Friday, October 2, 2015

Safer Open Water Swimming with Restube

A while back I got the opportunity to test out something that would be helpful to people like myself that are apprehensive about open water swimming alone.   It's a personal flotation device that you can take with you when you swim in open water, or during any other water activity that you may not be wearing a life jacket for.

I'm sure you're probably wondering how that works.

Enter Restube.

It's portable, inflatable tube that comes in a little pouch that you can wear around your waist.

When I unpacked the box, I was a little skeptical that this would actually work.  But the instructions were very clear on how to insert the CO2 cartridge and how to position the belt on your body for the best results.  I didn't want to waste a CO2 cartridge just testing it out on land so I waited for the opportunity to swim with it.

Restube is very simple to use and size wise it is very small and compact.  It fit perfectly around my waist and sat nicely in the small of my back.  The pouch is roughly 6 inches wide by 3.5 inches high so it's fairly unobtrusive.  

We were in Mont Tremblant for the September long weekend so that was going to be my testing ground.   I fastened the belt around my waist and waded into the water.  I started swimming and didn't notice any sort of additional drag at all.  The belt was noticeable around my waist mainly because I don't normally wear anything like that in the water.  But it didn't bother me at all and after a while I didn't even notice it was there.

I swam out a bit further and pulled the release cord.  It was easily accessible.  The tube deployed and filled up quickly with no loud noises or crazy force.  Before I knew it, I had a fully inflated, bright yellow tube to rest on.  

While I was floating around on this, I noticed that end of the rip cord actually had a little whistle on it. So if you were in distress, you could alternate between yelling and blowing the whistle. GENIUS.  

Inflated, the tube is more than wide enough for a person to rest their torso on.  It's bright yellow so it's clearly visible from a distance.  You could also wave the tube in the air to signal for help.  You can also continue to swim with the buoy inflated if you want to make sure you are visible to boat traffic.  For triathletes, this alleviates the need to convince someone to paddle along side them in a boat while they swim.  And, if you get tired, it's easy enough to roll over and grab the tube and rest on it.  

This video from Innovation Sports shows you how Restube works. 


It's a pretty ingenious little invention.  My only criticism would be that it doesn't have a place to carry things like a key.  Other than that, it's very easy to use and maintain.   It deflated easily and then it folds back up and slips right back into the pouch.   It's small enough that you can take it anywhere.  The C02 cartridges can be a bit problematic when traveling.  In my experience, you're not able to bring them with you but it's worth contacting your airline to see what their requirements are.

You can order your own Restube directly from Innovation Sports.

Would this make you feel safer in open water?  Would you inflate it first and use it for visibility or would you keep it in the pouch around your waist as a safety precaution?

Disclaimer:  I was sent this product to review.  I was not compensated for it any way.  All opinions are my own.  

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