UKC

Sport Quickdraws Group Test

In this group review we've tested sport climbing quickdraws from all the leading manufacturers, comparing them for key characteristics such as ease of handling, gate action, weight, price and choice of lengths.

Sport QDs montage, 83 kb

So what are the main features of a quickdraw for sport climbing?

  • The rope end should have a bent gate for smoother clipping
  • Noses ought to be clean and snag-free (all the models on test feature keylock designs, though some are smoother-profiled than others)
  • Gates need to have a friendly easy-opening action, yet still snap shut with reassuring firmness
  • The body shape of the biners should sit nicely in the hand for fumble-free clipping
  • There may be grooves or dimples in the metalwork to aid the grip with sweaty hands
  • Broad internal surfaces for durability and smooth-running on the rope
  • An angle at the top of the bolt biner that's not so acute that stripping feels fiddly
  • The stitched sling should have some stiffness for easier handling, and ideally it'll be broad enough that you can comfortably grab it when pumped and panicking
  • A sling that's available in different lengths adds versatility to your quickdraw collection
  • The bent gate biner should be held firmly in position in the sling, ideally with a robust (but replaceable) rubber retainer
  • There must be free play of the sling at the straight gate end, to avoid potentially dangerous twisting or cross-loading

That's a lot to ask. Luckily there is no bad quickdraw in this review; they are all more than up to the job. In most cases the differences between models are fairly subtle, and which is 'better' is largely a matter of individual preference. For this reason we haven't given detailed star ratings in this review - but we have picked out a few favourites.

Model

Weight Lengths Strength Summary

Grivel Alpha Captive

£16 - £17

Grivel Alpha Captive quickdraw, 35 kb

From 114g

13cm

18cm

23kn

GO 8kn

CL 8kn

Solid feeling but slightly over complicated captive gate carabiner and not comfortable in the hand. Good for those who are after extra security and a good sling.

C.A.M.P Photon Express

£16.99 - £17.99

Photon Express product shot, 180 kb

From 84g

11cm

15cm

20cm

21kn

GO 8kn

CL 7kn

Super light, but with unrefined body shape and narrow sling they're not the best all rounders

DMM Alpha Sport

£22 - £23

DMM Alpha Sport product shot, 147 kb

From 111g

12cm

18cm

25cm

24kn

GO 9kn

CL 8kn

Best in Test Small, 5 kb

From the sculpted body and perfect gate action to the broad sling, these are sport climbing thoroughbreds

Edelrid Pure

£15

Edelrid Pure product shot, 185 kb

95g 16cm

23kn

GO 8kn

CL 8kn

Good for saving weight, but not as ergonomic as some; and that narrow floppy sling won't please everyone. Only one length available.

Mammut Crag Express

£15.50

Mammut Crag Express product shot, 49 kb

111g 10cm

25kn

GO 8kn

CL 9kn

Perfectly adequate, but they lack refinement without offering a compensating weight saving. Only one length available.

Ocun Falcon

£14.99

Ocun Falcon product shot, 107 kb

110g 12cm

25kn

GO 9kn

CL 9kn

Best in Test Good Value Small, 5 kb

Little finesse, but built like a brick outhouse - apart from that flimsy retainer. Only one length available.

Petzl SPIRIT EXPRESS

£20

Petzl Spirit Express product shot, 157 kb

From 94g

12cm

17cm

23kn

GO 9kn

CL 8kn

Best in Test Highly Recommended Small, 5 kb

Probably the best of the lighter biners on test; definitely the best of the slings

Climbing Technology Nimble EVO

£19

CT Nimble EVO product shot, 32 kb

From 107g

12cm

17cm

25kn

GO 10kn

CL 10kn

Best in Test Highly Recommended Small, 5 kb

For ergonomic refinement, ease of use and impressive strength these are hard to argue with at the price

