Carabiners are a great place to save some weight on your rack: relatively inexpensive but with the potential for a massive weight savings.
When I started ice climbing, my draws were composed of older Black Diamond Positrons at 50 grams per ‘biner. Twelve draws at 100-grams each adds up to an astounding 1.2 kilograms of weight on your harness!
I quickly decided I needed lighter ‘biners, and bought a dozen Wild Country Astros – at 29 grams apiece, this move saved 504 grams in total, or for those of you metrically-challenged, just over a pound.
Stoked with the weight savings, I was happy to overlook the one drawback of the Astro: its relatively small size. Though it is not as tiny as some of the newer ‘biners – the Metolius FS Mini and Petzl Ange S come to mind – it can be hard to handle, especially with larger gloves.
I considered my options and decided I didn’t want to go bigger at the expense of added weight – I’d gotten used to my lightweight Astros! So to save even more weight, while remaining at the same ‘biner size, I considered changing over to DMM Phantoms, taking another 72 grams off my harness.
But then I saw an ad for the “World’s Lightest Full-Size Biner,” the Camp Photon Wire at 29grams. Intrigued, I ordered a few.
Turns out the Photon is a full-size, full-strength ‘biner that weighs a scant 29 grams. So while I’m not saving any more weight, I have finally found a carabiner that is easy to use with gloves and still weighs around 60 grams for a draw duo: just add in your favourite sling or dogbone for an easy-to-handle, light, setup.
The Photon has a slender nose and a deep basket, with a slightly bent wire gate that offers excellent feel and a massive gate-opening that makes them hassle-free in use. They feel like a very high quality item, but without the massive price-tag sometimes associated with higher-end climbing gear.
To add the icing on top of the cake, the Photon comes in a screwlock version, weighing a ridiculous 43 grams! This is barely one gram more than the DMM Phantom screwlock, and miles ahead of any other locking carabiner in a similar size.
And as if that weren’t enough, the Photons also come in multiple colours for your cam-coordinating pleasure: black, silver, blue, purple, green, red, orange & yellow. Yep, that’s 8 colours!
Needless to say, the Camp Photons are now a mainstay of my ice, mixed and alpine racks, with a couple of the lockers thrown in for good measure.
Pros: regular-biner size at small-biner weight, comes in a screwlock version, comes in 8 colours
Cons: nothing I can think of
Overall: Brilliant! I love these. They handle beautifully and seem to weigh nothing at all!