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Metolius FS Mini Review

   

Carabiner

  • Currently 3.0/5
Overall avg rating 3.0 of 5 based on 11 reviews. Most recent review: July 9, 2011
Street Price:   Varies from $6 - $8 | Compare prices at 6 resellers
Pros:  light, small
Cons:  A little tricky to handle, hard to clip multiple knots to, extra friction when rope pases through
Best Uses:  Big wall climbing, aid climbing
User Rating:     
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 (3.0 of 5) based on 10 reviews
Recommendations:  71% of reviewers (5/7) recommend this product
Manufacturer:   Metolius Climbing
Review by: Chris McNamara ⋅ Founder and Editor-in-Chief, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ February 15, 2010  
Overview
The Metolius FS Mini carabiner is one of the lightest and smallest climbing-strength carabiners on the market. At first, we thought it was a keychain biner – it is that small. It is much smaller than the Black Diamond Oz or Trango SuperFly. It is also lighter – 23g compared the Black Diamond Oz Carabiner at 28g and the SuperFly at 30g. According to Metolius, the idea is that the much smaller biner will greatly reduce the bulk of climbing gear on a trad or big wall rack. It's a hopeful thought that suddenly that monstrous El Cap rack could be both lighter and less bulky. On the other hand, it could be that the biner is so small that it is harder to handle. The CAMP Nano 23 Carabiner is just a bit lighter and is a little bit bigger, making it a better choice if you need something that handles a little easier. That said, our tester still find the Nano to be quite difficult to use.

The Black Diamond OZ, Trango Superfly, Wild Country Astro and Mad Rock Ultra-Light are all 5 to 10 percent heavier but also easier to handle. I find that overall the few grams extra of those three biners is worth it for having a biner that is easier to handle. However, the OZ and SuperFly are more expensive. Only the Mad Rock UltraLight Bent Gate is significantly less expensive and it is also a bit heavier. It's a tough call with so many great light biners available.

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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review

Likes
For being so small, the Metolius FS Mini is full strength and can work in just about any situation. It is the smallest carabiner out there, which means it takes up very little room on your rack. If you are climbing a big wall, you can take tons extra and not really notice it. A rack or even half rack of these is much less cumbersome than other carabiners. As with all carabiners with the wiregate design, the gate is less likely to get frozen shut on alpine routes.

The Metolius FS Mini also comes in colors to match their cams like the Metolius Master Cam. This is something that Black Diamond does with their Neutrino carabiner. It can be time-consuming to organize gear like this, but for some it is much easier to find their gear when it is color coded.

Dislikes
The small size of this carabiner makes it a bit scary for the crux clip. The first time we put one of these on an anchor and went for that last clip it was a little unsettling. Part of that is the fact we weren't used to clipping such a small carabiner. But the other part is that because the biner is so small, it takes some extra practice to clip quickly. Even with practice it is not as easy to clip as a bigger carabiner. Also, the small size makes it harder to use with gloves (big wall or snow gloves). As with many wiregate carabiners (the Wild Country Helium Carabiner excluded), the notch gets caught up on the bolt hanger when cleaning steep routes (products with keylock or keylock-like functionality do not have this issue).

The Metolius Video below will help with learning how to clip these faster.

Best Application
This is ideal for climbers who want to save weight and bulk. It is ideal for alpine rock climbs, but we also enjoyed using them on Yosemite trad climbs and big walls. It is not an ideal sport climbing biner because it is so small and tricky to handle. That said, we like the Metolius FS Mini Quickdraw for alpine rock climbs or anytime you want to save on weight and bulk.

Value
This is about the same price as most other biners its size. You get a better deal if you buy these in the FS Mini 6 Pack.

Other Versions
Metolius FS Mini Quickdraw

Metolius Video on How to Clip the FS Mini

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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 (3.0)

