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Black Diamond Zodiac Gear Sling Review

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

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

Likes


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).

Dislikes


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.

Value


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