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Trango Low Bulk 11mm Sling Review

A solid sling at a fantastic price
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Price:  $9 List | $8.50 at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Low price, light weight despite width, small bar tack
Cons:  Abrasive edges, wide for the weight
Manufacturer:   Trango
By Andy Wellman ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 11, 2019
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75
OVERALL
SCORE


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

Our Verdict

The Trango Low Bulk 11 Sling presents one of the best values available for a Dyneema sling, costing only $8.50 at retail prices. It can best be described as "no frills," but nevertheless is more than adequate for any type of climbing situation that may call for the use of a sling. While we have virtually nothing to complain about, we also point out that other slings performed a bit higher in most of our grading metrics. Its best attribute is indeed its low weight, which is surprising considering that it is wider than any of the other lightweight slings, giving credence to the "low bulk" moniker. If you want to buy a Dyneema sling that costs less than the rest, then this is your best bet, but on the other hand, if you are willing to shell out a mere $.50 more per sling, you can have our Editors' Choice winning Mammut Contact Sling.


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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Low price, light weight despite width, small bar tackLow weight, very thin, handles great, affordableVery light, low bulk, easy to manipulate, very small bar tackLight weight, low bulk, knots untie relatively easily, affordableCovered sewn bar tack, thin and light
Cons Abrasive edges, wide for the weightWeighted knots harder to untie than thicker slingsHigh price, harder than some to untie knotsNot as soft a handle as other top scorersExpensive, rubberized covering adds weight and feels weird sliding through hands
Bottom Line A solid sling at a fantastic priceThe 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 great sling that costs more than it seems like it should
Rating Categories Trango Low Bulk 11mm Sling Mammut Contact Dyneema Petzl Pur'Anneau Sling Black Diamond Dynex Runner Sterling Dyneema 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
8
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
9
Weight (15%)
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
8
Bulk (15%)
10
0
7
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
8
Specs Trango Low Bulk... Mammut Contact... Petzl Pur'Anneau... Black Diamond... Sterling Dyneema...
Type of Fiber Dyneema Dyneema High-Modulus Polyethalene Dynex Dyneema
Measured weight 20g 19g 19g 20g 22g
Width Tested 11mm 8mm 10mm 10mm 10mm
Length Tested 60cm 60cm 60cm 60cm 60cm
Strength 22Kn 22Kn 22Kn 22Kn 22Kn
Widths Available 11mm 8mm 10mm 10mm 10mm; 12mm
Lengths Available 30cm; 60cm; 120cm 60cm; 120cm 60cm; 120cm; 180cm 30cm; 60cm; 120cm; 240cm 10"; 24"; 30"; 48"

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Trango Low Bulk 11 Sling used to be our Editors' Choice winner of the best overall climbing sling in a previous year's review, but new testing criteria and a tougher selection of competition bumped it down slightly. We can certainly appreciate how low bulk it is, however, it is relatively wide for a Dyneema sling at 11mm, and this width creates some overlap problems when it comes to tripling it up for alpine quickdraws. We also feel like a comparable 11mm wide sling — the Camp USA 11mm Express Dyneema Sling — which is inarguably thicker and bulkier, also made it easier for knots that were tied and weighted to be easily untied. The thinness of the Trango sling seems to allow for a tighter welding of weighted knots, and therefore a slightly trickier time getting them loose again. Overall, this sling performs average compared to very good competition, and is a good choice if you are looking for an affordable Dyneema runner.

Performance Comparison


With the perfect rack all placed in order on his harness  including many double length runners to reduce rope drag  Kevin Piarulli gets set for a simul ascent of the classic four pitch Zebra-Zion at Smith Rock.
With the perfect rack all placed in order on his harness, including many double length runners to reduce rope drag, Kevin Piarulli gets set for a simul ascent of the classic four pitch Zebra-Zion at Smith Rock.

Handle


Made with Dyneema, this sling is soft and smooth when running the fingers over it. However, like the Black Diamond Dynex Runner, it has edges of Nylon, in this case orange in color, that taper to "sharper" edge, if it can be called that, which is slightly abrasive to run ones hands over. This complaint doesn't really affect the performance of the sling at all, but still, it is not as supple and soft as the Petzl Pur'Anneau, easily one of the best handling slings we tested. One thing we really like, however, is how small and short the bar tacking is, leading us to ask, "Why can't all sewn slings have bar tacking this small?"

Despite its 11mm width  this sling is very thin  living up to its low bulk name.
Despite its 11mm width, this sling is very thin, living up to its low bulk name.

Knot Test


While most of the slings in our test that are 11mm wide perform pretty much ideally in our knot untying tests, the Trango Sling is not quite as good. It is very supple and easy to tie into either a clove hitch or a figure-eight knot, but since it is so thin, it seems to more easily weld tighter together when weighted. This is the same effect that we found in the thin, but far wider Nylon slings, such as the Black Diamond Nylon Sewn Runner. Essentially, thinner slings allow for more friction when weighting knots between the different strands of the sling, making them harder to loosen quickly when you want to leave the belay. The Trango Sling is still one of the better performers, comparable to the Sterling Dyneema Sling, but not at the top of the rankings.

