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5 Best Tow Float Dry Bags For Open Water Swimming In The UK

Looking for the best tow float dry bag for open water swimming? A tow float dry bag is an essential piece of kit to keep your gear and valuables safe while you’re in the water. It saves you from leaving precious items on the beach and also keeps you highly visible at all times. In this article, we review the best tow float dry bags for open-water swimming to help you make the right choice.

Packed with features for the ultimate wild swim, this premium quality tow float dry bag is a must-have for serious enthusiasts.
Top-notch manufacturing from this family-run company based in Devon puts this tow float dry bag top of our list for quality.
A perfect, lightweight dry bag tow float for your valuables with easy access whilst on the water. Great for GPS tracking too!


Save a few quid without compromising on safety or build quality. This superb tow float dry bag is excellent value-for-money!
Keep all your gear safe and dry without getting too weighed down with this excellent 20-litre tow float dry bag from Lomo.

What is a tow float dry bag?

Tow floats are designed for use whilst swimming in open water to provide the swimmer with greater visibility. Jet skis, boats and search and rescue teams will have no trouble spotting you when you swim with a tow float, so it’s a must-have item to stay safe. Whilst they are not designed as a life saving device, a tow float can provide some assistance should you need a rest or experience cramp when out on the open water out of your depth.

The popularity of tow floats has grown significantly with the rise in the number of people participating in open water and cold water swimming. The incorporation of a dry bag in tow floats has become a necessity to keep valuable items safe rather than leaving them on the beach. Many wild swimmers use them for point-to-point swims, to track their swims with GPS devices and to carry emergency items such as flashlights, water and snacks.

The most common use of a tow float dry bag is to enable you to keep your mobile phone and keys with you instead of leaving them at the waterside. And by using a waterproof phone case, you can even take a selfie or two whilst out on the water! Some larger capacity tow float dry bags enable you to take your dry clothes and shoes with you – even your waterproof changing robe!

What should I look for in a tow float dry bag?

Make sure the tow float has dual inflation chambers so that you have some level of redundancy in case of a puncture. You don’t want to go out on the water with a leaking float full of your gear to have it deflate and sink, dragging you down with it. Dual chambers provide a backup if one chamber should fail.

Look for strong material to prevent rips and punctures. You want your tow float to last, so make sure it’s made of good quality, durable material. High-density material will also keep the contents of your dry bag fully protected.

A good seal is important for the dry bag. Most good dry bags use a roll-top method to provide an excellent water-tight seal to protect your belongings.

What is the best tow float dry bag for open water swimming?

We have tested and reviewed the best tow float dry bags on the market. All of the products listed are fantastic, but it’s important to research them thoroughly to buy the best tow float for your specific needs. We’ve made it easy for you with our 5 best tow float dry bags for open water swimming.

#1- Ultimate Floats Swim Buoy/Tow Float for Open Water Swimming

Best Overall

  • Dual Air Chambers
  • Strong premium 190T nylon material
  • Wide-mouth inflation valves
  • Built-in safety whistle
  • Swivel clip on tow line
  • Free waterproof phone case
  • Free thermometer
  • External mesh pocket
  • High-vis colours
  • 28L storage
Typical Price: £30.99

Ultimate Floats has truly created an outstanding outdoor tow float dry bag that sets a new standard for quality and safety. It’s evident that they spared no expense in selecting premium materials and features, resulting in a world-class product that caters to both professional triathletes and newcomers to open water or wild swimming. With this swim buoy by your side, you’ll gain the confidence to go further and faster than ever before.

In terms of safety, Ultimate Floats has gone above and beyond to ensure your peace of mind. As with all the tow floats on our list, it’s dual-chambered, so you know the buoy will stay afloat, keeping you visible and safe throughout your swim. And speaking of visibility, the bright colours and matching mesh pocket make sure you’re easily spotted by any other water traffic or search and rescue teams. They’ve also included a shrill whistle integrated into the buckle design, giving you the power to attract attention if needed.

Plus, with the two webbing handles on the buoy, you can comfortably and securely hold onto the float whenever you need a break or encounter muscle cramps.

Let’s move on to the features that make this tow float dry bag truly exceptional. First and foremost, the 28-litre waterproof dry bag offers an ample amount of storage space for all your swimming essentials, keeping them impeccably dry. From shoes and clothes to your phone, wallet, keys, and more, this bag has got you covered. It’s lined in white, which makes it particularly easy to spot things you’re looking for, even in low light.

The external mesh pocket is a stroke of genius, allowing easy access to drinks, snacks, and your phone (in the waterproof case) while you’re in the water, without needing to open the dry compartment. The tow float is exceptionally well balanced, and it’s almost impossible to make it float with the mesh pocket facing down, so no need to worry about losing or submerging its contents.

