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Black Diamond Nylon Sewn Runner Review

The best option for traditional climbers who want to save some money
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $5 List | $3.95 at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Most affordable, handles great, elastic stretch properties when catching a fall
Cons:  Heavy, bulky, lots of friction in alpine quickdraws
Manufacturer:   Black Diamond
By Andy Wellman ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 12, 2019
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55
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#9 of 12
  • Handle - 25% 9
  • Knot Test - 25% 4
  • Alpine Quickdraw Test - 20% 5
  • Weight - 15% 4
  • Bulk - 15% 4

Our Verdict

The Black Diamond Nylon Sewn Runner is far and away the most economical choice you can make when it comes to buying a sewn sling. It has virtually the exact same shape, feel, weight, and other characteristics as the Sterling Nylon Sewn Runner, except that it inexplicably costs about $1.25 less, making the choice between the two simple. Nylon's principal advantage over Dyneema is that it costs less, so if you are a budget-minded climber, you can safely outfit yourself with an entire rack of slings for close to 40% less than you would pay if you were to buy only Dyneema. Keep in mind that regardless of which type you choose, all sewn slings are still tested to 22kN of force, so you are not compromising in strength or safety. Wide Nylon slings also have the advantage of being more comfortable against the skin, and better to rack a bunch of gear on if you are slinging them over your shoulder. As the most economical sling you can buy, we are happy to recognize the BD Nylon Sewn Runner as our Best Bang for the Buck Award winner.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award    
Price $3.95 at REI
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$6.95 at Backcountry
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$12.95 at Amazon$6.95 at REI
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$8.45 at Backcountry
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Most affordable, handles great, elastic stretch properties when catching a fallLow weight, very thin, handles great, affordableVery light, low bulk, easy to manipulate, very small bar tackLight weight, low bulk, knots untie relatively easily, affordableLow price, light weight despite width, small bar tack
Cons Heavy, bulky, lots of friction in alpine quickdrawsWeighted knots harder to untie than thicker slingsHigh price, harder than some to untie knotsNot as soft a handle as other top scorersAbrasive edges, wide for the weight
Bottom Line The best option for traditional climbers who want to save some moneyThe best climbing sling due to its great handle and low weight and width.A top-notch sling at a top-shelf priceA fantastic lightweight flat sling that is also affordableA solid sling at a fantastic price
Rating Categories Nylon Sewn Runner Mammut Contact Dyneema Petzl Pur'Anneau Sling Black Diamond Dynex Runner Trango Low Bulk 11mm Sling
Handle (25%)
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
7
Knot Test (25%)
10
0
4
10
0
5
10
0
6
10
0
7
10
0
7
Alpine Quickdraw Test (20%)
10
0
5
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
Weight (15%)
10
0
4
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
9
Bulk (15%)
10
0
4
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
7
Specs Nylon Sewn Runner Mammut Contact... Petzl Pur'Anneau... Black Diamond... Trango Low Bulk...
Type of Fiber Nylon Dyneema High-Modulus Polyethalene Dynex Dyneema
Measured weight 37g 19g 19g 20g 20g
Width Tested 18mm 8mm 10mm 10mm 11mm
Length Tested 60cm 60cm 60cm 60cm 60cm
Strength 22Kn 22Kn 22Kn 22Kn 22Kn
Widths Available 18mm 8mm 10mm 10mm 11mm
Lengths Available 30cm; 60cm; 120cm; 240cm 60cm; 120cm 60cm; 120cm; 180cm 30cm; 60cm; 120cm; 240cm 30cm; 60cm; 120cm

