Who runs CanyonGear.com.au?
Among the people I canyon with I’m known as T2. I am one of the founders of the Fat Canyoners website, where we have spent many years sharing our passion for the outdoors.
I am lucky enough to live in the lower Blue Mountains, with great canyons practically on my doorstep. This has allowed me to spend hundreds of days exploring stunning canyons during the past decade.
In more recent years, I have been lucky enough to canyoneer in the United States, where my eyes were opened to some amazing techniques and equipment that make descending canyons easier, safer, more enjoyable, and most importantly, more sustainable.
Why did you set this store up?
After arranging a bulk order of specialist retrievable anchor equipment for a group of two-dozen Australian canyoners, I realised there was a real need for a specialist online store that was devoted to providing only the best gear for canyoners.
When canyoning kicked off in Australia seven decades ago, it involved bushwalkers armed with nothing more than heavy manila ropes which they used to visit previously inaccessible slot canyons for the first time. Over the decades, techniques and equipment from other pursuits that involved rope-work — such as rock climbing and caving — allowed canyoning to go from a niche activity to a significant outdoor pursuit. But the challenges faced by canyoners differ in many ways from other outdoor activities. This has resulted in specialist equipment being developed that provides the best possible performance for these unique environments. This has largely been driven by canyoners in Europe and the United States, where the popularity of exploring technical canyons has exploded in recent decades.
For Australian canyoners, it is still quite hard to access many of these items, with most outdoor retailers stocking only basic canyoning equipment. This leaves people either using inferior gear, or forced to pay exorbitant prices to ship what they want from overseas.
My vision with CanyoningGear.com.au is to help Australian canyoners get their hands on the very best gear available. In particular, I want to stock items that have been custom designed by active canyoners from around the world, utilising their wealth of knowledge and years of experience. I am also really keen to promote items that have been designed and made in Australia for our specific conditions.
What do you hope to achieve?
While this store involves selling products, and will need to charge enough to cover the time and energy I put into it, that is not the main aim. I am involved in a number of projects that are focused on achieving the same thing: a more skilled, experienced, and cooperative community of Australian canyoners; and a more sustainable future for the spectacular canyons we all love.
So while I’d like to earn enough to justify the time and effort I put in, the development of this store is being guided by three central objectives: providing a service to canyoners, being good for the future of our canyons, and protection of the environment more broadly.
I hope to deliver for canyoners by bringing together the best products, including custom gear and specialist items, at an affordable price. As part of that, if you are chasing a specific product that is impossible to find in Australia, or prohibitively expensive to ship individually, I want to help. If you subscribe for email updates you’ll be informed when exciting new items arrive, or when we are putting together a group order to bring something over more cost effectively.
You will also note that many of the stocked products are items that help lower our impact on the canyon environment. The goal is to leave less behind, reduce wear caused by ropes and people, and generally promote approaches that keep our canyons pristine, unique, spectacular places for future generations.
Those who know me will also realise I’m an activist at heart. That is why I will ensure at least 10 per cent of the proceeds from this store are used for conservation efforts. In Australia, we are lucky to have some of the most unique flora, fauna, and landscapes on earth. But this natural heritage is under increasing pressure from commercial interests seeking to exploit it for their own gain. Nature needs to be actively defended, and CanyonGear.com.au is part of my effort to put my money where its mouth is.
How do I get in touch with you
If you’ve got a question about a product, are interested in placing a bulk order on behalf of an outdoor club or organisation, want help tracking down a hard to find bit of kit, or are having problems with the website, get in touch using the contact page.
For general questions about equipment selection or canyoning techniques, consider posting your question to the Canyoning Australia forum. I will still respond, but you’ll also benefit from the insights of other experienced canyoners. Unlike individual emails and conversations, those publicly-accessible discussions will hopefully add to the pool of knowledge available to the broader canyoning community.