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CAMP Nano 22 Carabiner Review

The lightest carabiner out there but you'll sacrifice some functionality.
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $7 List | $5.21 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Ultra-light, thin profile fits in small openings
Cons:  Very small, hard to handle
Manufacturer:   CAMP
By Cam McKenzie Ring ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Oct 29, 2018
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61
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#9 of 10
  • Ease of clipping - 20% 6
  • Rope pull smoothness - 15% 5
  • Ease of unclipping - 15% 4
  • Ease of handling - 15% 5
  • How many ropes fit - 15% 5
  • Portability - 20% 10

The Skinny

The first time you lay eyes on the CAMP Nano 22, you might think it's a nut-tool only carabiner. But don't let the small size deceive you! It is indeed full-strength, and it's one of the lightest carabiners available on the market today. The Nano is 10-12g lighter than most of the other carabiners that we tested, including our Editors' Choice winner, the Wild Country Helium, and you could shave ounces off your rack by switching over to them. The main downside to the CAMP Nano 22 is that it's significantly smaller than a full-size model, and our testers found them difficult to handle, with or without gloves on. If ultra-light is your primary goal, then this product is the best choice, but if you want a little more usability in your lightweight gear, then our other Top Pick, the Black Diamond Oz is a better choice.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

CAMP updated the Nano in 2017 and made it even lighter! It now weighs 22 grams, hence the name change from Nano 23 to Nano 22. It's a cold-forged, wiregate carabiner and it's available in eight color choices for racking.

Performance Comparison


It's easy to confuse this model for a keychain carabiner  but it is full-strength and ready to climb on. The small size makes it difficult to clip and unclip it though.
It's easy to confuse this model for a keychain carabiner, but it is full-strength and ready to climb on. The small size makes it difficult to clip and unclip it though.

Ease of Unclipping


The Nano 22 didn't score very high for this category. The exposed notch in the nose can snag on your gear, and the overall small size and gate opening don't help the situation.


If you want something that unclips a little easier, particularly if you have big hands, then Camp's full-sized Photon Wire carabiner is worth looking at. If you're looking for something a little smaller for racking with but don't want an exposed notch, the Black Diamond Oz has a wire over its notch to prevent snags.

The advantage of the Black Diamond Oz (left) is that the notch is covered for easier unclipping  but the Nano (right) is much lighter.
The advantage of the Black Diamond Oz (left) is that the notch is covered for easier unclipping, but the Nano (right) is much lighter.

Ease of Clipping


The small size of the carabiner and gate made it difficult to clip into as well, particularly at the end of a long climb when your hands are fatigued.


If you're already used to a slightly smaller carabiner, then switching to the Nano 22 might not be too much of a stretch, but we'd recommend using these for situations where your clips might not feel so desperate. One popular option is to pair the Nano with a Photon Wire, using the Nano on the bolt or gear end of a sling or dogbone and the Photon Wire on the rope end. That way you get the weight savings of the Nano combined with the easy clipping of the Photon Wire.

The Nano felt a little small in the hands of some of our testers  which makes clipping more challenging.
The Nano felt a little small in the hands of some of our testers, which makes clipping more challenging.

Ease of Handling


Our testers found the Nano 22 difficult to handle with bare hands, and almost impossible to use with gloves on. Part of these assessments are subjective, and it's hard to say whether it was a challenge to use because most people normally climb with full-sized carabiners and are used to the way they work and feel, or if it's because these really are just too small to work with easily.


Our main testers use the Black Diamond Neutrino as a racking carabiner, and it is only slightly bigger than the Nano 22, so they are used to a smaller size. But even they found that the small difference in size between the two seemed to make a big difference in usability. If you have very small hands, don't use gloves when climbing (as for ice or big wall climbing), or you're climbing long moderate routes and are unlikely to be making desperate clips, then the weight savings you'll get from the Nano 22 might outweigh (haha) the handling issue. Otherwise, for a few extra grams you can get the Black Diamond Oz or Trango Phase and have a more user-friendly experience.

