Hands-on Gear Review
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Street Price: $7
Pros: Light but retains most of oval functions, easy to handle
Cons: Not as good for racking gear as ovals, not the best to clip, not quite as smooth as ovals
Best Uses: Trad climbers and big wall climbers and want a lightweight alternative to the oval
Manufacturer: Omega Pacific
The Doval is a new take on the old-school oval design that incorporates lightweight with practicality. It is 40 percent lighter than most ovals out there due to the wire gate. Yes you can still use it typical oval tasks like carabiner brake rappel and opposite and opposed top rope anchors. I first saw these on Ammon McNeely's rack (Ammon is the most prolific Yosemite wall climber of the last decade). He likes 'em because they are very useful on wall but a fraction of the weight of ovals.
Overall, if you are a big oval fan, you may want to stay with a typical oval like the Black Diamond Oval or the lighter Black Diamond Oval Wire. Standard ovals are cheaper, smoother, and you can rack more stuff on them. That said, we like light gear so we wouldn't really consider buying ovals today. So for us, it comes down to do we like this more than other light biners like the Wild Country Astro or Trango Superfly. Here it comes down to how much you like the oval or Doval shape. Overall, we find the Doval not as practical as other light biners and would probably lean more toward an ultra light. But those are our leanings, if you like the oval shape and like light gear, this is a great bet.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The main reason the Doval carabiner these are so light is the wire gate and smaller size. While these are not an ultralight biner compared to Black Diamond Oz or CAMP Nano 23, they are much lighter than ovals you find on most climbers racks. They are also much easier to handle than typical small biners because of their size and ridges on the beam. In fact, they are maybe easier to handle than a larger oval carabiner. For being smaller than most ovals, they are designed for the rope to run pretty smooth through them. That means these are still great for top rope anchors (just not quite as smooth as regular ovals). You can use them for a carabiner break rappel. This is not a huge plus, but important for die hard oval fans that want that function.
Part of the reason these are so light is they are smaller than typical ovals. This makes them not as ideal at racking lots of pitons or other gear on. Also, the rope does not run quite as smooth if you are using these for a toprope. They are not the easiest biners to clip when put head to head with typical sport climbing biners with an asymetrical D shape.
These are ideal for oval fans that want to lighten their rack. Big wall and trad climbers will appreciate them the most (if you like oval functionality). They also come in handy if you are teaching classes and doing lots of toproping.
While the retails price is listed at $8, you can pick these up more places for $7 or less. These makes them only a little more expensive than a typical oval carabiner. Overall, they are in the middle of the value range: not cheap and not expensive.
— Chris McNamara and Chris Summit
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Most recent review: July 8, 2011
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