Why is this important?

Unfortunately, we live in a world where vandalism and malicious damage frequently occurs to public property. If you work for a parks & rec department, you will know this all too well. Equipment, lighting, benches, etc. are frequently damaged or vandalized.

When it comes to outdoor fitness equipment, this is no different. One of the only ways you can prevent malicious damage is by sourcing truly tamper-proof fitness equipment. Many outdoor fitness equipment brands are only tamper resistant, which is not good enough.

Fitness equipment that is tamper resistant is far too easy to damage.

With ‘tamper-resistant’ outdoor fitness equipment, the hardware is shielded behind plastic caps or covers that can be easily removed. The hardware used will be advertised as tamper proof or tamper resistant, but if the hardware is exposed, it can be removed. The hardware itself is actually the biggest issue.

Most outdoor fitness equipment manufacturers use HEX PIN or TORX hardware. While they are less common than Phillips or flat head hardware, HEX & TORX bits are sold at all hardware stores and are easily attainable. Here is a visual to show the difference between tamperproof and tamper-resistant hardware.

TORX Stainless Steel Bolt
TORX Stainless Steel Bolt

With a HEX or TORX bit, as soon as the tooling is exposed, anyone can easily remove hardware with a hand-held screwdriver. With bolts removed, parts of the equipment can be easily stolen or damaged which will be expensive to repair/replace.

Rounded Head Stainless Steel Carriage Bolt
Rounded Head Stainless Steel Carriage Bolt

With a rounded head stainless steel carriage bolt, the bolt sits flush with the equipment, and where it has no exposed tooling, nothing can be used to remove the bolt.

When it comes to your outdoor fitness equipment, look for manufacturers that offer truly tamperproof products. When talking to equipment companies, ask how their equipment is tamperproof and what type of hardware is used.

Tip for a tamper-proof installation:

No matter what equipment you choose you will have to bolt equipment into concrete. Some outdoor fitness equipment manufacturers will supply anchoring hardware, while some will have a spec that is required to secure and support the unit. Many times with supplied hardware, “tamper-resistant anchors” are provided. These anchors come with a plastic or thin metal cap that covers the anchor bolt. Like with the equipment itself, these caps or covers are easily removed and once removed the hardware is exposed. With anchor bolts, anyone with a socket set can remove nuts, and therefore remove or damage equipment.

Regardless of the anchor used; wedge anchors, threaded rod with epoxy, sleeve anchors, etc. this tip will help secure your outdoor exercise equipment.

With your equipment in place and on the anchors, you will need to fully tighten a washer and nut to secure the unit. (We always recommend using stainless steel locking nuts or nylock nuts for your anchors). With all the nuts fully tightened down, there should be some thread from the anchor showing. With a metal chisel and hammer, damage the thread that is showing. This will cause what is known as thread galling or cold welding. Once a fastener has seized up from galling it is impossible to remove without cutting the bolt or splitting the nut.

You can't control what vandals will do, but by sourcing tamperproof outdoor fitness equipment, you can help prevent against malicious damage and mitigate additional costs and headaches typically associated with vandalism.

Click here to learn more about Outdoor-Fit’s tamperproof outdoor fitness equipment for parks and fitness trails.

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