The Trango Phase Quickdraw is a lightweight, minimalist draw with small double wiregate carabiners and an affordable price tag. At 2.4 ounces, they are very nearly the lightest draw in this review, only 0.1 ounces heavier than our Top Pick for Alpine Climbing, the Black Diamond Oz. With the exception of the lightweight, we found little to love about this draw compared to others we tested. The carabiners used are tiny to begin with, but also have the smallest gate clearance (19mm) of any in this review, a reality that hit home countless times as we fumbled to get the rope clipped without also getting our fingers stuck. For beginners or those on a budget, the CAMP USA Orbit Express KS are both more affordable and far higher performing, with full-sized carabiners. For those who want the lightest draws possible, stick to the aforementioned BD Oz.
Trango Phase Quickdraw Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Very light, low price, two length choices
Cons: Small carabiners, smallest gate opening, easily twisted sling
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Trango Phase Quickdraw
|Price||$11.96 at Backcountry|
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|Pros||Very light, low price, two length choices||Snappy clipping action, wide sling is easy to grab, light for a sport quickdraw||Easy to clip, deep basket, cool "hood wire" around the notch for snag-free unclipping||Great clipping, wide sling for easy grabbing, keylocking gates don't snag||Easy to clip, durable construction, large size works well with gloves|
|Cons||Small carabiners, smallest gate opening, easily twisted sling||Expensive, still a little heavy for trad climbing||Heavy, expensive||Heavy, expensive||Heavy, dogbone is on the thin side and not easy to grab|
|Bottom Line||A compelling lightweight option, but there are better ones for less money||The best overall draw for sport specific climbers.||A great quickdraw for sport climbers who prefer wiregates on the clipping end but don't want it to snag on anything.||A fantastic option for sport climbing.||A great all-around draw for those with large hands or who wear gloves.|
|Rating Categories||Trango Phase Quickdraw||Petzl Spirit Express||LiveWire||DMM Alpha Sport Quickdraw||Petzl Djinn Axess|
|Ease Of Clipping (25%)|
|Ease Of Unclipping (25%)|
|Ease Of Handling (15%)|
|Ease Of Grabbing (15%)|
|Specs||Trango Phase...||Petzl Spirit Express||LiveWire||DMM Alpha Sport...||Petzl Djinn Axess|
|Weight (ounces)||2.4 oz||3.2 oz||4 oz||3.9 oz||4 oz|
|Gate opening bottom carabiner (mm)||19 mm||25 mm||24 mm||25 mm||27 mm|
|Width of sling (mm)||11mm||25 mm||27 mm||25 mm||16 mm|
|Manufacturer Warranty||Case by case||3 year||1 year||1 year||3 year|
|Non-snagging Top Biner||no||yes||yes||yes||yes|
|Non-snagging Bottom Biner||no||yes||yes||yes||yes|
|Unique features||Straight wiregate on top and bent wiregate on bottom||Sling is wider at the bottom to facilitate grabbing, stiff sling||Large and ergonomic carabiners good for larger hands, hood over bottom wiregate to prevent snags||Dual keylock carabiners, wide sling||Large carabiners good for big hands or gloves, easy to clip|
|Available sling lengths||12 cm, 18 cm||12 cm, 17 cm||12 cm||12 cm, 18 cm, 25 cm||12 cm, 17 cm|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Trango Phase is a lightweight quickdraw that can most easily be compared to the MadRock Ultra Light Wire Draw, the Cypher Firefly II Quickdraw, and the Black Diamond Oz. Unfortunately, we found it to be the lowest performing of any of these options, and it is not the most affordable of either. The Oz have wire hoods that protect the notches in the nose from hanging up on bolt hangers, and also have a wider gate clearance. The Firefly II are far more affordable and virtually the same weight, and also have larger carabiners that make them easier to clip. The MadRock Ultra Light Wires have a drastically larger gate opening, and are also more affordable. Whether you are searching for a lightweight alpine draw, or an affordable starter set, there are better options available, so these wouldn't be our first recommendation.
Ease of Clipping
This quickdraw is possibly the most difficult to clip of any that we tested. It not only features the smallest carabiners in this review, it also has the smallest gate clearance, at a mere 19mm. Similar to our testing of the Edelrid Bulletproof Quickdraw, which has a 20mm gate clearance, our fingers often got stuck in the biner when we clipped the rope through. This is particularly an issue when using the shovel method to clip the rope in. While weight savings is to be lauded, there is an actual limit to how small carabiners can be and still be practically functional, and the Phase, unfortunately, crosses this line.
Ease of Unclipping
Like all wiregate carabiners, those on the Phase suffer from the fact that there is a pronounced notch in the nose which can get hooked on bolt hangers, stopper cables, or even the rope. This fact alone bumps the ease of unclipping, particularly when cleaning a sport route, down quite a bit. This problem is resolved on the Black Diamond LiveWire Quickdraws by including a "hood" made of a small length of wire that covers this notch, but is not commonly addressed on lower priced draws such as this one. The minimal amount of gate clearance, effectively describing the maximum gap the gate can open, also makes it quite hard to get the rope out if you are cleaning these quickdraws while top-roping. Compared to the competition, there is nothing "easy" about unclipping with these draws.
You can buy these draws with two different length dogbones — 12cm and 18cm. We tested the shorter 12cm version and found that it weighed a mere 2.4 ounces, very nearly the lightest in our review. It is also easily among the least bulky, featuring a super-thin 11mm wide sling. If portability is a top concern, then these draws should be on your radar, but we warn that in this case they also come with a performance drawback.
Ease of Handling
As we have already mentioned, the extremely small carabiners make this a problematic draw to work with. Despite that, it has a sewn-in keeper that does an effective job of keeping the lower carabiner oriented correctly every time, although if this rubberized keeper breaks, it is not replaceable. While all quickdraws leave the top carabiner free-floating to be able to move around while attached to a bolt without coming unclipped on accident, the unsewn loop on these dogbones feels too long. In particular, we noticed that the draw is easily able to twist, presenting the leader with a potential back-clipping scenario should she fall, even when she is not back-clipped. Having a much smaller loop on the top end of the dogbone would prevent this, while still allowing for optimal movement. We found that draws with large carabiners, such as the Petzl Djinn Axess also tend to handle the best.
Ease of Grabbing
Once again, the diminutive stature of this draw makes it harder to use than its competition. The very thin 11mm wide sling is tougher to grab than slings bigger than it, and nearly every sling is bigger than it. For sport climbing, we prefer fat dogbones like those found on the DMM Alpha Sport to facilitate the easiest and safest grabbing.
These draws are best suited to long multi-pitch routes or alpine climbing where low weight and small packed size are desirable. However, the small carabiners mean they will be hard to manipulate with gloves on, and we feel there are better options for these purposes available.
These draws retail for $16, regardless of which length sling you order. While this isn't super expensive compared to the highest-priced items we reviewed, it is way more expensive than the $11.45 price tag of the Cypher Firefly II, a very comparable draw that performs better.
The Trango Phase Quickdraws are compelling due to their super lightweight, but in truth, they are one of the hardest quickdraws to use that we have tested, and are thus not worthy of our recommendation.
— Andy Wellman