Which Krabs do you find last the longest?

global_s

New member
I've been cleaning all my kit today, mostly getting the gunk of where my krabs screw up. What I found quite interesting is that the action on the gates of the ones made by wild country still seem much nicer then the ones my Mammut and Grivel which are more recent purchases. I was curious as to which brands people find still function nicely after being exposed to the cave environment for a while.

Also when lubing the gates what do people use? In the past I've used WD40, but was wondering if a "proper" lubricant would last longer. Problem I found experimenting with some bike chain lube was actually dispensing it in amounts that wouldn't attract more gunk.

Finally does anyone have a cut of point they retire krabs at?
 

Pete K

Well-known member
3in1 oil is better for krabs as it can be applied as a drop from a nozzle and not as a spray everywhere. Does not tend to dry like wd40.

Plastic springs will wear out faster than metal, check to see if those krabs have them. Some metal springs are weedier than others.

Bin them when they go out of fashion or break / show more than 10% wear. Some manufacturers suggest a maximum age, others like Petzl might allow them to be used as long they continue to pass inspections.
Of course if you're not using it for work you can use them forever.
 

robjones

New member
Pete K said:
Bin them when they go out of fashion

On that basis, not just my krabs but all my SRT gear and my climbing hardware would be condemned! Some of us enjoy using old fashioned hardware - its satisfyingly money saving to a parsimonious soul like me, it confuses newbies, and opens numerous "I remember those" conversations with folk around my age.  :)

To answer your question: I can report that my Clog steel screwgates c.1986 have lasted excellently with a couple of gates just starting to show a little looseness. They'll see me out with any luck.
 

global_s

New member
Thanks Pete...I remember checking very carefully before buying 20 of the Wild Country ones...the others less so I normally chuck a few on an order of whatever Rock and Run has on special. Amazingly I've still got all 20.

Rob, I believe Clog are now part of Wild Country?

Judging from work climbing racks over the years DMM I suspect would last well as well, but it's rare to seem them heavily discounted. Probably for good reason.
 

Mark Wright

Active member
I know I've been posted over since writing but I'll post it anyway.

Its funny you posted this when you did. I've just come up from the cellar after cleaning my gear from Mondays trip. I've used a host of carabiners but these days I stick to Petzl, DMM a few CT and the odd Wild Country. They are all good after many years of use but you do need to clean them regularly.

As for lubricant, WD40 technically isn't one, its a water displacer. Using WD40 will attract dust and dirt and make the gates stick.

3 In 1 lubricating oil is the best I've found. You only need a little drip onto the spring and a drip or two into the threads on the sleeve, if its a screw gate. Washing up liquid works quite well too.

Petzl carabiners have an indefinite life expectancy so its down to a visual and tactile examination to determine whether they should be scrapped. The user instructions should show you how to do this. Have a look on Petzl's website, there are some videos showing how to examine all the equipment that we might use underground. Some manufacturers may recommend a 5 or 10 year life expectancy but there is no need. The issue of life expectancy of carabiners was the topic of an IRATA workshop many years ago. Denny Moorhouse demonstrated there was no need to apply a life expectancy to carabiners through a series of destructive tests. He had a stash of old carabiners from when he first set up Clog, which later became DMM. Denny parted company with DMM and set up ISC (International Safety Components), he has since retired.     

I generally buy myself 3 or 4 new screw gate carabiners every couple of years for my personal SRT kit and then demote the previous ones for rigging. If you avoid dropping them, never leave them in the bottom of a damp tackle bag and clean them regularly they should last for decades.

Pete K's point about the type/quality of the springs is important. I've never had any issues with springs from Petzl or DMM but some of the cheeper steel carabiners are well known for the springs coming loose. They don't fall out, they just wobble about and no longer work. 

Petzl recommend scrapping textile and predominantly plastic products after 10 years from date of manufacture. The date of manufacture  is marked on all Petzl products. Its a UV issue why this 10 years is applied so not that relevant to us. A helmet should last a lot longer than this if it is looked after and I would expect a harness to be pretty worn out after 10 years. I usually replace my harness every 18 months to 2 years and I replace my cow's tails every 6 months or so, depending on what type of caving I've been doing.

Hope that helps. 

