When it comes to appraising gear, the best place to start is with climbers themselves. Over the last couple of years, kiwi tree climbers have toyed with the idea of producing a 'gear test' video show, but nothing has come to fruition… until now.
Contract climber, Ben Palmer has decided to take the plunge into the world of video production. Ben's passion for new gear (check out the rack in the background of this video); combined with a wicked sense of humour and equipment demoed in the real work environment should make an excellent recipe.
Previous efforts to demonstrate tree climbing and rigging equipment via the video medium often lacked the working man's perspective. Of course, manufacturers want to show their gear in the best possible light, and this can result in video demonstrations produced in optimum conditions - often not reflecting the reality of tree work.
'NZ Gear Test' is an independent video production and Ben says he intends to review equipment from the user's point of view rather than what the 'brochure says'.
Another first from Kiwi Klimbers
What better equipment to appraise first for NZ Gear Test - the new 'lockable' Spikecender from Kiwi Klimbers.
Dale Thomas won the inaugural NZ Arb Innovator of the Year back in 2014, and he has not stopped since.
The latest iteration of the KK Spikecender features a button which allows the cam to lock into place when needed. The locking button is such a simple idea and works extremely well. It is easy to see this feature added to all foot ascenders (I do hope Dale has patented the idea).
The clip-in feature is great in some instances and nothing short of a pain in others, in particular, fast ascent. The same goes for locking foot ascenders.
Dale has managed to combine the best of both worlds, which means the innovation here is well beyond the Spikecender.