Wild Country Proton

£25 - £26

WC Proton product shot, 85 kb

From 113g

12cm

17cm

25cm

24kn

GO 9kn

CL 7kn

Best in Test Highly Recommended Small, 5 kb

Super-ergonomic design, but pushing it on the price ...and watch out for that fierce gate action

Black Diamond Nitron

£16.99 - £17.99

Nitron QD, 67 kb

112g

12cm

24kn

GO 8kn

CL 8kn

A nice albeit unremarkable quickdraw with a good solid feel, but let down by its poor gate tension and an absence of length options

Grivel Alpha Captive £16.00 - £17.00

Grivel Alpha Captive in action, 71 kb

Carabiners

The Grivel Alpha Captive uses the new unique captive carabiner on the top and the more conventional and older K1B solid gate on the rope clipping end. The captive carabiner is indeed a different design and includes a smaller wire gate opening on the inside of the crab designed to hold the sling in the correct position at the base of the crab. This, according to Grivel, helps prevent cross-loading and fumble clipping when the crab has turned on your rack. In use we did find that it prevented the crab from turning when on the rack and it will also stop cross-clipping should that occur. It has to be said though that both of these are minor problems although avoiding a cross loading is certainly desirable. The cost of this though is an oddly shaped crab that doesn't sit well in the hand. It also doesn't offer a very wide gate opening for clipping older bolts. The rope clipping krab is more standard with a moderate curve to the bent gate making clipping easy enough but not as good as some of the more radical designs. The gates themselves are not too stiff but have no features for you to grab hold of to aid in gripping clipping.

Sling

The Grivel wide sling is available in two lengths 13cm and 18cm. It has a good solid feel and a slight taper at the top which allows for comfortable grabbing. The upper loop (with the captive crab on) is nice and wide allowing for flexibility in the system. First impression of the rubbery plastic retainer is that it protrudes a bit and may take some wear; however it feels extremely solid and showed no signs of weakness in our testing. All in all, a good sling.

In a line

This slightly over-complicated solution may appeal to those who like their quickdraws to remain tidy on the rack and the captive crab will appeal to some for its extra saftey level. They are not very slick feeling or lightweight, but the sling is good.

Grivel Alpha Captive quickdraw, 35 kb

Carabiner strength: gate closed 23kn; gate open 8kn; cross-loaded 8kn

Quickdraw weight: from 114g

Lengths: 13cm, 18cm

Price: from £16.99

Grivel say:

The Grivel Captive carabiner is the first anti cross-loading carabiner.

For more info see grivel.com

C.A.M.P Photon Express KS £16.99 - £17.99

C.A.M.P Photon, 142 kb
C.A.M.P Photon , 157 kb

Carabiners

With their i-beam cross section the Photons are very light - indeed they're billed by C.A.M.P as the lightest full sized keylock carabiner in the world, though there's not a whole lot between these biners and the Petzl Spirit and Edelrid Pure. For multi-pitch mountain sport routes, hard onsights or long single pitches where every gram counts, the lightness of the Photon is an obvious advantage. However in terms of usability the overall body shape is pretty basic, and they sit in the hand less snugly than some. The carabiners are not the strongest on test, and do not give the impression of being the most durable - something worth bearing in mind if you intend to give them a lot of heavy redpointing action. The bent gate is not particularly radical, while the more pronounced angle on some of the alternative models on test makes for noticeably easier clipping. There's a lot of stiffness in the gate action too, with quite an aggressive spring which you'd definitely notice when pumped out of your mind. Little raised knobbles on both the bent and straight gates do seem to help a little in terms of fumble-free grip though.

Sling

The Photon Express is available in both 11cm and 18cm lengths. It's good and rigid, but too thin for comfortable panic grabbing, so with this quickdraw think clean onsighting rather than bolt-to-bolt dogging. C.A.M.P have added no rubber retainer to hold the rope crab in position, instead relying on the tight fit of the tape alone; however in our experience the bent gate biner can still move around, with a small risk that it ends up misaligned as a result. Conversely up at the bolt end the fit is tighter than seems ideal, and as a result of this, in combination with a little notch in the crook of the straight gate biner, the sling is not completely free to rotate, and can occasionally get stuck in an odd position.

