DMM Wales recently posted a 'factory tour' video detailing the production of DMM equipment. The passion exuded by DMM employees is almost palpable, working together as a big family of craftsmen (and women). They make the gear, they use the gear.
The care and attention poured into each product somehow makes it very re-assuring when you finally lay your own hands on a piece of DMM equipment (especially satisfying when you are 30m up).
Back in 2004 DMM could have followed the Chinese 'out-sourcing' trend adopted by plenty of other PPE manufacturers but they decided to stay put in North Wales. Quality and consistency are vital in the manufacture of PPE and customer perception is not to be underestimated.
DMM's decision has paid dividends by the look of it!
Somehow 'made in China' doesn't quite cut the mustard when it comes to tree climbing gear. Of course the situation might change but it not going to happen any day soon (in our humble opinion).
If DMM make all their gear in Llanberis, North Wales what about the other tree climbing equipment manufacturers?
It's a little hard to find precise details on the subject - as you can imagine some companies are very secretive about their 'out-sourcing' habits (probably for good reason) but all you need do is troll a few company websites and you'll find something like this:
- Rock Exotica manufacture all their equipment in the USA (according to RE marketing: it is part of our identity to make everything ourselves)
- Petzl make most of their gear in France (or the US) but some products are made in Malaysia or China
- Wild Country assemble components in Wales but most manufacturing is undertaken in China and Taiwan
- Black Diamond run their own factories in China and mainland USA (BD are technically not 'out-sourcing' since they are directly involved in Chinese manufacturing).
There are some climbers who will say "who gives a toss where the carabiner is made - as long as it's cheap!"
Thankfully, in tree climbing circles at least, there is a strong sentiment for supporting ethical tree climbing equipment manufacturers (and tree climbing suppliers).
So much so, the 'China Export' logo is not seen on tree climbing gear at Treetools! An accessory carabiner perhaps, but not climbing equipment.
A Chinese knock-off in action - read the explanation here