Author Topic: What gear is homemade nowdays?  (Read 978 times)

Offline AliRoll

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What gear is homemade nowdays?
« on: November 28, 2018, 10:32:18 pm »
Lacking a caving belt and too tight to buy one I decided to create my own (Apparently I was in a in a fit of DIY fever). Several hours, 2m of tape and 5 stainless steel D-rings later I have a fancy new caving belt with added gear loops.

This got me thinking, how much gear do people make themselves these day? And what experience do you have with how long it lasts?

Offline langcliffe

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Re: What gear is homemade nowdays?
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2018, 11:06:46 pm »
My sewn footloop (I use a variation on the norm) was made for me by Mike Wooding about 20 years  - getting on for 1,500 trips. It's getting a little frayed, and I'm now looking around for someone with an industrial sewing machine...

Offline tamarmole

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Re: What gear is homemade nowdays?
« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2018, 11:07:16 pm »
My four bar micro rack with hyperbar is homemade.  When I say homemade I designed it and a (highly competent) mate who works as a machinist fabricated it for me in 316 stainless.  I have been using it for four or five years and have not died.  I decided to go down the homemade route (a) Because I got exactly what I wanted , (b) I like a challenge and (c) It winds people up that I use DIY safety critical vertical gear.  In terms of longevity it will outlast me.

I also have a DIY chest roller box that I knocked up in my shed.  At the time I built it I was playing around with American ropewalking techniques and was not prepared to shell out several hundred quid importing one.  Unlike my rack the roller box was not safety critical (i.e a total failure would not kill me).

Offline alastairgott

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Re: What gear is homemade nowdays?
« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2018, 11:16:59 pm »
Ali, could have saved you a bit of time and effort, get a tape sling and one krab, double the tape sling and put a knot in it where you'll be able to get the krab to reach the other side of the sling when its round your waist.
 Heypresto, A "belt"

wear it at anytime, if you take your SRT kit off, you've got a belt.
If you forget a deviation, no problem, it can do that too!

I can't take any credit whatsoever, I think it's a Dachstein innovation?!?


Lights, some people homecook them too, met a guy last Friday from Plymouth (Adventure and Expo?) and he'd made a couple of lights and said they were like scurions, only without the loops you have to jump through to be able to sell them.


Not done it, but i'm sure you could make your own gloves (using cheapo off shelf gloves) or kneepads with the use of liquid latex, if you were that way inclined. Also, i'm sure you know, Mr Westlake makes his own wetsocks, so if you're handy with the use of a sewing machine then that would be an option.


There's an outdoor instructor around Derbyshire who makes Bothys, i'm sure someone will be able to say what fabric is used for that.


and if you're making wetsocks, then Buffs and Balaclava's are probably not out of the question.

Offline PeteHall

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Re: What gear is homemade nowdays?
« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2018, 11:26:40 pm »
Belt is the obvious one. You can easily cut off and reuse the buckles, so it's just a case of stitching up a bit of webbing.

I also use a homemade micro-rack. This actually started life as a Petzl rack, which I decided to invert by cutting off the loop and threading the remaining U-bar ends. I subsequently made new mild steel bars for it, so I consider it pretty much homemade.

Not fully homemade, but I find it's easier to make complete new arms for an oversuit than to try stitching up a worn out elbow...

A lot of cave divers seem to make their own kit, probably because there is less suitable kit commercially available...
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Offline ZombieCake

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Re: What gear is homemade nowdays?
« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2018, 11:29:59 pm »
Flashbulb flashguns.  A PP3 9v battery and a momentary switch is all that's needed.  Plus a 'volunteer'.

Offline SqueezyPete

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Re: What gear is homemade nowdays?
« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2018, 03:22:24 am »
 I made a small bag, with enough fabric left over to make a couple more probably. It's only cordura but the sheet I got cost around a tenner and there's enough on it to make a significant part of an oversuit if I was feeling brave. I'll leave that one for the future though.

 The bag seems to be holding up well enough and it was easily sewn on a standard (decent) sowing machine, the only problems stem from it being my first real project and it significantly not fitting a darren drum inside (the intended purpose) after I'd finished it.  Learnt plenty for version 2 however.

Offline Kenilworth

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Re: What gear is homemade nowdays?
« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2018, 06:48:12 am »
My seat and chest harnesses are homemade. A couple of packs. A pocketed hat for surveying wet crawls. Lots of things will make a nice rappel device and I've used various bits of old junk. My favorite are my homemade wooden micro rack bars.

Offline MarkS

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Re: What gear is homemade nowdays?
« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2018, 07:54:10 am »
Interesting topic!

I've just made a new chest tape after my last (modified) one finally gave up. The main reason was because I couldn't find one with what I found to be an effective design that was also comfortable with heavy bags.

My footloop is also home made. Just a length of dyneema (so super hard-wearing) knotted so that it's doubled under my foot to spread the load, with two different loops to attach to my hand jammer depending on if I'm rope-walking or not.

My light is home made too. Pleasingly it's still going strong after 8 or so years with minimal maintenance, and still outshining many others.

Offline crickleymal

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Re: What gear is homemade nowdays?
« Reply #9 on: November 29, 2018, 08:32:55 am »
All the lights my family use are home made. I have made knee pads from old wellies and belts from car seatbelts before now.
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Online grahams

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Re: What gear is homemade nowdays?
« Reply #10 on: November 29, 2018, 08:40:34 am »
Here's a great idea for home made floodlighting
See GhettoTech at 17:34
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Offline chunky

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Re: What gear is homemade nowdays?
« Reply #11 on: November 29, 2018, 10:25:46 am »
Lots of modifying. Side mount harness, belts, knee pads. Had a go at building pcv oversuits in the past and of course camera kit and bulb Firers.