11mm seems to be the sweet spot for sling width that enables knots to be tied the easiest and also easily untied. This sling is no exception  and this clove hitch was no problem to untie after weighting.
11mm seems to be the sweet spot for sling width that enables knots to be tied the easiest and also easily untied. This sling is no exception, and this clove hitch was no problem to untie after weighting.

Because it is so thin  it is also more supple than the other slings that are 11mm wide  and had the propensity to tighten up more when weighted in a figure eight knot.
Because it is so thin, it is also more supple than the other slings that are 11mm wide, and had the propensity to tighten up more when weighted in a figure eight knot.

Alpine Quickdraw Test


This sling has a relatively small sewn bar tack compared to the competition, which makes it a high performer in our Alpine Quickdraw Test. When tripling up a sling and then pulling the ends tight, you want a small, low-profile bar tack that slides easily over the carabiner for greater ease of equalization. The Low Bulk 11 Sling does this pretty well, but is sometimes held up a little bit by the width of the sling in the crotch of the biner, forcing some overlap that can pinch one part of the sling beneath another, thereby inhibiting equalization. While it isn't the best at this metric, it is pretty good, in line with the performance of the BD Dynex Sewn Runner.

This is what happens when the bar tack just happens to fall over the edge of the biner after you have pulled alpine quickdraws tight to equalize them -- they simply don't equalize. This happens to all slings at times  but rarely in most cases.
This is what happens when the bar tack just happens to fall over the edge of the biner after you have pulled alpine quickdraws tight to equalize them -- they simply don't equalize. This happens to all slings at times, but rarely in most cases.

Weight


We tested the 60cm version of this sling and on our independent scale it weighed a mere 20g, only 1g heavier than the very lightest slings — the Mammut Contact Sling and the Petzl Pur'Anneau Sling. This is an impressive feat considering it is 3mm wider than the Mammut, and so should be considerably heavier. If light weight is one of the most important factors to you, this is a sling that should be on your list.

The low bulk sling weighs a mere 20g  far lighter than any other 11mm wide sling  and only 1g heavier than the lightest slings in the review.
The low bulk sling weighs a mere 20g, far lighter than any other 11mm wide sling, and only 1g heavier than the lightest slings in the review.

Bulk


While the name of this sling is "Low Bulk," and the low weight certainly backs up this moniker by suggesting there is not a lot of material used compared to the competition, the fact remains that it is 11mm wide, not exactly narrow by the standards set by the competitors. However, compared to the other 11mm wide slings, it is certainly far thinner, and we graded it higher accordingly.

Showing the bulk of the three 11mm wide slings in the middle  compared to the widest and thinnest slings in the review. Blue and white Camp USA 11mm  green and white Metolius Open Loop  and orange and white Trango Low Bulk. On the top for comparison is the Sterling Nylon (17mm) and on the bottom is the Mammut Contact (8mm).
Showing the bulk of the three 11mm wide slings in the middle, compared to the widest and thinnest slings in the review. Blue and white Camp USA 11mm, green and white Metolius Open Loop, and orange and white Trango Low Bulk. On the top for comparison is the Sterling Nylon (17mm) and on the bottom is the Mammut Contact (8mm).

Best Applications


The Trango Low Bulk 11 Sling is best used for lead climbing in order to extend a piece of protection to allow for less rope drag on the leader. It works pretty well for equalizing anchors, although longer options are limited to only 120cm, enough for equalizing two pieces.

One of the many wandering mellow pitches on the Resolution Arete  Red Rocks  probably pitch 17 or so  where slings are essential to reduce rope drag on the leader.
One of the many wandering mellow pitches on the Resolution Arete, Red Rocks, probably pitch 17 or so, where slings are essential to reduce rope drag on the leader.

Value


This sling retails for a mere $8.50, making it the second least expensive Dyneema option. For those who want the best value they can get, we suggest looking to the Black Diamond Nylon Sewn Runner, but not everyone will want to purchase heavier and bulkier Nylon simply to save a few bucks. As a solid performer at a good price, we think this sling is an excellent value.

Approaching the Eagle Wall in Red Rocks involves scrambling for many hundreds of feet up low angle slabs. We chose to simply leave our packs in the gully  carrying many slings in alpine quickdraw fashion on the harness was really easy.
Approaching the Eagle Wall in Red Rocks involves scrambling for many hundreds of feet up low angle slabs. We chose to simply leave our packs in the gully, carrying many slings in alpine quickdraw fashion on the harness was really easy.

Conclusion


The Trango Low Bulk 11 Sling checks all of the boxes — low weight, affordable price, relatively easy to untie knots — that you would expect of a sling. While there are other options in this review that are cheaper, lighter, or even easier to untie once a knot has been welded into it, this sling strikes an appropriate balance that is hard to beat, and is certainly a product that we wholeheartedly recommend.


Andy Wellman