Port-a-Wraps: Friend or Foe?
When it comes to heavy duty rigging, us climbers want—scratch that—NEED enough friction there to give us full control of the piece coming down! That's where a handy Port-a-Wrap comes in.
I’ve been on job sites were multiple Port-a-Wraps were being used simultaneously. If the team doesn't have the necessary friction in place, then big pieces of timber could send the ground crew flying into the air like Superman! Trust me, you don’t want to be that crew member who gets caught on video flying through the air. Next you're on social media going viral, and the tree climber community will never let you live that down.
Embrace The Port-a-Wrap
Port-a-Wraps paired with a dead-eye sling can be a game changer! If you are hesitant to give one a shot, don’t be. This device gets attached to the tree by using a sling of your choice. You could use a spare chunk of bull rope as well. When the climber has everything attached and ready to go, thread the rope through the Port-a-Wrap and it’s set. Super quick and easy. Instead of taking wraps around the tree, the rope goes around the barrel/post of the Port-a-Wrap. It does take some practice to determine how many wraps you'll need to throw into the system. I recommend practicing with light to moderate loads first. This way you won’t send actually send your climber on a wild ride!
Another benefit to using the Port-a-Wrap is being able to safely lock the load in place. There are times when you need to keep the load suspended before fully lowering it to the ground. This friction device works well with 5:1’s or even a RopeJack. Just imagine, where you may have needed three people to lift a limb and quickly capture it, your mechanical advantage and port-a-wrap frees the other two crew members to maneuver the load on the ground.
Can You Go Without a Port-a-Wrap?
Say you're on a job without a Port-a-wrap available, what’s the next best thing you can do? If you guessed use the tree, then you are correct! Wrapping rope around the tree has worked for the longest time and continues to work when people get in a pinch, but this method does have its limitations.
Think about this. Let’s say you’ve invested in a heavy-duty impact block and a strong double braid rig rope to get the job done. The minute your groundie takes those wraps around the tree and lets it run, your new rope just melted and turned to plastic. This method can also leave burn marks on the tree itself and you may end up with an angry customer on your hands.
What's Better Than a Port-a-Wrap?
There is one system that beats the Port-a-Wrap. That would be the Good Rigging Control System (GRCS). GRCS are the ultimate in premium rigging systems, but they are an investment and not in everyone's budget. The GRCS has a deadlift rating of 3,000 lbs, and offers up to 44:1 mechanical advantage! You can learn more about the Good Control Rigging System in this blog.
Overexerting yourselves is a day of the past. It’s time to work smart and keep your joints in good condition.