1. Know Your Ropes
Buying a used rope is like buying a used mattress…you don’t know where it’s been, what’s been on it, or the pounding that its taken. Water, dirt, and exposure to the elements all come into play when determining if the rope is fit for climbing or should be retired. Further, ropes are often measured by the number of falls they can sustain (UIAA Fall Rating) and you just don’t know this information when buying second hand gear so play it safe, and purchase new. As for your mattress…well, that’s up to you.
2. Trad is Rad…When Purchased New
Trad climbing is challenging and, at times, heart stopping. Falling on a piece of gear that you’ve placed for the first time is always a bit of Russian Roulette. That being said, buying this gear used is very risky because wear might not show. If you do buy used, ask lots of questions and be sure to check for deformities, frayed wires, and visual wear. Or maybe just don’t buy it used…maybe.
3. A New Harness is a Happy Harness
Whether you’re sport climbing, mountaineering, or canyoneering, your harness is one of the essential pieces of gear that moves your booty up those sweet walls and ensures that you don’t fall to your death in a canyon crevice. That being said, if you purchase a harness used you may be left in the dark concerning the age or the harness and the general wear and tear that it’s taken. Perhaps it was over-exposed to the elements, which would compromise its integrity. Not to mention, buying used online doesn’t allow you to try on your harness first; an ill-fitting harness can be uncomfortable and down-right dangerous.
4. For the Dare-Devils: Hang-Gliders and Parachutes
For all you wild and crazy hang-gliders and base jumpers out there, the point here is buying these items used is super risky. If you’re just getting into the sport, particularly, make sure you know how to inspect the gear’s integrity and you know what questions to ask the gear’s previous owner if you do decide to go used. Better yet, purchase from a trusted friend. Your life literally hangs in the balance.
5. It’s All in Your Head: Why Used Helmets are No Bueno
Helmets should be retired after they take one forceful fall. Unfortunately most people don’t know this, which compromises the integrity and effectiveness of the helmet and that, in turn, compromises the safety of your cabeza. To that we say, no bueno. Even borrowing helmets from friends can be risky, so always make sure to ask if your friend has taken a fall in the helmet or, better yet, just buy your own.
What else would you hesitate to buy?