Trango Phase Carabiner Review
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
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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.
Ease of 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 type of 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, including the similarly sized DMM Alpha Light. The notch on the Alpha is buried in the nose, and it makes unclipping slightly easier in many situations. However, the Alpha retails for $15, so you may be willing to deal with a little snagging here and there for a $9 per carabiner savings! The least expensive carabiner that is snag-free is the Black Diamond Oz, which has a stainless steel wire around the notch. This one retails for $10 and was our Top Pick for Ultralight. That's still a significant difference if you're outfitting your first rack and need to buy 20, 30, or even 40 carabiners, and that's why it's hard not to recommend the Phase for the price alone.
Ease of Clipping
The Phase didn't get that high a score for ease of clipping either.
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 Wild Country Helium and CAMP Photon Wire models.
Ease of Handling
The Trango Phase is on the small side, and it received a lower score for this category as well. It's a hair smaller than the Black Diamond Neutrino but slightly larger than the CAMP Nano 22. 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 like the CAMP Photon Wire 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 it 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.
How Many Ropes Fit
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 Wild Country Helium 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.
Rope Pull Smoothness
This carabiner performed similarly to others in its size group for this category. It didn't have the smoothest pull, particularly when compared to the wide Petzl Ange L, but it wasn't as rough as the smaller CAMP Nano 22 or the Metolius FS Mini II.
While many people toprope off of two regular carabiners clipped in opposite directions, your rope will last longer (and you might not have to pull down so hard on the toprope) if you use locking carabiners that have a wider rope bearing surface.
The Trango Phase weighs 30 grams each, or 1.1 ounces. The Phase is almost as light as the Black Diamond Oz, and almost half the price! The Phase is not the lightest option out there, and you could go lighter still with the CAMP Nano 22. The Nano is a little smaller than the Phase and slightly harder to handle, but it's 8 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.
We liked these carabiners for both our cams (as long as the slings were narrow) and our thinner Dyneema slings. The color anodization lets you match them up to your cams, which always makes racking easier.
Well, we must think the Phase is a good value if we gave it our Best Buy award! It retails for $7 each, and you can buy the racking colors individually (which we appreciate) or as part of a six or eight color pack ($35.5 and $47). It also comes in premade quickdraws and as an alpine draw four-pack, which retails for $78, giving you two carabiners and a sling for less than $20 per.
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