Straight gate carabiners are also found in sports like backpacking or kayaking, where the carabiner is relied upon for simpler duties, like hooking into a dock line or attaching a sled or tool to your pack. The straight gate style of carabiner can be seen as a semi-happy medium between the heavy duty wire gate carabiner and the wire carabiners that frequent keychains and outdoor shows.
The Bent Gate Carabiner
Like a straight gate carabiner, bent gates are exactly what they sound like: carabiners with a gate that’s slightly curved. While not as frequently seen in the outdoors, these carabiners are primarily used by climbers, as the bent gate carabiners receive rope much more easily than the straight gates. The curve in the gate allows for extremely quick hook-ins, which can be vital as climbers make their way up the wall.
The Twin Gate Carabiner
A relatively recent invention, the bent gate carabiner is an interesting medium between locking carabiners and straight gaters with no lock. These carabiners have two gates that open on opposite ends, creating a sort of lock that requires special pressure to open. While not widely used, they are effective in situations that call for a bit of extra safety; some climbers or outdoor enthusiasts actually prefer them to traditional straight or bent gate carabiners.
While not necessarily a “type” in itself, the locking carabiner is the carabiner most widely used in outdoor sports, climbing in particular. These carabiners have a gate that’s reinforced by a locking mechanism, which secures the carabiner in its closed position and ensures absolute safety.
Since it requires a double motion to open, these carabiners are ideal for setting up climbing gear and securing kayaks or boats to way-points without the fear of an accidental release. That said, for quick transfer mid-climb, these carabiners are not as quick to open as a straight or bent gate with no lock.
Types of Locks:
Locking carabiners often come in three different varieties.
Screw lock: In screw lock carabiners, a metal cylinder must be screwed up to cover the nose once it’s in place or down to allow the carabiner to open.
Twist lock: These auto-locking carabiners have a spring-loaded cylinder that allows the carabiner to open when it is twisted into a certain position. As soon as the carabiner closes, the cylinder springs back into position to lock the carabiner into place.
Magnetic lock: The least commonly used of the locking carabiners, these have magnets on each side of the nose to keep the carabiner locked when it’s closed. It can only be opened when pressed on both sides, which releases the magnets from the gate.
Buying your first carabiners as a new climber can be deceptively complicated. There are dozens of types of carabiners out there, each with slight differences in shape, size, and weight. These factors make them well-suited to certain uses and a poor fit for others. Here’s what you need to know to choose the right ones.