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 Anchor Chain Buying Advice article.

Read the full review below >

Review by: ⋅ Founder and Editor-in-Chief, OutdoorGearLab

Top Ranked Anchor Chains Displaying 1 - 3 of 3 << Previous | View All | Next >>
Our Ranking #1 #2 #3
Product Name
Metolius Personal Anchor System
Metolius Personal Anchor System
Read the Review
Video video review
BlueWater Titan Loop Chain
BlueWater Titan Loop Chain
Read the Review
Sterling Chain Reactor
Sterling Chain Reactor
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Editors' Awards  Editors' Choice Award     
Street Price Varies $29 - $33
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$25Varies $20 - $22
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43% recommend it (6/14)
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1 rating
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Pros Stong, convenient, can increase safety.Light, little bulk, durable.Best fall absorption of anchor chains we tested, least expensive
Cons Requires extra anchor vigilence, expensive.Does not stretch nearly as much as nylon.Bulkiest of anchor chains we tested
Best Uses Traditional climbing on multi pitch routes.Sport climbing, trad climbing, alpine climbing.Sport climbing and traditional climbing
Date Reviewed Nov 22, 2013Apr 03, 2014Apr 03, 2011
Weighted Scores Metolius Personal Anchor System BlueWater Titan Loop Chain Sterling Chain Reactor
Fall Absorption - 25%
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7
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4
10
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10
Ease Of Clipping - 25%
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9
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6
Overall Feel - 25%
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8
Weight - 25%
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6
Product Specs Metolius Personal Anchor System BlueWater Titan Loop Chain Sterling Chain Reactor
Weight (grams) 93 66 90
Material 73% nylon, 27% Dyneema Dyneema Nylon
Length (inches) 38 44 40
Width (mm) 11 13 18
Strength (KN) 22 18 12.4
Warranty 1 year 1 Year Lifetime

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review


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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 the anchor chain, 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 anchor chain 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.

The Bottom Line
Our Editors' Choice award goes to the Metolius PAS 22 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 anchor chain is probably the best 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.

Chris McNamara
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