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Mad Rock UltraLight Quickdraw Review

A lightweight, budget-friendly option for trad climbing
Mad Rock UltraLight Quickdraw
Photo: Mad Rock
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Price:  $18 List | Check Price at Backcountry
Pros:  Great value, lightweight
Cons:  Stiff gate action, skinny runner hard to grab when sport climbing
Manufacturer:   Mad Rock Climbing
By Cam McKenzie Ring ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 19, 2018
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61
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#11 of 14
  • Ease of Clipping - 25% 5
  • Ease of Unclipping - 25% 6
  • Portability - 20% 9
  • Handling - 15% 6
  • Ease of Grabbing - 15% 4

Our Verdict

The Mad Rock Ultra Light Wire is a pretty good value for a lightweight quickdraw. It comes at a fair retail price, which makes it a decent value. However, we found the clipping action to be on the stiff side, and the Ultra Light has exposed notches in the gates, which often catch on bolt hangers or other peices of equipment. 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. They are best used for trad or alpine climbing, and potentially also for onsight sport attempts where you want the lightest possible options on your harness. We wouldn't buy them if all we were going to do is sport climb, and would choose a sport specific draw instead.

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Pros Great value, lightweightSnappy clipping action, wide sling is easy to grab, light for a sport quickdrawVisually pleasing, affordable, easy to unclip keylocking top binerLighter than other sport draws, good price pointLightweight, inexpensive
Cons Stiff gate action, skinny runner hard to grab when sport climbingExpensive, still a little heavy for trad climbingTight gate springs require slightly more effort than others to clip, 18mm sling adequate but not perfect for grabbingWiregates can snag on gear, bottom positioner is bulkyNotch in wiregate can snag, thin sling is hard to grab
Bottom Line A lightweight, budget-friendly option for trad climbingThe best overall draw for sport specific climbersA cool looking and functional quickdraw at a moderate price pointAn inexpensive entry-level draw for all-around climbersAn inexpensive and lightweight quickdraw that's a good option for trad climbers or those on a budget
Rating Categories Mad Rock UltraLight... Petzl Spirit Express Black Diamond HotFo... Orbit Wire Express KS Cypher Firefly II
Ease Of Clipping (25%)
5.0
10.0
7.0
8.0
7.0
Ease Of Unclipping (25%)
6.0
8.0
7.0
5.0
5.0
Portability (20%)
9.0
6.0
5.0
7.0
8.0
Handling (15%)
6.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
Ease Of Grabbing (15%)
4.0
9.0
7.0
6.0
4.0
Specs Mad Rock UltraLight... Petzl Spirit Express Black Diamond HotFo... Orbit Wire Express KS Cypher Firefly II
Weight (ounces) 2.4 oz 3.2 oz 3.5 oz 3.1 oz 2.6 oz
Gate opening bottom carabiner (mm) 25 mm 25 mm 27 mm 27 mm 25 mm
Width of sling (mm) 10 mm 25 mm 18 mm 16 mm 10 mm
Sling Material Dyneema Nylon Polyester Polyester Dyneema
Manufacturer Warranty Limited lifetime warranty 3 year 1 year 3 year At Cypher's discretion
Non-Snagging Top Biner No Yes Yes No No
Non-Snagging Bottom Biner No Yes No No No
Forging method Hot Cold Hot Not disclosed Hot
Unique features Double bent wiregate biners Sling is wider at the bottom to facilitate grabbing, stiff sling Visual patterning designed to easily catch the eye while climbing Double wiregate carabiners Double wiregates with a rubber keeper on the lower biner
Available sling lengths 11 cm 12 cm, 17 cm 12 cm, 16 cm 11 cm, 18 cm 11 cm, 16 cm

Our Analysis and Test Results

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 featherweight 2.4 ounces.

Performance Comparison


Climbing and clipping on the Ultra Light Wires. The carabiners were...
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.
Photo: Cam McKenzie Ring

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 to get the rope into the bottom biner. The gate tension feels a little stiff, which could contribute to the problem.

Of all the models that we tested, this was one of the more...
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.
Photo: Cam McKenzie Ring

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 those lightweight options with even smaller carabiners were harder than these to unclip. If you hate snags, we recommend a keylocking quickdraw setup instead.

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

Portability


This draw is highly portable at 2.4 ounces. While one option is a hair lighter, 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.

Handling


The Ultra Lights are pretty standard when it comes 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 testers with large hands didn't always find them easy to operate.

Ease of Grabbing


This draw is not easy to grab. 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 other high end options have wide slings that are made for grabbing.

A thin sling like this one is so hard to grab! Better to just take...
A thin sling like this one is so hard to grab! Better to just take the whip...
Photo: Cam McKenzie Ring

Value


This draw certainly won't break the bank when considering the price, but at the same time we have to point out that there are other lightweight options that cost less with similar or even slightly better performance. For this reason we can't call them an especially great value, despite the relatively low price.

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

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