Hands-on Gear Review
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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
Manufacturer: Metolius Climbing
The Metolius FS Mini carabiner is one of the lightest and smallest climbing-strength carabiners on the market. When I first saw this at the Trade Show I 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 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 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 Ultra-light Straight is significantly less expensive and it is also a bit heavier. It's a tough call with so many great light biners available. I'm not ready to use only this biner on my racks, but I like using it for maybe 30 percent of the biners as it does noticeably reduce bulk and weight.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
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 wire-gate design, the gate is less likely to get frozen shut on alpine routes.
Metolius is releasing these in new colors to match their cams like the Metolius Master Cam. This is something that Black Diamond does with their Neutrino carabiner. Personally, I don't want to take the time to keep the right color biner with the right cam, but some people will either enjoy the process, find it easier to find their gear, or just like the look of a color-coordinated cam rack.
I hear Peter Croft loves these. Granted, he gets em for free. But still, it is a big counter argument to all the people (like myself) that find the biner a little hard to handle and don't find it practical.
The small size of this carabiner makes it a bit scary for the crux clip. The first time I put one of these on an anchor and went for that last clip it was a little unsettling. Part of that is the fact I was not 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 most wire-gate carabiners (except the Wild Country Helium ), the notch gets caught up on the bolt hanger when cleaning steep routes (the Helium and keylock biners do not have this issue).
The Metolius Video below will help with learning how to clip these faster.
This is ideal for climbers who want to save weight and bulk. It is ideal for alpine rock climbs, but I have 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 a little 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.
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
Metolius FS Mini Quickdraw - Dyneema Dogbone and Tw FS Mini Carabiners; 5inch or 7 inch - ($17)
Metolius Video on How to Clip the FS Mini
— Chris McNamara
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: July 8, 2011
Credit: Chris McNamara
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