Edelrid has been coming up with many new products in the last couple of years that attempt to solve real problems with our climbing gear. When it comes to quickdraws, one of the main issues people encounter is premature wear of the bottom carabiner from the friction of the rope running over it. Most climbing carabiners are made from aluminum to save on weight; however, since it is a softer metal than steel, it will wear away faster. Edelrid figured out a way to merge the best of both worlds by putting a steel insert in the bottom of an aluminum carabiner, and the Bulletproof quickdraw was born. This innovative design feature also comes with a few drawbacks but is more than worthy of a Top Pick award for Durability. Due to their weight, the Edelrid Bulletproof is best for sport climbing applications, and adding just one to three of them to your rack for first bolts and top-rope anchors could drastically improve the life of your entire draw selection.
Edelrid Bulletproof Quickdraw Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Steel insert offers more durability for high-wear use, wide sling
Cons: Heavy, expensive, narrow gate opening
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Edelrid Bulletproof Quickdraw weighs 4.1 ounces. It has a 22mm wide sling that comes in 12 and 18 cm lengths. Note that only the bottom carabiner has the stainless steel insert — the upper one is a standard carabiner, and both have keylocking gates. It's true that the top carabiners will see some wear from the bolts, particularly if you hang on your climbs a lot. However, those small gouges rarely amount to much, and we've never had to retire our quickdraws because the top carabiner was worn out — it's always the bottom one that goes first.
Are we going to rush out and buy 12 of these and never have to buy a quickdraw again? Probably not. They're heavy, and they're very expensive, two big minuses for most climbers. But, they are an excellent option for specific times when you want a durable carabiner like on the first bolt of a climb you're working (which sees more wear due to drastically increased friction), and as top-rope anchors. For this reason, we've given it our Top Pick for Durability award, since it provides something no other aluminum draw on the market does.
Ease of Clipping
The carabiners on this model are slightly on the small side (likely to reduce the overall weight so that they are still functional even with the steel insert). That makes both clipping and unclipping them slightly more challenging than with the larger carabiners found on the majority of sport specific draws.
Our testers with smaller hands or who clip with their thumb and forefinger didn't mind the slightly smaller size, and we all liked the snappy gate action. That said, it has the second smallest gate opening in this review (only 20mm), which in certain circumstances certainly makes clipping more difficult, and also makes unclipping a bit more challenging as well(see below).
Ease of Unclipping
The carabiners on this quickdraw gave us mixed results for this category. They are both keylocking solid gates, which is nice, but the small gate opening gave us less room for removing it from the bolt, not to mention sliding the rope out while top-roping. We had to be really precise with our unclipping movement, which isn't always easy to do when you're tramming in on a steep sport route and trying to clean your route quickly and efficiently. As a result, we awarded it the "lowest" unclipping score for a keylocking carabiner, but it was still better than most of the wiregates with their unprotected notches.
We're not sure why Edelrid designed the Bulletproof with such a comparatively small gate opening, as they seemed to have nailed everything else right on this carabiner. Perhaps they had to keep the dimensions a little smaller on this one to keep the overall weight within reason.
At 4.2 ounces per draw, this is the heaviest draw in our review, and it received the lowest score for this metric. In fact, if it wasn't so heavy, it would have scored much higher overall, so keep that in mind when looking at the total score for this product.
While it's impressive that Edelrid managed to include steel in this carabiner (which is typically 2.5 times denser than aluminum) and still keep the overall weight of the quickdraw close to other sport-specific models, it's still heavy. Some climbers who aren't afraid of a few extra ounces won't hesitate to use these on their entire rack if they're looking for the most durable quickdraw out there. We'd instead carry three on our harness: two for the top of a route that we planned to top rope a bunch, and one for the first bolt on something we know were are going to hang on a bunch. (The first quickdraw will typically receive a lot more wear than others in that scenario.)
Overall we felt that this quickdraw handled well and it received a good score for this metric. Our testers with smaller hands liked it slightly better than our bigger mitted-fellas, hence the slightly lower score than the other bigger options.
The Bulletproof has external rubber positioners to keep the bottom carabiner in its proper position. We tend to prefer this method, as it's replaceable should the rubber tear. It also protects the sling in that spot, which can see some wear if left on a route to blow around in the wind. Are you going to leave the Bulletproofs up on your project? Probably not, unless it's a secret crag. The exterior positioners are a little bulky though, so if you prefer something more streamlined, look to Black Diamond's lineup of draws, which all have interior "Straightjacket" keepers.
Ease of Grabbing
The sling on this quickdraw is 22mm wide, making it one of the better options for grabbing. It's still a bit thinner than the comparably priced high end draws, but it does have some shaping to it, which we liked.
Edelrid could have easily paired this with a thinner dogbone to keep the weight down, but we appreciated the wider sling in those moments when we did go to grab it. The sewn-in material with the logo and specs on it was a bit annoying. We understand that companies need to mark their products, but don't appreciate it when it interferes with performance.
This quickdraw retails for one of the highest amounts in this review. If it lasts even twice as long as a standard quickdraw, though, that would still make it an exceptional value. While we can't really tell what the longevity of this draw will be from our testing period, our personal experience with steel carabiners vs. aluminum makes us very excited about the Bulletproof. This might be the first quickdraw we've ever owned where the sling wears out before the carabiners.
We were really excited to check out the Edelrid Bulletproof quickdraw, and it didn't disappoint. While not our favorite overall draw, we think it's a great compliment to any rack, and we plan on keeping a couple of these around for extreme top-roping sessions or the first bolt on our proj. We've given it our Top Pick for Durability award for the extra longevity that the stainless steel insert is sure to impart, and we'll keep using it to test its lifespan compared to an all-aluminum draw.
— Cam McKenzie Ring