A lot of people ask me about gear so I decided to write up an overview of my personal gear recommendations. These are just my personal preferences but everyone will agree that using rated climbing hardware is best. I’ll work from the top down in terms of how I generally rig.
The hardpoint that you clip into is probably the weakest link in everything except for possibly the rope. It is very, very important that you tie off to something that is very secure. If there is a structural beam and you can put a climbing sling/runner over it, that is usually best (I carry 2 slings of different length to rig off a beam or adjust the height of me point). If you are putting an eye-bolt in, it must be a closed eye like a drop forged eye bolt and put in straight up and down with appropriate washers and locking nuts on the other end. You’ll also need to check if it is tight before you tie each time and you must use a swivel to make sure you don’t unscrew it during the tie.
To clip into the hardpoint, I use a standard climbing carabiner. Usually this one is a locking one for me but doesn’t need to be. If you do use a locking one, I suggest not using an auto-lock or anything beyond a simple screw in case anyone else needs to help you get someone down quick and they aren’t familiar with how to open the gate. These are what I usually suggest.
In between the top carabiner and rigging hardware is where I put a swivel. The swivel is vital for any bolt so that if the person spins during the tie, the bolt doesn’t unscrew (it has happened) and is just generally nice so that the bottom can rotate around without being spun back in the other direction. My favorite swivel is one with a shackle opening on one side to avoid using another carabiner below the hardpoint. The more space you can save in your rigging hardware, the easier it is to do a suspension without a really high hardpoint.
Below that carabiner are two general styles things you will tie to. One style uses a bunch of carabiners clipped to each other, on a rigging plate that holds them apart or a thin ring that they are clipped into. The other style is with a large ring that the rope goes directly onto. If you are using a rigging plate, it can go into the shackle of the swivel or you’ll use a carabiner. For all carabiners clipped in near the body or up top below the swivel, I recommend basic non-locking carabiner that doesn’t have a notch in the nose. When unclipping a carabiner, the notch can catch on stranded rope and potentially harm it by high-stranding it.
I personally like to use a large, thick ring and put the rope directly on the ring. The larger turning radius is a lot nicer on rope and will let it last longer. It will also jam a lot less than carabiners. My current rings are Blue Diamond Trading Co 10″ rings. I use a 11cm sling put into the shackle of the swivel to conserve as much height as possible.
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask at a Rope Bite!