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In Defense Of The Safeguard

CharlieTN

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2019
Messages
365
Recently in the forums and on facebook there has been a bit of an “anti-Safeguard” sentiment and to be honest it’s partly well-deserved, but by no fault of the device itself. The Safeguard by Madrock has become a bit of a cultish icon among the saddle hunting community with both defenders and attackers. With the demand has come the inflated pricing, some would say gouging, and that has caused the anti-sentiment to rise.

This cultish status has caused people to say over and over again “you don’t need a safeguard to rappel or one-stick climb” and they are factually correct. There are many, many different ways and devices that you can use to rappel down after the hunt. The most minimalist is the simple Munter Hitch, followed by the classic Figure-8 or ATC. From there, there are several different mechanical and non-mechanical devices which will get you down safely out of the tree.

I want to take a moment though to defend the lowly Safeguard that has become caught up in this war of ideals and budgets and say why I prefer it. I began saddle hunting using my HSS safety harness paired with a custom sitdrag type saddle climbing 3 Hawk Helium sticks, hanging from a tree-tether using a friction hitch. It worked well and got me into this great new way of hunting. From there I transitioned to single-stick climbing and a traditional style saddle. My current setup consists of the mini-Shikar with angled scout and a 3-step aider. My rappel rope/tether is 36’ of 9mm HTP and I’m attached the entire climb with the Safeguard.

I have never been comfortable with what the hunting industry advises for you to do if there is an accident while elevated in a stand or saddle, simply hang there until help comes. Often times I am in an area with little to no cell-service so that could mean a really long hang. So from the very beginning of my elevated hunting career I have been looking for a means of self rescue. I’ve looked into and considered essentially two tethers to descend, using my lineman’s to work my way down the tree in conjunction with the tether, and other systems using various additional gear. Each time I came back to the reality that the traditional way of one-stick climbing using the rappel rope as the tether the entire time was without a doubt the simplest and safest, especially when attached the entire climb with my rappel system. If there is a problem, especially one that causes a severe injury, by using the Safeguard the entire climb, I am simply one small step away from rappelling down the tree. Drop the rappel rope, grab the brake end, pull the lever and voila I’m down at any point during my climb or hunt.

This is why I prefer to use the Safeguard (or other equivalent device) as my primary attachment point while one-stick climbing. Yes, I can, through various techniques switch over to my rappel system at any point but if I have just slipped off of a stick and stuck the step deep into my leg, that is the last thing I want to mess with. I want to get down the tree as quickly and safely as possible. Working through the transition to other rappel methods, while under the kind of stress that would come if there was an injury, is just more than I care to mess with.

So yes, there are lots of other methods and gear that can be used to rappel down after the hunt. But for me there is a lot more to consider than simply rappelling down afterwards. There is the safety and self-rescue aspect to be considered throughout the entire hunt. If you have another system, or the budget won’t allow for the price of a Safeguard (with inflated prices) then by all means use what you have. Be sure to think through and practice what you would do to self-rescue in the event something went major wrong. I would also suggest you save your pennies and buy a Safeguard, or equivalent device in the off-season. Don’t wait until the season is upon us.

As a side note, it is my understanding that the Trango Vergo and the Grigri+ will also work in the same manner as the Safeguard so would make great alternatives.
 

iamcorey

Well-Known Member
SH Member
Joined
Oct 24, 2018
Messages
2,228
Didn’t know emotions were that high about belay devices. I know that demand increased once they showed up on Tethrd’s YouTube commercials. Pair that with supply problems, and you have resellers buying out stock to post up on eBay, here and FB to make some Christmas money.


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CharlieTN

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2019
Messages
365
Didn’t know emotions were that high about belay devices. I know that demand increased once they showed up on Tethrd’s YouTube commercials. Pair that with supply problems, and you have resellers buying out stock to post up on eBay, here and FB to make some Christmas money.


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It is frustrating to see people who are taking advantage of the current demand but it is also what comes with our economy. The biggest way to stop that is shop in the off-season when demand is much lower.
 

Bwhana

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 8, 2017
Messages
1,973
Location
Hickory, NC
Well said and you highlighted the reasons I went to a Safeguard and will not look back!

Everything we do has risks (even walking to the mailbox to check the mail), and everyone has a different level of risk they are willing to accept. The benefits involved when using the Safeguard outweigh the risks for me by far.
 

JoyRyd

Well-Known Member
SH Member
Joined
Dec 1, 2019
Messages
360
Location
NW Colorado
You bring up some great points. Well stated, and I completely agree with the safety aspects of having constant access to an escape! Especially when you're a Dufus like me!
 

Two Arrows

New Member
SH Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2021
Messages
11
I might have a dumb question, but does anybody used a Safeguard and not repel with it? Use it on their tether in place of a ropeman because it's potentially safer?
 

Plebe

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SH Member
Joined
Sep 14, 2020
Messages
1,297
It's called a safeguard for crying out loud, is it one of those ironical names? I don't know it needs an attorney, yet.
 

