A Karabiner is a metal hoop which has an opening on one side.  The opening has a metal bar, known as a “gate” which is sprung loaded so that it remains closed, until a small force is placed on it.  There are various types of karabiner including wire gate ones for quick clipping and locking karabiners, which have a metal sleeve which usually screws down over the opening.  This provides security against the gate opening accidentally.

A wiregate karabiner.

Karabiners are known by many different names, the most common of which are Carabiners, Biners and Krabs.  They come in many different shapes and sizes, not to mention weights, strengths and colours.

A locking karabiner.

When buying a karabiner, it’s important to know what you’re going to use it for.  There are so many different types of karabiner on the market these days.  Some are extra light, some are extra strong, some come with a plastic clip which helps when belaying and some which have a small roller built in to help reduce rope friction.  Before you buy your first karabiner, it’s worth having a chat with the shop regarding your requirements.  This way you can ensure that the karabiner will be the safest and best product for you.

A locking karabiner with a clip, specifically for belaying.