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Petzl Spirit Express Review

   
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  • Currently 4.5/5
Overall avg rating 4.5 of 5 based on 5 reviews. Most recent review: January 17, 2012
Street Price:   Varies from $21 - $23 | Compare prices at 5 resellers
Pros:  Probably the most durable quickdraw out there, easy to clip
Cons:  Expensive, not light
Best Uses:  Sport climbs. Can be used in other applications but it's a little on the heavy side for multi-pitch or alpine climbs
User Rating:     
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 (4.0 of 5) based on 4 reviews
Manufacturer:   Petzl
Review by: Chris McNamara ⋅ Founder and Editor-in-Chief, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ April 13, 2010  
Overview
The Petzl Spirit Express is maybe the oldest and most popular sport climbing quickdraw. It combines the popular Petzl Spirit carabiners with one of the most durable webbing slings or "dog bones" we tested. More than a decade ago Petzl's innovative keylock design of the gate was the first to eliminate the problem of the notch getting snagged on the bolt hanger when cleaning a steep sport route. At the time it was revolutionary. Today there are many keylock carabiner quickdraws but the Spirit remains one of the best.

The feel of climbing this quickdraw along with small details like the tiny gate grooves make this one of the best quickdraws out there. Only the Wild Country Helium scored higher and that is simply because it is lighter and has the strong wire gate with a hooded nose groove. If you want a less expensive keylock quickdraw, check out the Black Diamond Positron Quickdraw, which did not score as high but is much less expensive and is still great. The Positron does not come with the rubber part to keep the biner in place, which is a little annoying. For a much cheaper keylock quickdraw there is the Mad Rock Ultra-Tech Straight. There are much lighter options like the Black Diamond Oz Quickdraw, which is about half the weight but is not as easy to clip. The Black Diamond Quicksilver Quickdraw is about half the price and would be a great option if you are just starting out and don't have a lot of cash. But none of those quickdraws scored as high as the Spirit. So overall, if you sport climb a ton, it's hard to beat the Spirit.

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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review

Likes
What this draw stands out for is durability and ease of clipping. The large rubber tip not only is awesome at keeping the carabiner you are clipping in place, it is among the most durable we tested. Many other quickdraws use rubber that looks cool and low profile, but it often breaks after a while. While we have seen the rubber at the end of the Petzl draw wear out… it takes forever. The webbing is thick, which makes these draws a little bulky. At the same time it also makes them very durable. They are a great draw to leave on a project for a few weeks and not worry when you come back and start taking whippers again.

The Petzl Spirit carabiner itself is one of the most satisfying carabiners to clip. Part of this is due to the unique thumb grooves on the gate, which make it easier to open when reaching far for a bolt or piece of pro. Also, the spring has just the right tension not too soft and not too hard. The gate gives just the right amount of resistance and snaps back responsively. And, of course, the keylock design keeps it from getting caught on the bolt hanger when cleaning steep routes (no notch to get caught as is the case with almost all wiregate biners). The rope ran very smoothly through the Spirit (four-way tie for first). It also holds a number of knots well. In our figure eight holding test it took three figure eights and still had room for the gate to open. The gate is very durable and rarely gets sticky. Lastly, it is one of the the most time-tested biners around. The Petzl Spirit has proved effective on some of the hardest climbs in the world by some of the hardest climbers.

Dislikes
In addition to being expensive, this quickdraw is heavier than the similar biners with a wire-gate design (such as the Wild Country Helium). It is one of the heaviest quickdraws we tested.

Best Application
An all-around, really good carabiner that excels at sport climbing. This is the quickdraw you see in the movies when Chris Sharma and other top climbers are sending 5.15. It is probably the most popular quickdraw ever used for hard sport climbs (and easy sport climbs, too).

Value
This is one of the more expensive quickdraws. That said, it lasts forever so the long-term value is awesome. When most quickdraws have their rubber ends break and the gates start sticking, the Spirit Express is usually still going strong.

Chris McNamara

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: January 17, 2012
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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 (4.0)

100% of 1 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
4 Total Ratings
5 star: 50%  (2)
4 star: 25%  (1)
3 star: 25%  (1)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Sort 4 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 17, 2012 - 07:08am
MTkirk · Climber · Billings
Great sport draw! STIFF nylon dogbone. A bomber rubber insert keeps the rope end biner in the right position. The biners are awesome no-snag keylock design. They are not the best draw to use for clipping into a delicate nut or tri-cam placement, though I have used them this way.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Nov 16, 2011 - 05:44pm
motta.rr · Climber · Rio de Janeiro
Great biner but the ange is lighter and easier to clip! Where is the review about this one? The ange s isn't that good but the ange L is awesome!
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   Sep 17, 2010 - 01:49pm
Alpinist63 · Climber · Schleck-Country
as has been said, this one lasts forever( no problem with a spirit biner so far), but on longer pitches with 15+ clips, the weight is an issue
I have a dozen spirit express for shorter sportsclimbs, for longer pitches I take lighter quickdraws from my alpine rack
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Sep 16, 2010 - 11:23am
 
Tony Bird · Climber · Northridge, CA
not only all of that, but the spirit is supposed to be the only biner with a tip that'll insert into their reverso in autolock mode so's you can lever it into a controlled release, as you do with the lever on a gri-gri.
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Petzl Spirit Express Carabiner
Credit: Chris McNamara
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