Equipment Life

Scott B.

Adventurist
I was going through my recovery gear the other day, and pulled out a tree strap. Looking at it, in great shape with minimal wear, I realized that I bought it almost 20 years ago. It also does not have that many pulls on it.

The $25,000 question is, is it due for replacement due to its age? (I do have another one that is much newer.)

Do synthetics age over time, to the point of being unreliable/unsafe?
 
There's an article on Black Diamond's website regarding an old, sun faded harnesses and synthetic climbing rope that was properly stored for 20+ years that they ran test's on.


The TLDR conclusion? For the most part the gear that was properly stored and taken care of was w/in a safe margin or close to the new spec. But, especially if your life depend on it, when in doubt, throw it out.
 
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I know every situation can be different, there seems to be many hit & misses on life span on synthetic winch ropes, mine has been on my winch since 2018 Master Pull 7\16 Classic, the truck gets morning up to 10:30 am. I've been pondering on changing it out this year. The winch doesn't get used a whole lot, it seems to be used more for moving fallen trees on trails than recovery situations. I can not put on a winch cover, I tried they get blown off, it seems the line from the sloop into the fairlead prevents it from being secure. It shows no signs of unravelling or fading \ bleach out. The rock guard protects lot of the line on the spool, but I am curious about what to truly look for or when is a good time to change out synthetic rope.
 
The big killer for ropes and straps is HEAT, and UV radiation. If stored properly and kept out of the sun, and if they show no signs of wear (fraying, abrasion) I keep using the gear.

Obviously, I do not recommend using very old gear for SAR type employment, overhead rigging, or climbing use!
 
I know every situation can be different, there seems to be many hit & misses on life span on synthetic winch ropes, mine has been on my winch since 2018 Master Pull 7\16 Classic, the truck gets morning up to 10:30 am. I've been pondering on changing it out this year. The winch doesn't get used a whole lot, it seems to be used more for moving fallen trees on trails than recovery situations. I can not put on a winch cover, I tried they get blown off, it seems the line from the sloop into the fairlead prevents it from being secure. It shows no signs of unravelling or fading \ bleach out. The rock guard protects lot of the line on the spool, but I am curious about what to truly look for or when is a good time to change out synthetic rope.

I use a custom cut piece of plastic wedged in between the bumper and the spool as a sunshade. It stays put in the wind. For a 2018 MP rope, I'd run it until it parts :)
 
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