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Salamander Customer service not so good.

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Hi All,

Just wanted to let everyone know my recent experience with Salamander. I bought a Salamander throw bag for a GC trip and noticed it had a non-locking carabiner. So, I called Salamander and asked “Is this a mistake or is it standard on their throw bags”. The guy quickly replied it’s standard and hung up, I tried calling back and they never answered my call.

So, if you’re in the market for a throw bag take this into consideration.
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Because I wanted to keep the bag and thought they would be like, no we don’t use those anymore and send me a locking one, but I was wrong. I thought it was basic knowledge that you only use locking carabiners in whitewater but I guess that’s just me.
Ummmm....throw bags that come with carabiners are generally locking. Tow tethers (and sometimes flip lines) generally come with a non-locking biner for quick grabs and those non-locking biners are also covered and secured so they won't snag a rope in a rescue and are meant for deployment when towing a kayak back to the bank. The Golden Retriever is a throw bag/tow tether hybrid. If you don't need a tow tether and want a throw bag with a locking biner, plenty of other options not designed to be a tow tether.

I doubt Kokatat and Outdoorplay would sell something similar if it was unsafe and not a somewhat industry standard use for a carabiner.




Sorry Salamander didn't pick up your other calls.
 

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I purchased a pump from them that had the wrong size o-ring in it so it didn’t work, at all. I called and was told they ordered, and installed the wrong ones in one batch, but the proper sized ones were in and I could order one, if I wanted. He was very polite about it, but I certainly thought it odd they asked me yo pay for their mistake. I bought two and carried on.

I have a raft table of theirs I like very much, and the pump works as it should, with the new o-ring. My business is at a point where I could hire employees, but don’t for this very reason. It’s tough yo find ones that care. The OP may have gotten that guy. I’d probably buy from them again, but wouldn’t seek them out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
Ummmm....throw bags that come with carabiners are generally locking. Tow tethers (and sometimes flip lines) generally come with a non-locking biner for quick grabs and those non-locking biners are also covered and secured so they won't snag a rope in a rescue and are meant for deployment when towing a kayak back to the bank. The Golden Retriever is a throw bag/tow tether hybrid. If you don't need a tow tether and want a throw bag with a locking biner, plenty of other options not designed to be a tow tether.

I doubt Kokatat and Outdoorplay would sell something similar if it was unsafe and not a somewhat industry standard use for a carabiner.




Sorry Salamander didn't pick up your other calls.
Thanks for the info, I appreciate it.
 

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Non locking carabiners do have important advantages in certain circumstances, not just for kayakers towing. Those would be for “cowtails” (aka tow teathers, leashes, etc), that are attached via quick release to the PFD belt on one end AND clipped to a quick release loop or breaking D-ring on the other end. They should not be clipped in any other way, such as to a shoulder of the PFD etc.
I have always been a bit wary about using a Salmander bag as a substitute for a rescue PFD with a cowtail. While I have used one in the past, including for towing a kayak to shore, they do not offer all of the same options that a rescue PFD offers. The one thing that I always did like about them was the fact that I always had a throw bag with me when scouting. In my opinion a rescue PFD with a cowtail offers a lot more. Proper training obviously is necessary, including refresher courses every few years.
 

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I thought it was basic knowledge that you only use locking carabiners in whitewater but I guess that’s just me.
Unless it's a tow tether and has a pocket made for it! You called and presumed to tell someone who probably knows more than you why their product violates some "rule" that you hold sacred.

I think that their sub-1000-pound strength rope is dumb, waist bags are dumb, and velcro visors are dumb, but you won't catch me calling and hassling them about it.
 

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Because I wanted to keep the bag and thought they would be like, no we don’t use those anymore and send me a locking one, but I was wrong. I thought it was basic knowledge that you only use locking carabiners in whitewater but I guess that’s just me.
Been doing this almost 40 years, never have I heard it as rule to ‘only use locking carabiners in Whitewater’. They have their place, unlocking have a place as well. I use a mix of both. Salamander has always made excellent products at a much better price. I’m taking this as outlier and will continue to shop Salamander, and keep a couple of the pesky NON locking carabiners on my jacket for who knows what.
 

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Yeah, non locking carabiners should never be clipped to a PFD. I can only think of two good exceptions: tucked into a pocket or pouch that prevents them from accidentally clipping to something, or when used on a tow tether.

I think (hazardous as that might be) that part of the confusion about locking vs non-locking carabiners in this discussion stems from the fact that the Golden Retriever bag is also intended for use as a tow tether. The carabiner on those bags should absolutely be tucked into the pouch to prevent accidentally clipping to something.

Nothing agains Salamander as a company, as they have been great to me in the past, but I am not a fan at all of using their bags as a substitute for an actual tow tether on a quick release system on a PFD. I think they were a great idea when they were first introduced; a time where rescue PFDs were no where near as common in the US (and there was very little training in their uses at that time either).

When using a tow tether there are big advantages of having the carabiner be a non locking one, or at least an easy open locker. This is getting a bit off the original post, but I think it’s pretty relevant given a few of the comments in the thread. It’s worth digging into the additional uses of tow tethers in rescue situations. They are not just for towing kayaks or paddles, something that I almost never use mine for to be honest. The Golden Retriever tether should never be considered for anything other than easy towing situations imo. There are also still some big safety concerns surrounding all tow leashes in general imo, but there is no question that they are valuable tools that have saved lives. Like any tool they require training to maximize their potential and minimize their risks.
 

