By June 9, 2009

Gear Keeper RT20012 Retractable Lanyard review

I’ve started taking some photographs while motorcycling. I bought a used Canon PowerShot SD700IS from eBay for about $100 and already had an SD card lying around. I take most of my shots while moving, using my left hand to operate all the controls of the camera.

I keep the camera in my left front pocket. When I wore my Rev’It Cayenne Pro this was no big deal: the jacket’s large, top-load pockets made it easy to get the camera out and put it back again. However, I now wear the Rev’It Turbine since the weather is warmer. As I mentioned in my review, the Turbine has traditional side-mounted vertical pockets that are hard to get into and out of with a full sized gauntlet glove. This makes grabbing the camera even more awkward, since my hand is now closed around something and less likely to escape the pocket without difficulty.

Worried about dropping my camera on the road, I stopped taking as many pictures as I wanted. I read that a few riders secured their cameras to their bikes via a retractable lanyard. Think of a heavy duty janitor keychain that zips a big ring of keys back to a belt. Gear Keeper makes a whole swath of retractable lanyards, and the RT20012 seemed to be highly regarded on

I put in an order for one via a vendor on Amazon, and it arrived a few days later.

The Gear Keeper RT20012 is a pretty simple device. There is a large split ring like you’d find on a key chain on one end. The other end is a plastic clasp with a metal clip. The clasp snaps onto anything you care to; most people either clip it to a D-ring on their tank bag or somewhere on their jacket. The Turbine has plastic D-rings on the waist adjusters, so I gave that a shot.

I sat in a chair and held my arms out, camera in my left hand. I dropped the camera like I would if I had to suddenly let go in an emergency.


The camera fell immediately to the floor and bounced on the carpet. Hrm.

Now, the Gear Keeper RT20012 is supposed to retract up to six ounces. The SD770IS is 4.7 ounces according to Amazon. According to my postal scale, it is 6.8 ounces. Fuck. I should have verified the weight before ordering, but I am a little put off that the RT20012 fails when stressed so close to its stated limit.

I didn’t get to use the Gear Keeper RT20012 long enough to test its long-term durability, but it appears well built. I hate to give it a “not recommended” review because my need is technically out of spec, but if the product can’t handle 0.7 ounces over the limit I’m not too confident in 0.7 ounces under the limit, either.

No recommendation

Posted in: motorcycling, review

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