Hands-on Gear Review
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Street Price: Varies from $15 - $17 | Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros: Very light yet easy to handle, easy to grip, hooded nose
Cons: Gets hung up when cleaning on steep routes, doesn't hold a lot of knots and slings, rubber attachemtn on sling not durable
Best Uses: Any type of rock climbing
The Wild Country Astro is one of the best lightweight quickdraw designs out there, especially for the price. Only the Mad Rock UltraLight Quickdraw cost less but it is a little heavier and did not score quite as highly. The Black Diamond Oz Quickdraw scored a tiny bit higher but also costs costs a bit more and was not quite as easy to grip. All three carabiners are very good so it comes down to personal preference and what you can get the best deal on.
If you are obsessed on weight, get the lighter yet smaller CAMP Nano 23 Quickdraw. The Nano did not score as high because it is much smaller, harder to handle and not as versatile. But it is some grams lighter which the weight-obsessed will notice. If you have deep pockets, consider Wild Country Helium Quickdraw which is not that much heavier and scored higher. Likewise, the CAMP Photon Wire Express Dyneema only weighs .1 ounces more than the Wild Country Astro and has two full-sized carabiners.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The Wild Country Astro is just a great size and weight. It is not the lightest, but is pretty darn light. Unlike the mega light biners like the Metolius FS Mini Quickdraw, this biner is easier to hold both because it is a reasonable size and features an I-beam spine that is easy to grip. The hooded nose helps to protect the carabiner from getting opened by getting rubbed across the rock. It was one of the easiest to clip of all the small and light draws. The Wild Country Astro was also one of the smoothest to pull rope through (tied with Black Diamond Oz). It has a gate design that while not bent, accepts the rope almost as easily as a bent gate carabiner.
The rubber piece that attaches the Wild Country Astro biner to the sling is not very durable. We had some last for months and others break in a matter of weeks. Once they break, it is not a big deal as the draw still works, but the biner is then more likely to not be oriented correctly when you go to clip it.
There were no other major dislikes other than the standard two things:
On-sight climbing, trad climbing where light weight and size matter.
One of the best deals out there on a model with lightweight wiregate biners. The Mad Rock Ultra-Light is one of the only competitors that costs less. However, if you buy the five-pack you'll save a few bucks in comparison to the Mad Rock, which doesn't come in a discount pack.
— Chris McNamara
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: June 5, 2014
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