Success on Kickstarter doesn’t always mean success in real life. Just ask the makers of the Coolest Cooler. Although it was one of the most popular projects on the crowdfunding website, the company was ultimately too broke to ship the product to its backers. And now, it seems as though we may have another success-turned-problem on our hands. It’s called the Apricoat jacket, and while its makers claim that one of its 16 features (yes, seriously) is a SafeAnchor Life Saver, some experts are saying that it’s anything but.
As initially reported by Gear Junkie, Apricoat’s lifesaving claim may not really hold water. As Ron Funderburke, Education Manager of the American Alpine Club and AMGA-certified rock climbing guide, told Gear Junkie, “You start telling people you’re going to save their lives, you better be able to back that up.” But it’s unclear if the company is capable of doing so.
So what exactly is the SafeAnchor on the Apricoat? In essence, it’s a sling that goes around the jacket and that is connected with two D-shape clip points. The wearer uses the feature by clipping in both points with a carabiner and rope, and then holding on (for life). Apricoat claims, “SafeAnchor is a potentially life-saving emergency clip that can carry up to 400 pounds.” But in testing, that claim didn’t exactly hold true.
The problem is that while the SafeAnchor can hold 400 pounds of static weight before breaking, this doesn’t take into consideration the additional force exerted by a fall. Indeed, according to studies conducted by outdoor magazines and gear brands, “In most cases, even the lightest falls exceed the SafeAnchor’s 400-pound weight limit,” due to the force produced by falling even a short distance.
Ultimately, the issue with Apricoat lies in its marketing and its perhaps too-bold claims about saving lives. When the designer of the coat was pressed further, he noted that the Apricoat was intended for hikers and travelers, “and not exclusively intended to be used as a climbing or rescue device.”
So be careful, friends. When something sounds a little too good to be true, doing your research could be the real difference between life and death.