The adjustable waist strap, accommodating sizes from 20″ to 48″, ensures a secure and comfortable fit for both adults and children. The swivel connection between the waist strap and the buoy is a thoughtful addition that prevents tangling and twisting, providing a hassle-free swimming experience.

And wait, there’s more! Ultimate Floats throws in some extra goodies. The free waterproof phone case is a fantastic perk, allowing you to keep your phone in the external pocket, ready for easy access to capture photos or make calls while you swim. They’ve also included a free thermometer, helping you gauge the water temperature before you dive in for that lovely winter dip.

In addition to their top-notch product, Ultimate Floats’ dedication to great customer service is commendable. They truly go above and beyond to ensure their customers are satisfied and supported.

If you’re looking for the best tow float dry bag to help keep you out on the water for longer during your wild swimming adventures, this one from Ultimate Floats would be our top choice. The extra spend is worth it for the mesh pocket alone, enabling you quick access to a drink, snacks, or your phone.

#2 – Ultra Dry Swim Buoy Tow Float for Open Water Swimming

Best Quality

  • Dual Air Chambers
  • Strong & Durable
  • Hi-vis colours
  • Wide mouth inflation valves
  • Built-in safety whistle
  • Free waterproof phone case
  • Extra shoulder strap
  • 28L storage
Typical Price: £26.99

Ultra Dry is a delightful family-run company based in Devon, and let me tell you, their tow float dry bags are nothing short of fantastic. Sure, they might be in high demand and occasionally out of stock, but if you can get your hands on one, don’t hesitate for a second. We’ve scoured the market, and at this price, these tow floats are truly the best we’ve come across.

The material used is absolutely top-notch, and you can feel the durability is excellent. Unlike many others out there, this one feels like it’s built to last. The inflation and deflation valves are a dream to use, making the whole process a breeze and taking only seconds.

What really sets Ultra Dry apart is their attention to detail. They’ve thought of everything when it comes to their tow float dry bags. They added a thoughtful shoulder strap, so you can use it as a rucksack after your swim. How cool is that? And it’s a perfect choice for triathletes too, thanks to the convenient carry handles.

They even throw in a free waterproof phone case, which is a lovely touch. It adds an extra layer of protection for your electronics, just in case something unexpected happens during your swim. And let me tell you, it’s a pretty damn good quality case. You can still use the touchscreen and take fantastic photos while your phone stays dry and secure. And we found the GPS works great from inside the dry bag, perfect for tracking those longer swims.

In the water, this tow float glides effortlessly, barely creating any drag. The adjustable straps ensure it stays perfectly positioned and out of your way while you’re swimming. And trust me, the buoyancy is excellent. You can confidently hold onto it when you need a rest, even in deeper waters.

Safety is clearly a priority with this tow float. The selection of vibrant colours means you’ll always be visible in the water. The safety whistle built into the dry bag clip gives you peace of mind should you run into trouble. And of course, it’s designed with dual chambers, so even if one deflates, you’ll still feel safe and supported.

As for storage, the dry bag has a 28-litre capacity. We were amazed at how much we could fit in there – dry shorts, a t-shirt, underwear, socks, trainers, a towelling robe, phone, wallet, and keys – all of it staying bone dry every single time.

To sum it up, we were thoroughly impressed with this tow float dry bag from Ultra Dry. From the impeccable design to the remarkable performance, it surpassed all our expectations. If you’re an open-water swimmer looking for a super high-quality tow float dry bag, this is the one for you.

#3 – Swim Secure Tow Donut

Best For Small Items

  • Dual Air Chambers
  • Strong & Durable
  • Hi-vis colours
  • Easy-access drybag
Typical Price: £26.99

One of the most popular products in the wild swimming community is the Swim Secure Tow Donut. It’s perfect for keeping your valuables in whilst you swim and they are easily accessible too. For those of you who don’t want a larger dry bag weighing you down, or you only need to store a few small items, the Swim Secure Tow Donut is the perfect solution.

It functions really nicely as a float for when you need a rest, although it wouldn’t take quite as much of your weight as some of the bigger tow float dry bags. If you’re looking for a float that will help you out when you get cramp or when you need a good long rest, the Ultimate Float Swim Buoy is a better option, especially if you aren’t putting much in the dry bag to weigh it down and take up inflation capacity.

But for short swims or if you are confident you won’t need the extra support, this is a great bit of lightweight kit. You barely notice it’s there when you’re swimming – a good thing, aside from the fact that you feel the need to keep checking it’s still there!

Despite not appearing so, it is dual-chambered, because the donut is one chamber and the dry bag (inflated from the bottom valve) is a second. Access to the dry bag whilst on the water is easier than all the other models thanks to the clever donut design and the handle located underneath used to hold the float steady. Bear in mind that if you access the dry bag on the water, you will lose the second chamber unless you re-inflate it after resealing.

