Ring begins the article by breaking down the basic materials used to manufacture carabiners. Most of these products are aluminum, but they can also be made out of steel. The steel models last longer, but are much heavier than their aluminum counterparts. For this reason, they are largely used for fixed draws and in-situ anchors. She also notes that many aluminum models are anodized. This exterior coating helps protect the products from corrosive elements like salt water. Companies have also started color coding their biners so that consumers can match them with their camming devices for easier organization. Some testers really like this method of organization and others find it time-consuming.
Once she has finished discussing the materials used, Ring continues by explaining the difference between hot and cold forging, the two most common manufacturing techniques. The article outlines the pros and cons of each method and explains why some manufacturers opt for cold rather than hot forging, or vice versa. The article then breaks down another major difference between models: gate type. Non-locking carabiners have either a solid gate or a wire gate, and there are pros and cons to both of these. Most solid gates utilize keylock technology, meaning that there is no notch on the biner's nose. This makes them ideal for overhanging routes where climbers don't want the notch snagging on the bolt or gear when cleaning. Wiregates use a single loop of wire to form the gate. This type of gate is less likely to ice up in alpine conditions and it is less likely to experience “gate flutter.” One downside is that many wiregates still have a notch on the nose that can easily snag. That said, manufacturers have engineered solutions for this problem. For example, Wild Country uses a notch that is inset into the nose of the Helium and Black Diamond added a wide hood around the nose notch on its Oz and LiveWire biners.
Consumers can also choose between bent and straight gate biners. No matter what type of gate is chosen, users should ensure that their gear retains a significant amount of gate tension throughout its life. An open gate can decrease the product's strength by about one-third. With this sobering statistic in mind, Ring continues the buying advice guide by explaining the strength ratings of climbing gear and what consumers should look for to make sure that they stay safe. She also outlines some basic care and cleaning instructions. Finally, the article wraps up with a discussion of size and weight. Ring points out that smaller carabiners may be lighter, but they can also be extremely difficult to use. She recommends seeking out a product that walks the line between light and usable. With this in mind, she recommends which models are best for different disciplines of the sport.
OutdoorGearLab LLC is a company headquartered in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Dedicated to creating world’s best outdoor gear reviews, the company performs side-by-side testing of outdoor gear and publishes the results in comparative reviews. Each product is scored across a range of weighted categories, competing products are graded, and top performing products receive awards. The company’s web site http://www.outdoorgearlab.com, is a free resource for people who love the outdoors and participate in activities such as hiking, climbing, backpacking, and camping.