The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

BlueWater Titan Runner Review

The promise of a Dyneema/Nylon blend doesn’t pay off
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Price:  $16 List | $5.25 at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Strong, durable, slightly elastic due to Nylon weave
Cons:  Heavy, bulky, knots are hard to untie
Manufacturer:   BlueWater
By Andy Wellman ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 11, 2019
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55
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#11 of 12
  • Handle - 25% 7
  • Knot Test - 25% 4
  • Alpine Quickdraw Test - 20% 6
  • Weight - 15% 5
  • Bulk - 15% 5

Our Verdict

The BlueWater Titan Runner is genuinely unique in that it is made of a blend of both Dyneema and Nylon fibers. While virtually every Dyneema sling also includes some Nylon fibers on the edges, the Titan Runner intermixes the two, creating a checkered pattern. The Titan Runner is also remarkable because it is stronger than any other sling in this review, having been safety tested to 26.6kN, or the equivalent of 5,980 lbs. of force. While these design attributes are certainly unique, they come at a cost of weight, bulk, and how well it performs in our knot and alpine quickdraw tests, where lower bulk is often advantageous. While the Titan Runner has long been one of the most popular sling products on the market, we don't feel that it matches up with the modern Dyneema products we tested it against.


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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Strong, durable, slightly elastic due to Nylon weaveLow 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, knots are hard to untieWeighted 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 promise of a Dyneema/Nylon blend doesn’t pay offThe 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 BlueWater Titan Runner Mammut Contact Dyneema Petzl Pur'Anneau Sling Black Diamond Dynex Runner Trango Low Bulk 11mm Sling
Handle (25%)
10
0
7
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
6
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
Weight (15%)
10
0
5
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
9
Bulk (15%)
10
0
5
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
7
Specs BlueWater Titan... Mammut Contact... Petzl Pur'Anneau... Black Diamond... Trango Low Bulk...
Type of Fiber Dyneema/nylon weave Dyneema High-Modulus Polyethalene Dynex Dyneema
Measured weight 65g (42g for 24") 19g 19g 20g 20g
Width Tested 13mm 8mm 10mm 10mm 11mm
Length Tested 48 inches 60cm 60cm 60cm 60cm
Strength 26.6Kn 22Kn 22Kn 22Kn 22Kn
Widths Available 13mm 8mm 10mm 10mm 11mm
Lengths Available 6"; 12"; 24"; 36"; 48" 60cm; 120cm 60cm; 120cm; 180cm 30cm; 60cm; 120cm; 240cm 30cm; 60cm; 120cm

Our Analysis and Test Results

The BlueWater Titan Runner is one of the original Spectra slings when it first started being used for climbing purposes. Today it is made out of Dyneema (basically the same thing, although a different brand), blended in a roughly 50/50 ratio with Nylon. While this blend should allow for the positive attributes of both fibers to shine through into the ultimate sling, in practice this is not the case. The Nylon should make this sling slightly more elastic, which it does, but also cheaper, which unfortunately it does not. The Dyneema should make this sling lighter and less bulky for the same strength, but in fact it is the heaviest sling in this review, and its tubular design ensures that it is also the bulkiest. What is left is a hybrid design with few to no advantages over the more specialized competition, except for the fact that this sling is about 4kN stronger in testing than all of the others. This is not a trade-off we think is worth it however, because we can't really imagine a situation where an already absurdly strong sling needs to be even stronger, as studies have shown that slings are already one of the strongest links in your safety chain — the protection, the rock, or much more likely your body — will all break under less force than an average sling.

Performance Comparison


At one of the bolted hanging belays on the multi-pitch face climbing classic Levitation 29 in Red Rocks  Stefan has the slings racked over his shoulder before heading off on his next lead.
At one of the bolted hanging belays on the multi-pitch face climbing classic Levitation 29 in Red Rocks, Stefan has the slings racked over his shoulder before heading off on his next lead.

Handle


The blend of the two fibers that make up this sling lends itself to a comfortable feel against the skin. It is tubular in design, rather than a single piece of flat webbing, so it feels much thicker. One of the edges where the two sides would meet to make a tube is stitched together with fiber that is rougher than the regular weave, so it has the feeling of an abrasive edge, much like the Metolius Open Loop Sling has. On a positive note, the bar tack is smaller and lower profile than many slings, although it still has small tabs on either end that can hang up as they slide over a carabiner.

The tubular shape of this sling makes it stronger but also thicker  and while the Dyneema (white) and Nylon (red) fibers are woven together into the pattern you see here  this sling does not feel as slippery or smooth in the hand as many others.
The tubular shape of this sling makes it stronger but also thicker, and while the Dyneema (white) and Nylon (red) fibers are woven together into the pattern you see here, this sling does not feel as slippery or smooth in the hand as many others.

