D4 Octapod Update-please read if you own a D4 Octapod
D4 Octapod notice
The D4 Octapod has now been successfully used for dozens of fine adventures, but there have been two cases where the Octapod frame has bent in the field. This can happen with two people when the ledge is not adjusted properly and the ledge is in an extreme "taco" (twisted) configuration. The picture below shows a situation where the ledge is not adjusted properly when loaded:
When the ledge frame is twisted as shown in the photo on left, there is additional stress on the frame, and should not be loaded with two people in this configuration. We recently had a similar issue with the first batch of D4 Alpine ledges, where the ledge was loaded with two people, the suspension was short, and the ledge went out of adjustment in a "taco" configuration. For the D4 Alpine Double, we upgraded all ledges with beefier (thicker) tubing, which has now been tested in every possible worst case scenario, with no failure.
For the Octapod, which has been originally conceived as a "1.5" ledge with the added ability to hold two people, I would like to officially reclassify the first batch of Octapods as a light and compact solo ledge. There have been dozens of cases where the ledge has held up with no issues with two, three, even four people on the ledge without failure, but we like to make our designs completely "bomber" in all situations; hence the re-classification.
Ideal setups have the ledge flat, with the suspension lengthened evenly and as long as possible, and keeping the center of gravity as close to the middle of the ledge as possible. More photos of correct setup with two people here:
We have experimented with using a square tube to create a more rigid, non-taco-ing frame, but this system is heavier and it turns out the "taco-ability" makes assembly and disassembly tons easier. Since the taco can be swiftly eliminated with proper suspension adjustments, several of our "square tube" testers have noted a preference for the round tubes.
We've also determined that the heavier PVC coated (blue or green) fabric that we have used for several models is no good for this design--the stiffer material cancels out the advantages of the quick setup system. We will not be making any more with the heavier, stiffer fabric.
Because of these issues on the first batches of Octapods, I am offering a buy-back program if for any reason you are not fully happy with your ledge or feel it is not fit for purpose. If you continue using your ledge, it should be with the understanding that the Octapod can become excessively loaded with two people if care is not taken to keep the ledge flat. Future models (if produced) will have beefier tubes, as I generally design everything to be "bombproof" in all situations (though I am working on a new design that might supercede the Octapod).
I also have extra Octapod frame parts if anyone needs to replace a tube--please let me know by responding to this email, and I will arrange the shipment of your replacement parts ASAP.
Another request--many of you have sent excellent feedback and photos of the Octapod in use in all sorts of wild spots--wonderful. I believe this new concept of a smaller, more compact and lighter ledge will have many new uses for vertical adventurers, and your public feedback will be invaluable. Please use the new "D4 Portaledge Reviews and Feedback" board at the new BigWalls Forum site here:
I am buying a new batch of t-shirts, and will send one free to a Octapod reviewer chosen at random if you can post a review with photo by October 31. Please title your review, "D4 Octapod" and the location where it was used most.
I consider all of you forward thinkers and of course the feedback and knowledge base gleaned from the Octapod production and use will be key for future portaledge designs. Thank you sincerely for your support and interest--it is very exciting to be able to develop and produce new useful tools for new adventures.