sp sp sp High Performance Tow Gear
for Trekking, Running, and Adventure Racing
 
RUGGED   –   LIGHTWEIGHT   –   COMFORTABLE    –   CONVENIENT   –   FIELD-TESTED

How to Use WeGo Team Link

WeGo Team Link is designed to allow one person to assist another during foot travel: walking, hiking, running, skating, or skiing. WeGo Team Link can be used to link a series of three or more people together if desired. An early prototype was even used to link 13 people in the San Francisco Bay to Breakers race.

WeGo Team Link is not designed as a safety device. In particular it is not to be used for climbing, nor to keep kids from falling off the steep side of a trail. In general, it should not be used to support a person's weight fully or partially in any situation where breakage of the Team Link would likely result in serious injury. Because we made the gear as lightweight as possible, it will break under the force of a person's full body weight.

What to clip in to

The WeGo Team Link harness is designed specifically for you to clip your WeGo Team Link towline into.

If you do not wish to use our harness, you may clip in to any of the following: the belt loops on your pants, your belt, the tow loop or ice axe loop on the back of your backpack, the front hip belt of your backpack or waist pack. However, be aware that the lightweight carabiner clips of the towline will bend and break under moderate to heavy tow forces unless they are clipped onto a ring or narrow flexible loop, such as the D-rings found on our harnesses or a strap 1" wide or narrower.

If you must clip into a loop or belt made of wide strap (wider than 1"), we strongly recommend using an additional metal carabiner clip between the plastic clip and the wide strap. This will protect the plastic clip from forces that will cause it to bend open.

Towing mechanics

WeGo Team Link works on a simple basic principle: the stronger/faster person (leader) pulls the weaker/slower person (follower), allowing the follower to proceed at a given pace using less effort than he/she otherwise would. In order for this to work, the follower has to relax into the towline and let it pull him/her.

It is natural for the follower to respond to the tug by trying to go faster. This will lead to fatigue and defeat the purpose of using the Team Link, so try to resist this urge. The follower should proceed using whatever effort he/she wants to apply, and accept any assistance coming from the towline. New users often worry that they are "making" the leader do "too much work" or that they are making the leader tired. It is up to the leader to set his/her pace such that he/she does not become unduly fatigued. The follower cannot make the leader work too hard!

Conversely, the leader should be wary of over-exerting her/himself. Expect that your pace will be slower while towing than if you were not towing. Pace yourself so that you do not wear yourself out.

WeGo Team Link's special feature is that it retains its stretchiness through a wide range of typical towing forces. It is the towline's stretchiness that allows the leader and the follower to exert exactly as much effort as they wish, making towing comfortable and efficient for all participants.

Eric's use tips

These tips are offered by the original creator of the WeGo Team Link:

  1. Your effectiveness in using WeGo Team Link will improve with practice, whether you lead or follow.

  2. Remember, the Team Link is self-regulating, so under normal conditions, the leader and follower can each exert as much or as little effort as desired, and the speed of the group will reach a natural equilibrium, without the need for the leader and follower to negotiate with each other about speed or effort level.

  3. It is more effective in increasing the speed and comfort of a group to use WeGo Team Link for most or all of an outing than to wait and tow only after a weaker member of the group has become exhausted from going too fast.

  4. It is helpful to develop a simple communication protocol. For example, when traversing rough trail, the follower might say, "easy" to indicate that he/she would like less towing force while negotiating the tricky footing and, "okay" after the rough section has been cleared and the follower is ready to receive normal towing force again.

  5. A heart rate monitor can be more useful than ground speed in properly pacing oneself for an outing while using WeGo Team Link.

Cautions

We recommend unclipping when going downhill. Alternatives are for the leader to ease the tension and the follower to move to the left or right to gain a better view of the footing ahead or for the two to reverse positions, allowing the stronger person to serve as a brake for the weaker person. You may also wish to unclip when going through rugged terrain or when performing maneuvers requiring balance. Remember, WeGo Team Link is not a safety device.

Strength of towline

We have not seen the WeGo Team Link break when used for towing on foot, and we have applied some very strong towing forces. We think the towline will stand up to almost any towing force that one human being would apply to another. However, we make no guarantees. In order to make the WeGo Team Link as light as possible, we have made it only as strong as necessary. We have seen it break under certain special testing conditions, including towing a person through water and having one person stand still while the other person walks away. So, don't use your WeGo Team Link for anything more demanding than towing on foot.

Using WeGo Team Link harness

Wear at hip level, about two inches below your hip bones. This is the most ergonomically effective position for the belt. It allows the towing force to be applied to your pelvis, minimizing stress on the vulnerable lumbar region (lower back).

Cinch the belt fairly tight. Optionally, secure to your clothing with safety pins, one on each side, preferably going all the way through any inner layer. If you are leading, attach the pins slightly toward the front of your body. If you are following, attach them slightly toward the back.

Intuitively, you may think that the pins will tear your clothing, pull loose, or give you a "wedgie". But the pins only bear the upward component of the towing force. Even when going uphill, this is only a small percentage of the total force – not enough to strain the pins or bunch up your clothing. However, without the pins, the belt may eventually slide up to the small part of your waist and cause strain.

Stowing the towline when not towing

When you wish to unlink, we recommend that the follower notify the leader, slacken the line, then unclip the towline from him/herself and let go. The leader can then wrap the towline around his/her waist and clip the other end into their rear D-ring. Alternately, the towline can be stowed in the outer pouch or webbing of a pack. The towline is short enough that, on people taller than about 5'3", it will not drag on the ground if left to dangle for a while, but the leader will not want it to dangle for long, because it could wrap around the legs or catch on something else.

Storing the towline when not in use

WeGo Team Link gear will last longest if it is properly stored while not in use. The towline should be stored in a cool (no more than 77 Fahrenheit, or 25 Celsius) place, so that it is not pinched, crushed underneath anything, or knotted. Avoid exposing the line to petroleum-based products or to concentrated acids. Towlines and harnesses should be dry before storage.


WeGo Team Link is covered by U.S. patent 7,384,382 B2