Hands-on Gear Review
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Street Price: Varies from $10 - $14 | Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros: Light for it's size, easy to clean from bolts, very cool design
Best Uses: Sport climbing and traditional climbing. Ideally used on quickdraws.
Manufacturer: Wild Country
This carabiner is one of the most innovative on the market. It has a hooded nose that brings the best of both worlds: the light design of a wire gate and the ease of removing from bolt hangers (something that previously only keylock carabiners could offer). It is big and easy to hold in your hand and easy to clip.
This is a top carabiner, with a top price to go along with it. If you are looking for more bang for you buck, go with the Wild County Nitro which is a similar sized biner but without the face gate and at about half the price. The other main competitor for "ultimate sport climbing carabiner" is the Petzl Spirit which is not nearly as cool but a more durable option and 25 percent less expensive. So should you buy it? Depends on how much having the most advanced wiregate carabiner on the market is worth to you.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The main like of the Wild Country Helium is the hooded nose which does two things: it helps protect gate from getting inadvertently rubbed/pushed opened and keeps the nose from getting hung up when removing from bolt hangers, slings and nuts. (The nose really does look like Joe Camel's nose.) It's the only wiregate carabiner we tested that is easy to unclip from bolt hangers on steep sport routes. Due to the bent wiregate, it is one of the easiest to clip. While not one of the lightest carabiners, it is very light for its size and functionality. To put it another way, it is the lightest full size biner that is easy to unclip from stuff. Not only does the larger size make it easy to handle and clip, it has a "Beam Back" spine that is easy to grip. As with all biners with the wire-gate design the gate is less likely to get frozen shut on alpine routes.
Because of the wide nose it's hard to get in/out of some anchors like chain links or old school hangers with the small hole. If you get the quickdraw, the "Tadpole O Ring" that holds the biner to the draw slipped off one of the draws after only one weekend. When compared the Petzl Spirit Express, the Helium quickdraw was lighter but not nearly as durable.
This is a great biner for sport climbing and putting on quick draws. It is a little expensive to recommend using for every biner on the rack. We would probably use it mainly on quickdraws.
This is one of the more expensive carabiners out there. The Wild Country Astro, which is ligher but smaller is almost half the price. And most other biners are much cheaper. Wild County overall is a brand that gives good value in its products. The reason the Helium is so expensive is that it is a unique and tricky to make design.
— Chris McNamara and Chris Summit
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: May 14, 2013
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