Knot Test


This sling, along with the purely Nylon Black Diamond Nylon Sewn Runner, is one of the lowest scorers in this test. Its thickness (13mm wide) means that it has extra material friction once knotted, and after weighting a figure-eight knot, we find it far harder to loosen the knot than purely Dyneema slings that are not as wide, and are far slipperier feeling. While we thought it would be a good option for use in anchors due to its blended construction, the difficulty we had untying weighted knots would suggest otherwise.

Despite its 13mm width  this sling is easy to tie knots with  and this clove hitch easily comes loose when unweighted.
Despite its 13mm width, this sling is easy to tie knots with, and this clove hitch easily comes loose when unweighted.

Quickly tying a figure-eight knot with this sling means that there are likely to be some twists involved  as it takes a bit of extra effort to arrange the two sides together so that the knot is neater. Its no big deal if a twist infiltrates your knot  but by and large we found that this sling  with its wider fabric  is a bit harder to untie once weighted than most 11mm wide slings.
Quickly tying a figure-eight knot with this sling means that there are likely to be some twists involved, as it takes a bit of extra effort to arrange the two sides together so that the knot is neater. Its no big deal if a twist infiltrates your knot, but by and large we found that this sling, with its wider fabric, is a bit harder to untie once weighted than most 11mm wide slings.

Alpine Quickdraw Test


Due to the thickness of the sling material, there is plenty of extra friction between the sling and the carabiner, not to mention the sling and itself, when we tripled it up and pulled it equal in the alpine quickdraw test. The smaller bar tack was appreciated as a smaller size means it is less likely to rest against the carabiner. While it isn't the best at this test, we think it is still easier to triple up than the Sterling Nylon Sewn Runner, which is a lot wider.

Even with a quadruple length sling  you can make an alpine quickdraw  but it will dangle quite low down off your harness gear loops. The relatively low profile bar tack means this one is easy to equalize properly.
Even with a quadruple length sling, you can make an alpine quickdraw, but it will dangle quite low down off your harness gear loops. The relatively low profile bar tack means this one is easy to equalize properly.

Weight


We chose to test the 48" quadruple-length version of this sling for use equalizing anchors, and it weighed a whopping 65g, compared to only 47g for the same length of the Metolius Open Loop Sling, which we recognized as our Top Pick for Anchor Building. While we couldn't weigh the shorter 24" version, BlueWater's website has it listed as 42g, which is still far and away the heaviest sling in this review. Especially when it comes to climbing, we feel that light is right, and so it's hard to find a spot on our racks for something that is inexplicably heavier than all of the other options.

Our 48" length of Titan Runner weighed 65g  a lot heavier than the comparable length of Metolius Sling. Even if you compare the listed weight for the 24" shoulder length runner  this is far and away the heaviest sling tested.
Our 48" length of Titan Runner weighed 65g, a lot heavier than the comparable length of Metolius Sling. Even if you compare the listed weight for the 24" shoulder length runner, this is far and away the heaviest sling tested.

Bulk


At 13mm wide and extra thick due to the tubular design, the Titan Sling is easily one of the bulkiest tested. While this bulk is surely one of the main factors in allowing the sling to be stronger than the rest, it makes it hard to fit a whole rack of them on a harness, and is another knock against purchasing this sling.

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


Like all climbing slings, the most useful application is for extending pieces of protection while leading, on any sort of terrain, so that the leader experiences less rope drag. While this sling is available in 48" lengths, appropriate for equalizing two pieces at an anchor, we don't recommend it very highly due to the fact that it is more challenging than most to untie weighted knots.

Both of these slings  the Metolius Open Loop Sling on top and the BlueWater Titan Runner on the bottom  feature roughly equal amounts of Nylon (color) and Dyneema (white) fibers  although they use a different weave pattern to accomplish this.
Both of these slings, the Metolius Open Loop Sling on top and the BlueWater Titan Runner on the bottom, feature roughly equal amounts of Nylon (color) and Dyneema (white) fibers, although they use a different weave pattern to accomplish this.

Value


The 48" version of the Titan Sling that we tested retails for $16, but a 24" version, comparable to most of the slings we tested here, retails for $9.50, which is not by any means the most expensive option, but isn't the cheapest either. If thinking in terms of performance, we don't think it presents amazing value, but on the other hand if assessing for durability and longevity, we think it is likely a bit more valuable.

Organizing gear at a portaledge bivy  like this one in Zion National Park  is much easier with a large selection of double and quadruple length slings.
Organizing gear at a portaledge bivy, like this one in Zion National Park, is much easier with a large selection of double and quadruple length slings.

Conclusion


The BlueWater Titan Sling was once state-of-the-art, but it feels as if perhaps the times have passed it by. It will do all that you ask of it, but not as well as the other top slings that we tested and compared it against. If you are looking for the best sling you can buy, check out the Mammut Contact Sling, and if you want the best value, you can't get better performance for less money than the Black Diamond Nylon Sewn Runner.


Andy Wellman