I saw this post on his blog, and thought it was very informative. I especially have a weak spot for helping beginners. It turns me on to know when I’m breaking someone in for their first time. 😉 And even more advanced players will get some good insight here. With his permission, I’ve copied his post below. I did add in a few of my own thoughts here and there. If you’d like to read the original post without my commentary, please visit here. He also has a pretty awesome twitter here. -TFG
In the words of Dick Cash/Vagabondageboy:
I’ve bought a lot of gear in my day, as most have seen from my personal photos. One thing I’ve learned is that some gear, however hot it is, will sit in your closet collecting dust and only get used every tenth scene or so. While this is fine for more advanced players who may have more scripted/sculpted scenes, a beginner should strive for versatility so they can find what works, what doesn’t, and where to go from there.
The gear listed after the jump will cost about $540 pre-tax/shipping (or just over $600 if you get two collars to use for restraints). It might take a few months to scrape up the cash, but once you do you’ll have a gear collection that’s adaptable enough for a slew of scenes – both private and public – and which will last for years.
|Neoprene Wrist/Ankle Restraints|
Pros: Very comfortable to wear, easy to clean, and low-maintenance. Although I personally prefer padded leather restraints, these are just as comfortable and are less intimidating to some.
Cons: They lack the oh-so-distinct sound of a boy straining against leather. That’s really the only down side in my eyes.
The Gist: A less expensive alternative to traditional leather restraints. If you want the full tactile experience of leather, go all out for the padded, locking leather restraints. They last virtually forever, so you really do want to max out the features instead of needing to upgrade later.
TFG Thoughts: I’ve also found the site eXtreme Restaints good for basic equipment that doesn’t break the bank. And your everyday Adult Store will have basic restraints. They may not be of the best quality, but it’s a good way to see if you want to invest in more later. Also, even for more experienced players, I tend to use the “cheaper” restraints when I travel. That way, in case they get lost, damaged, or confiscated by TSA (which hasn’t happened yet–they are supposed to allow bondage equipment through, even on carry ons–but you never know), it’s not a big loss.
Pros: I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to bondage-related things, especially toys. With that in mind, this is the best blindfold I have ever worn. It can take some getting used to how to place it to maximize comfort (most people are used to one-strap blindfolds), but when you do it’s both comfortable and 100% blinding.
Cons: None. Seriously, this thing is perfect.
The Gist: GET THIS BLINDFOLD. Even if you have a bandanna or duct tape fetish, you’ll still find yourself wanting use this thing every chance you get.
TFG Thoughts: If you want to get a super basic blindfold, any drugstore will carry them. But I have to admit that they are pretty flimsy, and do let in light and visibility from underneath. If a very basic scene is enough for you, you’re traveling, or you’re still experimenting, then that’s fine. But otherwise, I have to agree with Dick Cash–get the real deal. It does make a difference, and I’m not even necessarily into blindfolds all that much.
|Front Buckle Gag|
Pros: Not only is it hot as hell, it’s effective at getting a boy to shut up. There’s also locking buckle option so it can’t be taken off which makes it suitable for a bar or other setting where the boy may not be restrained.
Cons: As much as I love gags, there just isn’t a gag that can compete with a good hood.
The Gist: Although hoods can offer better sound insulation, a gag like this is much more convenient. It’s also good to have available for boys who can’t handle hoods, which can easily scare newbies. It’s also better-suited for long term use than a ball gag – a classic beginner’s piece – as it’s slightly easier on the jaw.
TFG Thoughts: Gotta agree with him here. It’s a great gag, very comfortable, and sexy to boot. I use mine a lot. This one’s worth the money.
|Neoprene Sensory Hood|
Pros: Whether you’re in the bedroom/playroom or at your local leather bar, it’s a great hood. The eyes can be left open so it’s easier to navigate or the wearer can be blinded and left helpless, and the mouth is able to be open for boots or a dick or whatever suits you.
Cons: For its thickness it offers decent sound insulation but, for instance, the isolation hood is so effective it’s difficult to discern words at a conversational volume. The snaps on the eye/mouth attachments and over the end of the zipper also make it less suitable for more intense play where a boy may instinctively try to recover his eyesight or ability to speak.
The Gist: At this price, you really can’t go wrong. I know plenty of people who have t-shirts in their closet that cost about as much as this hood.
TFG Thoughts: Again, a good call. This one has a good balance of kinky and comfortable, as well as versatile. One slight additional Con I’d list about this particular item is that the mouthpiece does not have any sort of gag attached to it. However, keep in mind you can remove it and insert a gag of your choice (such as the front buckle gag from above)… which I can personally vouch is a great combination.
|Rope, Lots of It!|
Pros: The most versitale thing you could ever have in your gear bag. Not only can it obviously be used for restraint and to create aesthetic harnesses, gauntlets, or corsets, I’ve used my play rope for packing or similar practical uses a number of times.
Cons: Rope can be a bit daunting for new tops. Between having to manage where pressure is being applied and maintaining an aesthetic quality, there’s a lot to consider.
The Gist: It’s a must-have item, really. If you want to up your game, you can always buy a book like Showing You the Ropes or Back On the Ropes (both by Two Knotty Boys) to get a grasp on some basic concepts. You may want to cut the rope down to smaller sizes, but don’t go below 12.5-foot lengths or you’ll come short on even some basic hand ties.
TFG Thoughts: No argument here, although it could be a post unto itself in terms of what types of rope, lengths, maintenance, etc. Perhaps some other time, we’ll get to that. I also do link to a few good videos and websites for rope technique at my FAQ page.
|Locking 2″ Leather Collar|
I won’t bother with pros/cons on this one; it’s pretty straightforward. This collar can also work really well as bicep/above-the-knee restraints. Doesn’t work quite as well as the actual thigh restraints, but it’s a good placeholder while you decide if you want to experiment with more restrictive bondage. It also comes in neoprene for the same price if you prefer – personally I prefer leather so it works somewhat like a short posture collar. Extra bonus points for these collars fitting over those enormous racing motorcycle boots that are much thicker than normal boots.
TFG Thoughts: If you’re really strapped for cash, you can use a collar at a pet store. Although make sure it’s long enough and comfortable enough, sometimes they’re a bit scratchy and stiff. It’s a bit sexy knowing it was really meant for a true dog. But that said, it’s better to get the real thing if you can afford it. It’s more comfortable, and will typically have rings for attachment points should you choose to do so. And you should probably choose to do so. Remember, we’re looking at versatility here.
Adjustable Steel Spreader Bar
Pros: Great for most bondage off the bed, especially with a standing boy. It’s pretty customizable to any given position due to the resizing potential, so you don’t have to worry about switching sizes for boys with different flexibility levels.
Cons: Many fixed-size spreader bars will have additional o-rings for extra attachment points. Although I haven’t personally tried it, it may be possible to find a bolt or o-ring at your local hardware store that would fit in the holes to prevent sideways movement if a rope is tied around the bar.
The Gist: Worth having in your gear bag. If you have a playspace at home and can add attachment points its value is somewhat diminished, but having it to take when traveling to other places is incredibly useful.
TFG Notes: I recently had a reader of mine tell me he found an adjustable clothes hanger from Target that could double as a spreader bar… it even already has hooks on the end. http://www.target.com/p/Clothes-Hanger-Bar/-/A-10978249 (However, when I last checked, it was not currently available–although you could try Amazon.) You can also even just get a 1 inch wooden dowel at a hardware or craft store, and screw in some eye hooks into each end. It can be done by hand, you don’t even need any tools. Wrap the dowel in black tape, and you have a serviceable spreader bar. Use a sharpie marker to color in the ends if you like.