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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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Trango Phase is a lightweight quickdraw that is very similar to the other lightweight options. Unfortunately, we found it to be among the lowest performing of any of these options, and it is not the most affordable of either. 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 other smallest draws, 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. 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.
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 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 to facilitate the easiest and safest grabbing.
These draws are not the lowest price at retail, regardless of which length sling you order. While they aren't super expensive compared to the highest-priced items we reviewed, they are way more expensive than 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