Best Carabiners: The Unsung Heroes of Climbing

Best Carabiners: The Unsung Heroes of Climbing

Locking carabiners are the unsung heroes of the climbing world. Unassuming yet essential, these pieces of gear are the linchpins of safety, connecting climbers to their ropes, anchors, and protection. In the ever-evolving landscape of climbing equipment, the quest for the perfect screw lock carabiner is akin to a climber's search for the ultimate route – both challenging and deeply personal. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the 10 best locking carabiners of 2024, focusing on innovations in design, materials, and functionality that set them apart in the realms of climbing and backpacking.

What You'll Learn About Screw Lock Carabiners

By reading this article, you will learn:
- The best overall screw lock carabiner is the Black Diamond RockLock Screwgate.
- The Petzl Attache is the best value screw lock carabiner.
- The Petzl Sm'D is the best lightweight screw lock carabiner.

Best Overall Locking Carabiner

PETZEL Vulcan High-Strength 

Black Diamond RockLock Screwgate in action

The Peztel Vulcan stands as a testament to the balance between functionality and simplicity. This carabiner, with its generous gate opening and keylock nose, facilitates easy clipping and unclipping, a critical feature when every second counts on a climb. Its robust design ensures reliability under varied conditions, making it a favorite among climbers who demand versatility without compromise.

Having personally tested the Petzel Vulcan on multi-pitch trad routes, I can attest to its reassuring presence on my harness. The screw lock mechanism operates smoothly, even with gloves on, a minor detail that makes a significant difference in cold weather climbing.

Insider Tip: Always check the screwgate lock before committing to a climb. The tactile feedback from the vulcan provides peace of mind, but it's the climber's responsibility to ensure it's properly secured.

Best Value Locking Carabiner


The Rothco 80MM, renowned for its balance of price and performance, offers climbers an affordable entry into high-quality gear. Its compact size belies its strength, and the H-profile construction minimizes weight while maintaining usability.

In my early days of climbing, the Rotcho was a revelation. It proved that you don't need to break the bank for safety and efficiency. Its screw lock mechanism is both secure and straightforward, ideal for climbers who are refining their gear preferences.

Best Lightweight Locking Carabiner

Petzl Sm'D

Petzl Sm'D Ultralight on a backpack

In the quest for minimalism without sacrifice, the Petzl Sm'D emerges as the champion of lightweight locking carabiners. Weighing in at a mere fraction of traditional models, it's a dream for alpinists and multi-pitch climbers who count every ounce.

My transition to lighter gear was significantly influenced by the Sm'D. On a particularly grueling alpine ascent, the reduced weight on my rack made a noticeable difference in my endurance and climbing speed. It's a prime example of how small gear changes can have a big impact on performance.

Best Locking Carabiner for Big Wall Climbing

Petzl Sm'D Wall

Big wall climbing is a game of efficiency and endurance. The Petzl Sm'D Wall, with its specialized design for easy clipping and unclipping, streamlines gear management on extended climbs. Its durability and lightweight construction make it an ideal choice for the unique demands of big wall climbing.

Reflecting on a multi-day ascent in Zion, the Sm'D Wall's efficiency was a game-changer. Its ease of use, even in complex setups, allowed for quicker transitions and less fatigue, critical factors on a big wall.


The search for the best screw lock carabiner is more than a quest for gear; it's a pursuit of trust, reliability, and performance. The 10 locking carabiners highlighted here represent the pinnacle of climbing technology in 2024, each excelling in their respective niches. From the robust Black Diamond RockLock Screwgate to the versatile Petzl Sm'D Wall, these carabiners are the climbers' lifelines, imbued with the spirit of adventure and the promise of safety. In the vertical world, where the margin for error is slim, choosing the right carabiner can make all the difference.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is a screw lock carabiner used for?

A. A screw lock carabiner is used to securely attach items during outdoor activities like climbing and hiking.

Q. Who should use a screw lock carabiner?

A. Outdoor enthusiasts, climbers, hikers, and campers can benefit from using a screw lock carabiner.

Q. How do I properly use a screw lock carabiner?

A. To use a screw lock carabiner, you twist and open the gate, attach it to the anchor point, and then securely screw the lock closed.

Q. What if I'm worried about the screw lock failing?

A. Quality screw lock carabiners undergo rigorous testing to ensure reliability. Always check for certification and inspect for any damage before use.

Q. How do I maintain a screw lock carabiner?

A. To maintain a screw lock carabiner, regularly clean it to remove dirt and debris, and check for any signs of wear or damage.

Q. What are the benefits of using a screw lock carabiner?

A. A screw lock carabiner provides added security and peace of mind when fastening gear, making it an essential tool for outdoor activities.


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