Carabiners are a vital piece of climbing equipment. These are small, metal loops that have a spring-loaded gate. Carabiners can be used for many purposes. The type of carabiner will determine which one is most appropriate for you. Let’s start with the basics. Continue reading to learn how to select carabiners.


Gate The spring-loaded side opens from the carabiner, connecting you to the gear.

Spine- This is the side that faces the gate. This is the area where most force and weight are carried.

Gate Opening How wide can you open the gate of your carabiner? The size and shape of the carabiner determine the width of the opening.

Note: Where the gate meets with the solid portion of the carabiner.


Steel carabiners are used most frequently in rescue and industrial situations due to larger working loads and greater forces. Steel carabiners can be more robust and more durable than aluminum, but they are also heavier than aluminum carabiners.

Aluminium – Aluminum carabiners weigh less than steel and are designed for recreational climbing, with fewer forces and workloads.


Oval The oval carabiner is a classic that has been around for many decades and is a popular choice. They can be easily rotated or flipped, have consistent racks, and are affordable. Oval carabiners can be used for aid climbing because they don’t interfere with or block other carabiners. Oval carabiners, however, are weaker than the different shapes, transfer weight evenly between the spine and the gate, and have narrower gate openings. They are also heavier. If strength and lighter weight are more important than strength (e.g., D-shaped carabiners usually work well.

D Shape – D-shaped carabiners are the strongest and transfer more force from the gate to the spine. D-shaped carabiners are lighter than other types and have larger gate openings. D-shaped carabiners are great for clipping into protection and locking anchor points. They are more versatile than the standard symmetrical oval shape and, therefore, more expensive.

Offset D Shape – Very similar design and function to a D Shape carabiner. The only difference is an exaggerated, asymmetrical design allowing a wider gate opening. These are slightly more costly than the standard D-Shape carabiner.

HMS Carabiner These are unique, oversized versions of the offset d-shape designed for belay. They are great for use with a belay device or using a hitch to belay with. HMS carabiners have the same strength and weight drawbacks as oval carabiners and are made from thicker bar stock to compensate. They are still straightforward to use and can be connected to your belay device easily.



Straight Gate, The most popular and versatile type of opening system is the straight gate. These gates are made of a single piece of aluminum or steel, and, as their name suggests, they are straight from the hinge to the closing point.

Bent Gate The bent gate design features a slight curvature. The same spring-loaded design makes it easy to clip in and out of gear. A bent gate carabiner is not recommended for directly attaching to your protective equipment. A bent gate carabiner could cause accidental unclipping, posing a severe danger to climbers.

Wire gate The main difference is the narrower loop of wire used for the gate. This slim loop design reduces weight but does not compromise strength or durability. You can choose from a straight or bent wire gate carabiner. They are more resistant to corrosion, snow, and icing than solid gate carabiners.


Non-locking carabiners are similar in design and function to locking carabiners. The only difference is that a lockable carabiner has a sleeve to attach to the nose. This add-on provides more security and assurance that the carabiner won’t open when it should. These locks are heavier and more costly than non-locking models.

Twistlock – The twist-lock carabiner’s sleeve has a spring-loaded design that must be turned to remove the gate from its nose. The spring-loaded design locks them shut automatically. This design is vulnerable to wear and tear, dirt, ice, and other mechanical problems.

Screw Lock The screw lock has a threaded sleeve. This must be manually opened or closed to unlock the gate. Because they have fewer moving components than a twist lock carabiner, they are less susceptible to component malfunction.

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