The Alpinist Mountain Standards reviews apply Alpinist's tradition of excellence and authenticity to gear reviews by providing unbiased, candid feedback and anecdotal commentary to equipment tested (hard) in the field. Our panel is comprised of climbers who use the gear every day as part of their work and play. Only the gear they would actually buy themselves, at retail price, qualifies for the Alpinist Mountain Standards award. The five-star rating system is as follows:
One Star = Piece of junk.
Two Stars = Has one or more significant flaws, with some redeeming qualities.
Three Stars = Average. This solid piece of gear is middle-of-the-road on the current market.
Four Stars = Better than most comparable gear on the market. It has one or two drawbacks, but still 90% positive.
Five Stars = Is there such thing as perfection? An Alpinist Mountain Standards award-winner.
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C.A.M.P. Nano Wire: Full-Strength Little Guy
Posted on: August 15, 2008
Weight: 28 grams
While in Patagonia this past year I stumbled upon a small stash of ancient carabiners, perhaps left on the Torre glacier by the Maestri expedition in the '50s. What struck me most was how heavy the ancient steel 'biners were. If I were to fill my pack with them, chances are I wouldn't be able to stumble fifteen minutes outside of camp, let alone climb Cerro Torre. I have a new appreciation for the ascents of the past that predate featherweight gear.
The C.A.M.P. Nano Wire is among the lightest carabiners on the market, weighing a scant 28 grams to ease your load. These hot-forged 'biners are so sleek and small that friends have asked if the Nano Wire is designed for a key chain. To their surprise, I say these little guys are full-strength—with a force rating of 23kN on the major axis—and great for accessory 'biners and alpine draws on moderate terrain.
Why just moderate terrain? Well, when it comes to alpine climbing, I am a complete klutz. I have dropped many, many belay devices and countless 'biners. As soon as I'm sleep deprived and my fingers are numb, I can't seem to hold onto anything. For that reason I prefer carabiners that are a little bigger than the Nano and therefore easier to clip and clutch when the going gets tough. The gate opening on the Nano Wire is 21mm—pretty decent, but not the widest on the ultralight market—and I found clipping an 11mm rope into the Nano with gloves on requires the finger dexterity of a bluegrass banjo player—dexterity that I sadly lack. For easy alpine terrain, I can deal with a 'biner that is slightly difficult to clip. But when I'm pumped on difficult terrain, I prefer something that I can clip and go—in a hurry!
I used the Nanos pretty hard for a couple months. They weathered the abuse well, taking some gouging as all my other hot-forged carabiners have. Given the exceptional lightweight nature of the Nano, this isn't surprising.
I would recommend the Nano for big alpine routes where keeping weight down is absolutely critical. For anything else, if you're as clumbsy as I am, skip the Nano and use something bigger and easier to grasp!
Pros: Great for accessory applications and moderate alpine climbing; very light and small while retaining a strong force rating. (Note: it appears C.A.M.P. recently developed an even lighter, but not as strong, version of this 'biner at 23 grams, 20kN.)
Cons: Too small for rapid clipping when the going gets tough; gouge with abuse—but that's expected.