Mark
 

cap n chris

Well-known member
OT but DMM steel HMS definitely last the shortest; had two fail (same failure with both) both after 2-3 caving trips. They don't like mud anywhere near them and the spring which makes the gate close pops out of place. DMM said it was user error. I disagree obviously.
 

global_s

New member
Thanks Mark that is informative. I do like you're idea about downgrading the krabs on the SRT kit to rigging krabs.

Until recently I'd been using steel ones on the basis they took a beating, but in the interests of weight saving I've recently switched to alloys, the Mammuts and Grivels. Whilst still perfectly good and quite shiny looking I was surprised at how fast the action on the screw has deteriorated. I'll try some 3 in 1, but suspect they will be moved over to my climbing rack for what they were obviously designed for.

You say you replace your harness ever 18 months to 2 years? Is this because they get scraped a lot? Mine looks pretty bomber after 3 years and will probably be replaced because the buckles are an absolute nightmare rather then I've lost faith in it.
 

tim.rose2

Active member
Interesting you mention that Chris, I've just had 2 DMM aero screwgate krabs fail in exactly the same way on first use over the last couple of months.  I've sent them back (came from a 3rd party supplier), had my money returned and since bought something else.  Despite reporting it to DMM independently I've heard nothing further from them.  I've been using the same DMM krabs for a number of years and never had this (or any other) problem - I wonder if their design / manufacturing process has changed?
Would be interested if anyone else has seen the same failure?
Tim
 

EDB4YLI55

New member
I made the crucial mistake of washing my DMM krabs in warm water once. The warm water causes the plastic bit in the spring to soften, as I was washing it it slid out the bottom slightly, only 1/2 an inch or so, but it completely failed the spring back system in the krab. I am almost certain once screwed up it doesn't affect the strength of the krab but I didn't risk it. I returned to DMM. I now rinse in clean cold water, and dry immediately, never had an issue since with any of my krabs
 

EDB4YLI55

New member
Cap'n Chris said:
the spring which makes the gate close pops out of place

This is exactly the issue I had, I thought mine was due to the temperature of the warm water when I rinsed them.
 

mrdetail

Member
Cap'n Chris said:
DMM steel HMS last the shortest; ... the spring which makes the gate close pops out of place.

One of mine failed with the plastic tongue of the spring popping out after less than a year of light use. Only washed under hose pipe.
 

Joe90

Member
I have tended to stick with Petzl really, cant complain about how they wear.

I do have a few other random ones kicking about in my kit. A couple of Edelrid crabs i had wore very quickly.
 

ianball11

Active member
Reading this thread has made me think about the krabs I have, I have 22 screwgates of which I have no idea who made them but they are old enough have Bernies stamped onto them  :confused:

Though going against current trends, I'll probably replace them with maillons as I seem to have developed a tendency to drop things at the minute and chucking an alloy krab because I dropped it down a pitch is rather galling.  I wouldn't do that with a steel maillon and steel krabs are heavy.
 

potholer

New member
EDB4YLI55 said:
I made the crucial mistake of washing my DMM krabs in warm water once. The warm water causes the plastic bit in the spring to soften, as I was washing it it slid out the bottom slightly, only 1/2 an inch or so, but it completely failed the spring back system in the krab. I am almost certain once screwed up it doesn't affect the strength of the krab but I didn't risk it. I returned to DMM. I now rinse in clean cold water, and dry immediately, never had an issue since with any of my krabs
DMM plastic 'pushers' for the springs are pretty shit for caving use. I only had one DMM krab like that and it failed after not much use due to my recklessly drying to open it when it had got muddy, though they did replace it.
Presumably they changed from metal for a reason, but seemingly not for cavers's benefit.

Inglesport had (presumably still have?) custom DMM rigging screwgates with a metal pusher because the plastic ones had issues.
 

dudley bug

Member
Cap'n Chris said:
OT but DMM steel HMS definitely last the shortest; had two fail (same failure with both) both after 2-3 caving trips. They don't like mud anywhere near them and the spring which makes the gate close pops out of place. DMM said it was user error. I disagree obviously.

We recently found a steel HMS DMM fail in the same manner on its first trip with not a bit of mud near it. From the DMM Safety warning that has just been issued it looks to be a design / manufacturing issue.
I would advise all to check DMM Krabs.
 

blackholesun

New member
Not much use for rigging, but for other caving usage, I've not had a wire-gate crab fail on me yet.

No spring to fall out or fail and easier to lubricate. I use DMM shields for my cowstails and find them comfortable.
 
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