If you search, racking karabiner in UKClimbing.com's forums you will come up with literally hundreds of threads jam packed with climbers opinions on which krab is best. A racking karabiner is a 'biner that you use to hold all your wire nuts, or any type of protection, on your harness. Often oval shaped karabiners are slagged off as useless, with several half witted excuses thrown in as justifications. If these people are anything like me they probably haven't even used said karabiner and like me have thought, "A symmetrical 'biner will never work out. Which way up it is? I'll probably drop all my wires." Recently, to try and kid myself I'm a hard climber, I decided to buy a set of Black Diamond Micro Stoppers, which come complete with an Oval wire krab.
Now having actually held one of these krabs I was impressed not only by its size and weight (or lack of...it's 45g) but also its wide base. The wide base is what makes the oval king, blowing all other racking 'biners out of the water. It enables ten wires to hang neatly while racked, rather than being splayed out in a mishmash of all directions, that inevitably end with tangles, dropped wires and tears, which I have experienced with other styles of karabiner. However I still wasn't convinced by the symmetrical nature of the 'biner convinced that mid-crux I would unclip the krab thinking it was the right way up when in fact it was upside down, drop all my wires and fall to a bloody and painfull death. After a few weeks of climbing with Ovals this hadn't happened and the wires racked on my other conventional krabs wire become noticeable harder to select and place in comparison, so I replaced my other three racking krabs with Oval wires.
I've now been climbing with my wires racked on Ovals for around six months and I'm still yet to drop a wire, something that has a happened to me on several occasions with other conventional krabs. Another advantage of the Oval is it's a nice big krab, preventing fumbles and dropped wires when climbing gloved. They are also inexpensive priced at £5.50 a pop. The only disadvantages I can see is they are not available in different colours to aid identification further, but in the days of coloured wires, this is no real hardship. If you buy a Black Diamond Oval Wire Karabiner you won't be disappointed.
Product: Black Diamond Oval Wire karabiner
Comparable products: BD Oval (£5.00 – 62g), Petzl Owall (£7.50 – 68g).
What is your opinion? Is this an ideal racking biner?