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Sterling Dyneema Sling Review

A great sling that costs more than it seems like it should
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Price:  $11 List | $10.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Covered sewn bar tack, thin and light
Cons:  Expensive, rubberized covering adds weight and feels weird sliding through hands
Manufacturer:   Sterling
By Andy Wellman ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 11, 2019
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77
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 12
  • Handle - 25% 7
  • Knot Test - 25% 7
  • Alpine Quickdraw Test - 20% 9
  • Weight - 15% 8
  • Bulk - 15% 8

Our Verdict

The Sterling Dyneema Sewn Runner is a low bulk and low-weight Dyneema sling that's most notable feature is a rubberized plastic sleeve that covers the bar tack, including the end tabs that often stick out and have a propensity to hang up on carabiners, making it particularly efficient for use as alpine quickdraws. In fact, this is one of the highest scoring slings in our comparative testing, and only genuinely features one serious drawback — the price. It retails for around $11, and while that isn't a lot of money, it's a few dollars more than other slings, including our Editors' Choice award winning Mammut Contact Sling, that also performed better. While the sling does everything asked of it as advertised, we have a hard time recommending it over less expensive slings that perform the same, if not better.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award    
Price $10.95 at Backcountry
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$6.95 at Backcountry
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$12.85 at Amazon
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$6.95 at REI
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$8.50 at REI
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Covered sewn bar tack, thin and lightLow 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 Expensive, rubberized covering adds weight and feels weird sliding through handsWeighted 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 A great sling that costs more than it seems like it shouldThe 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 Sterling Dyneema Sling 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
7
10
0
5
10
0
6
10
0
7
10
0
7
Alpine Quickdraw Test (20%)
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
Weight (15%)
10
0
8
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
9
Bulk (15%)
10
0
8
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
7
Specs Sterling Dyneema... Mammut Contact... Petzl Pur'Anneau... Black Diamond... Trango Low Bulk...
Type of Fiber Dyneema Dyneema High-Modulus Polyethalene Dynex Dyneema
Measured weight 22g 19g 19g 20g 20g
Width Tested 10mm 8mm 10mm 10mm 11mm
Length Tested 60cm 60cm 60cm 60cm 60cm
Strength 22Kn 22Kn 22Kn 22Kn 22Kn
Widths Available 10mm; 12mm 8mm 10mm 10mm 11mm
Lengths Available 10"; 24"; 30"; 48" 60cm; 120cm 60cm; 120cm; 180cm 30cm; 60cm; 120cm; 240cm 30cm; 60cm; 120cm

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.

Performance Comparison


Pulling the wild and fun roof crux at the top of pitch two of Levitation 29  with the Sterling Dyneema runner helps keep the rope running smoothly.
Pulling the wild and fun roof crux at the top of pitch two of Levitation 29, with the Sterling Dyneema runner helps keep the rope running smoothly.

Handle


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.

This sling is 10mm wide and supple. The white fibers shown here are Dyneema  while the yellow fibers are dyed Nylon. You can see the rubberized plastic sleeve that covers the bar tack  a feature that helps it slide easier over biners  but is still bulky and slightly heavier.
This sling is 10mm wide and supple. The white fibers shown here are Dyneema, while the yellow fibers are dyed Nylon. You can see the rubberized plastic sleeve that covers the bar tack, a feature that helps it slide easier over biners, but is still bulky and slightly heavier.

Knot Test


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.

As a thin and supple sling  we found it very easy to tie knots with  as shown here with this nicely dressed clove hitch  which is also very easy to untie.
As a thin and supple sling, we found it very easy to tie knots with, as shown here with this nicely dressed clove hitch, which is also very easy to untie.

While we found it very easy to tie nicely dressed figure-eight knots with this sling  we found that its 10mm width allowed it to cinch up into a much smaller knot  as you can see  than wider slings  making it slightly more difficult to untie once weighted.
While we found it very easy to tie nicely dressed figure-eight knots with this sling, we found that its 10mm width allowed it to cinch up into a much smaller knot, as you can see, than wider slings, making it slightly more difficult to untie once weighted.

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.

The rubberized plastic cover over the bar tack makes it easier to slide over the edges of biners  but is also very large and bulky compared to many bar tacks of other slings. In general this is a good sling for alpine quickdraws.
The rubberized plastic cover over the bar tack makes it easier to slide over the edges of biners, but is also very large and bulky compared to many bar tacks of other slings. In general this is a good sling for alpine quickdraws.

Weight


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.

While 22g is certainly not what anyone would describe as heavy  the plastic sleeve that covers the bar tack does add a couple grams of weight that makes it heavier than the competition.
While 22g is certainly not what anyone would describe as heavy, the plastic sleeve that covers the bar tack does add a couple grams of weight that makes it heavier than the competition.

Bulk


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 narrowest and least bulky slings  laid out for comparison. From the top: The 8mm Mammut Contact  10mm Petzl Pur'Anneau (white)  10mm Black Diamond Dynex (yellow)  10mm Sterling Dyneema (yellow)  and for comparison on the bottom  the 17mm Sterling Nylon.
The narrowest and least bulky slings, laid out for comparison. From the top: The 8mm Mammut Contact, 10mm Petzl Pur'Anneau (white), 10mm Black Diamond Dynex (yellow), 10mm Sterling Dyneema (yellow), and for comparison on the bottom, the 17mm Sterling Nylon.

Best Applications


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.

Combining pitches on the classic Levitation 29 in Red Rocks calls for a liberal use of long runners to minimize rope drag on the countless bolts. Here looking down from the top of pitch 2.
Combining pitches on the classic Levitation 29 in Red Rocks calls for a liberal use of long runners to minimize rope drag on the countless bolts. Here looking down from the top of pitch 2.

Value


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.

On top of the Morning Glory Wall at Smith Rock in mid-February after having climbed Zebra-Zion in one pitch. We just threw all the slings over our shoulder in order to keep moving as fast as possible while seconding  leaving it till the summit to re-rack them on our harness.
On top of the Morning Glory Wall at Smith Rock in mid-February after having climbed Zebra-Zion in one pitch. We just threw all the slings over our shoulder in order to keep moving as fast as possible while seconding, leaving it till the summit to re-rack them on our harness.

Conclusion


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