A Guide to Carabiners

A Guide to Carabiners

carabiner is a loop of metal with a spring-loaded gate that opens and shuts. Their uses are various and allow workers and climbers to perform virtually every task allowing us to move in the vertical world safely, quickly and efficiently. 

Today, you can find of dozens of designs, shapes and models of carabiners that all serve particular purposes. Below is a simple guide to helping you choose the right carabiner for your purpose: 


  • Oval Shaped: The original shape of a carabiner. It allows for easy opening, and it also prevents shifting when loaded. Due to its size it is not able to carry as much as some of the larger carabiners. However they are commonly seen as weaker, heavier and harder to use. 
  • D-Shaped: The D-shape is larger than the Oval and has a wider gate opening. This shape is the “standard” carabiner and the most commonly used. It is generally lighter in weight than the oval with increased strength.
  • Asymmetrical D-Shape: The asymmetrical D-shaped carabiner is the most popular design because it is the lightest shape, strongest design and has a much larger gate opening than regular Ds. 
  • Pear Shape: The pear shape has an extra-large gate opening. Great for anchoring ropes and other gear together though they can be more difficult to operate than the Oval or D Shaped.

Locking Mechanisms:

  • Screwgate Locking: Need to be manually twisted to open and shut the gate which some people prefer to the relying on an automatic mechanism. 
  • Self-Locking: automatically close when the gate is released and are available in non-locking (open) double locking (twist-open), and triple locking (pull-twist-open). New regulations in the industry are now requiring a carabiner with a three-stage locking mechanism on the gates for added safety. 
  • Specialist Locking: These specialist carabiners include Ball-Lock (made by Petzl) with a small ball you push in to open the gate. Petzl also makes a rollclip with an integrated pulley wheel which helps reduce friction / rope drag.

Examples of popular models: 

Petzl WILLIAM Aluminium Karabiner (2016): The updated WILLIAM asymmetrical large capacity aluminium karabiner has a pear shape that is practical for easily connecting multiple items. Its fluid interior design and Keylock™ system facilitate manipulations. The WILLIAM karabiner is available in three locking systems: SCREW-LOCK manual system or TRIACT-LOCK and BALL-LOCK automatic systems.  

Kong 411 XL D Screwgate Karabiner: The Kong 411 XL D Screwgate Carbon Steel Karabiner with screw sleeve. The X-Large is designed to offer a wide gate opening and a high tensile strength. The particular D shape prevents the rotation of the karabiner and allows to distribute the load along the major axis. Equipped with Key Lock system that prevents any snagging on the rope and in the bolts. Fitted with screw sleeve, easy to open even wearing gloves. 

Skylotec DOUBLE TRI Tri Lock Karabiner: The new DOUBLE TRI, is the new generation of HMS karabiner with 180 ° technology and smooth triple-locking mechanism for maximum safety - push up, turn and open. With the new karabiner series DOUBLE, SKYOLTEC has now an answer for all those who work and climb left-handed or use both hands. With the innovative design (180° spring rotation), the sleeve that closes the gate can rotate in both directions.

And Coming soon!

ISC Small Iron Wizard Screw Gate Karabiner: This small ISC Iron Wizard steel carabiner features an awesome 70kN breaking strength and four gate configurations. The offset gate swings open to the side to allow for maximum clearance.