Category Archives: Canyoneering Equipment

Imlay Canyon Gear Unveils 2012 Rope Colors

Just in time for the holiday season, new rope colors have magically appeared from Imlay Canyon Gear. The immensely popular 8.3mm Canyon Fire now comes in the forboding “Red with Yellow” AND the cautionary “Yellow with Red,” in addition to the old balanced “Red and Yellow.” Not impressed? Okay, well take a look at the new 9mm Canyonero colors, where jungle-vine “Green with Blue” and regal “Purple with Yellow” join the aquatic blue-green weave in the line up. Combing a Canyon Fire with the three Canyonero! lines, and you have serious contrast in your rope bags. So who really cares about rope color, anyways? Is this just for canyon aestheticists and rope dorks? Though I am occasionally sheepish to admit it, I DO care about rope colors… here’s why: 1. Colors provide intuitive indicators of rope length. Though a given rope will change length over its lifetime as it wears and gets chopped, using ropes of different colors on any given trip makes it easy to tell the 80′ from the 120′ from the 200′. Instead of “give me the 200-footer,” we say, “give me the red one.” Much easier. 2. When using any two (or more) ropes together, it … Continue reading

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adidas Acquries Five Ten for $25 Million

It’s no secret Five Ten’s sticky rubber and awesome canyoneering shoes are a core component of Zion Adventure Company’s product offerings. So when I heard this morning Five Ten is being acquired by global behemoth adidas, I sat up to pay attention. Evidently, adidas is purchasing Five Ten for $25M. You might think adidas would then immediately send the Five Ten plant over to China, but apparently they intend to keep Five Ten operations in Redlands, CA (where the company was founded in 1985) and perhaps even expand operations there. Whatever they do, I hope they o continue supporting their small, but important (to canyoneers) canyoneering segment, which continues to outshine all the other shoes that try (but consistently fail) to eclipse the fantastic 5.10 Canyoneer. Five Ten was small enough that canyoneering shoes were a decent slice of their sales, but for a billion-dollar company like adidas, I can imagine cutting a shoe line is a pretty insignificant thing. Another question I read on the net regards Stealth rubber… Will it continue to be available for resoling our climbing shoes? Stealth has become readily available for both self-resole or professional resole, but if adidas decides to cut off the supply to boost … Continue reading

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Summit Hut Raves About Imlay’s Kolob Pack

Charles from Summit Hut recently gave the Kolob Pack a stellar review, noting: …my favorite all-around pack has become the Imlay Canyon Gear Kolob… these packs have been designed specifically for canyoneering, but the features make it a great pack for general use. While I understand why Tom removed so many bells and whistles from the “traditional modern backpack” in evolving his line of canyoneering-specific backpacks, it’s never been clear to me why he hasn’t marketed the Imlay packs to a larger non-canyoneering market. Maybe it’s a price point issue? I haven’t shopped around lately… is an ICG Kolob pack more expensive than a heavier, pocket-and-zipper-and-clip laden backpacking pack? ICG packs are certainly too heavy for the ultra-light crowd, but I think the general backpacking crowd appreciates a tough, bright, no-frills pack that carries well and lasts many, many miles. If you are a canyoneer AND a backpacker (I know there are many of us out there), it’s worth considering consolidating your arsenal, over time, to one pack that can do it all. And though I’ve never used my Imlay packs for “backpacking” trips, per se, I’ve certainly used them for multi-day canyoneering trips (backpacking trips) with great satisfaction. Anybody have an … Continue reading

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Polyester vs. Nylon Ropes – Which Absorb More Water?

How much water does a rope absorb? It has always seemed that polyester ropes hold less than nylon ropes, but is this actually true? How big is that difference? I decided to find out yesterday… Rope Water Absorption Test – July 13, 2011 Test Method: At least 30m of a particular rope is coiled, weighed, then immersed in a cooler full of water, and held under by weights, for one hour (+10 min, – 0 min). The rope is removed and hung in the air for 10 minutes (+1 min, – 0 min), then weighed again “wet.” The two weights are compared. Conditions: Summer conditions (85 deg F air temp, low humidity, no wind). Water at faucet temperature. Test Samples: I tested three samples: 1. Nylon climbing rope: Beal Joker 9.1mm x 60m dynamic climbing rope, lightly used (about 20 pitches), in good shape. “Standard” treatment on this rope is DryCore. 2. Polyester canyoneering rope: Imlay 8.3mm Canyon Fire x 40m static canyon rope, lightly used (about 40 rappels), in good shape. 3. Polyester canyoneering rope: Imlay 9.2mm Canyonero x 60m static canyon rope, brand new. Results: – The used climbing rope absorbed 42.4% of its weight in water. – … Continue reading

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Rappeling Off Sand: The Sandtrap Anchor System

A Revolutionary New Canyon Tool Without a doubt, the most interesting and widely discussed canyoneering innovation of the last year or two has been Steve Woodford‘s “sand anchor”, a simple but brilliant contraption allowing canyoneers to rappel relatively safely off a plentiful canyon resource: sand. Though not nearly as simple or obvious to use as bolts or a tree, Woodford’s design enables trained canyoneers to leave no trace safely and securely in remote, pristine canyons much more easily than previous leading-edge “ghosting” techniques. As this tool, and the understanding of how to use it, spreads through the canyoneering community, I hope to see less new bolting in canyons, and perhaps even less rope scarring as well. The Sand Anchor Concept The fundamental idea behind the anchor design is straightforward: If you can spread a lot of weight over a large enough friction surface, you end up with a safe anchor to rap on. In the past, there have been lots of approaches to this concept, but most of them relied primarily on the weight variable, and not as much on the surface area variable. Thus, we always needed a sharp corner or deep hole to gain enough friction to hold … Continue reading