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Black Diamond Nylon Sewn Runner is 18mm wide, and made of tubular webbing. It is what any climber who was tackling the cliffs more than 20 years ago would think of as a classic sling, but new fiber technologies have long since replaced such items with super light, super thin alternatives such as the Mammut Contact Sling. Nylon slings such as this one have a couple principal advantages over Dyneema: cost, and their elasticity. Cost should be an obvious reason why you might choose Nylon, but it is interesting to note that a Nylon sling can stretch up to around 30% under a load, whereas Dyneema slings can stretch little to none. What this means is that using Nylon adds a dynamic element to your climbing systems that could come in handy in certain situations. If you are clipped directly to an anchor with a sling, and may somehow fall onto that sling, then Nylon is a safer choice of material. Similarly, a piece right off the belay, where a fall would be relatively high force, would be a good choice for a Nylon sling, as would daisy chains while aid climbing, where a leader might fall statically down onto his last piece of gear. Worth noting in all of these scenarios is that the rope provides dynamic stretch which is sufficient to reduce fall forces in virtually all scenarios, even when Dyneema slings are being used, so the advantages of Nylon should be thought of as additional security. Black Diamond has also done tests that show that Nylon slings seem to be more durable over time than Dyneema ones, although these tests lack a control and shouldn't be considered conclusive.

Especially when it comes to performance, there are a number of downsides when choosing a Nylon sling. They are heavier and bulkier, needing around 18mm of width to provide enough material to reach the same strength requirements that all slings must adhere to. This bulk also means there is far more friction where parts of a sling overlap, leading to more difficulties when creating alpine quickdraws, and especially when trying to untie knots that have been weighted. No knotted sling welds as tightly under body weight than wide Nylon slings. These are worthy downsides that should induce you to carefully consider whether a few bucks is worth a drop in performance, and yet, if money is the bottom line, the BD Nylon Sewn Runner will easily get the job done.

Performance Comparison


The lower gorge of Smith Rock is a trad climbing paradise of basalt columns and cracks  here testing slings on lead of the hand crack Original Sin.
The lower gorge of Smith Rock is a trad climbing paradise of basalt columns and cracks, here testing slings on lead of the hand crack Original Sin.

Handle


When comparing the feel of all the slings in our hands and against our skin, we have to concede that Nylon is simply the softest and smoothest, making these the most comfortable slings with the best handle. Both of the Nylon slings that we tested felt equally as comfortable and supple, with only the Mammut Contact Sling able to match their comfortable feel.


Another great advantage of using a fat Nylon sling is that you can easily rack gear on it over your shoulder, and it doesn't bite into your neck as you second the pitch or make your way down off a huge mountain, a quality that isn't true for super skinny slings. On the downside, the bar tacking is relatively large, with obvious tabs hanging off each end that can catch up when running over a biner.

The smooth and thin Nylon is tubular in shape  but is very soft and supple against the skin. You can see that while the bar tack is relatively short compared to others  it has large tabs that hang off the ends that can catch on biners.
The smooth and thin Nylon is tubular in shape, but is very soft and supple against the skin. You can see that while the bar tack is relatively short compared to others, it has large tabs that hang off the ends that can catch on biners.

Knot Test


We found that the supple Nylon of this sling is easy to tie into a clove hitch or a figure-eight on a bight, although at times twists like to work their way into the knot, which actually doesn't mess with its effectiveness. The downside is that with a wide sling, there is lots of friction inside the knot, and once weighted it cinches up tighter than any other, proving to be the most difficult to quickly untie.


The easiest way to get knots that have been weighted undone is to push the upper, non-weighted end through the knot, trying to work any part of it you can loose. As they are virtually the same, this one scores the same as the Sterling Nylon Sewn Runner, but we also find that the BlueWater Titan Runner, which uses a tubular design, is equally as hard to untie. Because of the results of these tests, we recommend you leave these slings unknotted.

The clove hitch tied with this sling is easy to untie  but as you can see has the propensity to tie with twists. We honestly don't consider this much of a problem  even though it doesn't look quite as neat.
The clove hitch tied with this sling is easy to untie, but as you can see has the propensity to tie with twists. We honestly don't consider this much of a problem, even though it doesn't look quite as neat.

The figure-eight on a bight is probably the most common knot tied when equalizing anchors. Due to the supple and wide material  this sling tends to weld tight when these knots are weighted  making them quite difficult to untie.
The figure-eight on a bight is probably the most common knot tied when equalizing anchors. Due to the supple and wide material, this sling tends to weld tight when these knots are weighted, making them quite difficult to untie.

Alpine Quickdraw Test


Once again, the thickness of this sling leads to lower performance when it comes to carrying it as an alpine quickdraw. Not only is it more bulky on the harness once formed, but we found that the 18mm thick webbing made it so that it has no choice but to trap other layers underneath itself, overlapping as it sits in the crotch of the carabiner. This makes it hard to pull and easily equalize.


