09 maart 2012

Gear: Lightest Screwgate Carabiner In The World by Grivel

Usually in the title of a post I mention the name of the product I review. But in this case it's the 'Grivel Plume Nut K3N'. Really, what kind of a name is that!? Wild Country Neon - yes. Camp Nano - yes. 'Plume Nut K3N' - how in the world is that in any way descriptive of the World's Lightest Screwgate Carabiner?
Anyway. I digress.

As you might have guessed by now, this review is of the Grivel Plume Nut K3N. It weighs a mere 37 grams, and for a screwgate carabiner, that's pretty much the lightest I've come across, and let me tell you: I've done the research. Therefore, I dub it the 'Lightest Screwgate Carabiner In The World'.
Lightest Screwgate Carabiner In The World
Grivel Plume Nut K3N screwgate carabiner
So, it's best in class in the weight catagory. But, is it functional?
Regular light-weight packing 'rules' are applicable to climbing and mountaineering: gear should be as simple and light as possible for the intented use. However, if it's unfit for the intented use, it's just extra weight.

Let's look at the Plume Nut K3N ('Plume' from now on) a bit more in detail. One important aspect is weight, as stated the Plume weighs 37 grams (1.3 oz) on my scales. That really is light for a screwgate. But how can Grivel make a 'biner that light? The answer is; reduce it's size.

In the picture below the Plume is compared to a Wild Country Neon screwgate carabiner (previously one of, if not the, lightest screwgate at 42 grams).
Grivel Plume Nut K3N
Grivel Plume Nut K3N vs. Wild Country Neon
The Neon measures 10.4 cm, the Plume 9 cm. That's a 15% difference.
Another difference is the way the nose is bent.
Wild Country NeonGrivel Plume Nut
The Neon has more of a hook, while the Plume's nose is only curved a bit. Much less pronounced. This makes the Plume easier to clip into something. It also reduces the size that area of the 'biner.

This video shows there's less room in the Plume as compared to the Neon. The coin is a 10 Euro cents, which is 20mm in diameter. The Plume won't open with the coin inside.

I also tested a bit with various types of sling, to see what fits.
Mammut Contact slingEdelrid Tech Web sling
In the picture on top is a clove hitched Mammut Contact 8mm dyneema sling. On the bottom is a clove hitched Edelrid Tech Web 12mm nylon/dyneema sling. The Plume can be opened and closed with the Mammut sling fairly comfortably. The same cannot be said for when the wider, thicker Edelrid sling is used. The Edelrid has more bulk when knotted and this allows the gate to be closed only barely. I haven't tried to clove hitch a regular single rope, but I would imagine it won't fit. If you just use the Plume to clip into something with a diameter that's not too big, you'll be fine. However, if you use it to build an anchor and want to secure yourself by using a clove hitch, the Plume isn't the best carabiner.

I haven't yet used the Plume in real climbing, so I can't yet comment on how it performs. But based on this initial assesment, I will be carefull in deciding what I use the Plume for. It might just be better to take a Wild Country Neon - it does weight 5 grams more, but I know it'll take a clove hitched single rope.

The Grivel Plume Nut K3N in a nutshell:
the good: weight, it's only 37 grams (or 1.3 oz)
the bad: size, Grivel reduced size to reduce weight - that hurts
In this case it may be that light isn't right...

Edit: oh yes, I hadn't mentioned it yet, but the Plume is full strength (22Kn). Having thought about it a bit more, it may be a good replacement for the accesory 'biner SK1N, which is not (!) rated, that came with the Grivel Easy Slider. The SK1N does weigh 28 grams though, so for 9 grams extra you eliminate a weak link. See the picture below for a comparison between the SK1N on the Grivel Easy Slider and the Plume:
Grivel Easy Slider, SK1N and the Plume Nut K3N

Edit 2: I'm happy to say I've found more uses for the Plume. It makes a nice carabiner for a small piton-hole, and it's also nice as a connector between the anchor and a Reverso.
Plume in a small Piton
Plume as a connector

Find info about the Plume on the Grivel website here.

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disclaimer: I bought the gear mentioned in this test myself

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