71% of 7 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
9 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 22%  (2)
3 star: 56%  (5)
2 star: 22%  (2)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Sort 10 member reviews by: Most Recent | Most Helpful
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
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   Jan 15, 2010 - 04:06pm
crøtch · Climber
Nanos weigh the same and are larger and easier to clip. I'm not sure what advantage these have over the Nano.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
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   Jan 12, 2010 - 02:04am
Hummerchine · Climber · East Wenatchee, WA
I give these 4 stars because they are awesome, but at the same time have limited uses. I'm a Metolius fan, love their gear, use most of it. I'm also WAY into using the lightest gear, largely because I place a lot of it! I switched to Superflys when they came out, then the CAMP Nanos, then the DMM Phantoms. I've played around with the CAMP 23s and now the Metolius FS, but I see issues with each. The rope bearing diameter on the small end of the CAMP Nano 23 is MUCH narrower than the other end, which strikes me as an engineering blunder. When the original CAMP Nano first came out, everyone thought it was too small to handle. After using it, you very quickly get used to it. However, after using the Metolius FS for a few months now, I think it IS really too small to handle well. May have some uses though, but I'm not convinced I want it for all my gear. So my current favorite is the DMM Phantom. 26 grams, with no negatives that I can see!

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Jul 9, 2011 - 02:17am
WML · Climber · Edge of the Electric Ocean Beneath Red Rock
I use these for the attachments on my homemade ice tool leashes, they do very well in that application. Otherwise? Not so sure I'd really use 'em for anything other than a racking biner, even then, if I am directly clipping into that cam and am pumped, I would not be very happy to have to fumble around with a small biner and thus a small gate area.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Sep 3, 2010 - 08:40pm
nutjob · Climber · Berkeley, CA
I was forced into using them because of le_bruce :)
They've been with us on a few big routes.

I've gotten used to them, but it's still significantly more awkward to use them than normal size biners. It's not fun trying to grab one of these from a sling loaded with a full rack when you're strung out and sketching from a bad jam trying to place gear. When I have a chance, I grab something else on the rack and use these when there's no alternative.

I don't question their safety, just my ability to get them in place in tough situations. If le-bruce brings them again, I'll probably be fine to still use them. He'll probably tease me for this post.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this product to a friend.
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   Jun 21, 2010 - 03:40pm
rgold · Climber · Poughkeepsie, NY
I have a few that I bought for racking cams. They're fine if all you do with them is clip and unclip them from your harness or gear sling, but in case you have to clip a rope or sling to them, especially a sling, the gate clearance is just to small and I at least continually get a finger caught in the gate.

The Nano 23's are lighter and have a little more gate clearance, making them a distinctly better choice.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this product to a friend.
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   Mar 10, 2010 - 01:44am
le_bruce · Climber · Oakland, CA
Very light and very small, which is exactly what I was looking for.

I got mine used from someone who couldn't stand them, so I didn't and probably wouldn't pay full price for these. But they are exactly what I was looking for: tiny, featherweight biners for the back country, where I hope to never fall on them anyway!

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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Jan 29, 2010 - 03:41pm
 
msiddens · Climber
These are stronger than Camp Nanos but he weight is the same. Smaller open clearance though…its personal preference and I like 'em. Then again I'm not going to have these on my rack as a replacement for general use.
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Jan 9, 2010 - 12:44pm
 
msiddens · Climber
I have a handful of these (which is like 6 lol) and have been pleased with them. While I find the Inferno a better overall wiregate biner, the FS definitely has a place on my rack. I carry some as spare zero weight biners and pull 'em off for slings or to clip nuts with.

Harder to clip with the gate opening no doubt.
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   Jan 7, 2010 - 04:02pm
hoipolloi · Climber · A friends backyard with the neighbors wifi
I bought a few of these because I just had to know what they were like when actually on my rack. I put them on my quickdraw dispenser (6-8 shortish slings clipped together). They are pretty nice. They clip fairly easily and weigh nothing. I have a large/normal hand with fat fingers and don't find them to be horribly cumbersome, mind you they are definitely not like clipping a full size biner.

I like them for what I use them for, but I am not sure I would use them to put on all my cams, I think they are a little too small for that.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Jan 7, 2010 - 03:24pm
rockermike · Climber · Berkeley
Ha, don't take my word for it - I don't know sh#t. But I did just buy a couple yesterday - on a whim. I'm going to use them primarily to clip my leashes to my ice tools - hence advantage of the small size. But I can say, without gloves it handles pretty well. Can open easily; can clip in one rope easily. Can't snug-up a double half hitch though. The knot won't set. But those knots don't work too well on most Ds anyway. I think I may be getting some more although with only a weight savings of 5 grams I don't think its going to change the world.

And be careful to not mistake them for those BD fakies. They're exactly the same size. I'm sure at some point there will be an accident when the two are mixed up.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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Metolius FS Mini Wiregate Carabiner
Metolius FS Mini Wiregate Carabiner
Credit: Chris McNamara
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