DMM Revolver Review
Cons: Heavy, expensive, stiff gate
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|Pros||Built in pulley wheel reduces friction, compact||Full-sized, easy to clip, low price, low weight||Key-locking nose design, easy gate action, large size||Keylock wiregate has no notch, easy to handle, large rope-bearing surface||Recessed notch in nose, great clipping action, easy to handle|
|Cons||Heavy, expensive, stiff gate||Has a notch in the nose, gates sometimes get sticky over time||Pricey, heavy compared to competition||Heavy, expensive, single "wiregate" takes some getting used to||Not the cheapest, not the lightest, crotch is slightly narrow for accommodating wide slings|
|Bottom Line||Not an ideal choice for trad climbing, but one that could be considered nearly indispensable for glacier travel and alpine climbing||A very affordable carabiner that is also one of the easiest to use and won’t cost you anything on the scale||Provides very simple clipping and unclipping action, and feels great in the hands||Heavy for a trad rack but nice keylocking gate||An ergonomic and smooth clipping carabiner that also has a keylocking nose design for the best overall wiregate function|
|Rating Categories||DMM Revolver||CAMP Photon Wire||Helium 3||Petzl Ange L||DMM Alpha Trad|
|Gate Clearance (20%)|
|Specs||DMM Revolver||CAMP Photon Wire||Helium 3||Petzl Ange L||DMM Alpha Trad|
|Manufacturer Weight (g)||51g||30g||38g||34g||36g|
|Gate Closed (kN)||24||22||24||22||24|
|Gate Open (kN)||9||9||10||10||9|
|Gate Clearance (mm)||24||26||27||26||25|
|Forging Method||Hot||Cold||Hot||Not Specified||Hot|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The pulley wheel found in the basket of the DMM Revolver is meant to reduce friction as the rope runs through it. How this could benefit you depends completely on the situation. We tested it mainly in summer in the Colorado Rockies, and thus mostly used it on the end of a sling to reduce rope drag on long trad pitches. For this usage, we found that it didn't work as well as advertised, because the wheel is too small, and if the rope bends inside the carabiner, it is just as likely to rest on some other part of the basket as perfectly on the wheel, thereby negating most of the benefits. Thus, we would not be inclined to add it to our trad racks due its marginal benefit and heavy weight.
However, our head tester is a former alpine guide who has spent time traversing glaciers in South America, the Northern Cascades, Alaska, British Columbia, and Nepal, and thinks this would be an excellent tool to have on the harness for building three-to-one or six-to-one hauling systems to rescue a climber out of a crevasse. It simply works best when oriented in a line, without forces pulling off to the side, even at a small angle. This same hauling usage could be very effectively applied to hauling a pack on alpine climbs, reducing friction while hauling the pig on El Cap (used in conjunction with an actual wall hauler), or providing a hauling assist to a client while alpine or rock guiding. Any hauling situation can be greatly enhanced when rope drag is minimized, and the Revolver strikes a nice balance of doing so without carrying too much extra weight, or objects such as extra pulleys. While it could also help in genuine rescue applications, generally heavier duty equipment is used for these purposes. While we tested the wiregate version, it also comes in a screw locking version for added gate security.
The gate springs on the Revolver are very tight, more so than any other we tested, so it takes more effort to force the rope through the gate and into the carabiner than other options. This is in line with its intended purpose, adding some security against gate flutter or accidental opening by hitting the rock. There is no reason to be trying to clip this carabiner over your head on a desperate trad or sport lead, so the fact that it isn't simply buttery smooth should present you with no problem.
The tight gate spring also means that this isn't a very easy carabiner to unclip the rope from either. Again, as we wouldn't recommend it for high end vertical climbing, needing to unclip it in a half second with one hand under duress should not be a top priority. Like many wiregates, it has a notch and hook on the nose, which can cause some friction with the rope or other items like slings while unclipping, but judging this carabiner based on its intended purpose, which is hauling situations, the relative difficulty found in unclipping it only adds to the sense of security, and isn't a serious drawback.
The Revolver weighs in at 51g, which is of course heavier than the other carabiners in our review. This is to be expected, due not only to the addition of the wheel that is not present in any other option, but also to the added metal in the basket that ensures that the wheel can withstand forces equal to 11kN. In reality, considering its purpose and functionality, this carabiner could be considered to be pretty light, and surely weighs in lighter than a separate metal pulley and carabiner combo, which would be a comparable alternative.
The clearance of the gate is measured at 24mm, which is roughly in the middle of the field. The basket is made wider by a bend in the spine, and is overall very deep. While we found that it doesn't necessarily handle three knots or ropes fitting into the basket at the same time very well, it also isn't designed to be used as an anchor 'biner, so this test wasn't very fitting. Suffice to say, the gate clearance is plenty enough to use it effectively.
The shape of this carabiner is a bit odd, with a very narrow crotch at the top and a wide basket at the bottom. The weight of it is out of balance, with most of the weight focused at the basket where the pulley wheel lives. These two factors mean that it doesn't fit or feel as natural in our hands, which can only mean that we might be more likely to drop it on accident. That said, as we don't really recommend it for use while lead climbing, and instead feel like you would only use it on the ground or at an anchor, these concerns are minimized.
As a specialty product, there should be no surprise that it comes at a specialty price, which is far more than any other carabiner in this review, and is in line with an expensive locking belay carabiner. The price seems fair for what you get, and if you are a guide, alpine climber, or mountaineer that needs one or two, then the function you get for the price is more than worth it.
The DMM Revolver reduces rope drag friction by inserting a small metal pulley wheel into the basket. While it is advertised as being applicable for lead climbing or even top-roping anchors, we didn't feel like its weight and price were worth the impaired function for these uses. However, we highly recommend that guides, alpine climbers, and mountaineers who traverse glaciers pick up a couple for use with hauling and emergency systems, as they present a compact and very versatile alternative to a traditional pulley, with far better function than simply trying to haul through a carabiner alone.
— Andy Wellman