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Offline paul

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Re: What gear is homemade nowdays?
« Reply #12 on: November 29, 2018, 12:02:32 pm »
Ali, could have saved you a bit of time and effort, get a tape sling and one krab, double the tape sling and put a knot in it where you'll be able to get the krab to reach the other side of the sling when its round your waist.
 Heypresto, A "belt"

wear it at anytime, if you take your SRT kit off, you've got a belt.
If you forget a deviation, no problem, it can do that too!

I can't take any credit whatsoever, I think it's a Dachstein innovation?!?

No - this is what cavers used to do before "belay belts" became the norm. Before that, it was a short length of cord wrapped several times around the waist and connected with a krab.
I'm not a complete idiot: some parts are missing!

Offline yuvals

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Re: What gear is homemade nowdays?
« Reply #13 on: November 29, 2018, 01:26:41 pm »
Headlamp, bags, suit, kneepads, chest harness, foot loop, battery pack for hammer drill, tools for digging, bolt hangers and more....

It probably didn't save me a lot of money but my gear is perfectly made to my needs :) and I have fun build it.

Offline maxf

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Re: What gear is homemade nowdays?
« Reply #14 on: November 29, 2018, 01:33:16 pm »
Headlamp, bags, suit, kneepads, chest harness, foot loop, battery pack for hammer drill, tools for digging, bolt hangers and more....

It probably didn't save me a lot of money but my gear is perfectly made to my needs :) and I have fun build it.

Do you have some photos or details of the bolt hangers ? I asked about making these previously and it wasn't well received by the forum elite

Online grahams

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Re: What gear is homemade nowdays?
« Reply #15 on: November 29, 2018, 01:34:26 pm »
Quote
No - this is what cavers used to do before "belay belts" became the norm. Before that, it was a short length of cord wrapped several times around the waist and connected with a krab.

I used to use 20ft of no. 1 hawser laid rope (glorified boot lace). You had to be careful to krab all the strands else dewastification could take place.

Sceptics wanted!

Offline yuvals

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Re: What gear is homemade nowdays?
« Reply #16 on: November 29, 2018, 01:53:20 pm »
Headlamp, bags, suit, kneepads, chest harness, foot loop, battery pack for hammer drill, tools for digging, bolt hangers and more....

It probably didn't save me a lot of money but my gear is perfectly made to my needs :) and I have fun build it.

Do you have some photos or details of the bolt hangers ? I asked about making these previously and it wasn't well received by the forum elite


Offline thomasr

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Re: What gear is homemade nowdays?
« Reply #17 on: November 29, 2018, 03:55:59 pm »
Home made knitted undersuit for christmas sounds pretty good . But home made belts ? I would prefer a  well made and tested one which at a pinch I could abseil on or use in an emergency

Offline PeteHall

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Re: What gear is homemade nowdays?
« Reply #18 on: November 29, 2018, 04:22:13 pm »
Home made knitted undersuit for christmas sounds pretty good . But home made belts ? I would prefer a  well made and tested one which at a pinch I could abseil on or use in an emergency

If you can find a belt that is tested and rated for abseiling, I'll be impressed.

I use a belt for holding the loose fabric of my oversuit out the way and clipping the occasional bit of kit to while walking/ crawling in a cave, for which my homemade belts are well made and well tested.  :thumbsup:
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Offline thomasr

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Re: What gear is homemade nowdays?
« Reply #19 on: November 29, 2018, 05:38:10 pm »
I said for emergency use. Meaning not for regular use There are some pretty good belts out there

Offline AlexR

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Re: What gear is homemade nowdays?
« Reply #20 on: November 29, 2018, 06:07:30 pm »
More walking stuff than caving, a SilNylon tarp (slippery stuff in a sewing machine), various drybags, modified bits of my tent and backpacks, camera pouches, etc.
Mainly repairs and modifications in caving I think. Feels like my "digging suit" sports more of my stitching than original one, a cordura protector tube around my pantin footstrap, sewn on neoprene as knee protectors on my undersuit, modified an AV tackle sack with another attachment loop that keeps it closed... stuff like that.
Not exactly rocket science, but I made a small steel bar (~1") that I keep on the same carabiner as my Stop with tat, useful for disabling the "stop" function on longer descents. An alloy carabiner wears through very quickly as I found out, ruined a perfectly good crab in a single descent of Titan. And there's no way I'm lugging around a hefty steel one all the time.

Everything seems to hold up pretty well, although I definitely wouldn't say it's particularly time or cost effective. There is no way my sewing machine could handle e.g. tackle sacks, so it's all stitched by hand. I would say the Warmbac tackle sacks are much, much easier to repair than the AV ones: When the webbing at the bottom fails, just sew a new one on and you're good to go. The thread I use is  .5mm woven dyneema with a breaking strength of 40kg (single strand), holds up pretty well.

Offline alastairgott

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Re: What gear is homemade nowdays?
« Reply #21 on: November 29, 2018, 10:50:01 pm »

fixed it for you...  :ras:


disabling the "stop" function [edit]Before[/edit] on longer descents.



Yuvals, is that a M8 screwbolt, (8mm diameter) or is it smaller?

Offline yuvals

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Re: What gear is homemade nowdays?
« Reply #22 on: November 30, 2018, 12:49:38 am »
It is 8 mm (definitely not M8), I also have some 6mm but I prefer the 8 since it suit the 13 mm Spanner.

I also have 12 mm for use in salt caves