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Gear Review: Ram Opines on Imlay Canyon Gear “Spry” Pack

Steve Ramras, known as “Ram” in the canyon world, does more canyoneering than anybody I’ve ever met. This guy regularly puts together 14 – 21 day canyon trips, pieced together with partners from his incredible multi-state social network and canyon routes from his vast prior experience and his highly topographic imagination. First descents, 20th descents, returning-after-15-years-away descents… Ram regularly combines them all in one trip. With that kind of mileage under his belt, it’s easy to imagine he has learned a thing or two over the years. So when Ram offers thoughts or advice on gear choice, I’m always interested to hear what he has to say. Ram is a guy with ample access to gear. Each morning, he has the freedom to pour over a full quiver of packs, bags, ropes, carabiners, etc. and choose his plan of attack, a la carte, for the day. (Well, at least at the BEGINNING of his 3-week trips, he does…) Which pack is big enough, but not too big? What combination of ropes will be both high functional, but reasonable in terms of weight and volume. Etc, etc… So when Ram says he finds himself using the same item over and over … Continue reading

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Sizing Five Ten Canyoneers for Really Big Feet

Each year, I get several questions from curious Sasquatchian Canyoneers wondering, “What is the biggest foot that fits in the Five Ten Canyoneer 2?” As a person with a size 14 foot, I empathize with fellow men and women who struggle to find shoes that fit. I have been fortunate to see what does and does not work in dozens of rental situations where folks with large feet tried on the Canyoneer2, so I thought I’d share this admittedly esoteric knowledge here for the world to enjoy. First, let’s lay out the important facts to consider when planning a large foot fitting: 1) Foot width is often describes as foot “volume”. A narrow foot is considered “low volume”; a wide foot is “high volume”. 2) The largest Canyoneer 2 size Five Ten makes is 15; the next smaller sizes are 14, then 13 (no half sizes). 3) The sock a person wears inside the Canyoneer 2 greatly affects the fit. Thicker socks offer more warmth in cold water, cushion for hiking, and help low-volume feet fill the width of the Canyoneer 2. Thinner socks provide less insulation (good for summer), but offer less cushion. Here are a few popular sock … Continue reading

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Gear Review: NeoSport X-Span Wetsuit for Canyoneering

Tired of freezing your tush in icy-cold canyon water? Not excited about the precision of movement requried to keep a drysuit safe and sound? If this describes you, then you might be in the market for a canyon wetsuit. I was, then I found the NeoSport X-Span 7mm fleece lined jumpsuit. To my knowledge, nobody currently makes a canyon-specific wetsuit, since the market is so small. So we must turn to the water sports industry for help, which is where I found my latest discovery. The NeoSport X-Span jumpsuit is a one-piece, fleece-lined, back zip wetsuit. By far, my favorite quality is its stretchiness, which allows me to move athletically, with a full range of motion, while providing more than enough insulation during cold canyon swims. The stretchy fabric cooperates very well when canyoneering temporarily adjusts its location on my body. If you’d like to canyoneer, surf, dive, swim, or waterski in a great-feeling, form-fitting wetsuit, check out the Neosport X-Span. They are available as one-piece jumpsuits, shorties, and farmer john/jane on the Neosport website. Dave Buckingham guides, outfits, and waxes poetic on all things canyoneering at Zion Adventure Company. When Dave isn’t exploring desert canyons or waterskiing on Lake … Continue reading

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Help Your Lunch Survive Until Lunchtime

Nobody enjoys potato chips soaked marinated in stagnant canyon water. So we test assorted strategies for protecting our grub: different bags, boxes, and containers… carrying our goodies in our pack lids, or hidden inside our helmet during the hike in… I have even used the small space above the webbing in my Ecrin Roc helmet to keep food (and cameras!) dry during swims. But ultimately, what we really need is a tough, reliable, and preferably mindless protection strategy for our food. If you are weary of fretting over your vulnerable food, check out Snapware. Guide certified and Costco approved, these sealable, clear, plastic containers are reusable, durable, and waterproof. They come in variety of sizes and are great around the house, on the trail, and, of course, in the canyon. Check out their “Food Storage” family, and the “Airtight” products within that family. If you are an aggressive pack-chucker, please be aware not even Snapware can always hold up to the abuse you dish out – but it usually can! Also, keep in mind throwing your pack into a pool of water creates a momentary vacuum when the pack enters the water. Both dry bags and Snapware are susceptible to … Continue reading

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Product Review: Bagarino 2010

Let’s take a moment today to discuss that unheralded hero of so many canyon equipment quivers: the rope bag. Much like your typical offensive lineman, a good rope bag often goes unnoticed, quietly helping all the sexy stuff happen while reliably toiling away in the background. Why use rope bags these silly, expensive rope bags, you say? Three big efficiency-increasing reasons: 1. Rope bags reduce ungainly tangles, knots, and bird’s nests by giving us the opportunity to account for and isolate both ends of the rope OUTSIDE the bag. 2. Rope bags allow us to only deploy the amount of rope needed for the rappel (e.g. 20′ of rope for a 10′ rappel as opposed to uncoiling all or half of a long rope). 3. Rope bags allow us to put away longer ropes MUCH more quickly and easily than any coiling technique I’ve ever seen or used. Though rope bags come in many shapes and sizes, today we’ll focus on my favorite rope bag, the Bagarino. This member of the Imlay Canyon Gear (ICG) rope bag family is smaller than the Silo series, and larger than the Bagettes. The Bagarino holds up to 190-200′ of 8mm Bluwater Canyon Pro … Continue reading

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