Keeping toy carabiners far away from climbing carabiners can prevent you or a friend from accidentally grabbing that non-weight bearing carabiner for a situation that requires certified climbing gear.
So what's the difference? Look for these three indicators to learn whether or not your carabiner is safe to use at the crag.
1. Locking Capability
Most single carabiners used for rock climbing have a locking system at the gate to prevent accidental openings. This safety feature either twists to lock or uses a spring-loaded auto-locking system to ensure the gate stays closed. (Note that the carabiners that are part of quickdraws do not have this feature.)
2. Strength Rating
All climbing carabiners include a strength rating, which is laser etched or forged onto the carabiner. This rating ensures that the carabiner is certified for climbing either by CE or the UIAA. Strength ratings are measured in Kilonewtons (kN) and are usually ranked much higher than necessary to ensure that the carabiner will not break when used correctly.
The strength rating should be shown on your carabiner in three different ways: one measuring major axis strength with the gate closed, one measuring major axis strength with the gate open, and one measuring minor axis strength. These measurements are shown with arrows and/or symbols.
If your carabiner does not include a strength-rating, do not use it for any climbing-related activities. Most carabiners that are not rated for climbing will have text stating this directly on the carabiner.
If you own carabiners that are not meant for climbing, it's good to get into the habit of storing them separately from your climbing gear. While using non-certified carabiners to hold your chalk bag or attach a water bottle to your pack can be tempting, swapping these out with certified carabiners will keep you safer on the rock.
Check out this video to see this tip in action. For more climbing and outdoor related tips and tricks, visit our YouTube channel.