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Salamander Paddle Gear is top notch. The owner has forgotten more about whitewater saftey and gear than most people will ever know. Putting a locking ****** on a throw rope is a good way to drown someone.
 

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Because I wanted to keep the bag and thought they would be like, no we don’t use those anymore and send me a locking one, but I was wrong. I thought it was basic knowledge that you only use locking carabiners in whitewater but I guess that’s just me.
That really isn’t the case. Historically most tow tethers came with non-locking carabiners. Over the last few years, some manufacturers: Astral/ maybe others have put lockingcarabiners on their models, but many don’t. NRS/ Salamander/ Kokatat/ etc. all use non-lockers. Most use wire gate or large paddle ‘
 

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You don’t mention which model you purchased, but I have purchased a few of his throw bags and other items over the years and have always been impressed.

The website shows most throw bags don’t come with a carabiner of any kind at all. Is the model you purchased listed online with a locking carabiner?
the one he bought has a tow tether feature also. That’s the part that has a carabiner attached. It shows in the description that it’s a wire gate carabiner.
 

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Which is exactly my point. The OP purchased a product at a local retailer that is as advertised, then called the manufacturer to complain that it’s not what he expected?

It clearly shows a picture and a description of the carabiner on the Salamander website as well as a review on www.paddling.com as “the benchmark for all other rescue bags…the most widely sought waist worn rescue bag in the industry.”

I also own the same product, in use only on my SUP’s on lakes, not moving water.

The OP has a beef about a carabiner and complained to the manufacturer, and posts about it here to slight them? Poor form, take your L and get a refund at the retailer if you don’t like the product. Or simply buy a locking carabiner.


the one he bought has a tow tether feature also. That’s the part that has a carabiner attached. It shows in the description that it’s a wire gate carabiner.
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
Which is exactly my point. The OP purchased a product at a local retailer that is as advertised, then called the manufacturer to complain that it’s not what he expected?

It clearly shows a picture and a description of the carabiner on the Salamander website as well as a review on www.paddling.com as “the benchmark for all other rescue bags…the most widely sought waist worn rescue bag in the industry.”

I also own the same product, in use only on my SUP’s on lakes, not moving water.

The OP has a beef about a carabiner and complained to the manufacturer, and posts about it here to slight them? Poor form, take your L and get a refund at the retailer if you don’t like the product. Or simply buy a locking carabiner.
So in my original post my main complaint was the customer service. I simply asked if that was their standard and he abruptly said yes and hung up. Locking or non-locking carabiner, if we can’t agree that’s bad customer service, I don’t know what to tell you.
 

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Because I wanted to keep the bag and thought they would be like, no we don’t use those anymore and send me a locking one, but I was wrong. I thought it was basic knowledge that you only use locking carabiners in whitewater but I guess that’s just me.

It's not basic knowledge. Some like lockers, some dislike how easily they get boogered with silt. Where you live, what your rivers are like, how often you need the 'biner, and how good you are at maintaining your gear all come into play.

I wouldn't have answered your second call either.
 

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So you picked it up, off the shelf, saw that had a non-locking carabiner, bought it, and then called them up looking for a freebie?

Is this maybe not the first time someone wouldn't take your second call?
Just guessing.
 

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Not being privy to the actual dialogue in the original phone call, it's hard to know if either or both parties were polite or something else.

Those waist bags have some benefits; you always have it even when you scout. They also are less than ideal, and I never really wanted one. I borrowed one for a while and decided not to get one. Even with the carabiner stuffed into its pocket, it could hurt someone on the receiving end. With the belt, it doesn't throw as good. As a tow tether, it is adequate for towing a wayward kayak to shore. I prefer how my rescue vest tows rather than something around my waist. My rescue vest did not come with a tether; I had to make one. No big deal. It didn't come with a carabiner either. I bought a large-gate paddle carabiner so I could more easily clip into a wayward paddle rather than holding two paddles; that also works. The large gate is also handy to quickly clip into a grab loop on a boat, and the vest has a quick release if needed. The paddle carabiner is not a locking carabiner.

It's a good idea to get in the habit of grabbing your throw bag when you go scout. That eliminates the primary benefit of a waist bag.
 

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Avoiding non locking carabiners is generally considered a best practice for whitewater paddling. Here’s a video that may convince you to remove non lockers from your PFD.


That's a good example.

Someone that lives in the desert southwest -- and that is constantly having to either clean the threads on their lockers, or toss them when they are uncleanable, or wonder when the last time they cleaned the threads might have been -- might feel differently than someone that primarily spends time in clean, green water.

I used to live in the desert. I learned to stop spending the money on lockers there. Now I live where the water is usually clean. I still don't use lockers, but I am hyper-attentive to where any/every biner is placed on my pfd or boat(s), and why, to avoid the scenario you linked to.
 

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This thread is a good reminder of the importance of regularly updating your swiftwater safety and rescue knowledge. Online resources and books can be helpful to a point, but there really is no substitute for good quality swiftwater rescue classes. There are often different ideas and opinions, and sometimes some debate on these classes; but at least in the class setting there are opportunities to physically demonstrate the issues in a way that can be pretty productive.

Anyone who has not had a swiftwater rescue class in the last few years might be surprised by how much more has been learned along the way in recent times. It’s also a great idea to take swiftwater rescue classes from different sources if possible to broaden your knowledge base and bag of tricks.
 
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