One of the exciting things during the Augsburg week was the launch of all the new DMM gear and at last being able to discuss it in public. It is fair to say that it attracted quite a bit of attention to the DMM booth…
Some new gear is just a nice item to add on top of what you use already. But sometimes something comes along that really makes a profound difference.
For me the Vault racking carabiners fall solidly into the second category.
This has a number of reasons. One key insight from the process of designing and validating the Vault is that a positive, locked in position interface is relevant. Everything you do, stowing your lanyard, clipping the chainsaw lanyard ring, stowing your gloves or a sling onto it, becomes a clearly defined, positive action – the same goes for unclipping. No more spongy, ill-defined groping around the carabiner, which may be here, but also there… I was surprised by how effortless this made things and how quickly I took it for granted.
The other insight is that when climbing we subconsciously tend to orientate our body in the same direction. I realized a while back that when limb walking if I had a plastic clipper on the right side of my harness it was snagging branches all the time. This was never an issue with the one I have installed on my left side. So, the consequence for me was not to install clipper on the right, which was a pity as it would have been handy for storing a chainsaw in the “parked” position.
With the locking version of the Vault this issue is sorted: On my left hand side I now have one with a wire gate, this is used for lanyard storage, on my right it the locking gate (see second and third image in the gallery above), which can be locked with a quarter turn when not in immediate use to prevent snagging of limbs.
As it is, the over-all design is low profile and not prone to snagging. Simple, you say. Well, not quite so. I was blown away by the amount of time, thought and effort that Chris, Elliot and the other design folk at DMM put into this in order to get it right, involving multiple prototype versions – but they certainly did get it right!
Ok, ok, got it, but why is this all so exciting? After all, it is just an accessory krab?!
Yes, that is true. But at the same time it is a piece of kit that I am in contact with permanently during my day, every time I reach for my lanyard and the store it or reach for a sling or a tool I am in contact with this connector, so ease of use and efficiency at such a point potentially has a significant impact. QED.
One of the fantastic things with the treemagineers project has been being able to work towards products that I always wished we had… and to now be using these pieces of equipment really is very exciting.
The Durolock gate? That is for another post…