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Trango Phase Carabiner Review

This inexpensive carabiner provides a great value and matches up well with your cams
Trango Phase Carabiner
Photo: Trango
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $7.00 List | $5.21 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Great price, slim profile, comes in eight different colors
Cons:  Other options are lighter, a little on the small side, exposed notch in the gate
Manufacturer:   Trango
By Cam McKenzie Ring ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Oct 26, 2020
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66
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 10
  • Clipping - 25% 6
  • Unclipping - 20% 6
  • Weight - 20% 8
  • Gate Clearance - 20% 7
  • Handling - 15% 6

Our Verdict

The Trango Phase is a small and relatively light carabiner that won't break the bank. It comes in a straight and (slightly) bent gate and in eight different colors for racking your cams. It has a slim profile, which is great if you rack on your harness, and the different colors match up with most cams out there. Its retail price is as low as you can find, and it's even more affordable if you buy the Mega Rack Pack. It has decent handling and clipping action for the size. If you plan on climbing ice, you might want something slightly bigger for your slings. However, we feel the Phase hit the sweet spot between price and usability, particularly when it came to holding our cams.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award   Top Pick Award 
Price $5.21 at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
$7.95 at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
$9.00 List$8.95 at REI$5.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
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Pros Great price, slim profile, comes in eight different colorsFull-sized, easy to clip, low price, low weightLightweight, good handlingVery large basket, excellent gate clearance, easy to handle, affordableVery light, inexpensive, small shape
Cons Other options are lighter, a little on the small side, exposed notch in the gateHas a notch in the nose, gates sometimes get sticky over timeDifficult for large hands, smallHeavy, stiff gate springs, notch and hook on noseNot the easiest to clip, exposed notch on nose, can be hard to handle with gloves on
Bottom Line This inexpensive carabiner provides a great value and matches up well with your camsWhile not perfect, still the most impressive combination of the winning attributes – full size, low weight, low priceA lightweight decently easy to handle biner that finds a nice middle ground between ultralight and heavier offeringsAn updated version of an OG classic, but one that is heavier than similar sized competition and doesn’t offer the smoothest clipsA tiny and lightweight carabiner that will help you shave ounces from your rack, but may also be a bit harder to use
Rating Categories Trango Phase Carabiner CAMP Photon Wire Wild Country Astro Black Diamond Hotwire Black Diamond MiniWire
Clipping (25%)
6.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
5.0
Unclipping (20%)
6.0
8.0
6.0
5.0
5.0
Weight (20%)
8.0
8.0
8.0
4.0
10.0
Gate Clearance (20%)
7.0
9.0
7.0
9.0
6.0
Handling (15%)
6.0
9.0
6.0
8.0
7.0
Specs Trango Phase Carabiner CAMP Photon Wire Wild Country Astro Black Diamond Hotwire Black Diamond MiniWire
Manufacturer Weight (g) 30g 30g 30g 40g 23g
Gate Closed (kN) 24 22 24 24 20
Sideways (kN) 8 8 7 8 7
Gate Open (kN) 7 9 7 8 7
Gate Clearance (mm) 23 26 24 27 21
Forging Method Not Specified Cold Hot Hot Hot

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Trango Phase weighs 30 grams and has a 23 mm gate opening. It comes in a blue version with a slight bend to the gate (for the rope end of a sling or quickdraw) and in eight colors with a straight gate. You can purchase them singly, in six or eight rack packs, and preassembled as a quickdraw and or with a sling for an alpine draw. Note that, while we like it for a racking carabiner, it works best with cams that have a skinnier sling (10-14mm) vs. the wider 18 mm one found on the Black Diamond Camalots.

Performance Comparison


The Phase is a great inexpensive racking carabiner. It comes in...
The Phase is a great inexpensive racking carabiner. It comes in eight colors to match with your cams, and the low price won't hurt your wallet too bad.
Photo: Scott Ring

Clipping


The Phase wasn't the top scorer when it comes to clipping due to its smaller than average size.


The gate tension on the wire felt fine — not too tight and not too soft — but once again, the smaller size made it harder to clip, particularly when compared to the larger choices, which scored a bit better for this application in our side by side testing.

