'YOU CAN HOLD SO MUCH STUFF IN THERE': BREAKING DOWN THE TEAM WENDY RADIO RIG
Gavin Chanin works for the Santa Barbara County search and rescue team – one of the busiest SAR teams in California. He’s responded to every type of call over the last three years. Climbing accidents? Check. Mud slides? Check. Swift water rescues, wildfires and backcountry searches? Check, check and check. Traffic accidents, too. Those calls come in all the time. His 40-person team does close to 200 calls per year. Lately he’s been wearing the new Team Wendy Radio Rig.
The accessory, newly available for
purchase, is a first for Team Wendy.
Chanin said it’s made his job easier. “It’s incredibly comfortable and you can hold so much in there,” Chanin, 33, said. “I keep about double what I kept in my old one, which was like wearing a necklace.” That means his GPS, batteries, radio, tape, compass, light sticks, notebook and pens, map, etc. are better compartmentalized. “It’s funny,” he explained, “you might be climbing up a mountain in the middle of the night and someone asks for light sticks … but no one wants to have to dig into their bags to get them out.” “In a weird way, just having quick access to something is as important as having it in the first place,” he said. When Chanin is called out for a rescue, he knows it could be for a half hour or three days. Long callouts require focus, and rescuers shouldn’t be distracted by their rig. “This rig is comfortable, which shouldn’t be such a big differentiator because you’d think someone would have figured out comfort 20 years ago,” he said. Chanin likes to wear his rig high, an inch or two below his clavicle. And he’s thrilled to get some equipment off his belt. “Between harnesses and big belts and pants … the less on your hips the better,” he said.