In a line

If you prioritise lightness then these are right, but with their narrow sling and less ergonomic shape they are not the best sport climbing all-rounders.

Photon Express product shot, 180 kb

Carabiner strength: gate closed 21kn; gate open 8kn; cross-loaded 7kn

Quickdraw weight: from 84g

Lengths: 11cm, 15cm & 20cm

Price: from £16.99

CAMP say:

Ready for the onsight. The 16mm Nylon dogbones are stiff enough to keep the biners from twisting and the lightweight keylocking Photon carabiners are optimised for smooth clipping and easy cleaning. Best of all, the whole rig weighs less than 3oz.

For more info see camp.it

DMM Alpha Sport £22 - £23

DMM Alpha Sport, 189 kb

Carabiners

Best in Test Large, 14 kbThey've been around for a few years now, and though they won't win any prizes for lightness, when it comes to the ultimate in sport climbing refinement DMM's Alphas are still the carabiners to beat. With its radically notched bent gate the Alpha Clip biner offers superbly smooth, easy rope clipping; it's an improvement on the standard bent gate design that you can genuinely feel in use, helping to guide the rope into place. The action on the gates is absolutely spot on too, not so stiff to open that it could ever be an effort when you're pumped and desperate, yet still snapping shut with a reassuring solidity. Both the bent gate Clip and straight gate Pro biners are shaped with a very distinctive set of kinks that means they sit really snugly in the hand, and with their ridged back for added purchase this makes fumbled clips that bit less likely. While all the carabiners on test here are clean-nosed, DMM's are among the cleanest, with really smooth curves for absolutely minimal snag risk. Add to all that their superb workmanship, weight saving i-beam construction, and a pronounced groove for the rope to run through, and these biners are clearly a cut above. The only criticism we can think of - and it is a minor one - is that the tight angle in the top of the straight gate biner can make it ever so slightly fiddly to strip.

Sling

As a quickdraw the Alpha Sport is available in 12, 18 and 25cm lengths. While the 12cm is obviously the standard workhorse, even the massive 25cm has a place in certain situations, and it could well be worth having a couple in your sport climbing arsenal. The 26mm (variable width) webbing gives you plenty to grab in desperation, and in the shortest configuration it's good and stiff throughout. You couldn't expect a fully rigid stitched sling for the full length of the 25cm version, but the 18cm dogbone is only bar tacked to the halfway point. Making it fully rigid, as Petzl have done with their 17cm SPIRIT quickdraw, would have made it slightly better for grabbing. To avoid any danger of dodgy loading the sling is completely free to rotate in the crook of the bolt clipping crab; meanwhile it's held very securely at the business end with a really robust plastic retainer that keeps the rope crab well seated.

In a line

Absolute sport climbing thoroughbreds; any niggles are very minor. Still the one to beat.

DMM Alpha Sport product shot, 147 kb

Carabiner strength: gate closed 24kn; gate open 9kn; cross-loaded 8kn

Quickdraw weight: from 111g

Lengths: 12cm, 18cm & 25cm

Price: from £22

DMM say:

Wouldn't it be great if, in that heart-in-mouth grip-clip moment, you knew that at least the quickdraw was on your side? When we designed the Alpha Clip we were determined to produce the most 'clip friendly' biner ever made. The bent gate, with its flared-out barrel shape works in perfect harmony with the kinked and groove-patterned back bar. It just feels so right, handles so well, and most importantly the rope always goes in first time. Try it out and you'll see what we mean.

