Annual Gear Updates: Top 4 Must-Replace Items for Zip Line and Challenge Courses

Running a challenge course, aerial park, or zip line demands attention to detail, especially when maintaining and replacing your zip line equipment and challenge course gear. Successful equipment management involves thoughtful planning and a strategic approach to selection, care, and storage. That planning should include not only big-ticket items but also the consumables critical to your day-to-day operation. For many operators, equipment with high replacement frequency includes ropes, carabiners, zip line gloves, and, for higher volume operators, soft goods such as harnesses and sewn webbing lanyards. Understanding the lifecycle of these essential items, from purchase to retirement, is vital for safety, operational efficiency, and long-term financial planning.

As an ACCTT-accredited and certified inspection provider, Challenge Towers inspects thousands of individual pieces of equipment every year. We know what holds up to wear and tear and what doesn’t always make the grade. The CT Team recently identified their top recommendations for high-frequency replacement gear.

  1. Petzl Oxan Carabiner
  2. Rocks Edge Zip Line Pro Glove
  3. New England Ropes KM-III 11m Static Rope
  4. Edlerid Radialis Comp Full Body Harness
  5. EZ Adjust Y Lanyard Lobster Claws (Bonus)

Learn more about when the CT team recommends replacing these items, why they like them, their common uses, and where to purchase replacements.

Petzl Oxan Carabiner

petzl oxan carabiner
  • Common uses: Anchor connectors, attaching lanyards, rigging equipment, course evacuation, belay systems, element connections.
  • Recommended replacement: 1-5yrs
  • Variations: Choose between screw-gate and Triact-Lock.
  • Where to buy:
  • Why we like it: The rugged and compact Oxan is a high-strength steel carabiner appropriate for many applications in challenge courses, aerial parks, and zip line operations. It is available with either a manual SCREW-LOCK or an automatic TRIACT-LOCK gate.

Rocks Edge Zip Line Pro Glove

  •  Common uses: Perfect staff or high-end user gloves for hand-braking on zip lines.
  • Recommended replacement: 1-3yrs
  • Variations: Choose full-finger or fingerless.
  • Where to buy:
  • Why we like it: It’s a unique blend of triple-layer goat and cow leather coupled with a Kevlar backing for maximum protection in high-stress areas. The Spandex back increases flexibility and comfort while allowing for better ventilation and drying. The Kevlar stitching and backing allow for improved wear and assist in reducing friction-generated heat while in use.

New England Ropes KM-III 11m Static Rope

New England KM III-11mm Static Rope
  • Common uses: Belaying, rescue, rigging, and hauling.
  • Recommended replacement: 1-5yrs
  • Variations: Available in fixed-length spools ranging between 150ft and 600ft.
  • Where to buy:
  • Why we like it: KM-III is a staple in the world of challenge courses and adventure parks due to its high strength, durability, and excellent handling characteristics. The kernmantle construction offers excellent abrasion resistance and long service life.

Edlerid Radialis Comp Full Body Harness

Edlerid Radialis Comp Full Body Harness
  • Common uses: The perfect high ropes harness for use with a wide range of belay and zip line systems.
  • Recommended Replacement: 1-7yrs
  • Variations: Youth size harness
  • Where to buy:
  • Why we like it: This classic full-body harness fits a wide range of sizes and is color-coded for quick and easy outfitting, and the Easy-Glider buckles make it simple to adjust the waist, leg loops, and shoulder straps. You can note a unique identifier and service dates on a marking surface integrated with the waist belt.

While regular replacement of consumable equipment is crucial to a good gear management strategy and maintaining high safety standards, periodically updating to more modern versions of essential gear is also a significant benefit. Advancements in technology and design offer opportunities to enhance safety, efficiency, and the participant experience. A prime example is transitioning from traditional three-strand lobster claws to the EZ Adjust Lanyard from Aerial Adventure Tech. This modern version of the classic lobster claw is updated with ANSI-rated materials and modern construction, providing a more durable and quality-assured product.

EZ Adjust Y Lanyard Lobster Claws

  • Common Use: Replacement for traditional three-strand lobster claws.
  • Variations: Choose between between carabiner and girth-hitch harness connection.
  • Where to buy:
  • Why we like it: This modern alternative to the lobster claw uses solid braid rope construction and sewn terminations for easy visual inspection. The user can easily adjust the lanyard, and the hitches lock tight when weighted and are releasable under load.

The diligent management of equipment, whether regularly replacing consumables like carabiners, gloves, and ropes or upgrading to advanced solutions like the EZ Adjust Lanyard, is fundamental to operational safety, efficiency, and success. Embracing these practices supports compliance with prevailing standards and enhances the overall experience for participants. The teams at Challenge Towers and Aerial Adventure Tech are ready to assist you with equipment updates and replacements, ensuring your operations continue to meet the highest safety and quality standards.