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.