By Steve Bullman

4_5stars

Armor-prus hitch cord

single_review

Donaghys has worked closely alongside certified Arborists and champion tree climbers to develop a range of arbour ropes you can hang your life on. Donaghys Arboriculture range includes climbing lines, access lines, prusik lines, rigging, lowering and crane lines. The range has been certified to both Australian and International standards, developed off US benchmarks.
This review is focussed on their 8mm version of the Armor-Prus friction hitch cord which consists of a unique cover blend of Technora and polyester which acts like Armor over a core of light weight Spectra® 900/Kevlar.

Very light weight, no stretch
Easy to splice
Meets ITCC climbing comp rules
Certified to Australian standard AS4142.3
Available in 8mm & 10mm in 100m reels

I was expecting good things from this cord after hearing some very favourable reports from New Zealand, so I was naturally very keen to put it through its paces. I have always been a little sceptical towards some of the latest heat resistant cords. Generally speaking I would usually change my cord on a fairly regular basis, long before its worn enough to warrant replacing. I tend to find after a few good climbs the performance that a fresh cord gives is quickly lost. With a cheap bog standard double braid this means I can afford to bin it every other day if I wanted to. With some of the newer heat resistant cords out there I’ve experienced the exact same thing, after a few days climbing the performance is considerably diminished leaving a cord which, although has plenty of life left in it, doesn’t perform as freely as I like and ends up at the bottom of my kit bag. So on this basis do I want to pay a premium for a cord that will effectively last a lot longer than I am going to actually use it for? This is of course purely my opinion and I have actually spoke to several people who prefer their cord well worn in, I guess a lot depends on your chosen hitch, wrap/braid combination.

With all that in mind I set about the destruction of the armor-prus.

My favourite cord has always been a standard polyester double braid, mainly due to the soft construction which results in quite a dependable grip when using advanced friction hitches such as the valdotain. The armor-prus has a relatively soft feel compared to other cords on the market which I immediately liked . I run a basic valdotain with 3 wraps and 2 braids, which I prefer to have tied fairly loose. In my experience, with anything other than a very soft pliable cord the hitch becomes very temperamental in this setup…the Armor-Prus suited this well.

In practical use the cord reacted as I thought it would – very dependable, once set just right the hitch would grip every time. For descent I was equally impressed. The cord does have a tendancy to heat up during quick descents, which as a glove wearer, I probably wouldn’t have noticed had someone not mentioned it to me.

The biggest surprise for me with this cord though is its sheer longevity. I have had the same piece of cord in active use now for close to 3 months and its worth noting, has performed exceptionally well throughout a good portion of that. This has been used on several different ropes, all of which it has reacted well on. One particular day which I won’t forget in a hurry, and which was actually witnessed by a couple of arbtalk members, was several weeks ago, about 50ft up a Chestnut tree mid way through a removal. I felt a nasty jab on the back of my neck… By the time I had realized I was being attacked by wasps I had a dozen or so stings on my head and neck and decided it was about time to get myself out of the tree! Which I did – and very fast!! Once on the ground, and after getting myself back together again, I took the cord off my rope fully expecting to throw it straight in the bin. I was amazed to find the rope wasn’t even glazed, and I’m actually still using that same piece of rope today. Ok, so after all this time I admit it isn’t performing so good, and I probably would have binned it a couple of weeks ago under normal circumstances, but I’m intrigued now to see just how long this one piece of cord can last! This brings us back to my earlier question; “do I want to pay a premium for a cord that will effectively last a lot longer than I am going to actually use it for?” I have no idea at this point what the retail price of the Armor-Prus will be, but I shall definately be buying it.

So in conclusion, I have very little if anything bad to say about this cord, other than the fact that its not yet available in this country! Hopefully that will change soon, and when it does you’ll hear about it first at Arbtalk!

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