Black Diamond VaporLock Carabiner Review

Oh Boy, another locking belay carabiner on the market! I hope you have flood insurance because the tide is rising on these things. Seriously, how much more can we take and how many more can they make? Take an HMS, pear shaped locker, or what have you and twist it, turn it, shave it, color it, anodize it, and what to you have? Another locking belay carabiner. Well, enter the Black Diamond VaporLock Belay Carabiner.

Ok, here is where I tell you why this one is different. Its light, really light. BD calls this the lightest belay carabiner in the world. They may not be kidding. At a feather weight 1.8oz it is light and takes a beating better than Jess and I on Looking Glass Sun Wall tradfests last weekend. I like light cause I carry a ton of gear cause I get scared a ton. I have a four point criteria when it comes to locking belay carabiners. The VaporLock fits the bill.

1. Its a screw gate CHECK

2. It is pear shaped CHECK

3. Did I mention, Its light CHECK

4. Its a Key Lock CHECK

5. Scalpel CHECK

The Key Lock feature is my favorite quality. I have this hang up about everything getting hung up in the notch of a traditional biner. With the Key Lock function, problem solved. For all you skinny rope aficionados, Black Diamond claims that this carabiner increases friction up to 30% when used with an ATC Guide. This is true. The wide rope bearing radius and the "texture" on the surface which the rope runs across creates the breaking power of a 11.mm hemp rope passed thru a stitch plate! Old schoolers, you know what I talkin' about, if you're still alive! But really, I tested this rapping from Looking Glass on a 9.2 and 8.6 for 160 feet. Total control. As far as the strength rating goes, nothing Herculean here, but 21kn on the spine and 8kn cross or open, gate loaded. It is enough piece of mind for the most discerning risk manager. For the size of the helium workhorse, it has a surprisingly wide gate opening, BD claims munter hitch compatible up to 9.4mm but I think that's modest, and it opens wide enough to swallow all the tattered sling rappel stations I care to clip.

So read the best part: given the twists, turns, colors, ridges and claims of lightness...its even light on your wallet. How light? Under 15 bucks.

In trying times, Indulge myself? Yes I will. CHECK

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