The Nano 22 (left) compared to CAMP's Photon Wire carabiner. The Photon is much easier to handle than the Nano  and only weighs 8 grams more. With the Nano you trade usability for maximum weight savings.
The Nano 22 (left) compared to CAMP's Photon Wire carabiner. The Photon is much easier to handle than the Nano, and only weighs 8 grams more. With the Nano you trade usability for maximum weight savings.

How Many Ropes Fit


This product didn't fare so well in this category either. The small basket and 21 mm gate opening did not pass our three-rope test.


When three loops of 10 mm rope were clipped into this carabiner, you could no longer open the gate. So even if you switch to racking on the Nanos, you'll still want to have some full-sized ones to use at a belay, like the CAMP Photon Wire or Wild Country Helium. There were no issues getting a single clove hitch in the carabiner though.

The basket is deep enough to hold a clove hitch of 9mm rope  but when a third strand is in there  it's hard to open the gate.
The basket is deep enough to hold a clove hitch of 9mm rope, but when a third strand is in there, it's hard to open the gate.

Rope Pull Smoothness


The narrow rope bearing surface on this model meant that it did not have as smooth a pull as the Wild Country Helium. This will result in more wear on your rope, particularly when taking repeated falls or yarding yourself back up. However, that is more of a sport climbing technique, and you most likely would not be using these carabiners to clip bolts.


We did appreciate the thin nose on the Nano 22, particularly when trying to use old in-situ gear or when clipping into anchor chains. However, the sides of the wiregate are not protected as a result and could scrape open against the rock accidentally.


Portability


Without a doubt, the Nano 22 earned the highest marks in this metric. At 22 grams, it's the lightest carabiner we tested and one of the lightest ones available. The Metolius FS Mini 2 is 3 grams heavier, but even smaller, if you can believe it.


When climbing with a double rack, you'll likely have at least 20 carabiners with you for your gear, and another 20 racked on slings or quickdraws. So compared to a beefier model, the Nano 22 could save you over a pound or more! That's no joking matter. If you want to have the lightest rack possible, then this is the carabiner to do it with.

Loaded down with a double set? Here's where the Nano can help! You can save a lot of weight by using them for racking and your slings over a heavier carabiner  though ditching that Number 4 cam will help even more!
Loaded down with a double set? Here's where the Nano can help! You can save a lot of weight by using them for racking and your slings over a heavier carabiner, though ditching that Number 4 cam will help even more!

Best Applications


This product seems to have been designed with the sole purpose of lightening your load. You wouldn't want to use it for sport climbing, or even on hard-for-you trad routes where you might be making some desperate clips. And if you climb ice or big walls with gloves on, this carabiner is almost unworkable. But if you are heading into the alpine or on long multi-pitch routes and want the lightest rack possible, these are the carabiners to buy. CAMP sells them in eight different colors, so you can rack them with the corresponding colored camming device, and they would be a good choice to use on shoulder length slings, as you'll barely notice them banging against your side.

This carabiner is the best option for anyone looking to go as light as possible. It matches up with a variety of cam colors  and if you can get used to the smaller size you'll never buy a heavier carabiner again.
This carabiner is the best option for anyone looking to go as light as possible. It matches up with a variety of cam colors, and if you can get used to the smaller size you'll never buy a heavier carabiner again.

Value


These retail for $7 a pop, which is reasonable, and you'll save a few dollars more by purchasing the six-color rack pack. There are some good carabiners available for less, like the Mad Rock Ultra Light Wire ($6), our Best Buy winner, and the Trango Phase ($6), our Best Buy for Racking. However, both of those carabiners are slightly heavier than this one. If you are trying to have the lightest rack possible, then an extra dollar per carabiner is probably worth it.

Conclusion


The CAMP Nano 22 is one of the lightest full-strength carabiners on the market and our Top Pick for Ultralight choice. CAMP likens using lightweight gear to giving your rack an enema. We could take that analogy one step further, and say that while it might lighten you up, you might not enjoy the process. Our testers found it hard to clip and unclip, and you wouldn't want to use these with gloves on or at an anchor. All that being said, if you are looking for the lightest possible climbing rack (and aren't into fee-soloing), then the Nano 22 really is your best option.


Cam McKenzie Ring