Lightweight or Beefy Quickdraws.
What's a climber's best choice?
Over the last decade, the average weight of a quickdraw has dropped considerably allowing climbers to carry more draws without any grade-robbing weight penalties. For the most part, the gram savings have come from savvy construction methods (that reduce biner weight without compromising strength) and the use of increasingly thinner webbing. Shocking weight savings have also emerged from smaller biner-proportions so that some carabineers are now only slightly larger than keychain holders. While all these weight reductions are a welcome improvement for many multi-pitch trad climbers and alpinists, many sport climbers and craggers are probably better off trading some of these weight savings for draws with larger proportions and greater durability. These beefy draws are a better option for routes that require repeated falls as their larger rope-bearing surface is easier on the rope and their wider webbing provides greater abrasion resistance.
With their keylock wire gate construction, sculpted H-frame body and 10 mm wide Dyneema sling, the Ange S Finesse draws deliver low weight without sacrificing function. The biners single-wire gate is easy to clip, but perhaps lags just a hair behind conventional dual-wire gates in absolute clipping performance. That said, most climbers are not likely to notice a difference. What is noticeable however is the Ange S Finesse's massive rope bearing surface, which minimizes rope wear during fall. This is a welcome change from the current trend of reducing this surface area in order to save weight. Another subtle benefit with this biner comes from how the nose completely shrouds the gate, which almost eliminates the risk of the gate opening if the nose drags against the rock. As for construction quality on the draw and biners, it's typical Petzl - top notch. For general trad climbing or long alpine routes where weight is a real concern, climbers should seriously consider these draws.
If climbers dismiss the FS Mini Draw because they believe the biners are too small, they will be missing out on what may be best improvement in runners since the sewn sling. Metolius's long runners consist of a 10 mm wide sling that's sewn together for the entire length of the runner. The result is a long draw that's light and flexible without the gear-snagging and racking hassles associated with traditional loop style slings. Racking is particularly easy - just clip the top biner to a gear loop and then clip bottom biner into the top biner. This setup really works. And while the diminutive FS Mini biners may be too small for some climbers, they work surprisingly well considering their pint-size proportions. These draws are worth getting just for the slings.
Black Diamond's new HoodWire draw combines a Hotwire biner on the bottom with a new HoodWire biner on the top. The result is a draw that allows for lightning-fast rope clips while providing keylock-like snag-free clipping on wires, slings and bolt hangers. Both biners are hot forged for light weight and high strength, and their wire gates assure consistent flutter-free performance regardless of conditions. Joined by a 10 mm Dynex sling the HoodWire draw is a great lightweight choice that retains full-size biner versatility.
Two ultralight Mission wire gate biners are joined with a surprisingly durable 8 mm sling, creating a top draw for difficult alpine or long trad routes. While the biner's rope bearing surface it not massive, it is adequate for the infrequent falls encountered on longer climbs. Edelrid's Antitwist rubber sling-protector steadies the rope-end biner and prevents sling abrasion. A solid choice for climbers moving light-and-fast.
Using two full-size Nitro biners and a 10 mm Dyneema sling, this quickdraw is versatile enough for almost any climbing situation. Unnecessary weight is shed through the careful sculpting of the Nitro body, and if not for the thin draw, these would also be acceptable for sport climbing. Big and easy-to-clip, the Nitro Quickdraw is a good choice for summer trad or winter ice ascents.
This beautifully made wire gate quickdraw offers trad climbers a lightweight Dyneema draw with a small but functional biner suitable for a variety of climbing. Sport climbers and ice climber will likely want a carabineer with a bit more operating space, but anyone venturing onto gear-intensive trad climbs will appreciate this quickdraw's weight savings.
The two full-size biners of the Photon Mixed quickdraw could have many climbers thinking this rig would be too heavy for the lightweight draw category. They would be wrong. Thanks to CAMP's highly sculpted, hot forged construction, the Photon biners are strong and shockingly light. The top biner sports a kelylock nose, which eliminates snagging on hangers, wires or slings while the wire gate bottom biner ensures effortlessly fast clips. A 16 mm nylon sling resists abrasion and provides a useful handle for emergency clips. This is a great lightweight draw that works in almost any climbing situation.
Built specifically for sport climbing, the Alpha draw offers a variety of features that will surely please the dedicated bolt clipper. DMM starts by hot forging the Alpha biner bodies for mind-calming strength without unnecessary weight. The 26 mm variable-width sling is well suited for steep sport-sending as it offers a comfortable panic handle during challenging clips. The Alpha biners work flawlessly with the keylock straight gate easily threading bolt hangers while the bent gate delivers almost unrivalled easy-clipping. Much of this clipping performance comes from the bent gate's extreme shape that seems to capture and direct the rope into the basket. This impressive easy-clipping however requires climbers to pay more attention to rope travel and avoid back-clipping. If the rope were to drape over this gate, it's more likely to unclip. Outside of this relatively minor caveat, these are exceptional sport climbing draws.
The Beta Easy is perhaps the most unconventional looking and some would say revolutionary quickdraw in the review. While functional, the top and bottom biners are relatively common in their construction; a solid, snag-free keylock on the top and a very easy clipping wire gate for the rope. Nothing new here. The sling however is an ingenious example of what happens when companies actually analyze how products are used. Grivel starts with a thin Dyneema sling, which is threaded through a firm but flexible plastic, yellow handle. Yes, a handle - that's what Grivel calls it. This bright, yellow 3F Handle provides some surprising benefits, especially during sport climbing. First, it steadies the biners allowing for easier clips during desperate redpoint attempts. Second, it protects the sling from the rock-abrasion that frequently occurs on draws that hang against the wall and are subjected to regular falls. Finally, it provides an incredibly secure handle - perfect for grabbing when a climber is too pumped to clip the rope and wants to avoid taking the big whip. This system really works - get some.
Simple, beefy and effective. These words best describe this well made and functional draw. Mammut uses a keylock biner on the top for snag-free bolt clips while the wire gate bottom biner offers easy rope clips. Joined with a durable 16 mm sling, this draw is a solid option for sport or trad cragging.
Sporting a snag-free keylock nose and a super-wide, cord-saving rope-bearing surface, the Nitron Quickdraw is a perfect choice for any route that requires multiple falls during redpoint attempts. Weight is minimized thanks to the Nitron biner's hot forged construction and the use of a durable 14 mm Dynex sling. Easy-clipping, strong and very rope-friendly, these draws are an exceptional choice for sport climbing or general cragging.
Lacking any eye-catching I or H-beam shape and sporting a relatively common mid-size biner body, it would be easy to overlook the Oxygen quickdraw. But that would be a mistake. The Oxygen offers easy clipping, great strength and do-all purposefulness that should be welcome by any all-around rock climbers. The simple 12 mm Dyneema sling is reassuringly strong and works well for everything except dedicated sport climbing where a wider sling is more suitable. This is a solid offering from Wild Country.
With its solid keylock biners and burly 16 mm nylon sling, the Pure quickdraw exudes reassuring strength and durability. The biners's hot forged construction reduces weight without compromising strength while the abrasion protector on the nylon sling increases safety. And while this draw may lack the flashy, eye-catching details of some quickdraws, it delivers understated and uncompromising performance on bolted routes and single-pitch trad climbs.