Jwiggins762

Well-Known Member
SH Member
Joined
Jun 13, 2019
Messages
1,131
I might have a dumb question, but does anybody used a Safeguard and not repel with it? Use it on their tether in place of a ropeman because it's potentially safer?
I am, because I'm running 2 sticks right now and if I need to go higher I would rather use the safeguard than a ropeman or kong.
 

weekender21

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2018
Messages
1,251
Location
Hawaii and North Carolina
I might have a dumb question, but does anybody used a Safeguard and not repel with it? Use it on their tether in place of a ropeman because it's potentially safer?
I never rappel with my Safeguard, I only use it for SRT ascents. I use a figure eight or ATC for rappelling.

I would not consider the Safeguard a good option as a single point attachment for my tether/bridge BUT I don’t use a ropeman (anymore) either.

My rule: Add Mechanical devices into the system where they add a great deal of safety benefit or equal safety with added efficiency.

In my opinion, your bridge to tether connection isn’t a place where a mechanical belay or ascender buys you anything besides reduced safety and more weight/noise.


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Loopwing

Well-Known Member
SH Member
Joined
Mar 10, 2020
Messages
726
Location
Virginia
I agree and I keep saying we do it to ourselves. If WE don't pay the inflated prices, no one will sell them at inflated prices.

On the other hand if I can make something and you want to pay me a 400% mark up or more, who am I to say no. Someone just throws the price out there, no one has to buy it.

Nothing we buy or hunt with is essential. For thousands of years humans killed animals with sticks and stones.

(P. S. I am the proud owner of a safeguard, because I like my toys!!!)
 

sdoyle1

Well-Known Member
SH Member
Joined
Dec 23, 2019
Messages
479
I agree and I keep saying we do it to ourselves. If WE don't pay the inflated prices, no one will sell them at inflated prices.

On the other hand if I can make something and you want to pay me a 400% mark up or more, who am I to say no. Someone just throws the price out there, no one has to buy it.

Nothing we buy or hunt with is essential. For thousands of years humans killed animals with sticks and stones.

(P. S. I am the proud owner of a safeguard, because I like my toys!!!)
I have a safeguard I’m not currently using. I’ve considered selling it but I’m not sure I want to. I know it’s a $90 item but to me it’s worth at least $150 right now. I’m not even actively trying to sell it but if I did I’d certainly be asking what it’s value is to me and not just trying to make a buck off another hunter.


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Loopwing

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SH Member
Joined
Mar 10, 2020
Messages
726
Location
Virginia
You kinda missed the point, but yeah not trying to make a buck off of a friend. I was saying selling something in general. It is capitalism and they are sold for what a consumer will pay, not what it is worth. Are you not going to sell to the first person saying I will take it, because they are a "new member" or not a hunter?
 

sdoyle1

Well-Known Member
SH Member
Joined
Dec 23, 2019
Messages
479
You kinda missed the point, but yeah not trying to make a buck off of a friend. I was saying selling something in general. It is capitalism and they are sold for what a consumer will pay, not what it is worth. Are you not going to sell to the first person saying I will take it, because they are a "new member" or not a hunter?
If you’re referring to my comment I’m probably not going to sell it. It’s honestly more about the fact I don’t feel right asking for significantly more than msrp and I’m not willing to sell it for less than what I feel it’s worth to me. I actually did have it sold with a rappel rope for a good bit of money. I then saw one listed on Facebook for sale and pointed the buyer to it and he made the purchase from them. If I was looking to make maximum profits I’d just throw it on eBay and let the bidding wars begin. I don’t have a problem with people buying or selling them for over msrp but I just don’t feel right about doing it myself. I do have a problem if people are buying every safeguard they can that comes back into stock immediately and then trying to sell them to fellow hunters for a profit.


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HuumanCreed

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SH Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2020
Messages
851
Location
Westminster Maryland
I tested the Safeguard (catch and release for same price). It is a good 'jack of all trade' but master of none device and I think if you're trying to go as minimal as possible, it is the way to go. But I just like using device/tool that does what it is intended to do best, for my situation. The Safeguard did slide down the tether if slack was introduced, not as much as other similar mechanical devices like my Grigri2,. But slack can happen, which for me happens because I use a very large platform and sometime just stand straight on it with my back against the tree. Also the Safeguard sometime make noise when it hit against the stick as I climb, something I dont have to worry about with a prussic. So I use a prussic for one sticking up, then switch it out for my Grigri 2 going down (or SRTing).

If you have one, love it, and use it all the time, great! But I'm pretty sure anyone here would not let it stop them from going to hunt if they misplaced it that morning.

But to be honest, we are talking about a non essential item that are fall under the creation/hobby categories. I don't see an issue with people buying them and trying to sell them for a profit, especially if there are demands and people willing to spend the money. Things are worth what people are willing to pay for it. If someone has the capital to buy 10 Safeguards and are selling it at $200 each, I applause them for taking the time and effort to do it. Its not like they were hording life saving medicines. I understand its not the same situation, but would you blame someone for buying a house because they see where the market trend was going, then selling the house for a profit?
 

2Sloe

Well-Known Member
SH Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2021
Messages
484
Location
Virginia Beach VA
If you have one, love it, and use it all the time, great! But I'm pretty sure anyone here would not let it stop them from going to hunt if they misplaced it that morning.
Definitely wouldn’t stop me…I have a backup lol. I’m certainly not going to gouge anyone or sell it for fair market value. I bought it to have a backup, not to make a profit.
 
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