The large tabs on either end of the bar tacking also catch up on the carabiners as they are trying to slide through more often than other slings with equally large bar tack tags, once again due to the width of the sling. Performance for the two Nylon slings in this metric is unfortunately the lowest, and nowhere near as easy and friction-less as the Mammut Contact Sling.

Check out the top biner in this photo. With wide slings like this one there is no choice but for the various strands to overlap in the crotch. When pulled tight to equalize  one loop will pinch another  preventing proper equalization of the various strands  as shown here.
Check out the top biner in this photo. With wide slings like this one there is no choice but for the various strands to overlap in the crotch. When pulled tight to equalize, one loop will pinch another, preventing proper equalization of the various strands, as shown here.

Weight


While Nylon is a far more affordable material than Dyneema, or any other high-modulus polyethylene, it is not nearly as strong, meaning that a lot more of it must be used to provide the same strength. With more material comes higher weight, and we measured the weight of this 60cm sling at 37g.


Oddly enough this is one gram less than the Sterling Nylon Sewn Runner, but isn't competitive with any of the other slings in the review, let along the Petzl Pur-Anneau Sling, which weighs an amazing 19g, almost exactly half as much.

This sling weighs 37g  ever so slightly lighter than the other Nylon sling  but heavier than any of the Dyneema slings due to its added width.
This sling weighs 37g, ever so slightly lighter than the other Nylon sling, but heavier than any of the Dyneema slings due to its added width.

Bulk


Since we have repeatedly described the downsides of this sling's added bulk, it should come as no surprise that when assessed specifically for this quality alone, it received the lowest score, tied with its Nylon counterpart.


Worth pointing out for those savvy readers who may see that the Sterling Nylon Sewn Runner is listed as being 17mm wide, 1mm less wide than the BD Nylon Sewn Runner, is that they are exactly the same width, so someone is stretching the truth a little bit, while the BD is actually ever so slightly lighter according to our scale. So don't be fooled into choosing the more expensive Nylon sling because you think it may not be quite as bulky, because it is.

The three widest slings in this review on top: The yellow BD Nylon (18mm)  Blue Sterling Nylon (17mm)  and the red and white BlueWater Titan (13mm)  with the thinnest sling in this review for comparison on the bottom  the Mammut Contact (8mm).
The three widest slings in this review on top: The yellow BD Nylon (18mm), Blue Sterling Nylon (17mm), and the red and white BlueWater Titan (13mm), with the thinnest sling in this review for comparison on the bottom, the Mammut Contact (8mm).

Best Applications


This sling is best used as a double-length to extend pieces of climbing protection while leading in order to minimize rope drag. Like most slings, it can be used for a myriad of other uses, but be aware that if you tie knots in it and then weight it, they can weld so tight they become difficult to untie, making this a poor choice for equalizing anchors.

Intending to link the top two crux pitches of the Naked Edge  Eldorado Canyon  Stefan sets out with a rack of mostly just extendable runners to clip the many fixed pieces along the way.
Intending to link the top two crux pitches of the Naked Edge, Eldorado Canyon, Stefan sets out with a rack of mostly just extendable runners to clip the many fixed pieces along the way.

Value


This is the most affordable sewn sling that you can buy. While you could choose to buy one-inch webbing off of a spool at a climbing shop and tie your own slings for less money, sewn slings are stronger and safer than going that route. As the most affordable sling available and winner of our Best Bang for the Buck Award, we think it presents solid value.

You can never have too many slings on a big wall  here George cleans the Black Cave pitch on the North America Wall of El Cap in Yosemite.
You can never have too many slings on a big wall, here George cleans the Black Cave pitch on the North America Wall of El Cap in Yosemite.

Conclusion


The Black Diamond Nylon Sewn Runner is an excellent choice for those budget conscious climbers who would prefer to save their money to buy an extra can of beans or an ice cream cone. Even for the average climber it can be nice to have one or two Nylon sewn runners in the rack, if nothing else than to have a nice sling to rack the gear on for the hike down. This sling performs the same as the other Nylon sewn runner we tested, but costs a fair bit less, and so is the obvious choice for purchase.


Andy Wellman