Pocket Preps

RECOIL OFFGRID - - Contents - By Pa­trick Vuong


If you haven’t thought about get­ting a cara­biner, you’ll be a con­vert soon af­ter try­ing one. It’s an in­cred­i­bly use­ful tool, and you don’t have to be a moun­tain climber to ap­pre­ci­ate it.

Aside from us­ing them for climb­ing, rap­pelling, or cav­ing as in­tended, ’bin­ers have all sorts of im­pro­vised func­tions, in­clud­ing, but not lim­ited to, rig­ging a shel­ter, act­ing as a tourni­quet (when cou­pled with a cord), be­ing used as a strik­ing im­ple­ment, and link­ing smaller packs to your getout-of-dodge bag. Of course, you can use them for more mun­dane roles, such as a key­chain or to at­tach a wa­ter bot­tle to your hik­ing pack.

The pre­de­ces­sor of the cara­biner was made in the 1800s for French cav­alry troops called cara­biniers, who used me­tal spring hooks and slings to carry their car­bines whilst on horse­back. How­ever, it wasn’t un­til af­ter the 1910s when leg­endary Ger­man climber Otto Her­zog is cred­ited as hav­ing created the first modern ’biner by in­cor­po­rat­ing a springloaded gate (the com­po­nent that opens and closes). The Ger­man term kara­bin­er­haken means “spring hook,” but trans­lates lit­er­ally as “car­bine hook.”

To­day ’bin­ers gen­er­ally come in four types: asym­met­ric D-shaped, D-shaped, oval, and pear-shaped. The other im­por­tant el­e­ment is the gate, since it’s the part that opens to con­nect to an­other ob­ject and closes to en­sure it stays con­nected that way. There are three gate types: straight, bent, and wire. Gates can fur­ther be grouped into lock­ing and non-lock­ing.

While there are many more fac­tors to con­sider if you’re us­ing cara­bin­ers for load-bear­ing ac­tiv­i­ties, we’re not delv­ing that deeply here. How­ever, the seven cara­bin­ers here give you a quick glimpse at the wide ar­ray of op­tions avail­able on the mar­ket now. Their uses are lim­ited only by your imag­i­na­tion.

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