Hands-on Gear Review

Black Diamond Zodiac Gear Sling Review

Black Diamond Zodiac Gear Sling
By: Chris McNamara ⋅ Founder and Editor-in-Chief  ⋅  Feb 4, 2010
Price:  $30 List  |  $19.95 at Amazon - 34% Off
Pros:  Light, inexpensive, and comfortable.
Cons:  Only two gear loops, not very beefy.
Manufacturer:   Black Diamond

Our Verdict

The Black Diamond Zodiac Gear Sling is the lightest and least expensive big wall gear sling on the market. It has contoured shoulder straps that distribute weight well. The front of the gear sling has a buckle that goes on and off easily. The downside is that this does not feel very burly for a big wall sling. The gear loops are attached with small bar tacks and the clip in-points at the top don't inspire confidence if you are hanging your you entire big wall rack from the anchor.

If you are on a budget, just dabbling in aid climbing, or only plan to climb a few Grade V clean aid routes, this gear sling gets the job done. We do like how light, simple, and inexpensive it is. However, the fact that it doesn't feel that bomber and only has one gear loop on each side limits how much gear we could load it up with. For serious big wall climbers we recommend the Yates Big Wall Rack and if you want a more burly sling without spending much, get the Fish Double Gear Sling.

Our Analysis and Test Results



This is by far the lightest and least expensive gear sling. When you put it on it feels like you are not wearing anything at all. The padding is generous and contours around your back. With only one buckle, it is quick and easy to get on and off. The plastic-coated gear loops are easy to clip gear to and gear slides around easily (a pro and a con).


This sling uses very small bar tacks and webbing compared to most other big wall gear slings. I have not heard of this gear sling failing, but I get uneasy hanging so much gear, 2000 feet off the ground, on such small attachment points. In addition, with only one gear loop on each side this is not a good sling for organizing massive racks.

Best Application

This gear sling is more at home on Grade V clean aid routes than Grade VI nail-ups. Some free climbers may also enjoy it; I probably see more of these at the crags than on El Capitan. Alpine big wall climbers may also appreciate the light weight.


This is by far the least expensive gear sling we tested. It also is the most widely available, so you have the best chance of finding it on sale for even less. That said, it doesn't have the key second loop on each side so it is hard to recommend it above the Fish Double Gear Sling for the Best Buy award.

Chris McNamara

OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews

Most recent review: May 4, 2015
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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Average Customer Rating:  
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100% of 2 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
3 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 67%  (2)
3 star: 33%  (1)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)

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   May 4, 2015 - 10:05pm
HighPlanesDrifter · Skier · Telluride, CO. USA
I've taken this sling on a half dozen clean aid wall routes and am happy with it so far. Like others have noted, the construction is not real beefy but it carries very well and fits comfortably even fully loaded.

I added a second large gear loop on each side which makes it able to carry twice as much gear now.

  • Lightweight.
  • Inexpensive.
  • Fits very comfortably.
  • The two small (collar bone level) gear loops on the front are perfect for clipping your aiders.
  • The back pocket is handy for small emergency items.

  • Not confidence inspiring when clipping the sling to anything with the tiny clip-in loop.
  • Requires that you tie on additional loops in order to carry a wall rack.
  • No part of this sling is rated full strength so you might risk losing gear in extreme falls and situations.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.

Jun 10, 2012 - 02:18am
Yann Camus

I just bought it and tried to hang it by one over the shoulder small sling and clip my whole weight (80kg) on the gear sling bellow. It held… Not that I would like to fall on it. It happened a couple of times that I fell while a gear sling on my harness was clipped, it broke and I lost the gear that was on it. I guess the same could happen with that gear sling.


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   Mar 11, 2010 - 04:23pm
MN_SlowTrad · Climber · MN

For the price this is my favorite gear sling when a larger rack is required. I usually rack cams on one side, passive pro and spare 'biners on the other. All my QD's and slings go on the harness. The gear loops are solid and easy to clip. It is a pain in OW when you need one side free, but hey, make the second wear it on that pitch. It has a neat little slot on the back where I carry a small knife, topo of the route and two rap rings. If you do a lot of climbing, or climb rough rock, the plastic covering the gear loops will get scuffed up. Just hit it with some fine grit sand paper so it doesn't snag your slings.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.

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