For more info see dmmclimbing.com

Edelrid Pure £15

Clipping the Edelrid Pure, 145 kb

Carabiners

Their body shape lacks the ergonomic refinement of some others, and as a result they do not sit quite so satisfyingly in the hand. But these babies are certainly light. Weight savings are made through the use of an i-beam (or 'H-profile') construction, and generally slimming down the metalwork. The back bar for instance is very narrow, but you still get a reasonably broad diameter at the points of heavy wear on the internal angles (though less than some). In addition the overall dimensions are slightly smaller than some carabiners - again, good if you're counting grams though arguably less good for general clip-ability. Both the straight and bent gates are very basic, smooth all over with no moulded features to aid the grip. The nose, meanwhile, has an aggressive inward angle and squared edges that make it slightly snaggier than some. Gate action is nice and smooth though, not too fierce. As a red pointing or training workhorse the Edelrid Pure would not be our first choice since some other models are easier in the hand. However that lightness would be an advantage in certain situations: extra long pitches where you're carrying loads of quickdraws; hard onsights where every gram counts; or big bolted routes in the mountains.

Sling

The Edelrid Pure's sling is very narrow and quite floppy. A weight-saving narrow sling has obvious benefits in certain niches, and indeed there's evidence that it brings the load closer to the spine of the carabiner too (a very marginal gain in use, mind you). But in most sport climbing situations thicker webbing is preferable as it's easier to handle, more comfortable to grab in a panic, and generally feels more durable for all that hard use. In its defence however there is complete free movement at the bolt clipping end, while the bent gate crab is held very securely in place with a durable little rubber retainer. The quickdraw is only available in 16cm length.

In a line

Excellent biners if you're after something lightweight, but not as ergonomic as some ...and that narrow floppy sling won't suit everyone.

Edelrid Pure product shot, 185 kb

Carabiner strength: gate closed 23kn; gate open 8kn; cross-loaded 8kn

Quickdraw weight: 95g

Lengths: 16cm

Price: £15

Edelrid say:

Quickdraw set with narrow/wide sling. Ideal for sport climbing. Two robust Pure carabiners with Keylock closure system for optimal handling when clipping and unclipping. H-profile construction ensures best possible use of material and minimal weight. 11/17 mm narrow/wide polyamide sling with antitwist fixing on lower carabiner.

For more info see edelrid.de

Mammut Crag Express £15.50

Mammut Crag Express, 92 kb
Mammut Crag Express, 159 kb

Carabiners

With their curved backs, sculpted lines and smart brushed finish the Crag biners are rather different in looks to anything else on test. There's a lot of metal here, so while they are towards the stronger and more durable end of the spectrum they're also fairly chunky and weighty. These are workhorse quickdraws you'd be happy hammering on all-day training sessions. While the curved back does sit nicely in the hand, the body shape is not as ergonomically refined as some of the more radically kinked biners on test. There's a nice easy action on the gates, but unfortunately the bent gate is of a very basic barrel design with no grooves or ridges to aid the grip. Though it's keylock, the squared angles of the nose make it a little less smooth than some, too.

Sling

The crag express only comes in 10cm length. This isn't a lot of length, but we reckon it'd prove sufficient in most situations, unless you're on a wandering or traversey route. The tape is good and wide, with a big stiff stitched area that gives you plenty to hold onto when you're hoofing around on the quickdraw. At the bolt clipping end there's complete freedom of movement, while the rope biner is held securely in position with a decent, solid rubber retainer.

In a line

Perfectly adequate, but they lack the sophistication of more ergonomic designs without offering weight saving by way of compensation.

Mammut Crag Express product shot, 49 kb

Carabiner strength: gate closed 25kn; gate open 8kn; cross-loaded 9kn

Quickdraw weight: from 111g

Lengths: 10cm

Price: £15.50

Mammut say:

The ne plus ultra for ambitious sports climbing at the absolute limit! The stylish and user-friendly Crag carabiner allows you to attach the quickdraw quickly and safely; the wide-narrow–woven sling is extremely robust and makes it easier to hold the quickdraw.

