Carabiners can be used for a variety of applications, but one of the most common is climbing. There are many different types of carabiners, however they can all be divided up into two separate categories: locking and non-locking. Additionally there are also several different shapes of carabiners for various applications.



A non-locking carabiner has a sprung swinging gate that snaps shut under the spring’s pressure. There are three main types of gates: straight gate, bent gate, and wire gate.


Straight gates are the most widely used and also the strongest of the three. Due to their durability and low price, straight gates are a great choice for many climbing applications.


Bent gates are bent to allow ease of clipping. Not only do bent gates clip more easily but they also unclip with ease, which make them a great choice for quick draws.


Finally the wire gate is the last of the three. Wire gates, as the name implies, are made of wire which make them the lightest type of carabiner. Due to the light weight, wire gates are less prone to gate flutter and are a good choice to minimize weight.



Similar to non-locking carabiners, locking carabiners have several different types: auto-locking, screw-locking, and triple locking gates. The way that a locking carabiner works is via a sleeve that slides over the gate opening. The sleeve then prevents the gate from accidental opening.


An auto-locking carabiner as one would assume, automatically locks the gate and is good for quick applications. The screw-locking and triple-locking carabiners lock via sleeves that screw up and down to lock the gate.



In addition to the gate type, carabiners also come in various shapes which are used for different applications.


The most basic shape is the oval which equally distributes the load. Unfortunately equal load distribution can be a downfall with carabiners since the gate side is the weakest.


The next type is the D-shaped carabiner. D-shaped carabiners, unlike oval carabiners, reposition the load to the spine which is the strongest. Therefore, D-shaped carabiners generally have a higher load capacity than do their oval counterparts.


In addition to straight D-shaped, there are also modified D-shaped carabiners. Modified D’s are shaped so that the gate opening side is larger than the hinge side. This allows for the gate to open further and makes clipping easier. Modified D’s are also the most commonly used carabiners.


The final shape is pear or HMS. This style of carabiner is similar to the modified D; however they are generally larger and have a pear shape which helps distribute the load to the bottom hinge portion of the carabiner.


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