Hands-on Gear Review
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Street Price: Varies from $19 - $28 | Compare prices at 5 resellers
Pros: Light for its size, easy to clean from bolts, very cool design
Cons: Expensive, rubber piece on sling is not that durable
Best Uses: Sport climbing and traditional climbing.
Manufacturer: Wild Country
The Wild Country Helium Quickdraw is probably the most innovative quickdraw on the market today. It has a hooded nose that brings the best of both worlds: the light design of a wiregate plus the ease of removal from bolt hangers (something that previously only keylock carabiners could claim). It is big and easy to hold in your hand and easy to clip.
As one of the best quickdraws on the market today there's no surprise that it has a high price to match. We feel every climber should have a few just because they are so cool. Whether you get a couple or a bunch will depend on how much you value the innovative design. If money were no object, we would load up heavily on these. If you are looking for more bang for your buck, go with the Wild County Nitro, which is a similar-sized biner but without the face gate and about half the price. The other main competitor for "ultimate sport climbing quickdraw" is the Petzl Spirit Express, which is not nearly as cool but is a more durable option. So should you buy it? Depends on how much having the most advanced wiregate quickdraw on the market is worth to you. If you are watching your pennies but still want a light draw, lean toward the Mad Rock Ultralight Quickdraw, which is much less expensive and still performs solidly.
View our complete Quickdraw Review to see how it compared to others.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The main like of the Wild Country Helium is the hooded nose that does two things: it helps protect the gate from being inadvertently rubbed/pushed open and it keeps the nose from getting hung up when removing it 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 wiregate design, the gate is less likely to get frozen shut on alpine routes.
Because of the wide nose it is 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 to the Petzl Spirit Express, the Helium quickdraw was lighter but not nearly as durable. We had the black rubber "gasket" that holds the clipping biner in place break after not much time. Not a big deal, but a little annoying as you then have to improvise a new way to keep the bottom biner from flipping around inadvertently when climbing.
This is a great biner for sport climbing and putting on quickdraws. It is a little expensive to recommend using for every biner on the rack.
This is one of the more expensive quickdraws out there. The Wild Country Nitro is almost as good at 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. You save a tiny bit if you buy the Helium Quickdraw 5 Pack.
— Chris McNamara
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: March 16, 2013
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