For more info see mammut.ch

Ocun Falcon QD Zoom PAD £14.99

Ocun Falcon, 133 kb
Ocun falcon, 159 kb

Best in Test Good Value Large, 11 kbCarabiners

Super-beefy, with a weighty feel, the Falcon carabiners may lack finesse, but they have durability written all over them. These may not be your first choice for onsighting, but if you're redpointing a project and subjecting them to repeated falls then their solidity counts in their favour. Put simply there's more metal, with a particularly large surface area on the inner side of both carabiners at the point of highest wear. In fact the Falcon can prove a little chunky for use with a clip-stick. The ridged back of the crabs helps with grip for sweaty hands, but overall the body shape is very basic, and lacks the satisfying ergonomic feel of more sophisticated rivals. There is however a fairly relaxed angle on the top bar of the straight gate crab, which makes for a marginally smoother unclipping action. Though it's not as clip-friendly as the more radically bent gates, the Falcon QD's does have a little dimple for easier clipping. Gate action is a little snappy however.

Sling

There's enough width and stiffness in the middle of the quickdraw for comfy panic grabbing, but it gets floppy again down towards the bent gate - just where you might prefer a bit more stiffness for fumble-free clipping. This quickdraw is only available in 12cm, which is at least a good versatile length for most users. The tape rotates freely at the bolt clipping end, so there's minimal chance of any untoward twisting or snagging. Compared to the best on test the rubber retainer is very basic, and does not promise to match the durability of the metalwork.

In a line

Little finesse, but built like a brick outhouse - apart from that flimsy retainer, which you may end up replacing.

Ocun Falcon product shot, 107 kb

Carabiner strength: gate closed 25kn; gate open 9kn; cross-loaded 9kn

Quickdraw weight: 110g

Length: 12cm

Price: £14.99

Ocun say:

The best choice for "red point" climbing and training. Top Falcon Straight carabiner (with K-lock) for easy protection clipping. Zoom QD (26/16 mm) Polyamide webbing of ergonomic shape with high durability. Bottom Falcon Bent carabiner (with K-lock) for easy rope clipping. Rubber Biner fix keeps the lower carabiner in the correct position.

For more info see ocun.com

Petzl SPIRIT EXPRESS £20

Petzl Spirit, 93 kb
Petzl Spirit, 143 kb

Best in Test Highly Recommended Large, 15 kbCarabiners

With a deeply cut i-beam construction the SPIRIT carabiners are among the lightest on test; but while roughly comparable for weight with, for instance, the CAMP Photon, the SPIRIT beats it for strength. Its straight-backed body shape sits in the hand less snugly than some of the more sculpted models on test, and with no ridging to aid grip it is not quite up there with the most ergonomic designs. Nevertheless it has some well-thought-out features. The dimple in the straight gate is one of the more effective when you're reaching up to clip; meanwhile the outer edge of the bent gate is squared off for better purchase on digits and ropes - it does feel marginally more effective than a simple round barreled gate. The profile of the nose is smoother and less angular than some, and the stiffness of the gate action is about middle of the road and certainly not too harsh. Finally, there's a deep notch in the crook of each biner to help guide the position of the rope and bolt, while the internal radius is very broad for durability and minimal rope drag.

Sling

For us, the sling of the SPIRIT EXPRESS is this quickdraw's trump card. Cut narrow at the top, it widens steadily towards the rope end to create a hand-friendly teardrop shape that's ideal for grabbing when you're pumped and flustered. The stitched dogbone is thicker than most, and really quite rigid. This helps when you're pulling up on the quickdraw, and also just for general handling. Though the carabiners themselves are lightweights, the tape's solidity gives the whole setup a beefy, durable feel (without adding much weight). Despite its stiffness the sling rotates freely at the bolt clipping end, so that the quickdraw always seems to hang correctly. At the same time the screwgate is held very securely by a chunky rubber retainer.

In a line

Probably the best of the lighter biners on test; definitely the best of the slings.

