Hands-on Gear Review

Mad Rock UltraLight Quickdraw Review

Price:  $14 List | $13.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Great value, lightweight
Cons:  Stiff gate action, skinny runner hard to grab when sport climbing
Bottom line:  A lightweight, budget-friendly option for trad climbing.
Editors' Rating:   
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Weight (ounces):  2.4
Gate opening bottom carabiner (mm):  25 mm
Width of sling (mm):  10 mm
Manufacturer:   Mad Rock Climbing

Our Verdict

The Mad Rock Ultra Light Wire is a pretty good value for a lightweight quickdraw. It retails for $14, which is $6 less than our Top Pick for Lightweight, the Black Diamond Oz Quickdraw. However, we found the clipping action to be on the stiff side, and the Ultra Light has exposed notches in the gates, which the Oz does not. If you need to buy a bunch of lightweight draws though and don't have an unlimited budget, these will get the job done without weighing you down.



RELATED REVIEW: The 13 Best Quickdraws for Climbing


Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Cam McKenzie Ring

Last Updated:
Friday
April 20, 2018

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The Mad Rock Ultra Light Wire quickdraw comes with two hot-forged carabiners (which helps cut out some material and keep it lighter), and there is a straight-gate wire carabiner on the top and a bent-gate wire carabiner on the bottom. The sling is only 10 mm wide and comes in only one length (5 inches). The whole thing weighs in at 2.4 ounces.

Performance Comparison


Climbing and clipping on the Ultra Light Wires. The carabiners were noticeably more difficult to clip than other models  but we appreciated the light weight and budget-friendly price.
Climbing and clipping on the Ultra Light Wires. The carabiners were noticeably more difficult to clip than other models, but we appreciated the light weight and budget-friendly price.

Ease of Clipping


We didn't find this quickdraw that easy to clip. Usually, it was splitting hairs when it came to scoring this metric, but watching our friends climb on these draws we noticed that everyone found it a little more challenging. The gate tension does feel a little stiff, which could contribute to the problem.

Of all the models that we tested  this was one of the more challenging ones for us to clip. A stiff gate and a slightly smaller carabiner no doubt contributed to our many missed clips with this draw.
Of all the models that we tested, this was one of the more challenging ones for us to clip. A stiff gate and a slightly smaller carabiner no doubt contributed to our many missed clips with this draw.

Ease of Unclipping


This draw wasn't that easy to unclip either. Like all of the wiregate carabiners in this review that have an unprotected notch, there's plenty of things that it can snag on, like the bolt, your rope, or other gear. Only the Wild Country Astro was more difficult, as those carabiners are even smaller than these. If you hate snags, look for a keylocking quickdraw, like the Black Diamond Positron.

The exposed notch and the shape of the carabiner made this one more likely than most to get hung up when unclipping.
The exposed notch and the shape of the carabiner made this one more likely than most to get hung up when unclipping.

Portability


This draw was highly portable at 2.4 ounces per. The Black Diamond Oz was lighter at 2.2 ounces, but we could barely tell the difference in hand. If you're heading up a long route or hiking in for miles to your objective, you'll appreciate a light draw like this one.

Ease of Handling


The Ultra Lights were pretty standard when it came to handling. Like other draws with wiregates on top, they occasionally cross-clipped on our harness, particularly when we were laden down with gear trad climbing. The carabiners are not too thick and rack well together, but they are a little on the small side and our big-dude testers didn't always find them easy to operate.

Ease of Grabbing


Easy to grab, this draw is not. Like all of the other 10 mm wide dogbones, there is no good way to grab it without also slotting a finger or two through the top carabiner — which you really shouldn't do! If you're gonna be yarding on your draws regularly, the Petzl Spirit Express or DMM Alpha Sport have wide slings that are made for grabbing.

A thin sling like this one is so hard to grab! Better to just take the whip...
A thin sling like this one is so hard to grab! Better to just take the whip...

Best Applications


The Ultra Light Wire if best used for trad or alpine climbing, and potentially also for onsight sport attempts where you want the lightest possible options on your harness.

While sport climbing was not our first choice for this draw  we did appreciate the lighter weight on harder climbs.
While sport climbing was not our first choice for this draw, we did appreciate the lighter weight on harder climbs.

Value


This draw retails for only $14, which is a great price for a hot-forged, lightweight option. There are some even cheaper draws out there, including the $11.50 Cypher Firefly II, our Best Buy for Lightweight, and Mad Rock's Concord draw, which is only $11, or $10 if you buy it in bulk! While we did prefer the Ultra Light over the Concord, the Firefly II was a great draw for the price and an even better value.

Conclusion


The Mad Rock Ultra Light Wire Draw does a great job of balancing price, weight, and functionality. It is not the lightest model out there, but it is pretty darn light. It is not the most functional either, but it gets the job done.

Cam McKenzie Ring

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Most recent review: April 20, 2018
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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 (3.0)
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