Harry Houdini is best known to us as a magician and an escape artist. Many of his best-known feats were not only dramatic, but also dangerous. It is important to remember that he survived and thrived in his profession because he understood his challenges, had the right equipment for the job, and practiced and planned to minimize the risk and maximize the response. It is to these values and techniques that we dedicate and model our very own Houdini Kit.
- Cross-country traverse through slippery terrain. It's not bad enough to do a rappel, but you want a safety line to keep you from doing an unexpected glissade down a hill.
- Wet creek crossing. You might be able to just go for it, but if you slip, you and/or your gear might be lost. Setting up a simple system will get you and your gear across.
- Improvised stretcher
- Stokes Litter shoulder carry strap.
- Setup and recovery of a rappel ring or friction saver or edge protection from the bottom.
Below you will find an overview of what's in the kit. For more detailed information on the contents and their usage, look at Kit Resources, which will be updated and modified on a ongoing basis.
Uniform Rappel Belt: Yates 1.5" Uniform Belt with front V-Ring.Leg Loops: Fastrap II Leg Loops When you need to rappel, you need a harness, but they restrict your movement and are uncomfortable to wear long term when you are hiking. The solution is removeable leg loops that you can add/remove quickly to your existing Rappel Belt:Gloves: Gloves keep your hands from getting burned/abraded by the rope. They need tohave a palm that is non-melting, so leather is usually the answer. You can pay anywhere from $50 to $15 for these at REI or a boating store. Hardware stores like OSH or Home Depot will have things that work as well, as long as you avoid synthetic palms. They need to fit you, well, like a glove. Finger-less models help with knot tying, but you'll have to play the odds on finger tip damage/injuries. See more on gloves in the Kit Resources area.
Rope: 75' of Sterling Searchlite Heat-Resistant Rope There's no shortage of
rope candidates, but his one stands out to us. It's a flexible, highly heat-resistant rope with a breaking strength of almost 4000 pounds (17.4 kN). Because it is designed for Fire use, it means even a fast rappel should not melt this. It's Technora and nylon, so it's durable and flexible, and still holds knots well. It has a reflective strip, so you can see it easier at night. One of the features of this rope is you can get it with an eye loop permanently sewn on 1 end.
Petzl William: The Petzl William has one of the largest gates on the market for an aluminum carabiner. Several different locking schemes are available to suit your preference.
RockExotica Orca: ORCA is Open Regular Close Auto, which means you can temporarily lock this biner open, but still get it to autolock when you want. This comes on all 3 shapes, Oval, D and Pear ("Pirate"). Here's more on ORCA. RockExotica also has several other locking arrangements.
Descender: Rock Exotica Mini 8 Great little descender, handles ropes from 6-13mm, has a slot built in for belaying. Side ears let you add/remove friction on the fly, plus tie off when needed.550 ParaCord: 100' 550 Paracord - Not much of an explanation needed here, this is used to help you retrieve your system from the bottom of a pitch. For a 75' rope, you really only need 75', but the extra will come in handy. Available everywhere, just be sure you get the 550 (for 550# breaking strength) as opposed to cheaper brands.Carry Bag: Condor Fold Out Medical Bag - other gear. At under $20, it can't be beat for what it has to offer. If you have something better, feel free to use it, or let us know so we can offer it as an option in the future.