Petzl Spirit Express product shot, 157 kb

Carabiner strength: gate closed 23kn; gate open 9kn; cross-loaded 8kn

Quickdraw weight: from 94g

Lengths: 12cm & 17cm

Price: £20

Petzl say:

The SPIRIT EXPRESS quickdraw offers better clipping for sport climbing. Weighing less than 100g, it is versatile and moves easily from the crag to long sport routes. The top carabiner, equipped with the Keylock system and a special nose shape, facilitates clipping and unclipping the anchor. The bottom carabiner, with bent gate and Keylock system, facilitates clipping the rope. The EXPRESS sling is equipped with a STRING protector to hold the lower carabiner in position. Its ergonomic shape offers excellent grip when working a route.

For more info see petzl.com

Climbing Technology Nimble EVO £19

Climbing Technology Nimble EVO, 129 kb
Climbing Technology Nimble Evo, 157 kb

Best in Test Highly Recommended Large, 15 kbCarabiners

Don't be fooled by the comedy garish colour scheme - if you're after a sport quickdraw built for absolute ease of use, the Nimble EVO is a serious contender rivalled only by the offerings from Wild Country and DMM. For the smoothest possible handling the ergonomic, kinked body shape gives the biners a comfortable feel in the hand, while the exaggerated notch of the bent gate makes rope clipping a breeze. Both the straight and bent gates are grooved for easier grip, while the ridged back bar offers purchase to sweaty hands. Gate action is ever so slightly stiffer than that on the DMM Alpha Sport, and we'd put it about the middle of the pack in this test. The crooks of the biners are notched to help seat the rope and bolt correctly, while the keylock nose has a good rounded profile for minimal snagging. Though the i-beam cross section saves a bit of weight these remain the strongest carabiners on test, with very respectable figures for gate open and cross loaded strength, and their chunky robust feel that suggests they'll stand up well to loads of red pointing, dogging and general abuse.

Sling

Three configurations of this quickdraw are available: the DY with lightweight dyneema sling; the NY with 16mm polyamide sling; and the NY Pro with the full 25mm tape. For general sport climbing this latter is the most user friendly, and it's the one we looked at in the test. The stitched dogbone is broad and fat enough for comfortable grabbing, and for general ease of handling. Movement at the bolt end is unimpeded, while the bent gate is held firm with a strong rubber retainer that's also shaped to provide something of a backstop for the hand if you're in panic grab mode.

In a line

For ergonomic refinement, ease of use and impressive strength these are hard to argue with at the price.

CT Nimble EVO product shot, 33 kb

Carabiner strength: gate closed 25kn; gate open 10kn; cross-loaded 10kn

Quickdraw weight: from 107g

Lengths: 12cm & 17cm

Price: £19

Climbing Technology say:

Extremely robust, ergonomic and lightweight quickdraw with elevated workloads, ideal for sport climbing, for intensive use and for working a route. Equipped with ample sized, hot forged carabiners with catch-free closure for easy rope insertion/removal. Upper carabiner with the new best-grip gate; lower carabiner with a hot forged ergonomic gate. Equipped with an ergonomic and robust polyamide sling in variable widths (25/16 mm) and with the new FIXIT rubber fastener on the lower carabiner, which prevents accidental rotation during use and protects the sling from wear and tear.