It’s great for holding snacks, medication, torches or other essentials you might need on a long wild swim. I would recommend double-bagging any electronics, such as your phone (Swim Secure offer a phone case separately but we would recommend this one instead), just to be sure, especially if you plan to access the dry bag on the water.

The donut design of this tow float means it is very stable on the water and will remain the right way up even if rough conditions. The top-mounted dry bag is excellent for maintaining an accurate GPS signal for tracking swims too. If you only need a tow float dry bag for a few small essentials, this is the perfect choice.

#4 – HUT Swim Buoy Dry Bag 28L

Best Value

  • Dual Air Chambers
  • Wide-mouth inflation valves
  • High-vis colours
  • Built-in safety whistle
  • 28L storage
Typical Price: £22.99

Hut have made an excellent tow float dry bag with all the essential features at a super-low price. This makes it our number one choice for value. Made with high-quality materials it will certainly stand the test of time, even in the harshest of environments. Sure, there are cheaper alternatives but not of this quality.

If you are looking for a tow float dry bag that will hold a decent amount of gear and keep it reliably dry, but you don’t want to spend more than you have to, this one’s for you.

It has fantastic visibility, dual inflation chambers and a built-in whistle, so you won’t be compromising on safety. With 28 litres of storage capacity, you will be able to get all your gear inside without a problem.

For those who don’t need quite as much storage, Hut also make a 20-litre version of their dry bag, although it won’t save you a great deal of money so we found the 28-litre version much better value.

Available in a choice of highly visible colours, you can’t go wrong with the Hut Swim Buoy.

#5 – Lomo Dry Bag Swimming Tow Float

Best For Triathletes

  • Dual Air Chambers
  • Wide-mouth inflation valves
  • High-vis colours
  • 20L storage
Typical Price: £22.97

Lomo have made a cracking tow float dry bag that comes highly recommended. What we loved about this product is the ability to adjust the length of the tow strap according to your height, something that not all models offer. Many have a fixed-length tow line, which can lead to the float getting in the way of some swimmers.

We also found the waterproof lining in the dry bag to be the most reassuring of the bunch, which gives you a real sense of confidence to put your valuables inside without worrying about the dry bag failing. And the RF welded seams give the buoyancy chambers strength, so you won’t be needing to replace the float any time soon because the seams have split.

In terms of capacity, Lomo stay away from specifying the storage in litres, simply because it can be quite misleading. The storage capacity of this dry bag is approximately 20 litres when empty, but as with almost every tow float dry bag, inflating the chambers will take up some of that space, so you could not store 20 litres worth of items in the bag if you hope to inflate the buoyancy chambers.

It is, however, useful to know the capacity for comparison to other dry bags, so bear in mind this one is a touch smaller and will hold a little less than the 28-litre models we’ve listed.

This tow float is fantastic for triathletes who need to carry enough gear but don’t want to be weighed down too much, and the carry handles make it very easy to hold whilst running. Another fantastic option in our list of the best tow float dry bags.

Can you use a dry bag as a tow float?

Yes, if your dry bag is equipped with inflatable chambers, you can use it as a tow float for open water swimming. In fact, many swimmers and triathletes use dry bags as tow floats because they offer the dual purpose of providing buoyancy for visibility and added safety while also serving as a waterproof storage compartment for personal belongings.

When used as a tow float, the dry bag is typically inflated, and its sealed compartment traps air, keeping it afloat and visible on the water’s surface. This makes the swimmer more noticeable to other water users, such as boaters or rescue teams, reducing the risk of accidental collisions or getting lost.

The tow float aspect comes into play when the swimmer attaches a leash or cord to the dry bag and then to their waist or body. By doing so, the swimmer can pull the dry bag along while swimming, as it trails behind them in the water. This way, the swimmer doesn’t need to hold onto the dry bag or carry it, which can be a significant advantage during longer swims or when the swimmer wants to keep their hands free for other activities.

Additionally, the dry bag compartment provides a secure and waterproof space to store essential items like a phone, keys, wallet, or even a small towel and snacks, ensuring they stay dry and protected during the swim.
It’s essential to choose a dry bag with a suitable size for your needs and one that has the necessary attachment points for securing it as a tow float. Also, make sure it is made from durable and waterproof materials to withstand the rigours of open water swimming.

Remember that using a dry bag as a tow float is not a substitute for proper safety measures when swimming in open water. It should be used in conjunction with other safety practices, such as swimming in designated areas, being aware of weather conditions, and swimming with a buddy or under the supervision of lifeguards when possible.

Will a tow float dry bag keep you afloat?

A tow float dry bag can provide some buoyancy, but it is not intended to keep you afloat like a life jacket or personal floatation device (PFD). Tow float dry bags are primarily designed to serve as safety aids for open water swimmers, making them more visible to others, and providing a place to store personal belongings while swimming.

