It’s important to inspect that kit to make sure everything is working properly. Brian Bourquin of Safety One Training explained to us in this video the criteria we should use to inspect haul kits.
Inspect Soft Goods
First, you’ll want to inspect your soft goods. Feel the entire length of your rope, looking for hard spots, soft spots, overly worn spots, bulges, and the like. Check the core of the rope by bending the rope and seeing if the bend radius is the same throughout. If your kit uses prusiks, check those as well.
Remember that for soft goods we generally use a 10:1 safety factor. Most rope in miniature haul kits is around 3,000 lbf MBS, so each strand is a 300 lbs SWL.
Next, you’ll take a look at your hardware. Hardware will quickly get scuffed up during normal use, but you want to check that it is in reasonable like new condition. That means no major deformities, pulley bushings are in place, and carabiner gates are operable.
Hardware usually uses a 5:1 safety factor. All the the hardware in your kit should be at least 5,000 lbf MBS with a 1,000 lbs SWL.
Lastly, you’ll want to make sure that the kit has been rigged properly. Whether you purchase a pre-rigged kit like the Cortes, or built your Aztek kit, it’s important to check it thoroughly to make sure everything is functioning the way it should.
When pulling the tail end of the kit, everything should operate smoothly and none of the lines should be crossed. Crossed lines will rub against each other, reducing the overall efficiency of the kit.
If your kit uses progress capture (prusiks or mechanical), you’ll also want to check that they are in the proper configuration. To check, put a weight on your kit and let it rest. Count the number of legs that are under tension. You want to have at least 3 legs under tension. The reason for this is that every leg under tension is adding to your overall SWL since the load is distributed across more legs. If your kit is resting on less than 3 legs you’ll have lower than expected SWL, and in the case of mechanical progress capture, the chance for damaging your rope.
How Often Should You Inspect?
You should inspect your kit upon receipt (or once you’ve built it for the first time) and before each use. If the haul kit isn’t regularly used (if it’s part of a rescue kit for example), it’s best practice to inspect it at least once per year.
Calculating Safe Working Load
An important side note is how to calculate the SWL on your haul kit. Some manufactures make it easy by telling you the SWL. In the absence of a stated SWL, you’ll have to do a bit of calculating.
First find the strength of your rope (3,000 lbf for example). Next determine the number of legs of the rope that will remain under tension when the load is at rest (3 for example). Take the number of legs multiplied by the strength and divide by your safety factor of 10.
Next, find the weakest piece of hardware in your kit (probably 5,000 lbf). Divide that number by your safety factor of 5.
Now take the lower of these two numbers. That’s your SWL.
So, in this example we have:
Soft goods: (3,000 x 3) / 10 = 900 lbs
Hardware: 5,000 / 5 = 1,000 lbs
Safe Working Load = 900 lbs
Hopefully you’ve found this guide helpful!