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Black Diamond Oval Wire Review

   

Carabiner

  • Currently 3.8/5
Overall avg rating 3.8 of 5 based on 7 reviews. Most recent review: July 9, 2011
Street Price:   $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
User Rating:     
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 (4.4 of 5) based on 6 reviews
Recommendations:  100% of reviewers (4/4) recommend this product
Manufacturer:   Black Diamond
Review by: Chris McNamara ⋅ Founder and Editor-in-Chief, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ May 23, 2010  
Overview
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

Likes
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.

On the right, Amanda uses the Black Diamond Oval Wire to rack several ...
On the right, Amanda uses the Black Diamond Oval Wire to rack several large cams. The shape of this carabiner makes it nice for "storage."
Credit: Skiy DeTray

Dislikes
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.

Best Application
The Black Diamond Oval Wire is great when you really need a smooth rope pull, like when top roping.

Value
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
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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 (3.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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  • 5
 (4.4)

100% of 4 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
6 Total Ratings
5 star: 50%  (3)
4 star: 17%  (1)
3 star: 33%  (2)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Sort 6 member reviews by: Most Recent | Most Helpful
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   Jul 9, 2011 - 03:32am
WML · Climber · Edge of the Electric Ocean Beneath Red Rock
Bomber and awesome, light and a big zone to clip into. Need I say more?

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Aug 5, 2010 - 10:05am
mooser · Climber · seattle
I love mine. They stay tame on my rack, and are great for a variety of uses.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Aug 5, 2010 - 09:55am
Moof · Climber · Orygun
Not really for your primary biner, but a handful of these for racking nuts, small cams, pins, heads, and so on really keeps the rack tamed.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Jun 11, 2010 - 02:03pm
ps · Climber
I have this biner for both ends of most of my trad draws for about 3 years now.

Pros:
  1. This thing is rad to clip. It has a BUNCH of space since it has more of that oval shape. When you are clipping rope into it when leading, it had a ton of space for both the rope and your thumb when clipping through the gate because of that oval shape. If you have big fingers, you should check this out. Gate openings are important, but so is how big the basket is, and this oval is one of the biggest baskets, if not the biggest.
  1. For rope-holding capacity, the "opening" end is large, much larger than a D shape; and at the opposite end ("closed") it holds more rope/webbing if you are using it at an anchor and have it hanging from several strands of a cordelette or multiple equalized slings.
  1. Great all around biner for clipping ropes, clipping through chain links, etc. I really like this biner in general.
  1. I really like this biner for clipping opposite and opposed. These give you way more room on both ends of the biner than an asymmetrical D set up… even more than a large HMS biner for a power-point. I have not run into the "pushing open the other biners gate" issue like other people, at least not to the extent that they say it happens. I've seen it happen on occasion, but it's not a super common occurance. I think this is because these aren't true ovals and are indeed offset slightly, so usually the gates aren't sitting right on the spine of the other biner. When the loads are just right and the biners aren't offset is when you see the gate-opening issue, which isnt that often.

Cons:
  1. This is on the heavier side.
  1. It flips easily on trad draws, so it can be harder to identify the side to clip than D's.
  1. I find that it's easy for this biner to rotate while hanging on my harness, and in so doing, wired nuts can unclip themselves fairly easily. I rack on solid gates.


Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Jun 10, 2010 - 08:13pm
ExtraBlue · Climber · the ford VT
Used 'em for racking for years with no complaints.
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Jun 10, 2010 - 06:44pm
 
Mike. · Climber
I think with the wide variety of potential uses, this is a good biner for some things (as noted).

I was hoping this biner would work better for racking pins and nuts. I believe wiregates are more prone to having racked gear come off them in confined situations like squeezes, flares and with big racks. Additionally, I think the gate on this biner has a particularly soft spring, which exacerbates that.

I don't like the performance of a wiregate used at a PPT reversed and opposed with another biner. The gate can be forced open under load--by design of the wiregate, not necessarily specific to this biner.

The O-Wire feels really great in hand, but for me did not perform as I'd hoped for the detail I had in mind. I prefer non-wire ovals and keylock Ds (and sometimes wiregate Ds) for racking pins and nuts.
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Black Diamond Ovalwire
Credit: BlackDiamondEquipment.com
Where's the Best Price?
Seller Price
REI $6.95
Amazon $6.95
MooseJaw $6.95
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