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I have the specs of a pretty interesting carabiner. It's made from titanium, it's lightweight and strong. These seem to be great attributes, but there are two caveats.

  1. It is pretty expensive ($50). Maybe that's typical of weight bearing carabiners; I can understand that people do not want to cheap out on a vital piece of gear like that.
  2. It does not explicitly say it is "weight bearing". It's made by some Japanese or Korean company, and they don't have US customer service.

The smart thing to do here is to not use it as a weight bearing carabiner; better safe than sorry. Nonetheless, I will still share the specs with the community here with the hopes of mapping out its ideal use case.

Product Specs

  • Material: Titanium (Grade 5)
  • Length: 2.24 in
  • Width: 1.5 in
  • Thickness: .24 in
  • Weight: 1.02 oz
  • Hardness: Nitriding heat-treatment

enter image description here

Question

This titanium carabiner really does seem to be built impeccably well, but I'm not sure why its product description omitted whether or not it's "weight bearing." Judging from the specs, should we simply infer that it is weight bearing? If not used for weight-bearing, what is the ideal use case for such a quality production carabiner? Is it simply vanity?

  • What do you want to use it for? – imsodin Jul 16 '18 at 7:43
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    If there is no weight bearing rating than why do you assume "it's strong"? To me it looks very weak. – Agent_L Jul 16 '18 at 9:52
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    Ideal use case? Decoration, I think. – Toby Speight Jul 16 '18 at 11:55
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    That's a 50$ bottle/accessory biner. Skip it. – Gabriel C. Jul 16 '18 at 13:03
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    Titanium grade 5 is the work horse titanium high strength alloy; aka - 6 Al + 4 V. It will be very high strength if properly heat-treated . 3 times stronger than any aluminum of the same dimensions. I don't know what the "nitride " heat -treatment means, possibly a surface hardening like carburizing a steel. – blacksmith37 Jul 16 '18 at 18:50
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The important specification is how strong it is and this information seems to be missing. This is included on all climbing rated carabiners for both proper loading (along the long axis) and when it is cross loaded across the gate.

You should never use a non-rated carabiner for a critical application. Most likely, there is a reason why it is not rated.

Elaborating on comments by Chris H, this carabiner looks like it has several problems for load bearing applications. Load bearing carabiners are typically shaped so that the rope will slide close to each end of the spine when the carabiner is loaded. This concentrates the force along the spine rather than on the weaker gate side of the carabiner. This is why "D" and "asymmetric D" shaped carabiners are often used for climbing. A related problem is that it appears that it would be easy for the rope to slide across the gate which would significantly reduce the strength of the carabiner.

Another issue is that the total width of the metal near the hole looks like it is less than on other parts of carabiner. This would create a weak point that would fail under high loads. Climb rated carabiners do not have holes like this.

This carabiner also seems to be much more expensive than any climb rated carabiner I have seen. You can buy a non-locking climbing carabiner with a wire gate like that for 6-7 dollars or so.

Given its price, there's no reason to use this carabiner over a proper climb rated carabiner. The important thing is that the carabiner is rated to bear the load required. Its cost is irrelevant to assessing its suitability for a particular application.

Climbing carabiners are also usually made from aluminium (or sometimes steel for anchor carabiners). Perhaps titanium would also be a suitable material but I have never heard of a climbing carabiner being made from it.

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    It doesn't really look designed to bear loads either. There's no real reason for stress concentrating cirners like that in a general purpose carabiner, and the extra hole looks decorative rather than load bearing (the thin wall on the outside edge). – Chris H Jul 16 '18 at 6:41
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    Every time I look at the picture I see another problem (too easy for a rope to end up against the wire gate). An overpriced keyring.. (+1, I lost signal before I could vote before) – Chris H Jul 16 '18 at 7:20
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    @ChrisH Another good point. I have added some of the points in your comments to my answer. Feel free to edit if you think of more problems. – Qudit Jul 16 '18 at 7:36
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    @VladimirF The linked biner is just named "Titan", there's no reason why it shouldn't be "normal" aluminum and from the looks of it, it clearly is aluminum. Also titanium is about three times as expensive, so I doubt you'd get a titanium biner for 7 bucks. – imsodin Jul 16 '18 at 11:19
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    @imsodin I meant these ones smhc.co.uk/objects_item.asp?item_id=32993 . The say they don't know if they are titanium as well (as definitely are the ice screws) but they are in fact. We had a few of them too. Titanium is actually much heavier than aluminium so no wonder they feel heavy to them. I am not sure about their reliability,the ice screws did break from time to time. – Vladimir F Jul 17 '18 at 9:10
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All useful [climbing] carabiners will have a rated weight, engraved on them, usually in kN (kilonewton). Even non-climbing ones should have a rated weight.

Based on the picture, and the description, I would use that one for decoration.

It's not meant for climbing, it's too awkwardly shaped and the "clip" part looks way too flimsy, not to mention the lack of rating.

As for camping, I wouldn't use it, but you might be able to hang a flashlight or something from it. Again I would rather buy a $2 one at the drugstore than use that one, due to its shape and weak looking clip.

For showing off, I guess it could be good. But like a decorated sword or ornate cane, it's really just not that useful. My best guess is that it's made for glampers, but really even they should know better.

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    Usually, the load ratings are stamped into the carabiner, not engraved. Stamping is both safer and cheaper. – Toby Speight Jul 17 '18 at 8:34
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    And even more important than the kN number is the certification number. Any manufacturer can claim any strength unless its externally tested. Obviously you can use a certification number on an uncertified product, but that would fire back fast. – imsodin Jul 17 '18 at 8:51
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Titanium doesn't rust (or at least, doesn't rust in the timeframe that this gear is typically used for) so this could be a good piece of kit for a surfer or diver.

You could hang keys or a waterproof phone pouch on your clothing somewhere or hang your phone on your windsurfer or hook your waterbottle on your waveboard harness.

You could also use it somewhere a lot of sweat is involved, like a gym.

For example, many of the items on "ten best carabiners" lists (for example Hiconsumption.com, Carryology.com) are made of titanium.

What you shouldn't do, as mentioned in all the other posts, is hook yourself on it. It is not for trusting your life.

  • Climbing carabiners are made of aluminum and rarely rust. What does rust out are the springs which are made of spring steel. This biner likely also has a steel spring and it’ll eventually rust out. – RoboKaren Jul 23 '18 at 8:53
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Ignoring the valid criticisms on the design of this particular unit, the chief virtue of titanium is the strength to weight ratio. In principle you can cut the weight by half or so compared to a steel one. (not checked)

This link:

https://www.makeitfrom.com/compare/6061-T6-Aluminum/Grade-5-Ti-6Al-4V-3.7165-R56400-Titanium

Compares Ti alloy to an aluminum alloy. I think for a carabiner the factor that matters is tensile strength which runs about 4 times great. Ti is denser, so you don't end up cutting the weight by any factor of 4.

Ti has a density of 4.4 g/cm3 compared to 2.7 for aluminum. So that factor of 4 (figured on cross section) turns into a factor of 2.5 by weight.

The base metal price is also about 4 times as great. While Ti is hard to machine, it's not THAT hard. All things considered a Ti 'biner shouldn't be $50 except for snob appeal.

I've seen guys going out for a tech climb, like half dome or Ship Rock and they are starting some something like 80 carabiners. If you can save 2 oz each on 80 widgets, that's 160 oz = 10 pounds. Not important? Look at the price difference between a 24 lb bicycle and a 14 lb bicycle.

The second reason for using titanium gear is bragging rights. "I'm cool because I can afford the very best."

At one point when external pack frames were still in, you could get a welded aluminum frame for $30 and a titanium frame of similar design for $300. The latter saved you something like 6 oz. I didn't see the point, myself.

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    Grade 5 titanium is about twice as strong as 7075 aluminum, but it is also 57% heavier. Overall, if want want to maintain the same strength and replace aluminum with titanium, the equivalent titanium carabineer will weigh about 82.5% of the original or 17.5% less. That's still a decent weight savings but a lot less than half the weight as mentioned in the answer. – Qudit Jul 17 '18 at 20:05
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    I have yet to see any climbing gear made of titanium that was lighter than aluminium. Furthermore, I have never seen titanium climbing gear in person. It's that rare. I have a strong feeling that the heat treatment having to be beyond perfect unless you want a brittle end-product makes it nowhere near profitable for use in carabiners. I own a Merlin titanium road bike and had read on the difficulty they had working with the material and having consistent results. The brand tanked after they became sloppy and frames would keep breaking. And they were the ground-breaking early-adopters. – Gabriel C. Jul 17 '18 at 20:07
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    Also, most climbing carabineers already weigh less than 2oz. The only ones that don't are large belay carabineers or pearabineers. There's no way you'll save anywhere near 2oz per carabineer. – Qudit Jul 17 '18 at 20:07
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    Wow, being accustomed to metric, I didn't even notice the numbers. mec.ca/fr/product/5055-507/Mousqueton-Nano-22 22g biner with 21kN linear strength for 8$. Why would you need titanium? – Gabriel C. Jul 17 '18 at 20:12
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    You should not be comparing titanium to 6061 aluminum. 7000 series alloys are much stronger and are what is typically used for climb rated carabineers. Comparing with a weaker alloy is meaningless. – Qudit Jul 18 '18 at 18:51

protected by Charlie Brumbaugh Jul 18 '18 at 15:07

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