Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Review: CountyComm Dropline carabiner spool

A shipment of goodies arrived that some friends and I all got together for, and I picked up a few cool things. This is something I'd had my eye on for a while, and wanted to add to my EDC pile. I have carried lengths of cord both on my person, and in my bag for a long time now, there is something very comforting about having a bunch of paracord on hand.

The problem however, is how to stow it, and have it ready. Previously I have bundled up my lengths in hojojuitsu style, in neither hayanawa or “fast rope”, or torinawa ("capture-rope") type bundles. These are self-contained and feeding bundles, but are only practical for kind of short lengths, 8m being the typical length I use, but for longer, more utilitarian lengths, some other method is needed. Paracord often comes in 100' lengths and even that is a lot of cord to hump around.

However, my fellow blogger, and knot-maker of high repute, Stormdrane worked with CountyComm to come up with this, a highly functional spool, on a carabiner, in the form of their Drop-Line RLD. This is purported to hold 50' of paracord, or 100' of of 3/32 Tether cord (which is a thinner, "dummy-cord", not unlike the Australian "hootchie cord" for doing tie-downs of gear and as guy-ropes.)

The spool consists of a Omega-Pacific Standard Locking D carabiner which incidentally has a 31kN rating along its major axis, (and is the same brand as the Rappel Rings, I reviewed a while back) and the internal Delrin® wheel which is a rigid, low-friction polymer which in this case has a split down one side to fit it to the carabiner, and two notches, one on the inside, to attach the internal end of the cord, and one on the outer rim to lock down the loose end.

You can see I started off with the best of intentions in looping my 50' of cord, feeding smoothly and tightly from side to side until I reached the rim of the spool, with about 6' or cord left to go. I could have trimmed this off, but i wanted to see just how much I could fit whilst still being able to open and fit the carabiner. In the end, with a messy attempt at the zig-zag spooling, I managed to get all 50' onto the spool, AND was just able to open the gate wide enough to feed it onto PALS/MOLLE webbing, as seen here, nestled between my Half Med Kit and the FUP I use as a bottle holder on my pack.

I've wanted to get one of these for a while, mostly because of their simple utility, and elegant solution to a common problem, and now that I have one, I want more... Perhaps I can give that zig-zag another go ...

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