparisons during this initial look at the Lightning.
I have had the chance to have a close look at the Lightning bag a few times but this is the first time that I have been able to have not only a look but actually use the bag. Firstly, they are both very compact bags with rope of a similar weight and length and will no doubt appeal to paddlers after a compact throw bag.
So how does the Lightning compare to the Weasel?
The Lightning is very slightly smaller, despite containing slightly thicker rope. The 8mm line within the Lightning is 18m long, compared to the 18m of 7.6mm line for the Weasel, whilst the Lightning also has a much thicker core. Initial testing putting the rope under real life strain (thanks to the swimmers who took part) the rope seems to have less of a ‘cheese wire’ effect for both the thrower and swimmer. On that note the bag is good to throw and flies well.
The line is attached to a short length of tape where the rope is threaded through the tape and is secured with a figure eight knot. As with all my bags I like too check the knots before use and I added a stopper knot to the free end of the figure eight just to give that extra bit of reassurance. The tape is of climbing grade, heavily stitched and is long enough to clip a carabiner into.
The Weasel’s rope exits the bottom of the bag and when it is purchased includes a clear piping, which needs to be removed and the loop shortened if you want to use a clean rope system. It’s not a big deal but I don’t understand why HF insist on adding large loops and tubing.
The opening of the bag is huge and is stiffened with the construction being very similar to that used in a climbing chalk bag. The Weasel is easy to pack but the wider and more importantly stiffer neck opening on the Lightning makes it easier to repack.
Lastly the clip, which is a bayonet type clip that contains a magnet and the system does not rely on a magnet to keep it shut. This helps position the two parts against each other in the correct way and it then simply snaps together. The bag is also fitted with a couple of loops that will allow it to be worn on a waist belt.
Palm have always made great throwbags and over the years I have owned or have used pretty much all of the different designs. At this stage I must say that the Lightning’s design is superb and I look forward to seeing some of the features being included within the redesign of the larger throw bags.
The Lightning is currently drying out and in the garage but once dried and packed will be attached to the step out pillar of my boat – it’s a great piece of gear.
Weight: 551 g (18 m)
Bag: CORDURA® 500D bag with 420D polyester lining
Strength: 8kN static breaking strength
Rope: Up to 18m of 8mm floating polypropylene cored rope
- Rope can be removed and used on its own
- Fidlock magnetic neck closure
- Extra fabric and stiffened neck to aid throwing and repacking
- Quickclip clean line attachment point
- Rescue and Zambezi belt compatible