Am wondering what the general thoughts are on equipment from China? I mean the very mention of ANYTHING bought from China makes you think of mass produced cheap and imitation products. Ok for a mickey mouse watch, but not if you're sitting in it 60 feet up. But looking at some of the stuff (harnesses) on ebay, they at least look pretty good. I kind of try to avoid China made goods in general. Just because some shops seem to sell little else, and they have pretty bad track record for animal welfare. I mean ive been to the place and didn't see anything TOO bad (like wanton cruelty) but still, they have no laws at all about animal welfare, so that cant be a good thing. Anyway, digressing here - what's they're ropes and harnesses like?
The advice we always give new climbers is that you should know what type of gear to buy and its characteristics (and why those characteristics are important) before you make a purchase. See our Gear section for that. There's also a chapter in the TCI "Tree Climbing Basics" DVD you just purchased where Peter talks about gear.
For life supporting gear, such as your saddle and rope, I think it's always best to go with brands that are manufactured to meet industry standards and are well known and used by tree climbers. I don't know if there are standards in China, or anywhere else for that matter.
If you decide to take a chance on unknown gear, make sure you can return it if it's not right. Check the fine print on any Ebay seller.