There is a sense of freedom that comes with a good run, however the reality is that running can often take us into situations where we become quite vulnerable to a number of threats. In the event of encountering one of these threats, it’s important to have the best chance of defending yourself against the threat, where appropriate, or raising the alarm.
Anyone who has ever been exposed to even the slightest dose of pepper spray will know just how potent it is, and therefore how effective it can be in neutralising a threat. If sprayed correctly and directly into an attacker’s eyes, it will immediately induce blindness, excrutiating burning pain, swelling, nausea and disorientation which will last for at least 45 minutes. Despite how effective it is, its unlikely to cause any permanent damage and so its the perfect tool to prevent an attack and give yourself enough time to get away without landing yourself in any legal troubles. It’s important to note too that in the realm of hiking and trailrunning, attackers could come in many forms and humans aren’t the only threat. A great example of this is an occasion where I had to use it against a pack of dogs in the Drakensberg.
Another handy piece of equipment to keep on you for in case you should run into some problems is an air horn. This has a dual purpose in allowing you to raise an alarm in the event of being attacked and draw the attention of potential help, or again, in the context of trailrunning or hiking, should you become lost or immobilised for whatever reason, it could come in very handy to alert search parties or broadcast your location.
These can be two important pieces of equipment for us to run or hike with, however finding a place to keep them where they are easily accessible can be a challenge. That’s why when we came across the recently launched and locally produced TUSKFORCE self-defence Belt (aptly named after a warthog’s tusks which pose a threat to predators, even those far larger than the warthog), we decided we needed to get our hands on this product and test it.
The active components of the belt include the personal alarm (air horn) and the direct stream pepper spray which come with the belt, each sitting snugly in its own pouch. The base belt comprises of polypropylene webbing and a side-release buckle. At the back it has a section of elastic to make it sit snugly yet comfortably, notably for athletes, cyclists, outdoor enthusiasts and others who work outdoors or in dangerous areas.
Reflective tape was incorporated in the belt design right around the belt, applied directly to the webbing, to promote visibility of the wearer to rescue services and road users, after dark or in low light conditions. For more domestic uses, the final touch is a trigger hook mounted on the belt for the wearer to hang a panic remote button or keys.
During testing we found that the belt fitted comfortably, largely because the belt design incorporates some velcro attachments which allow for the pouches to be positioned and secured as the wearer finds it comfortable. The pouches can be positioned away from swinging arms and it becomes easy to forget that you’re even wearing the belt. The pouches are robust and well-constructed and a flap secures the contents with a press stud. Although this feels like it might cost a few split seconds in trying to draw out the canisters, the developers are confident that the firmness of the stud is a better option than velcro which wears over time and with repeated use. Furthermore, the horn can actually be discharged while in the pouch, so no need to get it out.
The pepper spray which is included in the belt is a direct stream model which is designed to release a tight coherent stream pattern directed at the attacker without contaminating the immediate surroundings and is less susceptible to potential winds than the fog model. The one which we tested was able to project this stream for over six metres.
It’s clear that considerable thought went into the design and construction of the belt in an effort to make it effective, durable and comfortable. This is a product which has many applications, particularly in the South African market, and certainly is one which trail runners and other outdoor lovers could benefit from. You can buy the TUSKFORCE self-defence belt directly from its designer and supplier Grumpy Warthog Enterprises. At the time of review, the price of this product is R549 excluding delivery.
For more information, contact details can be found below:
Tel: 087 808 9880
Mobile: 083 556 9096