History of Backpacking and Rock Climbing Equipment



Summary: The equipment used today for backpacking and rock climbing is quite different from what was used in the past. Today, the same has been standardized to ensure that all equipment meet a basic level of quality.


While equipment of the past used for rock climbing and backpacking was quite solid, there were times when there were accidents due to equipment failure. To combat this, the quality of equipment needed to improve. However, one manufacturer’s idea of strong equipment might not match with another. Thus, to help ensure that all equipment meet a fixed level of safety and security, the same was standardized. This ensured that no matter where a customer purchased equipment from, the basic safety standards are met in all. This provides a level of safety and security which is essential for both activities.


Rock climbing is where people climb either artificial or natural rock faces and walls either going sideways, up or down. Backpacking is where people travel and stay in the wilderness, either in a group or on their own. They may stay for a day or for a longer period of time. Each activity requires reliable and sturdy equipment. The standardization of the same ensures that basic safety is taken care of. While there are fixed standards for rock climbing and other type of climbing gear, there are no fixed standards for backpacking. There are certain basic considerations which ensure that the equipment is of good quality and reliable. This ensures that a person is well equipped to handle most issues which may arise while backpacking on their own or with friends. The safety standards are applied worldwide and used by all reliable and branded manufactures.


Information on equipment

There are two major standards for climbing reliability and safety today. They are the CEN (European Committee for Standardization) and UIAA (International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation).  Founded in 1961, the CEN is for all equipment used in Europe. They must all meet the Personal and Protective Equipment (PPE) Directive. There are various standards designed by them on how the various types of equipment are to be tested. Some of them include the EN 892:1997 ‘Mountaineering equipment. Dynamic Mountaineering ropes, Safety requirements and test methods’ etc. They have more than 60,000 technical experts, societal interest organizations, business federations etc. involved in their network which covers over 460 million individuals. The UIAA Safety Commission maintains and developers standards for safety of equipment for climbing. These are used worldwide by various manufacturers who participate in the Safety Commission meetings held annually. This commission works with over 50 manufacturers across the world and has certified around 1861 products.