We have a lot of gear. Damn... so much gear - and much of it is heavy, bulky, unwieldy and a real pain to store efficiently. If I started another business I would be a playing card game instructor - just a few decks to store in my cupboard and that could be my work tool kit!
Only joking of course. That gear mountain is a burden I am happy to bear in the interests of adventure and I really wouldn’t be a good card game instructor anyway. This way of life we have chosen, though, does leave us always on the lookout for better ways to store our kit and so we were delighted to recently be contacted by an innovative British brand that produce a broad range of hooks designed to tame even the unwieldiest of kit. Sounds great we said. We will send you some to review they said. Even better we said.
They asked us to choose what we’d like to try and the truth is we’d have found a use for pretty much everything in their range, but we discussed options with them and selected a Gear Rail set up with hooks for climbing kit and similar clutter. They have now been put to very good use at Peak Mountaineering HQ and here’s my review.........
Gear Hooks are extremely strong hooks and, if I was asked to describe them in one sentence, them being extremely strong hooks would cover it. But there really is far more to them than that. We will get on to the hook styles they have available in a minute, but the common features of each hook are their construction from burly steel with a protective plastic coating to protect the gear. Each hook attaches with a single screw that is easy to position and secure and, just to say again, very strong. This single screw attachment also means that the hooks can be positioned at any angle.
After that, we get down to the hook style choices. As mentioned, there are lots. You can get them for bikes, skis, golf gear, snowboards, skateboards, musical instruments, fishing equipment, garden equipment or, as was our main interest, climbing kit. I would say, though, that this is probably only the tip of the iceberg and the possibilities are really only limited by your imagination. Even within those categories there are choices - a hook that could hold climbing ropes could just as easily hold a hose pipe just like any of the hooks we were sent would happily hold technical gear or could hold rucksacks or duffle bags. We have also found the long hooks to be great for racking ski boots and will be testing these as a good option for storing damp boots over the winter. I’m also sure the GearHooks gurus will keep dreaming up other options too.
But, hooks is only a part of the range. Alongside these GearHooks also produce rails that will each accept a number of hooks. Each rail is again built from really sturdy sculpted powder coated steel bar that will attach to the wall with 3 screws. This allows for several hooks to be added and offers great flexibility. The rails come in various colours and look great.
So, that is a wrap on features, except to say the products are all British made and GearHooks are confident enough in their products to offer a lifetime warranty. It all sounds great. We got busy testing.....
Firstly, I tried fitting a single GearHook to the wall to see how easy they were to add individually and after that went for it and set up the full rail. You will obviously need to account for different surface types and choose appropriate fittings (cavity wall fittings, woodscrews, rawlplugs etc) but the individual hooks are very simple to attach. The other nice thing is, because there is some up/down and side to side movement, you can set it up, get everything ready and then do your final tightening. Very easy. If you can drill a hole you can put these up.
Setting up the GearRail is also easy. Just 3 screws and you are good to go. The system also allows great flexibility in positioning. Because the hooks can be spun to any angle the GearRail could be placed, besides the most likely horizontal, diagonally or even vertically. It depends on where it is going and the intended items to be stored. I did play around with the diagonal option and it actually offers great opportunities if you were racking gear of different lengths such as skis. The longest go at the highest point and downwards as they get shorter. Simple.
After all that fitting, the hooks we were sent came in a variety of options. The length of each hook was 300mm but the width varied to suit different types of gear.
It all just works superbly. Even when we had a rack loaded up with a stack of ice axes or several pairs of skis it really didn’t look strained in any way. Similarly, the weight of several ropes was no issue at all. Of course we haven’t tested every hook option in their range, but can say that each hook we have tried so far has worked a treat for our intended use.
Sometimes simple ideas done well are the best ideas of all. Gear hooks are that. Superb quality, highly functional design, lifetime warranty, great performance and, given all that, pretty good value (a gear rail with 3 hooks costs £49.99).
The Peak Mountaineering teak are more than a bit addicted to GearHooks and GearRails and fully expect we’ll be getting more - one GearRail/Hook combo has so far only scratched the surface of our kit mountain. Infact, we were saying the other day that we really wish we’d found them years ago. Full details are available via the Gear Hooks website here and they currently have a 20% discount offer (and free U.K. delivery) available.
Posted by Paul