For more info see climbingtechnology.com

Wild Country Proton £25 - £26

Alan James using the Wild Country Proton QD, 133 kb
Wild Country Proton , 145 kb


Best in Test Highly Recommended Large, 15 kbCarabiners

Wild Country's Proton is a striking-looking beast; and the first thing to strike you are the radical angles. This is the kinkiest of all the crabs, taking the ergonomic bends used by DMM and Climbing Technology to a whole new level. The inward curve on the spine fits equally snugly in the hand in either orientation of the carabiner - whether you're reaching up for the bolt with the straight gate or clipping the rope into the bent gate. The keylock nose has a snag-free curved profile. Sharp internal angles help seat the bolt and rope correctly, while super wide contact faces on the inside of both biners make for a smooth rope glide and increased durability. The straight gate is grooved to aid grip... and then of course there's that wild angle on the bent gate (you can't miss it). You can see the logic: if a kinked gate is better at swallowing the rope than a simple curve, then surely the more kink the better. But at what angle of bend does a helpful kink become a hook that actually risks hindering the rope's passage into the biner? Whether or not you think Wild Country have got close to that line probably depends on your personal clipping technique. In practice what we noticed more than the geometry of the gate was its mechanics. Put simply, the gate action is just a little too stiff and aggressive. If you are pumped and fumbling the clip, the last thing you want is a battle with your carabiner. We hope the spring will relent over time.

Sling

As with the DMM Alpha Sport, the Proton quickdraw is available in three lengths, running up to a massive 25cm. To re-iterate, the longer draw is a fairly niche product, though it certainly has a place under a roof or at the start of a traverse. We have just tested the shortest draw, which is both broad and stiff enough for comfortably grabbing in extremis and all round ease of handling. At the bolt end the sling rotates freely, while the bent gate is held immobile; however, parts of this plastic retainer are very skimpy, and look unlikely to survive long abuse.

In a line

Super-ergonomic design, but pushing it on the price ...and watch out for that fierce gate action.

WC Proton product shot, 86 kb

Carabiner strength: gate closed 24kn; gate open 9kn; cross-loaded 7kn

Quickdraw weight: from 113g

Lengths: 12, 17 & 25cm

Price: £25-26

Wild Country say:

The superb hot forged Proton 'biners combine with our new variable width webbing to make an awesome package. Deep internals locate both the bolt and rope perfectly producing a clean hanging draw that's perfectly balanced. Quickdraws available in 12, 17 and 25cm on variable width webbing with the 'Vice'. Five packs of 17cm or 25cm draws are also available.

For more info see wildcountry.com

Black Diamond Nitron £18

Alan James using the Black Diamond Nitron QD, 186 kb

Carabiners

Undoubtedly the most stealth quickdraw within the review, with its striking black/purple design. Digging a little deeper into shape and performance, the Nitron is at the more conventional end of the spectrum, featuring a standard D shape and hot forged design. It is, alongside the Wild Country Proton, one of the heaviest quickdraws within the review, which is something worth bearing in mind if you're more into your onsighting than your redpointing. That said, with weight comes durability, and this is definitely a quickdraw that can take the knocks. The thing that really lets the Nitron down however is its gate tension, which feels quite sluggish. As such, they lack that special something when clipping - that reassuring 'click' to let you know all is safe and well is something conspicuous by its absence. Furthermore, the absence of some of the finer finishes to gate design means that the clipping of the rope is nothing special either.

Sling

One of the downsides of the Nitron is that there is only a single size/length available: 12cm. Obviously this would be easy enough to get around, but it's still strange that longer options are not available, as extending draws for easier clipping or reducing drag isn't an uncommon practise. That said, the sling provided is of a wide hand-friendly nature, but nevertheless due to its short length it can sometimes be difficult to grab due to being such a small target - particularly when you're in a panic!

In a line

A nice albeit unremarkable quickdraw with a good solid feel, but let down by its poor gate tension and an absence of length options.

Nitron QD, 67 kb

Carabiner strength: gate closed 24kn; gate open 8kn; cross-loaded 8kn

Quickdraw weight: 112g

Length: 12cm only

Price: £18

Black Diamond say:

"Our premier full keylock quickdraw for snag-free clipping and cleaning, the Black Diamond Nitron Quickdraw features two 100% hot-forged Nitron carabiners and a lightweight, durable 27 mm Vari-width polyester dogbone. Ergonomic, hot-forged gates make for easy clipping on either the bolt or rope end, and the keylock noses eliminate the hassle when cleaning steep routes. We also included a Straitjacket dogbone insert to keep the bottom biner in the optimal clipping position."

For more info visit the Black Diamond Website.

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