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Tree climbing harness market due for (another) shake up

Tree climbing harness market due for (another) shake up

Richard Tregoweth - Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Poor old Buckingham! Once upon a time (in New Zealand at least) Buckingham dominated the tree climbing harness market. Now, they are barely on the radar screen.

Over the last few years the Treemagineers Treemotion harness has slowly, but surely, chipped away at Buckingham's harness sales volume in New Zealand.

Other players including Tree Austria, Komet and Petzl have lost a small market share to the Treemotion juggernaut but Buckingham has been the biggest loser by a long shot.

Even the heavily promoted Ergovation could not re-ignite the NZ market for the US manufacturer.

As a direct result, Buckingham harnesses are migrating into the bargain bin at many resellers, including the New Zealand distributor for the product (surely this is a bad sign?).

Another harness taking a price hit is the Tree Austria series. 

That's because the Drayer/Haberkron team, manufacturers of the Tree Austria harnesses, have the new 3.1 version arriving soon and old stock must be cleared to make room for their new baby.

The Tree Austria 3.1 is very similar to the current Tree Austria III hence its lowly point one title. The revised model will have a removable bridge, a lack of which has long been a complaint with the series.

Revamping old model harnesses is not restricted to Tree Austria.

Skylotec have relaunched the Kollibi with new features like the quick release buckles on the leg loops, a rear chainsaw attachment point (something completely missing on the earlier version), caritool attachment points on the webbing belt and first aid kit straps on the rear.

Stein have announced a newcomer harness called the Vega due for release in May. It has a large ergo-shaped back support, reminiscent of the original TreeFlex harness, adjustable quick release leg loops and rear chainsaw mounting point.

The bridge is removable, thanks to the 'Connecto' rings first developed by Edelrid. A pre-attached floating ring on the bridge completes the package (Petzl still insist on providing the ring as an added extra).

Stein developed a range of accessories to allow full customization of the Vega harness. Branded as U-CREATE, the system includes a specially designed piece of hardware, the CB Anchor, for the management of your accessories.

The Treemagineers first introduced the idea for customizing tool attachment points but Stein have taken the concept one step further with the Vega.

If Buckingham thought they could see light at the end of the tree-work positioning harness market tunnel - welcome to 2012!

Stein vega Harness

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