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The Canyon Gear story

Squeezing through a narrow slot in Utah

The birth of Canyon Gear was a happy accident. After arranging a couple bulk orders of specialist canyoning equipment that wasn’t available in Australia, I realised there was a real need for a specialist store devoted purely to the needs of canyoners. It’s still a work in progress, but I love the excuse it gives me to spend time thinking about canyoning, talking to other canyoners, and discovering new and exciting products from around the world.

Among the people I canyon with I’m known as T2, but officially I’m Tim Vollmer. I am one of the founders of the Fat Canyoners website, where I’ve spent many years sharing my passion for the outdoors.

I’m lucky enough to live in Australia’s World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains, which is home to many world-class slot canyons.

In more recent years, canyoneering in the United States opened my eyes to some amazing techniques and equipment that make descending canyons easier, safer, more enjoyable, and most importantly, more sustainable.

When canyoning kicked off in Australia seven decades ago, it involved bushwalkers armed with nothing more than heavy manila ropes. Over the decades, techniques and equipment from mountaineering, rock climbing and caving allowed canyoning to go from a niche activity to a significant outdoor pursuit. As more time was spent in canyons, dealing with the challenges they pose, specialist equipment was developed to provide the best possible performance for these unique environments. Much of this has been driven by overseas canyoners, with the popularity of technical canyoning exploding in recent decades.

Canyon Gear is guided by three central objectives: to provide a service to canyoners, to support a sustainable future for canyons, and to protect the environment more broadly.

I aim to deliver for canyoners by bringing together the best products, including custom gear and specialist items, at an affordable price. In particular, I aim to stock items that have been custom designed by active canyoners from around the world, utilising their wealth of knowledge and years of experience. Where possible, I also aim to support local Australian and New Zealand manufacturers.

Many of these products help lower our impact on the canyon environment. The goal is to leave less behind, reduce wear, and generally promote approaches that keep canyons pristine, unique, spectacular places for future generations.

I also want to be part of building a more skilled, experienced, and cooperative canyoning community; and a more sustainable future for the spectacular canyons we all love.

While this store involves selling products, making money has never been my main objective. I jokingly call it my “not for profit” business, because all the proceeds have gone into buying more stock or supporting environmental conservation.

With my partner Bron, we support a range of 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. Nature needs to be actively defended, and Canyon Gear is part of my effort to put my money where its mouth is.

Abseiling in a canyon in Tasmania