Thanks to their convenient size and exceptional quality, Gear Keeper retractors have become very popular in the diving community. As you probably know, divers are always trying to find the best way to attach and secure their gear when going on a dive and Gear Keeper offers a great solution.
Retractors (recoils) are perhaps the easiest way to always have your gear close at hand without the fear of losing it. You just pull it, use it, and then let it go – it will pull itself back into place. This way there’s no need to manually re-attach it as you would do with a clip, and there is no chance of accidentally dropping it. To make attaching the retractor more convenient, you have a choice of several different mounting options – heavy duty snap clips, stainless steel snap clips, brass bolt clips, threaded stud mounts, and micro retractors.
While the mounting can be different, all these retractors share the same construction quality that includes extra-tough nylon lines and stainless steel springs. Furthermore, each model comes with a handy side release to quickly attach/detach the gear, and a stainless steel split ring at the end for securing any piece of equipment.
Depending on the model you choose, the retraction force ranges from 2.5 to 24 ounces, allowing you to hang different gear. The extension length of the line varies between 18 and 42 inches, which is more than enough to use the gear freely.
Retractors are useful and inexpensive gear that every diver should have. Based on our experience, the models from Gear Keeper are reliable and offer excellent functionality and durability. If you like them so far and want to learn more, be sure to read the rest of our review below.
Gear Keeper RT3, RT4, and RT5 retractors are well-designed equipment with smart features. While things like the operating mechanism and end attachments are the same on every model, their strength, mounting type, and extension length vary from one model to the other. Take a quick look at what you get on every model:
- Each model equipped with a QC or QC-II female and a QC Male 7/8″ Split Ring accessory
- The QC or QC-II makes the gear very easy to attach and detach
- Every retractor has stainless steel spring hardware to prevent corrosion
- Tough spectra/nylon line for top-level strength and high breaking point
- Long extension for using your gear without trouble
- A patented flushing system cleans the retractor of sand and debris
- Excellent choice of materials guarantees strength and durability
Scuba Micro Retractor (RT5-5906)
- Mounting system: Carabiner Clip
- Retraction force: 2.5oz
- Extension: 36in
- Line: Spectra/Nylon Line
- Break rating: 40 pounds
- Use: Safety whistle, lobster gauge, or slate pencil
HD Snap Clip Small Flashlight Retractor (RT4-5912)
- Mounting system: Heavy Duty 3/4″ Rotating (HD) Snap Clip
- Retraction force: 9 ounces
- Extension: 32 inches
- Line: Spectra/Nylon Line
- Break rating: 60 pounds
- Use: Lights with 4AA or 2C batteries weighing less than 9oz
Mini Console Retractor Combo Mount (RT4-5973)
- Mounting system: Choice of Snap Clip or Threaded Stud Mount
- Retraction force: 24 ounces
- Extension: 18 inches
- Line: Stainless steel cable
- Use: Gauge/computer consoles mounted in the chest area
Mounting System: Depending on the Gear Keeper retractor model, you have several different mounting options to choose from (both traditional and alternative). Users say that every method works pretty well, but the choice really comes down to your preference.
For example, models with snap clips, bolt clips, or carabiners attach to the existing D-rings on your buoyancy control device (BCD). However, if these are already occupied or you don’t like their position, you can get a retractor with a threaded stud. It pierces through any material, so you can secure it to a pocket or a webbing strap.
Some retractors even come with rotating mounts that attach to the belt holding up your pants. These are excellent for keys, for example. This way the whole retractor rotates, making it easier to use the attached item and giving you an extended range. As for micro retractors, these are an amazing choice for smaller and lighter gear, and also come with the described mounting styles.
Materials and Construction: Divers are impressed with the quality of these retractors, claiming that they are exceptionally strong and well-made. This has mostly to do with the proprietary Specta/Nylon line that has excellent strength and can’t be pulled from the retractor. Furthermore, the recoil mechanism uses a stainless steel spring which is a good material of choice because of its high resistance to saltwater.
Use: One of the things that make these retractors stand out is their ease of use. Each model is equipped with a split ring at the end making it very simple to connect your gear. Customers say that the QC and QC-II side release is incredibly strong and locks the gear into the retractor securely.
This system is incredibly convenient for equipment like flashlights, slates, knives, dive compasses, and some of your dive safety gear. The Spectra/Nylon line slides easily so you can pull the gear out without trouble, and the QC and QC-II side release is very quick to disconnect when you need to detach the gear.
Retraction and Weight Limit: Each of these models comes with a retraction maximum that basically limits the weight of the gear you can hang on it. As you had the chance to see, this usually ranges from 9 to 24 ounces (2.5oz on the Scuba Micro), presenting the max weight that the spring inside the device can pull back.
Even if it can’t be pulled back there’s no reason to worry because the breaking point for the nylon lines is 40+ pounds (even more on some models). This guarantees that it won’t accidentally snap and you won’t lose valuable equipment (a diving camera for example). How long the line extends depends on the model, with the line generally being a bit shorter on models with a higher weight capacity.
Maintenance and Durability: As we mentioned earlier, these retractors perform really well in saltwater. Gear Keeper equips them with their patented flushing system that removes sand and contaminates when submerged in fresh water and cycled.
It’s smart to rinse the retractor after each use by putting it in fresh water and pulling the cord several times. By doing this, you allow the device to work properly for a longer time. If you have any problems with your retractor, Gear Keeper gives you a 30-day money-back guarantee and a full warranty on any material defects.
- Price: 90% – We think that the Gear Keeper retractors are fairly priced considering their overall quality and the fact that they are made in the USA. It may seem a bit much for such a small piece of equipment, but keep in mind that these are pretty durable and can last for years if you take care of them properly.
- Material: 95% – The materials used for both the retractor line and the spring inside are excellent. As we mentioned earlier, spectra nylon doesn’t corrode and offers exceptional strength, while the stainless steel spring inside is the best choice for saltwater conditions.
- Design: 100% – The design is probably the best thing about this whole line of products. Gear Keeper wanted to make them compact and really convenient to use, so you can count on these to never be in your way but to work flawlessly whenever you need them. The three models with different mounting systems give you plenty of options to set up your gear however you like it.
- Overall: 95% – All things considered, we can honestly recommend the Gear Keeper retractors to any scuba diver – from novices to pros. These small devices are easy to attach to your BCD and keep your gear secure and ready to use throughout the dive.
Globo Surf Overview
We were really impressed with the Gear Keeper general-purpose retractors. They are heavy-duty and work well in any situation and on every dive. These retractors are an excellent solution when your hands are busy because you can pull them when you need them and just let go when you don’t.
Furthermore, the combination of high-quality materials and the self-flushing system guarantees these will last long. It’s up to you to find the model that works best with your scuba gear, and we’re sure you’ll find it more than useful every time you go underwater.
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- 5 Point Descent
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- Scuba Diving For Non Swimmers
- Free Diving Dangers
- Gear Keeper’s General-Purpose Retractors, gearkeeper.com