Tried & Tested Reviews
The Edelrid Nineteen G quickdraws
by David Simmonite
Billed by Edelrid as ‘little wonders’ and ‘the lightest karabiner set on the market’, the Nineteen G quickdraw set is indeed super lightweight weighing in at an incredible total of 45g for the 10cm set and just 47g for the longer 18cm set. Compare this to for example the Wild Country Astro 10cm set at 65g and the 18cm DMM Phantom at 64g and you can see a significant weight saving, but you do need to bear in mind that these other two are bigger, with a wider gate opening and closer to full size karabiners. The closest competitor to the Nineteen G in terms of size and weight are CAMP with their Nano at 53g for the 10cm option. Picking up a rack of Nineteen Gs compared to my normal quickdraw set these virtually float away, the difference is very pronounced.
On first acquaintance most people's reaction is one of disbelief at the diminutive size and weight of these ‘toy-like’ karabiners. Indeed my first thoughts were the same, I’ve seen non-load bearing accessory karabiners the same size. So the big question is, do they live up to their billing and offer something new and exciting to the market, and above all are they actually useable? Whilst there are other sub-sized lightweight karabiners and quickdraw sets on the market Edelrid have certainly stolen a march on their competitors in terms of weight and, incredibly, in doing so have made little compromise on strength. The Nineteen Gs are also beautifully crafted which these days is something you come to expect from Eldelrid.
Okay, they are not for everyone and can be deemed as quite specialist, for a start the price of the Nineteen G is on the high side at £19 and £21 respectively. And certainly for people with big hands and wearing thick gloves the handling could be an issue. Edelrid also have the Mission 10cm set weighing 59g, with almost full size karabiners and individual krabs weighing 25g or you may look elsewhere to shave down the weight of your rack.
Given the size you would think that clipping in a rope would be desperate but far from it. Given the positive and snappy nature of the gate and the shallow curve in the back bar that sits perfectly in the palm of your hand I found these a delight to use. Okay, they took a little getting used to but after a modest practise clipping became just as straightforward as a normal sized krab. I’ve used these in a variety of situations over the past few months from grit cragging, sea cliff climbing, British mountain routes and long Alpine routes. I even used them for a few sport climbs when we had bad weather in the mountains even though I wouldn’t recommend them for these as you really need something chunkier for this purpose, and if you take into account their limitation regarding handling I have nothing but mainly positive thoughts on them (but there is a minor niggle that I’ll come on to later). However, when climbing in the Alps I’ve been fortunate to have good weather so only had a relatively light pair of gloves on.
So for my niggle – occasionally the karabiner at the rope end can rotate and can be a pain depending on the circumstance. Having spoken to the manufacturers it appears that the samples that I have do have a looser loop than is normal so this shouldn't be the case in future. Daniel Gebel, Head of Development at Edelrid, explained the reasoning for not having the loop nice and tight, 'Actually the idea is that the small loop is generally small enough to fix the karabiner. We did not want to use a antitwist for the extra weight and because we said the karabiner is made for Alpine use. In Alpine use it happens quite often that you need single karabiners, so it is sometimes quite practical if you can take out both karabiners fast and easily'. Personally I’m sure that an extra bar tack on the quickdraw could tighten the loop without adding extra weight and keep it snugly in place and still make it easy enough to take the karabiner out. Alternatively Edelrid do sell a rubber antiwist as an addition to completely stop any possibility of karabiners twisting but of course it does add to the weight, albeit marginally.
To summarise: these are ideal if you are shaving weight, for instance Alpine use or super long multi-pitch routes when weight is more important or, nowadays, the need to keep within strict budget airline baggage allowances. I read somewhere that these are, ‘These are a bit like Marmite – you’ll either love or hate them. Me, well I don’t like Marmite but I do love these small wonders’. Well for me that sums it up nicely and yes when lightweight is key they are excellent, however, they may not be for everyone or, dare I say it, for everyday use when a more substantial quickdraw set may make more sense.
Width (widest point): 45mm
Width (narrowest point): 30mm
Gate Open: 7kN
Gate Closed: 20kN
Minor Axis: 7kN
Gate Clearance: 19mm
Sling Width: 8mm
Sling Length: 10 cm, 18cm
Weight: 45g and 47g respectively
SRP: £19 and £21