Thursday, June 20, 2019

What Canyoneering Gear Should I First Invest In?

I often get asked this simple yet so complex question. What should be my first gear purschases when getting into Canyoneering?

Sometimes "Newbs" can get a bit overwhelmed by the different types of gear and the amount of gear out there, which is to be a bit understated, because the world of Canyoneering is still so new that there isn't a lot of gear for the sport like there is for other sports. If you get into climbing or camping or backpacking there are many more manufactures and gear sources for these, Canyoneering is still up and coming in the gear sector and companies are forming to fill the niche, but it's still gonna be a while. This is good, because you only have to look in a few places to find the proper gear, but there still is some confusing things to consider.

In this video I talk a little about the most essential gear that you should start with. These items are what you absolutely need in order to travel through a Technical Slot Canyon. Everything else on top of this is more for comfort and ease of travel. Sometime Newbs will buy the non-essential gear first because it's less confusing.

So, to break down what you really need:
Rope - a Static Canyoneering Rope (Canyoneering ropes are made specifically to repel water and have a tighter weave to resist abrasion from the canyon environment)  Don't try canyoneering with your climbing rope - it SUCKS! If you do, don't EVER use your climbing rope for climbing again.
Harness - Climbing harnesses work just fine - Don't EVER use your climbing harness for climbing again if used for Canyoneering. There are Canyoneering specific harnesses that have a little different tie in point and some seat protection built in. You can also buy add on seat protectors to put onto some types of climbing harnesses.
Carabiner(s) - A Screw Gate locking carabiner. Don't use Autolocking carabiners. Sand jams the mechanisms and make them unsafe.
Rappel Device - Any rappel / Belay device will work, but there are canyoneering specific devices that work better on the canyoneering ropes and single strand rappels.
Quick Links - Also called Rapide's (French) these will be left behind on the anchors and you will need enough for each rappel in the canyon.
1" Tubular Webbing - This to will be left behind on the anchors that are build and or replaced from worn out stuff in the canyon. Use dull colors that won't attract too much attention (Black, Tan, Rust). You will need enough webbing to replace all the anchors in the canyon. Some canyoneer's carry up to 50' at a time with them.
Helmet - Any climbing helmet will work.

This will get you started into the canyoneering world. Other items will follow as you get more involved and decide that the sport is for you and you want to stick with it. If you have a good experienced group that you are starting to go out with, you might be able to get away with not buying a rope immediately if others in the group have ropes that will be used and you are tagging along with.  My next purchase after these items would be a good Canyoneering Specific Back pack and Shoes.  But more on that later, or hit me up with questions in the comments if you'd like to explore more items.

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