The Best Anchor Chain for Climbing Review

What is the best anchor chain for connecting you to your climbing anchor? We look at three of the best options and test them head-to-head. We evaluated them on four criteria: fall absorption, ease of clipping, overall feel, and weight and bulk.

The first question you may have is, "What is an anchor chain and why do I need one?" We answer that in our Buying Advice article.

Read the full review below >

Test Results and Ratings

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Analysis and Award Winners


Review by:

Founder and Editor-in-Chief
OutdoorGearLab

Last Updated:
Monday
June 25, 2012

Best Overall Anchor Chain for Climbing


Metolius Personal Anchor System


Editors' Choice Award

Price:   Varies from $30 - $33 online
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Our Editors' Choice award goes to the Metolius Personal Anchor System. We liked its overall bomber feeling and ease of use. It seems to combine the best of both worlds: nylon to offer some fall absorption and dyneema to give it a thinner profile. That said, the other two chains excel in certain applications. The Chain Reactor is 100 percent nylon and therefore the most dynamic. If you are canyoneering or often clipping an anchor below you where you might fall, this product is probably the best. It is also the least expensive. The Blue Water Titan is by far the lightest. If you are alpine climbing or sport climbing and just want the lightest and least bulky option, this is the one to get.




Analysis and Test Results



Fall Absorption


The Sterling Chain Reactor was the only one of the three we tested made 100 percent of nylon. This gives it the best fall absorption properties. This is especially important if you are clipping an anchor below you and there is a chance you might shock load it. In addition, if you are belaying off it, the Sterling absorbs belay falls of the follower the best. The Metolius Personal Anchor System (PAS) is 73 percent nylon and 27 percent Dyneema. The Blue Water Titan Loop is also part Nylon and Dyneema.

Check out our climbing sling review to read about the difference between Spectra/Dyneema and nylon.

Ease of Clipping


The Personal Anchor System and Titan Loop are the thinnest and easiest to clip. The Titan is the thinnest product we tested. The Personal Anchor System is a little thicker but has a more beefy structure that makes it easy to handle. The Titan has the cleanest extra ends at the stitching (this is the extra little flap in the photo below). Having a smaller flap keeps the loops from getting hung up on the harness and itself. The Chain Reactor had the biggest extra flaps and the Personal Anchor System was in the middle.

We like it that the PAS and Titan Loop use either colored webbing or a combo of white and black. If you have a black harness, this makes it easy easier to see the loops when they are clipped to your side.

Overall Feel


The Personal Anchor System has the most burly feel. It uses the thickest material and we felt most confident using it. Both the other chains had a more flimsy feel. They are obviously plenty strong, but they don't have that burly feel you want if you are only connected to the anchor by one of these. This is very subjective gauge but we feel it is important.

Weight and Bulk


The Titan Loop is by far the lightest and least bulky. It is about one-third lighter than the other two and takes up much less real estate. The PAS and Chain Reactor are about the same weight. However, because the PAS is thinner it feels overall less bulky.

Conclusion


Click to enlarge
Metolius PAS comes in three colors (red and black not shown).

An anchor chain can be a great alternative to a daisy chain and brings added convenience when securing yourself to an anchor point. For more information on what an anchor chain is and why you might need one, check out our Buying Advice article.
Chris McNamara
Unbiased.