Hands-on Gear Review
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Street Price: Varies from $6 - $7 | Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros: Rope runs smoothly, good for top rope anchors, can use for carabiner break rappel
Cons: Heavy, bulky, gate gets hung up
Best Uses: Top rope anchors, Racking pitons, Just nice to have a couple around
Manufacturer: Black Diamond
The Black Diamond Oval Wire is the wire gate version of the classic Black Diamond Oval. It is a little lighter than the oval and stronger. It is great for racking gear because so much gear fits on it.
The oval shape reduces carabiner shift and allows the rope to run smoothly. However, there are only a few applications where they excel over other biners. There are many new, small, and lightweight biners that get the job done and greatly lower the weight and bulk of the rack. If you are looking for a big comfy oval, we recommend the Black Diamond Oval Wire because of its price and lower weight. However, for most applications, we would lean toward a lightweight wire gate biner like the Black Diamond Oz Carabiner or even the Wild Country Helium Carabiner.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The Black Diamond Oval Wire earned high scores in our rope pull smoothness metric. They are ideal for top-rope anchors because it has a wider rope-bearing surface that reduces friction. In fact, it had some of the lowest friction of any other non-locking carabiner. They are also great if you are setting up a carabiner break rappel. This product is also good for racking slings and pitons because the gear can slide around easily. Some aid climbers also like to use them for their aiders and daisy chains because they help you avoid "biner shift"; however, in the big picture, this isn't a huge deal.
Credit: Skiy DeTray
Ovals in general are heavy and bulky. While this one is lighter than a standard oval, it is still pretty heavy: 30 to 60 percent heavier than most wire gate biners. If you have a big trad rack or big wall rack, that weight adds up fast. Remember that is also has an exposed nose notch, which makes it easy to snag on everything from nuts to your harness.
The Black Diamond Oval Wire is great when you really need a smooth rope pull, like when top roping.
This is one of the cheaper carabiners and only 50 cents more expensive than a standard oval. That said, considering their limited applications, we would rather buy a cheaper wire gate biner like the Mad Rock UltraLight Bent Gate or Trango SuperFly if we were on a tight budget.
— Chris McNamara
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: July 9, 2011
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