Some people like to push the envelope by performing dangerously crazy things such as base jumping and freediving. Sadly, such extreme outdoor sports have claimed the lives of a number of daredevils. Canyoning or canyoneering is another sport that tests your limits. If you plan on taking up the activity, you better get the proper training and the right canyoning gear.
Canyoning Gear: What to Wear
Canyoneering is one of the most daring outdoor sports there is. As such, you need to wear the right outfit and gear to make sure you make it back in one piece.
A wetsuit is necessary since you can and will likely get wet from the water in the canyons. It’s also pretty cold down there. Your wetsuit will keep a layer of water next to your skin. The water will heat up and help keep your body warm.
The Seavenger Odyssey 3mm Neoprene Wetsuit is perfect for your canyoneering needs. Built with 3mm neoprene material, this canyoning gear essential will not tear easy. It utilizes a flat-lock stitching and is reinforced with anti-abrasion shoulders and kneepads.
The knee and armpits are pretty stretchable so you’re more comfortable with your movements, something that canyoneers put premium on. The flexibility also keeps the panels from ripping open.
Canyoning requires you to do a lot of hiking, and climbing up and down on very steep and oftentimes vertical surfaces. That’s not all. The surface will be rocky and slippery. A pair of flip-flops is definitely no good. You need the right kind of shoes for the job. There are shoes designed to keep you from losing your footing, which is something to be avoided while canyoneering.
Approach shoes combine the best qualities of hiking boots and rock climbing shoes. In other words, they’re perfect for canyoning.
The first approach shoes came from Five Ten and the company continues its practice of producing quality footwear with the Guide Tennie. It is made of 100% leather with a synthetic sole.
The Compression molded high-friction Stealth C4 Dotty outsole provides traction and grip on most surfaces. It also boasts of a hand-ground bevelled climbing toe. This vital canyoning gear also comes with padded tongue and collar to provide optimal comfort.
You can’t just wear your normal pair of socks when you go canyoneering. This activity requires neoprene socks. These breathable socks are resistant to abrasions and keep the sand out. Most importantly, they are waterproof. Wool and thermal socks are alternatives but your best option should be the neoprene socks.
The NeoSport Premium 2mm Neoprene Water Socks is made of 4-way stretch 2mm neoprene, which makes it easy to slip on. The water sock protects your feet from the cold and from abrasions. Plus, the sole provides traction to keep you from slipping off rocks and other surfaces.
The head is one of the most delicate parts of the body. If yours is screwed the right way, you know that you have to protect it at all times, especially when you’re canyoneering or doing some other extreme outdoor sport.
Protect your head from falling rocks and other debris with a canyoneering helmet such as the ones Black Diamond make. The hybrid Half Dome Helmet is barely felt on the head since it weighs a measly 310 to 340 grams. It also adjusts well to the shape and size of the head thanks to its advanced fine tuning adjustment system.
The Black Diamond Half Dome also features an adjustable locking system that keeps the helmet in place as comfortable as possible. And speaking of comfort, this must-have canyoning gear comes with generous ventilation openings.
Canyoning Gear: What Equipment to Bring
Your safety is paramount and one of the ways for you to be safe doing this popular outdoor activity is to have the right canyoning gear.
Static Canyoning Ropes
Obviously, you need the strongest rope there is to carry you through the canyon. The static canyoning rope by Singing Rock may be thin but is extremely strong and durable thanks to the ROUTE 44 technology.
The Weanas Climbing Harness can carry up to 300 kilograms of weight. Assumingly, you weight far less than that so the beginner’s harness will be enough to keep you from plummeting down the canyon.
Aside from the durable polyester straps, the Weanas harness is equipped with extra strong bearing loops. The connections and webbing are made more durable by reinforcing the ends.
The full body Thunder safety harness from KwikSafety takes things a little further. It can hold up to 310 pounds, which allows the harness to be used for fall arrest and rescue operations. The Thunder, which is also made of polyester, comes with a trio of D-rings.
Ascenders and Descenders
The NewDoar Hand Ascender is made of solid stainless steel and aluminum alloy that would not rust or corrode, which are vital since you’ll be getting wet often. The handle is covered in rubber to protect your hand. The rubber also provides friction.
The Petzl Stop Descender mainly does the opposite of the ascender, obviously, but offers the same quality performance. The lightweight (326 grams) canyoning gear essential can actually be used to go up but for only a short distance at a time with the help of an ascender and a foot loop.
The Petxl Stop’s claim to fame is its self-breaking function. This will allow you to stop without any trouble when rappelling down. It also keeps you from falling whenever you have to maintain your position on the rope.
Carabiners are necessary for attaching yourself to the rest of your canyoning gear so make sure you’re using the high quality ones. If you’re a fan of mountain climbing movies, you probably noticed those close-up shot of carabiners slowly giving out before the climber plunges to his death? This shows how important it is to have durable carabiners among your canyoning gear.
The Mad Rock Ultra Tech Screwgate Carabiner is one of the ten best carabiners, according to The Adventure Junkies. The hot forged carabiner is only 100 mm long weighs a mere 56 grams but has a major axis strength of 26kN. In other words, it can hold up to 5600 pounds. It also has a gate clearance of 18 mm.
Every set of canyoning gear must include a head torch or headlamp. While doing this daredevil sport, you need both hands to be free so you can climb with ease. That is not the case if you bring a flashlight instead.
The Fenix HP30R has a max output of 1,750 lumens courtesy of the Cree XM-L2 and XP-G2 R5 LEDs. The belt-worn battery case comes with USB port that can be used to charge other devices. This will particularly come in handy during emergency situations when you have to call for help. Of course, we’re assuming that there’s signal for mobile phones to work.
The earlier HP30 version is described as the “world’s manliest headlamp” in this YouTube video since It comes with traits you want in any man (and woman, for that matter). It is dependable, bright, and lights up the whole room or in this case, the canyon. The same can be said with the HP30R.
Other Canyoning Gear Must-Haves
Some of the other canyoning gear essentials you’ll need are rope anchors, a personal flotation device (PFD), and a couple of dry bags for your clothes and other canyoning gear.
You should also pack some food and water. You’ll be encountering plenty of water but you need to sterilize it first before it’s safe enough to drink. Pack enough water to keep you going throughout your adventure. If possible, bring a little extra just in case. A personal water filter will also come in handy.
You’ll need a dry change of clothes just in case you can’t go home immediately. If you’re trapped or spending the night in the canyon, for example, you need to get out of your wet clothes. Keep your clothes and other warmers like a fleece or thermal blanket in your dry bag.
Survival gear such as fire starters, pocket knife, multitool, whistle, flare, flashlight, extra batteries, anorak or waterproof jacket, emergency blanket, and navigation tools like a compass and map should be included in your canyoning gear.
Don’t forget your first aid kit. Canyoneering is a dangerous outdoor sport and the chances of getting hurt are high, especially if you are not prepared for such an adventure.
Everything goes in your canyoneering pack. Make sure you choose the sturdiest one. Also, it would do you good if you pack a canyoning technical manual in case you need a little refresher.
Canyoneering is more than just the canyoning gear. You have to train properly and do thorough research before heading down your chosen canyon. The Vertical Adventurer gives you a number of tips on how to go about with canyoneering. Pay attention as these tidbits may save your life.
Check out Gentleman Pirate Club, as well. It offers a multitude of tips that can help you survive any dire situation such as being trapped in a canyon. And if you don’t want to end up cutting your own arm like what Aron Ralston did when he was pinned by a small boulder, you better make sure you take the necessary precautions to be safe during your adventure. That includes bringing the right canyoning gear and informing people back home of what you are planning to do.
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