No where has the drive to shed weight from gear been more relevant than for climbers, where every gram carried really counts. Brands are pursuing this at every level, including karabiner design.
They need to balance low-weight, strength and ergonomics. With the introduction of wire-gates and more complex forging in the 1990s, karabiners got lighter and stronger while staying the same size as older models. But to lose more weight designers have produced smaller, super-light karabiners.
Sport climbers have tended to prefer bigger, burly and more clippable karabiners, but many mountaineers are happy to use smaller ones and save the weight. When “small” becomes “too small” is a personal thing, depending on hand size and clipping style, but using small superlight set-ups on the less crucial gear end of a quickdraw is one possible compromise.
The Edelrid Nineteen G now hold the record as the world’s lightest full strength karabiner, and is the first to weigh in at less than 20 grams. It’s hard not to get excited by just how light this hardware is – eight Nineteen G quickdraws weigh very slightly less than four regular quickdraws!
The Nineteen Gs make significant weight savings over a rack of gear possible. The downsides? They are small, making clipping more fiddly. They may not be everyone's first choice for sport climbing but for adventures where weight is at a premium, these are as light as it gets.