If you're used to quick clips on larger sport climbing specific...
If you're used to quick clips on larger sport climbing specific carabiners, the smaller ones can take some getting used to.
Photo: Cam McKenzie Ring

Unclipping


When it comes to ease of unclipping, the Phase has a few things working against it, namely the notch in the gate and the smaller size of the gate opening. Here's were larger carabiners, and those with some notch protection, have an advantage.


With a smaller carabiner and a smaller gate clearance, you have to be really mindful when unclipping from a bolt or a sling. Snagging is more of a nuisance than anything, but it's hard not to fault carabiners that do it when there are so many now that don't. There are now a few different options where the notch is buried in the nose, and it makes unclipping slightly easier in many situations.

The notch on the Trango (left) is exposed. It's a similar shape and...
The notch on the Trango (left) is exposed. It's a similar shape and size to the DMM Alpha Light (right), which had a buried notch. The Alpha is heavier and more than twice the price though.
Photo: Cam McKenzie Ring

Weight


The Trango Phase weighs 30 grams each, or 1.1 ounces. The Phase is not the lightest option out there, and you could go lighter still. The BD MiniWire is a little smaller than the Phase and slightly harder to handle, but it's 7 grams lighter, and that adds up. Whether portability is the most important thing to you could depend on a lot of factors, including the difficulty and access to your climb, along with your own strength and abilities. If your climbing objectives tend to be miles into the backcountry and then multiple pitches off the ground, going lighter is key. If you're looking to outfit a single-pitch trad cragging rack, you might not need to shave so many ounces and can instead focus on usability or price.


The Phase works well as an alpine draw set-up, and you can purchase...
The Phase works well as an alpine draw set-up, and you can purchase the slightly bent blue carabiner and a silver one to distinguish the rope end from the bolt or gear one.
Photo: Cam McKenzie Ring

Gate Clearance


For such a small carabiner, we were surprised by how well it did on our three-rope test.


While it didn't have as much clearance as the much larger options we tested it against, it still took two loops easily, and we could still partially open the gate with the third in there. The basket on the Phase is a little deeper than others that are a similar size and this probably helped things out a bit.

The deeper basket held a clove hitch and could still open...
The deeper basket held a clove hitch and could still open. Three-strands of thicker rope did not fit quite as well though.
Photo: Cam McKenzie Ring

Handling


The Trango Phase is on the small side, and it received a lower score for this category as well. The importance of this category often comes down to hand size and intended use. Even if you have large hands, you might be able to get used to something that is a little smaller, but once you put gloves on, or are planning a long route where your hands will get a little swollen and fatigued, a smaller carabiner can work against you. The advantage to something smaller, particularly for racking your cams, is that they can fit on your harness a little better, should you prefer to rack that way vs. using a shoulder sling. We personally like to have both options available to us, but can't necessarily afford a double set of carabiners! If you know that ice or big walls are in your climbing plans, then something larger is the way to go. You can always choose a larger carabiner for your alpine draws as well and save the small ones for your cams.


One thing to keep in mind with this carabiner is that the top of the carabiner is a little narrow, and some of our cams with wider slings didn't always sit well in it. The pull of the rope would shift the orientation of the carabiner to the side, which could potentially result in it cross-loading in a fall. We didn't have this happen to us in the field, but just in case we'd recommend pairing it with models that have a narrower sling, say in the 14mm range, rather than an 18mm sling like the ones found on the Black Diamond Camalots.

The top of the carabiner is somewhat narrow, and our wider Camalot...
The top of the carabiner is somewhat narrow, and our wider Camalot slings didn't always sit so well in it. It can cause the carabiner to rotate a bit, which could then result in it loading in an unsafe configuration across the gate. We'd recommend pairing cams with thinner slings on this carabiner.
Photo: Cam McKenzie Ring

Value


The Phase retail for roughly the same price as most of the other budget options available, and of course, you can get a better per unit price if you buy in bulk by selecting a rack pack. We think that compared to the other low priced options, these perform a bit better for most options, and are bigger, and thus easier to handle than the tiniest choices. As the best of the low-cost options, they are indeed a solid value.

Conclusion


While the Trango Phase wasn't the highest scoring carabiner, it did function well and it retails at a great price. Considering how many carabiners you are likely to go through as a climber, from losing them to your partner's rack to leaving them on a descent here or there, we appreciate options that won't break the bank. If you're looking to save a few dollars or just can't shell out so much at once when starting out in this sport, the Phase is a great option to consider.

Cam McKenzie Ring