Are you interested to buy via ferrata gear?
Are you lost in the enormous offer of via ferrata equipments?
Many clients after the experience of Via Ferrata in the Dolomites are interested to continue this activity in the mountains near home. Today there are so many Via Ferratas in every part of the world that is not difficult to do it!
The immediate doubt is: what type of gear is better to buy?
Consider that every technical equipment that you can find in the specialised mountain sport shops is tested with the severe European Community and United States safety standards.
The production of the safety equipments is really super-controlled and tested with maximal attention from every producer and every safety national office. In short every component of the Via Ferrata equipment of every brand is really good.
In sequence now we analyse the different components of the Via Ferrata basic equipment, and suggest the best line to choose your appropriate elements.
Via Ferrata harness
Exist three typology of climbing harness that you can see in the photo, from left to right: the standard climbing harness, the universal size climbing harness, the super-light harness.
The standard climbing harness is sure the best choose if you buy it for your properly personal use. Exist different sizes appropriate for every normal body constitution (from “XS” to “XL” as the clothing). Some brands produce the same models in two variants, one for mans ergonomic and one for women’s ergonomic. What type I suggest? The brand/model that you prefer in base at your extetic taste.
The universal size harness is good if you buy for a familiar use (possible for different persons in different size, or kids rom different ages), but if you don’t are in this casistic… is better to choose the standard harness.
The light harness is usually use for glaciers traverses, but the new models is possible to use for via ferratas…. can be a good choose for extra warm countries…. but in any case isn’t necessary and is always better to choose the standard harness.
If you are a very heavy and very hight man, consider to buy a dedicated XXL harness with the upper part. There are some brands that produce it.
If you have sons very young…. 5-8 years old, buy kids harness. The kids can use a single rope ring, with a small carabiner easy to handle…. But they NEED stay connected always with an additional rope managed from the Mountain Guide or the expert parent. Young kids can’t absolutely operate in autonomy!
Via Ferrata Helmets
The helmets are in substance divided in two categories: Standard helmets in rigid plastic or soft impact helmets.
Considering that both typologies have the same standard of impact resistance, we have:
The soft impact helmets have a constructive philosophy similar at the helmets for bicycle. They absorb good the shocks but have a short durability because with their light structure are a bit delicate…..
The Standard helmets have sure a better durability because the rigid plastic cover is more resistant at long use…. logically are heavier and in hot clima are particularly warm….
Via Ferrata kit: the different typologies of via ferrata sets
On the mountain sport shops there are many different models and brands of Via Ferrata sets. From a minimum of expense of 70€ to max 170€… what is the difference? it’s 100 €! 🙂 Yes because every via ferrata set of every brand is tested for the safety standards. The difference is on the “commodity” aspects.
Some modern via ferrata sets have the new generation “fast carabiners” with an easy overture system and light weight. These carabiners are very easy to open but are tested to place with opposite directions (not position both on the same direction on the iron wire!!!!).
In the photo here below we can see the different consistence of a standard carabiner and a new generation “fast carabiner”….
Same concept for the mechanical switch on the two slings…. This device permit to turn with continuity both slings without problem.
Logically a modern via ferrata set with “fast carabiners” and “mechanical switch” is sure better… but the cost is generally the double of a standard set without mechanical switch.
If you thing to climb only some time the via ferratas, every type of via ferrata set is ok. Logically if you climb 10 or more times per year via ferrata, consider a modern set is a good idea!
Via Ferrata Accessories
The “Via Ferrata Accessories” are important elements of your equipment to increase the safety and to spare lot of enery especially in the difficult and vertical sections of the via ferratas. Many via ferrata climbers remember very good stressant changes of carabiners in overhanging sectors of rock, or adrenalinic moments along these sections where you are thinking to fall down…. With these two devices now the life is easier!
There are two typologies of “iron cable autobloccant”, the tyrolean AustriaAlpin brand produce the autobloccant that you can see here in photo: actually is the best and most flexible device for difficult sections of via ferrata. It’s very easy to use and the blocking system really good!
Another great help is the “third carabiner” to hang you for resting moment on the pegs. Many modern via ferrata sets have a additional ring up on the shock absorber to connect amn “third carabiner” for this use. In alternative you can self prepare a extra short sling with the “third carabiner” to connect it directly at your harness. Personally I prefer this second solution because is easier to manage.
Anyway read more about it in my recent “Via Ferrata Funny Handbook” or in my instructional video in “You Tube”.
Via Ferrata Gloves
The most important factor is the size: don’t buy too large gloves for your hands! Too large gloves compromise your grip on the iron cable of the via ferrata especially on the difficult sections! Here below you can see the difference between too large (on the left) and correct (on the right) gloves.
The via ferrata gloves are of two type:
– The classic leather gloves
– The new synthetic gloves with kevlar protection.
I have tested for intense use both… sincerely there is not difference in fact of quality and durability! Chose what you prefer!
Via Ferrata shoes
The chose of the boots depend of the via ferrata typology you climb.
The light trekking shoes, know as “approach shoes”, are good for difficult via ferrata with “athletic passages” but have the limit to use on low elevation where is not snowfield or glaciers. Many models of this type of shoes are builded to walk and climb, so can facilitate you with the adherence on slabs or the vertical rock sections.
In Italy (the country of the via ferratas) you can find often on the mountain sport shops a particular type of boot: “the via ferrata boots”. It’s a compromise (hybrid) between the mountain boots and the climbing shoes. It’s a good solution particularly for the Dolomites on the second and final parts of the summer when on the mountains isn’t too much of snow. This type of boot have the commodity of the trekking boot with a good imprinting for the climbing.
The classic mountain boots are the right chose in case of via ferrata in high elevation with snow fields or glaciers on the approach and descend sections.
Via Ferrata Backpacks
Same general observation for the backpack choose. It depend of the tour that you will do.
For the multi-days via ferrata treks is better use a compact 30-40L. Backpack (the black on the left of the photo)
For daily tours one 20-25 L. small backpack is ok (the yellow on the right of the photo).
Don’t use hiking backpacks with aluminium rigid frame of with too many and large external pockets.
Lastly the new generation of light backpacks or “trail-running backpacks” are sure good for daily tours (the sky-blue on the photo)