There are four basic shapes to a carabiner: oval, D-shaped, asymmetric D-shape and pear or HMS. While shape once defined a carabiner, modern safety codes and design features have altered the way carabiners are categorized. Carabiners are now most often characterized by the type of gate used, as this feature most directly affects the way a carabiner will be used. In all there are only five different types of carabiners.
A straight gate carabiner is the most common type. Straight gates offer the best combination of versatility and strength. These qualities combined with low prices makes the straight gate carabiner the perfect option for all climbers. Straight gate carabiners can be used in most climbing applications, including attaching to the rope, attaching webbing and creating a quickdraw.
Designed with usability in mind, bent gate carabiners offer faster latching and unlatching by placing a slight inward arc on the gate. Although just as strong as straight gate biners, the ease of use of a bent gate carabiner is its detriment. Since the biner can slip open more easily than other gates, most bent gate carabiners are used only to pack gear and used most frequently in sport climbing.
As the lightest of all carabiners, the wire gate carabiner is a favorite among mountaineers. While they may look flimsy, they are just as strong as straight or bent gate carabiners. Additionally, the limited weight allows serious climbers to pack along more gear without being weighed down by the excess metal. Wire gates are also the least likely type of carabiner to freeze up in cold weather making them the best choice for climbs into high altitudes.
Twist Lock Gate
Twist lock gate carabiners are the most common type of locking carabiner. These biners have a metal sleeve that fits over the gate opening and locks it shut. Once the carabiner is in place you must simply twist the mechanism shut. Twist lock gate carabiners are used often to belay and to attach the rope to bolts. The lock gives extra support on these crucial spots.
While locking carabiners can greatly improve climbing safety, the locking feature does no good if a person forgets to lock it. For this reason the auto-locking gate was invented. While more expensive, these carabiners lock instantly upon closing to eliminate the chance of human error. These types of carabiners work well to replace any twist lock gate or for mountain climbing when bulky gloves or gear make locking the carabiner by hand an impossibility.
Article Written By Heather Rutherford
Heather Rutherford has enjoyed writing professionally since 2004. Her articles have appeared in ModernMom.com, DailyLife.com, ParentsHut.com, Trails.com and On-the-News. She also works intimately with several small businesses to prepare business plans and other marketing materials. Rutherford is seeking an Associate of Arts in business from North Idaho College.