Trango Low Bulk 11mm Sling Review
Cons: Abrasive edges, wide for the weight
Compare to Similar Products
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.
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?"
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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