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Hands-on Gear Review
Mad Rock Ultra-Tech HMS Review
Cons: Strong spring tension, thick nose
Bottom line: A budget friendly, fully functional belay and rappel locker.
Mad Rock has been making a name for themselves in recent years with their line of quality and affordable wire gate carabiners and quickdraws, and their locking carabiners have been well received by climbers as well, so we took a closer look at one of their flagship lockers, the Ultra Tech HMS for a closer look. We found it to be a classic HMS, or pear shaped locking carabiner, that was a jack-of-all-trades but did not particularly excel at any one thing. It is not as light as the Editors Choice Petzl Attache, but is not so heavy that we wanted to leave it behind on a multi pitch climb. The Ultra Tech HMS is an all around locker that is great for someone building up their rack but does not want to break the bank, as it is a value buy.
Read on to find out what we liked and didn't like about this locker, and check out the Best Locking Carabiner Review to discover which ones won our top awards.
RELATED REVIEW: The Best Locking Carabiners
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Ultra Tech HMS is a pear shaped locking carabiner that uses forged I-Beam stock construction. While it uses a lightweight stock shape, it still feels solid in the hand, and has thicker material through the basket area, making for a more durable locker when used to belay and rappel with. The basket is wide and functional for using munter and clove hitches while still maintaining a small to medium overall size, though it gets a little tight towards the crotch and that tight angle limits the number of slings that comfortably fit, like in a big anchor. The Black Diamond RockLock Screwgate worked better at times thanks to its larger size.
The Ultra Tech HMS works well as a belay carabiner, a locker to pair with a personal tether to clip into anchors with, as well as for top rope anchor construction- in short a simple, no surprises locker.
Ease of Locking and Unlocking
The Ultra Tech HMS has a screw gate closure to lock the gate, and it screws open and closed without too much squeeking or binding. It takes a little more than 5 turns to fully open the screw gate, which is not as many as the Wild Country Ascent Lite Belay, but not as fast and easy as an auto-locker like the Black Diamond Vaporlock Magnetron. The Ultra Tech HMS felt less susceptible to opening due to vibration or gate flutter, and felt securely locked without having to constantly mind it.
There is a nice balance between size, functionality and weight with the Mad Rock Ultra Tech HMS. It is right in the middle of the pack in terms of both weight (57 grams) and size. Not as big as the Petzl Am'D Twist-Lock it is also much more useful overall than something smaller like the Edelrid Pure Screw but is still not too bulky on the harness.
For its small stature, this contender boasts a pretty impressive gate clearance at 2.3 cm. When compared with a carabiner of similar size, like the Black Diamond Vaporlock Magnetron, the Ultra Tech scores higher for its wide opening. This made it easy to clip thick ropes, big anchors and multiple knots.
Gate Hang Up
The Ultra Tech HMS has a snag-free keylock nose, like many of the locking carabiners in this review, though it has the thickest of any keylock nose, making it still somewhat difficult to clip into tight spots like bolt hangers already equipped with chain links. It still works better than the notched gate Omega Pacific ISO Standard Locking D, but not as well as something with a narrower gate like the Wild Country Ascent Lite Belay.
The Mad Rock Ultra Tech HMS stands up as a multiuse locking carabiner in a range of applications. We liked it particularly as a belay locker that worked well both on the up and the down, and as a carabiner to use at multi pitch anchors since it has such a wide and capable basket. Those looking for similar qualities at a lower weight should consider the Petzl Attache.
At $10, the Ultra Tech HMS is a good value, thanks to its all-around function and weight. We found the Black Diamond Rocklock Screwgate to be a slightly better value, but budget-conscious climbers looking to get some more locking carabiners for their kit should look at this locker as a good option.
This is a good locking carabiner at a great price. Having a handful of these on your rack won't cost you much and will be long-lasting, durable pieces of equipment.
Mad Rock Ultra Tech HMS Triple Lock
— Ryan Huetter
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Most recent review: November 16, 2016
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