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Trango Phase Quickdraw Review

A compelling lightweight option, but there are better ones for less money
Trango Phase Quickdraw
Photo: REI Co-op
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Price:  $17 List | $16.10 at Amazon
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Very light, low price, two length choices
Cons:  Small carabiners, smallest gate opening, easily twisted sling
Manufacturer:   Trango
By Andy Wellman ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Jul 10, 2019
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54
OVERALL
SCORE


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

Our Verdict

The Trango Phase Quickdraw is a lightweight, minimalist draw with small double wiregate carabiners. At 2.4 ounces, they are very nearly the lightest draw in this review. With the exception of the light weight, 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, there are both more affordable and far higher-performing options available, that also have full-sized carabiners. These draws are best suited to long multi-pitch routes or alpine climbing where low weight and small packed size are desirable. However, beware that the small carabiners mean they will be hard to manipulate with gloves on.

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Overall Score Sort Icon
54
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68
Star Rating
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Pros Very light, low price, two length choicesSnappy clipping action, wide sling is easy to grab, light for a sport quickdrawGreat clipping, wide sling for easy grabbing, keylocking gates don't snagEasy to clip, durable construction, large size works well with glovesVisually pleasing, affordable, easy to unclip keylocking top biner
Cons Small carabiners, smallest gate opening, easily twisted slingExpensive, still a little heavy for trad climbingHeavy, expensiveHeavy, dogbone is on the thin side and not easy to grabTight gate springs require slightly more effort than others to clip, 18mm sling adequate but not perfect for grabbing
Bottom Line A quickdraw with frustratingly small carabiners that make it hard to clip and unclipOur favorite option for sport climbingGreat sport climbing draw but on the heavy sideLarge carabiners work well with gloves onBest Bang for the Buck winner due to its solid performance at a relatively low price
Rating Categories Trango Phase Quickdraw Petzl Spirit Express DMM Alpha Sport Quickdraw Petzl Djinn Axess Black Diamond HotForge Hybrid
Ease Of Clipping (25%)
5
10
10
9
7
Ease Of Unclipping (25%)
4
8
8
9
7
Portability (20%)
9
6
4
4
5
Handling (15%)
5
9
9
8
8
Ease Of Grabbing (15%)
4
9
9
6
7
Specs Trango Phase... Petzl Spirit Express DMM Alpha Sport... Petzl Djinn Axess Black Diamond...
Weight (ounces) 2.4 oz 3.2 oz 3.9 oz 4 oz 3.5 oz
Gate opening bottom carabiner (mm) 19 mm 25 mm 25 mm 27 mm 27 mm
Width of sling (mm) 11mm 25 mm 25 mm 16 mm 18 mm
Sling Material Nylon Nylon Nylon Polyester Polyester
Manufacturer Warranty Case by case 3 year 1 year 3 year 1 year
Non-Snagging Top Biner No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Non-Snagging Bottom Biner No Yes Yes Yes No
Forging method Not disclosed Cold Hot Cold Hot
Unique features Straight wiregate on top and bent wiregate on bottom Sling is wider at the bottom to facilitate grabbing, stiff sling Dual keylock carabiners, wide sling Large carabiners good for big hands or gloves, easy to clip Visual patterning designed to easily catch the eye while climbing
Available sling lengths 12 cm, 18 cm 12 cm, 17 cm 12 cm, 18 cm, 25 cm 12 cm, 17 cm 12 cm, 16 cm

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.

Performance Comparison


The Trango Phase is a very light and compact quickdraw that is...
The Trango Phase is a very light and compact quickdraw that is relatively inexpensive, but is best used for trad climbing, and is not one we would recommend on sport routes, like this one.

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.

Alon making a tough clip in the crux of Blue Light Special at Smith...
Alon making a tough clip in the crux of Blue Light Special at Smith Rock. The Phase are a difficult draw to clip because the carabiners are so small, and the gate clearance opening is also very tiny.

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.

Like most wiregates, the notch in the nose of this carabiner likes...
Like most wiregates, the notch in the nose of this carabiner likes to get hung up, especially on bolt hangers, making them slightly more challenging to clean while being lowered. Importantly, this notch is recessed, however, minimizing this effect compared to some of the competition.

Unclipping the Phase from a draw and the rope, especially while...
Unclipping the Phase from a draw and the rope, especially while seconding, is a real challenge due to how small the carabiners are.

Portability


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.

The Trango Phase weighs in at 2.4 ounces, which is very nearly the...
The Trango Phase weighs in at 2.4 ounces, which is very nearly the lightest weight of any draw that we tested, making it a good choice for traditional climbing or routes a long distance from the trailhead.

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 tend to handle the best.

You can see the rubberized black "keeper" that holds the bottom...
You can see the rubberized black "keeper" that holds the bottom carabiner correctly in place and is sewn into the grey sling. This feature is both low profile and seems to work quite well.

This draw had the propensity to flip over like this just below the...
This draw had the propensity to flip over like this just below the upper carabiner, which happened to our testers many times. Why this matters is if you clip the rope in correctly, but then it twists over, it could create a backclipping situation when(if) you fall, making it easier for the rope to unclip itself by accident. A shorter upper loop would have solved this issue.

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.

The sling on this draw is an 11mm low bulk sling, and is not exactly...
The sling on this draw is an 11mm low bulk sling, and is not exactly easy or comfortable to grab in a pinch. This feature alone makes these draws a better candidate for traditional climbing rather than sport climbing.

Value


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.

Alon working hard to get the Phase clipped from the ground with his...
Alon working hard to get the Phase clipped from the ground with his stick clip. Its lack of clip-ability is one of the reasons we don't really recommend this draw for sport climbing.

Conclusion


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.

Clipping the rope into the Trango Phase while leading a sport bolted...
Clipping the rope into the Trango Phase while leading a sport bolted route at Smith Rock. The Phase are an economical choice, but one of the lowest scorers in our testing, and not one we enjoyed for sport climbing too much.

Andy Wellman