When inflated, the tow float creates air-filled chambers, which offer some buoyancy. This can be useful for providing a slight lift in the water, reducing drag, and making it easier for other water users to spot you while swimming. However, the buoyancy provided by a tow float dry bag is generally not sufficient to keep a person’s entire body afloat, especially if they are not actively swimming or are experiencing difficulty in the water.

If you are looking for a device that will keep you afloat and ensure your safety in the water, a proper life jacket or PFD is the appropriate choice. Life jackets are specifically designed to provide a higher level of buoyancy and are typically made to keep your head above water, supporting your body in a way that enables you to breathe even if you are unconscious.

While tow float dry bags can enhance safety during open water swims, they are not a replacement for certified life-saving equipment. Always prioritise your safety by using appropriate flotation devices, swimming in designated areas with lifeguards present, and following safe swimming practices when in open water.

Do dry bags work when submerged?

Most tow float dry bags are not designed to be fully submerged. Whilst they may provide protection when submerged briefly, water ingress may occur if they are fully submerged for too long. With normal use, dry bags will keep their contents dry and most do a great job of remaining sealed even in the toughest of conditions.

Is a tow float the same as a swim buoy?

Yes, a tow float and a swim buoy are essentially the same thing. Both terms are used interchangeably to refer to a floatation device that swimmers tow behind them while swimming in open water.

What is the best colour for a tow float?

Opt for colours that stand out against the water, such as neon yellow, bright orange, or fluorescent pink. These colours are easily spotted even from a distance, making it easier for other water users, such as boaters or lifeguards, to see you.

Can tow float dry bags be used for night swims?

Tow float dry bags are particularly useful for night swims as they enable you to carry a torch. Some tow float dry bags glow when a bright torch is illuminated inside, increasing the visibility. Tow floats with external pockets are perfect for carrying torches and emergency beacons and can be essential for night swimming.

How do you use a tow float dry bag?

Using a tow float dry bag is a relatively straightforward process. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use it effectively:

Prepare the Tow Float: Before you head into the water, make sure your tow float dry bag is properly inflated. Most tow floats have one or more inflation valves that can be opened to fill the float with air. Use your mouth to inflate it until it is firm and buoyant. Be careful not to inflate it too much to allow for expansion should the sun warm the air inside.

Secure the Tow Float: Attach the tow float to yourself using the waist strap or leash that is typically provided with the float. Some tow floats have a waist belt with a buckle that you can secure around your waist or attach to a swim belt. Others may have a longer leash that you can tie around your waist or clip to your swim gear. Make sure the attachment is secure and comfortable.

Pack Your Belongings: If your tow float has a dry bag compartment, use it to store your personal belongings that you want to keep dry during the swim, such as a phone, wallet, keys, or snacks. Pack your items securely in the dry bag and close it tightly to create a water-resistant seal. This should usually be done before inflating the tow float.

Enter the Water: Once you are ready and properly equipped, enter the water and start swimming. Allow the tow float to trail behind you, and make sure it remains floating on the surface.

Swim Comfortably: The tow float should not impede your swimming stroke or movements. Swim as you normally would, and the float will follow along without causing significant drag.

Rest and Use as a Signal: If you need to take a break or rest during your swim, you can hold onto the tow float for support. Additionally, if you want to signal for help or attract attention, the brightly coloured tow float can aid in making you more visible to others.

Exit the Water: When you finish your swim, carefully remove the tow float and deflate it for easy transportation and storage.

How do you clean a tow float?

Empty the Contents: If you used the tow float to store any belongings during your swim, start by emptying the contents of the dry bag compartment.

Rinse with Fresh Water: After your swim, rinse the tow float thoroughly with fresh water. Use a hose or a bucket of clean water to wash off any saltwater, sand, or debris from both the inside and outside of the float.

Use Mild Soap or Detergent: If there are stubborn stains or odours on the tow float, you can use a mild soap or detergent to clean it. Mix the soap with water and use a soft cloth or sponge to gently scrub the surface of the float.

Avoid Harsh Chemicals: Avoid using harsh chemicals or bleach, as they may damage the material or compromise the water resistance of the dry bag compartment.

Rinse Thoroughly: After cleaning with soap, rinse the tow float thoroughly once again with fresh water to remove any soap residue.

Air Dry: Allow the tow float to air dry completely in a shaded area. Avoid exposing it to direct sunlight for prolonged periods, as this may cause fading or damage to the material.

Check for Damage: While the tow float is drying, inspect it for any signs of damage, such as punctures, tears, or leaks. If you notice any issues, repair them according to the manufacturer’s recommendations or contact the manufacturer for assistance.

Storage: Once the tow float is completely dry, store it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight or extreme temperatures. Proper storage will help prolong its lifespan and prevent any mould or mildew growth.

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