Friday, September 13, 2013

Review: Tough Hooks

I've been remiss, and failed to give you all a review of some really great kit I've just taken for granted! (That's praise and an apology in one).

I backed the Tough Hook Kickstarter by Tarik Lazri after browsing across it looking for new cool things. Tarik has used his experiences "in the field" to find and fill a gap in the market, for people who wear a lot of gear.

This is a coathanger ... no, really, a coathanger, but one that can take over 65kg of load (150lbs) of hung gear without even sweating. Who in their right mind has that much gear?
 Well, actually a lot of people in a lot of roles might.

I have three of the Tough Hooks, and have swapped them into carry several sets of my own exciting collection, that have till now had makeshift hangers of lumps of wood, and pipe.

First up is my o-yoroi, the Japanese armour I made from 7mm belt leather, on a 16th century pattern. Its a full body set, (kabuto-helmet is off-screen) and without a great deal of floor space at my place, (so much gear) I've needed to hang it. This has been problematic! Until now! The broad shoulders of the Tough Hook both accommodated the shoulder straps, but the flying hooks at the edges of the Tough Hook captured the various extra parts, like the waist band, the thigh plates, wrist and shin guards. These were forever slipping and falling off, every time i picked it up to move it (or don it).

You can see that even under a load, the hanger just hangs! No buckling, swaying or listing. It is a rock solid hanger, even under this bulk (if not weight).

You can also see here that there are various accessories sling over the main hanger hook, and again, this has been a problem in past, but the wide and long neck simply carries it, without struggle or tangle.
The awesome folks at ITS Tactical did a great demonstration of just how much of a load you can put these through, which they posted here: I recommend you check it out for a better idea of how tough these things really are.

How does it manage to take all this load and battle on? Good design and materials.

Starting from a pretty basic 2D design (ignoring the awesome winged hooks at the edges for a moment) Tarik took a leaf from structural engineering books, included an I-beam philosophy. This massively increases the bending and shearing stresses, with the flanges adding a real buffer to what ever is being stowed on it, as an added side note.

This translates to less compression for those padded shoulders and spreads out the weight over stitches or seams that might be under it.

My second Tough Hook  bears up smashingly under my small collection of ring-mail for when I need to let off some steam but also carries my spurs, and other boot-type accessories. Again, this is a pretty heavy standing load, and again, makes for a great display.

You can see more clearly how the wings snag and retain gear, and are mirrored, such that no matter how the hook is oriented (hook up or handle up) your gear is held fast.

Handle side? oh yes!

As well as a traditional coat-hanger hook, the Tough Hook features
a built in handle grip for easily transporting your gear! This features ergonomic finger grips as well as plenty of clearance for even the meatiest of gloved hands.

Made of a GP22 high impact ABS plastic, the Tough Hook site suggests that whilst designed for a 55kg (120lbs) load, they have had (informal) tests of up to 90 kg (200lbs), that is a whole lot of gear.

So, Samurai and silly Medieval-esque armour aside .... Who else might use it?

There are loads of people who as part of work or play have heavy, bulky kit.

I've done S.CU.B.A. diving, and can tell you, BDC, regulators, wetsuit, goggles, and fins are big heavy and bulky.

Firefighters, with their heavy jackets, pants, gloves and other kit, including breathing gear, especially when wet.

Then there is the tactical gear for LEO or Military users (or like me, enthusiasts): plate carriers, load bearing vests, battle belts, drop legs, slings, all that kit. All fits perfectly on the Tough Hook, as you can see here on my black one.

The last thing I felt I needed to say, is that the hook and handle can be swapped from one to the other, rotating around to go from "hanging" to "carrying" without dropping your items, because of those winks on the edges of the Tough Hook.

If you have heavy loads to hang up, be they work or play related, I really suggest you look these up, they are fully worth the investment, all but indestructible and ready for anything!

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