Less is more and light is vital! Wasn't this the mantra of training guru Matt "Smythe" Smith? Well it certainly appears to have been taken on board by Wild Country with their latest wire-gate and screw-gate karabiners.
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It's really quite simple! If your gear weighs less then you don't use as much energy when you are climbing therefore meaning you can climb harder and faster for longer. Easy...
So how do they make them so light?
Well apparently it's down to I-Beam technology. As far as I can tell this basically involves hacking large portions of the karabiner away, thus making it lighter. Not just any bit mind or the karabiner might fail! It actually works on the same principal as RSJ's (Rigid Steel Joists) in the construction industry but as I'm no engineer I won't embarrass myself by trying to explain things further!
I asked Richie Patterson at Wild Country, how much lighter karabiners were going to get in the future?
"As for weight I personally think we've got a good way to go yet. Wild Country are aiming to get lower with all their weights every year as technology and designs allow and staying within CE strength limits there's certainly some scope for losing that little bit more..."I have used the new lightweight karabiners for the last 3 months in a variety of trad, sport and winter climbing situations. So, have they impressed me?
Neon Keylock Screwgate
Neon - RRP - £11
This is a lightweight and compact screwgate biner with a hookless nose. I really like the fact that screwgates are so light nowadays and found these karabiners a very useful addition to my rack. Great for setting up belays etc and the fact that they are so light means you can afford to carry more of them! The hookless nose means clipping and unclipping is simple, there is no snagging on the rope or on wires and tapes.
One downside is that they are a little small if I want to clove-hitch two 9mm ropes into the same karabiner.What Wild Country Say:
Astro - RRP Biner £7.50 / Draws from £15
These tiny wire-gate karabiners are most certainly light! They are however pretty small too. And whilst they are well made and do the job, I do personally prefer a full sized krab. Probably because I'm clumsy and ham-fisted, but I really find them easier to clip and handle, particularly in winter situations where you have to operate with gloved hands. Other than that they are great and at 6 grams per karabiner less than the full sized Nitro they are a worthy addition to any lightweight rackWhat Wild Country Say:
QDs come on 10mm dyneema with Tadpole. Sets of Biners / Quickdraws available. 10cm Qd weighs 65 grams.
Nitro - RRP Biner £7 / Draws from £14
This was definitely my favourite karabiner, being a good size and easy to handle and clip, even whilst wearing gloves. It is still superbly light too. I used these karabiners on quickdraws, tapes and camming devices and would definitely consider swapping all of my old biners for these.What Wild Country Say:
QD comes on 10mm dyneema with Tadpole. Sets of Biners /Quickdraws available. 10cm Qd weighs 77 grams.
I have found the new light-weight selection of karabiners from Wild Country to be an excellent addition to my rack and I have really noticed the difference when racking gear for trad routes. I can now take much more kit with me, which is great news for a coward such as myself! The only thing that I didn't like was the size of the Astro but this is just personal preference as I prefer a full sized karabiner and don't really feel like the extra 6 grams is going to change my performance very much! Durability and build quality seems to be excellent.
UKC Articles and Gear Reviews by Kevin Avery - UKC: