13

Several offshore sailors are considering the use of specific Chinese locking carabiners with personal tethers, to keep us attached in violent conditions. Specifically... https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Outdoor-Rock-Climbing-Auto-Locking-Carabiner-Clip-25KN-Safe-Buckle-Hook-Clip-/253765494839

Is anything known about the QA of these items and the reliability of their CE/UIAA labeling?

24

This item might be identical to a certified one, but the seller is clearly not aware of certifications, so you should assume it is not certified - in short:

Do not use this carabiner for safety-relevant applications.

The description on ebay says

  • The ultimate tension: 25KN
  • CE Certification

"ultimate tension" is not a term used to describe carabiners strength by any manufacturer I know. In addition, with carabiners you usually get numbers for major axis, minor axis and open gate strength.

CE certification is not a safety norm like EN/UIAA. The image features an EN cert, the text does not mention an EN cert. Googling the seller "STRADE FAREAST LIMITED" does not bring up anything relevant either. There are way too many red flags here for safety relevant gear.

Another red flag, as identified by @Pont, is the displayed norm: EN 362:2004. That's the norm for industrial equipment, while the description on ebay is geared towards "Outdoor Rock Climbing".

  • 2
    Another red flag: the description says "Outdoor Rock Climbing Auto Locking Carabiner Clip", but the only EN marking I see in the photos is EN 362:2004, which is the standard for industrial carabiners. For a climbing carabiner I'd expect EN 12275:2013. – Pont Mar 6 at 17:28
  • Nice spot. I do not know those numbers by hart and the other red flags were enough for me to not do the googling - thanks for that. – imsodin Mar 6 at 17:29
  • In the absolute best case this is a mis-advertised industrial carabiner, which is nominally OK to use as a utility crab but should not be used in climbing safety applications. Note that one uses generic hardware all the time, chains, mussey hooks, cold shuts, and rings hanging off the shiny petzl bolt anchors at your favorite crag and are largely hardware store specials and towing hardware – crasic Mar 6 at 22:36
  • Grade 8.8 hex head bolts from China (head stamped with 8.8 and everything) are so frequently not actually heat treated to that standard that we would bend-test( to yield) one from each box. In our experience if one was good they all were good. But, that was a simple test of a single property (yield strength) and our application was not life or death. Traceability to a credible manufacturer is a necessary counterpart to whatever labeling is there. There’s not really a label police. – mmcc Mar 7 at 2:04
  • 1
    @VladimirF Maybe I wasn't clear enough: I have nothing against EN 362 as such, and for all I know it may even be more suitable than EN 12275 for OP's intended use (which is not climbing). The red flag, for me, is that the description only mentions rock climbing, not industrial/commercial use, whereas the depicted carabiner is only marked EN 362, not EN 12275. So either the description or the carabiner marking is inaccurate, which makes me distrustful of the seller/manufacturer. – Pont Mar 7 at 17:20
11

The main issue is that fraud and misrepresentation is rife in the chinese manufacturing sector.

When I was working in outdoors retail, I saw a couple press releases where Petzl was facing counterfeiting from China. The copies were visually identical, down to the packaging and tags. Of course, when tested, they failed at significantly lower forces than what the specs said. These date back from 2011:

enter image description here

I personally wouldn't trust equipment that doesn't have a reputable manufacturer behind it, unless there was a way to verify that independent testing and/or official certification proof is available to the public. Having any certification stamp on the part means nothing if the manufacturer is shady as it's been proven that some certifications have been faked in the past.

I did do a quick google search, the alibaba listing for mass-market seems to imply that the manufacturer is somewhat certified. Now it's up to you to check if this is true or not as that particular certification isn't very helpful for consumers trying to detect frauds. Furthermore, as noted by @JonCuster, the CE certificate is for a different item, which makes this pretty much non-applicable anyway and super shady.

enter image description here

  • 2
    None of those certifications mean anything with respect to conformance with UIAA standards. – Jon Custer Mar 6 at 17:15
  • 1
    @JonCuster Oh, I'm aware of that. I was building from the pretensions of that ebay seller. Even if they had claimed to meet UIAA standards, that would be doubtful, I might not have made my point clear enough. – Gabriel C. Mar 6 at 18:54
  • 3
    I guess I'd make the a point quite specific - none of those certifications, even if true, have any bearing on the actual performance of the carabiner in question. The seller using non-relevant certificates as evidence of meeting standards is equally worrying. In total, I would have no faith they are safe. (Note the CE certificate is for "Ninjo Line Kit (Children Outdoor Games" - egad!) – Jon Custer Mar 6 at 18:58
  • 1
    @JonCuster I think it's more of a commerce certification, from my basic understanding of it. – Gabriel C. Mar 6 at 19:23
  • 1
    To be fair, a CE cert would mean a heck of a lot for a potential importer that would want to flood the european market with the 500k units/month that the manufacturer is claiming it can supply... not that I think there's a market for that many though. this is so weird – Gabriel C. Mar 6 at 19:27
3

These look like the Carabiners frequently used on Via Ferrata climbing kits. See for example these images on google.

I am certain that you can find such carabiners from respectable brands with a known history of high quality gear that fulfils all the needed standards. They might be a little bit more expensive.

In light of this I would say:

  • If you have to even ask then it's probably safer to just avoid buying crucial and potentially life-saving equipment from unknown Chinese manufacturers.
  • Buy a similar product from a known, respectable climbing gear manufacturer.

You should not bet your life on an unknown piece of life-critical equipment, especially not to save a measly 10 bucks!


Edit: Found some being sold in the Salewa Shop, I'm sure there are plenty of others.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.