Sterling Dyneema Sling Review
Cons: Expensive, rubberized covering adds weight and feels weird sliding through hands
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Our Analysis and Test Results
In both width and weight, the Sterling Dyneema Sewn Runner is very similar to the Black Diamond Dynex Runner. It is a mere 10mm wide and weighs only 22g for the 60cm double-length version, although this weight is a bit higher than other 10mm wide slings due to the added weight of the plastic sleeve that covers the bar tack. It is a flat sling that is thick throughout and doesn't taper near the edges, making it a pretty good choice for anchor building in its longer lengths because it is relatively easy to untie knots once they have been weighted. It comes in 10", 24" (which is the length we tested), 30", and 48", so while you have a number of options for shorter lengths, there are not 240cm (or longer) lengths available, like you can buy in our Top Pick for Anchor Building, the Metolius Open Loop Sling. However, like that sling, the Sterling Dyneema comes in different width choices, and you can buy a 12mm thick sling should you desire.
This sling is made primarily of Dyneema, with a little bit of Nylon fibers on the edges that give it color. The Dyneema fibers are smooth and slippery to the touch, and feel nice to run your hand over, but like the Trango Low Bulk 11 Sling, we found the edges to be ever so slightly abrasive when running them across our skin. This complaint is minor, but enough that it helps us differentiate which slings have a better handle, and which don't. As mentioned before, the clear sleeve that covers the bar tack is nice for creating alpine quickdraws easily, but when assessing for handle, it doesn't really make that much of a difference in our impression of how the sling feels, or how it performs, and actually adds slightly to the weight.
Similar to the Camp USA 11mm Express Dyneema Runner, this sling is thick from edge to edge, and doesn't taper on the edges or balloon in the middle to form an oval shape. We found that this matters in the knot test, because this thickness prevents knots from cinching down so tight that they become very difficult to untie. In practice, we found that the supple flexibility of this sling, combined with its narrow 10mm width, made it easy to tie knots, and once weighted, relatively easy to untie. While we wouldn't call it the absolute best at this task, we thought it was easily in the second tier, with a similar performance as the Black Diamond Dynex Sewn Runner.
Alpine Quickdraw Test
The super thin, 8mm wide Mammut Contact Sling is the top performer when it comes to making and extending alpine quickdraws, but we think the Sterling Dyneema Sewn Runner is tied for second best. It is smooth, supple, and narrow, ensuring that little friction is created between the sling and the biner, or the sling and itself. While the bar tack itself is rather long compared to the Petzl Pur'Anneau Sling, the plastic covering ensures that there are no tabs that can get hung up, allowing it to slide through the carabiner easier than nearly any other sling. However, like all slings, if the bar tack happens to reside exactly against the biner when you pull the quickdraw tight, you will not get perfect equalization. Overall, one of the best slings for racking on the harness.
We tested a 60cm double-length runner and weighed it at 22g on our independent scale. While this is really light, it is a bit heavier than the Mammut Contact Sling or Petzl Pur'Annuea Sling. In fact, it is only good enough for the fifth lightest rating in this review. As far as we can tell, this has to be due to the plastic bar tack covering, as otherwise the thin width would lend itself to being one of the lightest. So while you gain a bit of versatility with the nice covering, it comes at a minor sacrifice of weight.
At only 10mm wide, this is one of the least bulky slings in the review. However, compared to the other two slings that are also 10mm wide, the BD Dynex and Petzl Pur'Anneau, it has more material and is thicker than both. Additionally, the clear plastic sleeve is a bit bulkier than a simple bar tack alone would be. Therefore, we rated it just behind its closest competitors in this metric.
The Sterling Dyneema Sewn Runner is a perfect choice for using while leading to extend protection pieces in order to reduce rope drag on the leader. It can also be used to equalize multiple protection point anchors, although the choices are somewhat limited in the longer lengths, which are usually what you would buy for this purpose.
These slings retail for around $11, making them one of the more expensive slings in this review, and about $2 more than our top award winners. Since it scores slightly lower in our overall ratings, and costs more, we can't recommend this sling as a good value, even for those who simply aren't concerned about the extra $2 expense. In our opinion, higher quality and higher performing products are available for less money, so that is where the value is to be found.
The Sterling Dyneema Sewn Runner is unique compared to the competition because it has a clear plastic sleeve covering the sewn bar tack, enabling for less friction when passing through a carabiner. Although this feature adds some value to the sling, it also comes at the cost of weight and bulk. The bigger issue is that this sling is a bit of an outlier in price, and costs a bit more than other slings that perform better.
— Andy Wellman