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Toucan Belay Device

Average Rating = 4.14/5 Average Rating : 4.14 out of 5
Item Details | Reviews (7)
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Toucan Belay Device
Manufacturer: Simond

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The Toucan is Simond’s signature two slot belay device. It is made of forged Aluminum, and riveted together. It functions as a standard hip-belay device or in a guide-mode for bringing up 1-2 seconds, a rappel device, and an emergency ascender (in the same manor as most guide-mode device can be). The device is reversible for more or less friction, and it takes single or double ropes from 7.5-11mm. This range is accomplished by use of a V style rope channel (think Trango “Jaws”), as opposed to the ridged U style (think BD ATC-XP). The swing arm functions as a “keeper wire” with a wire spring (reminiscent of a wire gate on a carabineer) that keeps the rope from cinching up when belaying a fast leader, as well as a simple way to give the second a controlled amount of slack, release the autoblock or lower. This swing arm contributes to the appearance of a Toucan.

Toucan Belay Device

7 Reviews

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Don't leave home without it! 5 out of 5 stars

Review by: bighigaz, 2010-01-29

The primary purpose of a belay plate is to stop a falling climber… and most of them do it quite well. The Toucan, like any other, does beautifully - as long as the belayer knows what he or she is doing!

When feeding the rope to a lead climber, the non-load bearing “keeper arm” acts very much like the spring mechanism on traditional “spring” belay plates. By lifting the plate slightly off the belay caribiner, the stop-and-go jerking that is common with some devices is much easier to control, thus creating a smoother belay when climbing or rappelling.

Like others of its kind, the Toucan can belay two following climbers simultaneously, allowing the belayer to pull slack on one climber while the other climber weights the rope. The “keeper arm” gives the Toucan an advantage when in “guide mode.” All you need is a simple sling, girth hitched to the “keeper arm,” and a slight tug on the device allows for a smooth release of the top-belay. This built-in feature is not available on any other belay plates.

The Toucan handles rope diameters from 7.5mm to 11mm, is lightweight, and has V-slotted edges for increased belay bite. Additionally, you’ll be hard-pressed to pay more than $30US for it.

The Toucan is still fairly un-reviewed and less known. Perhaps Simond felt its’ versatility would sell itself. If not, it may not be around long enough to be acknowledged for its superiority among competitors.

Simond offers limited basic information on the varied uses of the device. Their online diagrams are helpful, but you are likely to get better information from climbers who have had a chance to use it.

Perhaps the only real disappointment: The Toucan is only available in blue!

James is a writer for the Tucson Climbing Gear Examiner online. If you would like to read a more detailed reviews, or additional gear reviews by James you can visit him at

leader of the pack 3 out of 5 stars

Review by: sylvanrocks, 2009-06-08

While I still prefer my Gi-Gi to guide with, the Toucan is my choice when out with friends, or even if I'm out with only one guest. The wider openings allow good rope flow...even with a fat guide line...compared to the other big name's a breeze to pull and still grips great when you need it.

The release arm takes awhile to get used to...and after testing it out and playing with it...I found the device almost impossible to release under a that is a pretty big flaw...otherwise the device is a FIVE.

Daryl Stisser

you can toucan too 4 out of 5 stars

Review by: Smacko, 2008-03-31

have it, use it, love it. After a year of use, every weekend on sandstone, its just now showing some shiney spots. Ive used it as an auto locker with equal pleasing results.

Binds up a fair bit 3 out of 5 stars

Review by: Valarc, 2007-07-10

I also picked up a few toucans from REI on clearance. However, I can't agree with the other posters here. I found the toucan to be a real PITA when feeding or taking in slack. The extra friction grooves are not only deep, but wide, so they tend to grab onto the rope, making it stick. I love the concept of the design, with the rotating handle, but the friction grooves ruin an otherwise great idea. I was able to get a smooth feed by modifying my belay technique, but with so many other great autoblockers on the market, I'm not going to modify my technique to use one device. If your technique is compatible with it, I could see the toucan being a great device, but it didn't work well for me.

Great 5 out of 5 stars

Review by: tradklime, 2007-04-25

I too purchased one of these for $10 at REI. It really works great. I have used it with ropes from 7.7 to 10.5, and performance is consistantly good across the spectrum. The autoblock function is flawless, the release arm is handy, and the rigid keeper is much better than coated cable common on most devices. I also find the hole in the device is convenient when removing rope(s) from the device. I unclip the ropes/ device from my belay biner, clip the device by the hole to my belay biner, and pull the ropes free. Simple, easy, quick, and less chance of dropping the device. The device is also very simple to get the rope fed and clipped to your harness (not that other devices are difficult, it just seems simpler and easier with this device), a function of the rigid keeper I think. All this and a couple grams lighter than the ATC guide.

I also noticed that when in autoblock the lever arm can get jammed against the rock, however, the arm is easily switched to either side of the device, so you simply position it depending on how the device is oriented to the rock.

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